I’ve just finished reading The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World by Shannon Huffman Polson.
It’s the story of what makes someone succeed, and the importance grit plays in career success.
Huffman Polson was the youngest woman to climb Denali and served as one of the US Army’s first female attack helicopter pilots. The book is the story of her career, but it’s also the story of many other women who broke barriers and were the first at things – mainly military women.
It talks of what grit is, how you can get it, what it takes to build a purposeful career, how to build resilience and loads of other things. It’s a thoughtful book that takes an optimistic and yet realistic view of what it means to be an outstanding leader.
I was heartened by it and I took away some soul-searching questions. At the same time, I was appalled at the barriers the women in the book had faced and what they had to go through to bust a stereotype.
If you are in the minority — any kind of minority — then expect microaggressions at best and assault at worst.
Exceptional is expected if you are breaking the mold somehow. It’s not enough to be as good as everyone else; the book shows time and time again how you have to have the tenacity to do what’s needed to break through the stereotypes, change perceptions and change the world.
One of the quotes on the back of the book sums it up:
“The hard truth is that we have a long way to go before women are treated equally, at work and elsewhere. Until then, we need The Grit Factor.”
Both practical and inspirational, The Grit Factor is a great read, and you don’t have to be a minority leadership candidate to take something away from it.
- Excellence and acceptance take hard work. Grit, resilience and tenacity will see you through.
- You can achieve more when you are driven by a clear purpose. Connect with your purpose to tap into your power.
- Take all the training, development and opportunity that comes your way. Each challenge you face fills you up and helps you get more comfortable with whatever comes your way next.
- Build your risk tolerance. Take risks, even though they are scary.
- Women in leadership positions
- Women wanting to move into leadership positions
I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for the purposes of doing this review. All opinions are my own.