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Are You Courageous or Tenacious?

women leaps courageous or tenacious


Are you a tenacious person who persists no matter what? Do you courageously leap into projects that stretch you and feel like a risk? I’ve been thinking a lot about the qualities of tenacity and courage and the slight distinctions between the two this past couple of weeks, specifically as I learned more about our first history hero: Bessie Coleman.

Bessie became the first African American female aviator in the mid-1920s, and did so against enormous odds. She decided she wanted to become a pilot after hearing stories from her older brothers who served during WWI, who often talked about pilots in service. From their anecdotes, Bessie came to the realization that flying was what she wanted to do.

Bessie also realized that nobody in the States would teach her to fly because she was black and female. She discovered, however, that she could receive instruction in France. The first step was to learn enough French that she could complete the applications for aviation schools.

The courage it must have taken to disembark the ship and begin making her way in France is something I can’t imagine. If you’ve ever struggled to be understood somewhere that nobody (or few people) spoke your language, you get the idea of the struggle. Add to that being a woman and black in the ‘20s. And Bessie’s situation was compounded even more by the reality she would be receiving aviation instruction in French!

Courage and confidence must have flown with Bessie those first times as she began learning. She had no idea if she’d take to the technology or if she’d be okay flying thousands of feet in the air.

You can learn more about Bessie’s story in our recent post over at Storied Gifts. Here, I’ll share our recent infographic about her as well. And she is our first #historyherocutout which you can check out here. 


Tenacity and courage do go hand-in-hand. But personally, I don’t think of myself so much as courageous as I am doggedly determined about certain things in life. I guess that does make me tenacious.

For example, working and creating a business is an act of courage. But it comes with a great deal of opportunity for failure and it is the tenacity that brings me back to keep trying again.


Do you think of yourself as courageous or tenacious or both? Write about a time you exhibited courage and how you pursued your goal in spite of fear.  

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