Grit is a muscle

“You realize, cadet, that you will never fly an attack aircraft.” “Yes, sir,” replied Shannon Huffman Polson, who had just enlisted in the Army. She went on to become one of the first women to pilot an Apache, an American attack helicopter.

Polson could tell us a lot about grit – the grit she had to nurture to achieve an apparently unachievable goal. And she did so by working on these five points: 

        Go back over your own story and own ityouve faced challenges since your childhood. Draw up a list of these and think about how you overcame them. Youll realize you have far more tools in your kit than you thought. 

        Adopt the “Five Whys” method to work out what really matters to youBy staying focused on your end goal youll spend less time thinking about interim obstacles. 

        Invest in othersGrit doesn’depend on you and you aloneTo go the distance, you need to know you can count on a circle of people you can trust – a circle you will have taken the time to establish beforehandWho can you count on? 

        PracticeGrit has to be worked atBuild it up as you would a muscle by facing increasingly difficult challengesYou will build up your confidence at the same time. 

        And celebrate your interim victories! 

  

To go further: To Build Grit, Go Back to Basics” podcast with Curt Nickish and Shannon Huffman Polson (Harvard Business Review, 1 September 2020).