When I was a kid, my mother always said I had stick-to-itiveness. When I asked her what it meant, she told me that it sometimes seemed like plain old stubbornness, but it really meant sticking with something and not giving up. I always thought my mother made up the word by just adding iveness to stick-to-it. My mother was a smart woman, but had only a high school education. She didn’t have a huge vocabulary and spoke plainly. I had never heard anyone else use this word, and I never bothered to look it up in a dictionary. I just felt sure it wouldn’t be there. I even wrote about stick-to-it-iveness in a guest post at Confident Writing several years ago, attributing the word to my mother.
Then recently I read an article in a newsletter from Jim Blasingame, The Small Business Advocate. I don’t have a link to the article because it was an email newsletter, and I don’t think the newsletters are posted online. However, you can find many great articles about entrepreneurship and small business on the website.
Jim’s article was about the importance of stick-to-itiveness for small business owners. Then, I did look up the word and discovered it is a real word with the first known use in 1867! According to Merriam-Webster Online, the word means “ dogged perseverance : tenacity.” As expected, it originated from the phrase “stick to it.”
To succeed as a writer, an entrepreneur, an artist, an employee, a spouse, a parent, a whatever–you-want-to-succeed-at, you must have stick-to-it-iveness.
Stick to it when success seems out of reach. Stick to it when you feel quitting. Stick to it when you think you can’t hold on a minute longer.
Stick-to-it-iveness can take you from beginning writer to published author. It can take your business from struggling start-up to profitable enterprise. Stick-to-it-iveness can take a starving artist to a selling artist, a marginal employee to a valued team member, or a terrified bumbling new parent to a confident and capable one.
Stick-to-it-iveness has no time limit. Success may come quickly or painfully slowly, but it won’t come if you give up too soon. If you don’t stick to it, you might quit just as you’re on the verge of success.
Stick-to-it-iveness, tenacity, persistence, determination, perseverance, whatever you call it, it’s necessary for success in anything you do.