Is Persistence a Negative Word?

As someone who values consideration and boundaries, pushy people might make me cringe more than anything else. It's no shock that the advice "be persistent," or "persistence is key" always left a bad taste in my mouth. It left me thinking, there has to be a better way. What about boundaries!? What about not being rude!? What about no means no!?


Persistence.


Thanks, I Hate it.


I started realizing there was work to do here when I started noticing how quickly I was to shut myself down upon first rejection. "No? Okay! No worries, I'll get out of your hair, your life, this planet and you'll never hear from me again! I totally get it! Sorry! Bye!"


I could sort of ask, but I definitely couldn't follow up. Well, I could, of course, but I was horribly afraid to. I was horribly afraid of being the biggest pest on the block. Good old fear of rejection.


Re: Following Up!


So what did I do? If you've read almost any other blog of mine, you guessed it! I made "I am persistent" into a positive affirmation and had that b*tch pop up on my phone every single day until I faced all those thoughts, fears and aversions about persistence.


Throughout this time, I used it as a reminder to follow up and be way pest-ier than I ever wanted to be. I didn't let my fears hold me back from asking and re-visiting - even when everything in me felt like hiding in a corner and burying myself. Re: following up!


The Secret Ingredient


I kept noticing that people I believed to be successful in their accomplishments (aka people who just get sh*t done) all had this one thing in common... I couldn't put my finger on it, but I kept seeing it in live action.


One afternoon, I was on a mission to find an event space for Pili Project, with my boss-woman business partner, Margot. We were on a wild goose chase looking for the building manager Downtown Los Angeles. We'd asked four people who didn't have this man's number, barely spoke English and two of which simply pointed to the skyscraper next door as if to tell us, "he's somewhere in there."


My initial reflex was, "nope, let's go home." Margot, on the other hand, barged right into the building next door and tracked the man down - getting all the info we needed right there on the spot. What's that quality? Still couldn't name it.


The same week, I had received just about the fifth email from a marketing company who wanted to sell some package to me for my skincare line. Funny enough, I kept opening them because seeing them try over and over again kept catching my attention. What's that word again?


I thought back to when I had lunch with the sweet founder of The Fullest, Nikki Bostwick. She told me something that stuck with me about starting her revolutionary wellness business: "I'm not afraid to look stupid." This wisdom never left me. I always thought of it as so bravely profound and so... Honestly, I didn't have the words to describe it.


My boyfriend demonstrated the same quality a few days later in his own business pursuits. I watched him work dedicatedly with mesmerization. Receiving negative news and still going after it.

"You have this amazing quality," I told him. "I genuinely think it's what makes you and other people so successful."


"What's that?" He asked.


"I can't think of the word..." I paused.

Then it hit me like the pile of reminders on my phone that literally say it. "Oh! I think it's persistence!"


Persistence > Perfection


To me, persistence is going after it. It's polite, but it's relentless. It's trusting that this universe is limitless and getting out of your own f–ing way.


It's: "the answer is always 'no' if you don't ask." And, "try, try again."


Sound annoying? I still think it is, but if it's done with kindness, respect and tact, I have mad respect for persistence. The sad truth is that people who have half an idea take it further with persistence than a genius with something groundbreaking who holds themself back. Holding yourself back for fear of rejection or fear of pest-iness is holding the world back from revolutions.


Value yourself. And if at first, you're struggling to do it for yourself, start with doing it for the sake of everyone else.


Even if it makes you cringe, persist with love. You'll find yourself in places untrodden.


©2020 by Kama Hagar.