Grit & Passion.

A few weeks ago, I supported one of my clients in putting on their “first ever” retail brand conference for their store managers, district managers, and trainers. If you have been in retail and had the pleasure of attending one of these conferences, you know how meaningful they can be. This one was no different. It was inspiring, powerful, and motivating. We all left better than when we arrived, which is the sign of a successful brand conference.

My time was spent ensuring every detail was attended to create a seamless experience for every attendee. One of the intense aspects is sitting with the AV team and ensuring the slides, videos, and music are just right. Each presenter has their own walk-up song and had their own perspective on how long the song should play and how loud or soft the volume is.

The best part isn’t when it all goes off without a hitch, although that brings me joy. It is getting to listen to leaders present to the group. One of the senior leaders did a presentation on GRIT. Now, this wasn’t the first time I heard about grit, in fact, I have often been told that I possess grit and passion in everything I do. It had been a while since I heard the word and thought it was worthy of a blog.

What is Grit?

Grit is a noun that means “courage and resolve; strength of character”. There are so many stories where I can remember grit taking me through difficult situations. I often say retail is not for the faint of heart. There was a time when I was working in a corporate role on the Transformation team. I ran the Project Management Office or PMO. If I am honest, this role was likely the one I disliked most in my career and the last corporate job I had before starting Running Great Stores.

What made this role so difficult? My job was to partner with the 8 retailers under our corporate umbrella and identify places to pull expenses out of their business. You can only imagine how popular I was (she says sarcastically). The most difficult part was the reductions in force that occurred multiple times throughout those 18 months in the role. It took grit and determination to get up and show up every day, bringing my best self to work and having empathy for the work and the teams who were impacted.

3 Key Learnings.

I learned three things during those eighteen months.

  1. Grit is not something you are born with, it can actually be developed
  2. Grit and passion are keys to getting you through tough times
  3. A role you dislike may be setting you up for something better in the future (which it did). Without this role, I would have been missing key experiences that I use over and over in my current work.

Chances are good someone who is reading this is going through a difficult time right now. I want to encourage you that tough times are what make us strong. We don’t grow when times are easy, we grow when times are tough.

Jon Gordon has written many excellent books but one of my recent favorites is Coffee Bean. It is a quick read and will help you work through how to respond to tough times.

Dr. Duckworth and Grit.

This is a great TED talk on grit (Thanks Jack Roddy for your stellar presentation at Brand Conference!)

Wrap Up.

You might have read this post and be in a place where things are easy. The good news is that you can tuck this away and reference it if and when you bump into a harder situation. In the meantime, I hope you will strengthen your grit and determination. If you need a listening ear, I am here for you. Message me at

In Your Corner,

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