Winning entrepreneurs’ need more than the ability to confront hard things and run lean; they need grit.
At the age of 27 Angela Duckworth left management consulting to teach math to 7th graders in the New York City Department of Education. As a Manhattan parent putting a couple of 7th graders through this system, and a volunteer teacher in several of NYC’s challenged high schools, my appreciation runs deep for the challenges she must have faced.
Her book title and celebrated TED talk describe the requisite “grit” demonstrated by relentlessly successful students and demanded of entrepreneurs. Her subtitle sums up her studies and their application, fueled by a MacArthur Genius grant—the power of passion and perseverance, to achieve long-term goals.
Like Aristotle, Duckworth observes that endurance, in education and enterprise, makes the difference between failure and fortune.
Entrepreneurs and innovators need to know they sign-up for a lonely trudge. And for founders and leaders, it may feel more like commanding a forced march across foreign terrain. Without a map.
She offers four lessons on the unwavering dedication to pursuit:
- Lead with a courageous, clear and compelling vision.
- Plot long term goals and manage to them in daily sprints. Deliver, deliver, and make sure others deliver. Keep looking for the horizon, even when others are looking at their feet.
- Seek “optimal” results; pursue excellence, not perfection.
- Bounce back. There will be many bumps and disappointments. Endurance demands resilience.
New never comes easy.
The future comes fast and in surprising ways. Expect it to show up the same way that you must show up: hard, lean, and gritty.