I took a couple weeks this summer to get away on vacation. My family likes the great outdoors, and, ever since my kids were little, we’ve driven our RV around finding cool little camping spots to lose touch with the outside world. Our last stop before steering home today was Stone Mountain, GA, USA. It’s a place with unique splendor, interesting history, and lots to do. One of the things we challenged ourselves to do was to climb to the top of Stone Mountain.
It’s a relatively safe hike, but extremely rigorous. When we got to the top, my family scattered to take in the views. I plopped down on a rock in one of the few shady spots I could find. Catching my breath and rehydrating, I noticed the little tree I was under. Now I had seen millions of trees over the two weeks that I’ve been on vacation, but this one struck me as amazing. If you notice in the picture I’ve attached you can see that it has grown in virtually no soil. The top of that mountain is solid granite. I fixated on the determination of that little tree and meditated on how that applies to life.
I wasn’t going to forget my tree and the life lesson it brought me at that glorious mountaintop experience. But to make it more indelible, this happened: When I got back to camp and was vegetating around the campfire, I was poking around in Facebook. My good friend and fellow CEO, Walt Thinfen, had posted a video called “Grit!” The video is a short Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth who discusses why successful people succeed (paraphrased). She’s an incredibly interesting lady who had plunged herself into analysis to track the traits and characteristics of successful people. Watch the video or read her book for more detail, but the punch line is that success does not come about by intelligence, money, luck, or any of the other typical notions. Instead, she identifies a common characteristic that she calls “Grit.” Grit is the simple perseverance and stick-to-it-ness that drives people to succeed. Grit is present in people who aren’t afraid to try something and risk making mistakes. Grit is present when a person gets back up after being knocked down and tries and tries again. Ms. Duckworth suggests that some people are born with Grit, but that it can be taught. I took that one step farther and believe that Grit can be contagious.
I felt as if, through Devine intervention, my little tree with Grit was sending me a message. Members of Dynamic Communities’ groups bring many benefits to each other. The peer-to-peer learning, the training programs, and the shared experiences to name a few. But perhaps the greatest things we bring to each other is the encouragement and reassurance found in every corner of the user groups. I hope we continue to be vulnerable when we share our experiences – good, bad, or ugly. You never know who will hear that story and find the courage to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and persevere until they are successful. Let’s do it with eagerness and pride knowing that we are spreading Grit!