Tenacious Living

Sep 2, 2013 by


Tenacity. What a great word that fits alongside words like, determination, grit, commitment, driven, hard work, and others. Personally, we have preferred to refer to it as a part of the value of Integrity in our home. Integrity is one of our 6 core values for our family to live out (see more in our book, Faith Legacy: Six Values to Shape Your Child’s Journey).

A good work ethic is a part of the value of Integrity. Determination and tenacity are key ingredients of that work ethic.

Part of our definition of a good work ethic is giving more than what is asked, to exceed the expectations of a parent, boss, or others who are in an overseer position. Tenacity is that determined attitude to not give up, to push through, and finish well.

climbing a mountain

Wolfgang Puck, the world-renowned chef and restaurateur, teaches us a lesson on tenacity and determination to never give up and to keep working hard. The question is asked, “What is your secret ingredient?” Wolfgang’s response is “Tenacity is an important part of business and life. I was 14 when I left my father’s house in Austria. He said, ‘You’re good for nothing. You’re going to be back again.’ I found an apprenticeship in a hotel restaurant, but three weeks in the chef told me I was no good and fired me. But I did not quit. I came back the next day, and the other apprentice put me to work peeling potatoes in the vegetable cellar. Weeks later the chef found out, and the owner sent me to work at another hotel. Even at 14, I did not take no for an answer. Losing was not an option and having that (tenacious) mindset worked.”

Wolfgang didn’t become famous overnight. He had to pay his dues and work hard. What if he had quit? What if he had only decided to say it isn’t worth it and people are right? I guess I am a nobody and not worth anything. Even his father determined he wasn’t anything at all and would fail epically. But Wolfgang would not quit. He was determined to make it. He learned that tenacity and determination help create that mindset of a good work ethic. He kept going, driving, pursuing, and working.

  • What work ethic do you have?
  • What work ethic are you modeling and instilling in your children?
  • What ways are you communicating the value of your children and recognizing them for working hard and achieving well?
  • What is your definition of Integrity? If good work ethic is not a part of it, how do you include good work ethic into your values?
  • What is the difference between “driven” and “determined?”


Story of Wolfgang Puck is from Spirit Magazine, July 2013



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