You can learn many lessons from the pages of Little House on the Prairie. The main one is to be gritty. In other words:
• dig deep,
• for what you care about
• and do it again and again, and again.
Ma fought battles to raise her girls and keep her family safe. While Pa was out and about, Ma would feed the livestock in frigid temperatures. She packed away food for lean times. She also worked to keep a positive mindset in the face of daunting circumstances.
Ma saw setback and failures as opportunities to learn lessons, develop strength and to deepen one’s faith. Ma Ingalls demonstrated grit daily.
Grit in Leadership
It took me 8 years to complete my degree. I was working full-time and raising 4 kids. After supper, my husband would do the dishes and get the kids ready for bed while I buried myself in textbooks and fought to master APA format. Each time I finished a course it felt like a giant step forward, and yet, I knew it wasn’t the end. I’d have to dig out the outline and look at what course was next.
If I completed the coursework, there was the lure of a raise. To me, it was more than that. Attaining my degree was about growing my skills as a leader. It was about getting that piece of paper that would say “You stuck it out, Kathy! You finished it, despite the odds.” That motivation kept me going. I was determined.
Grit kept me going
What I was exercising was GRIT. I persevered. I persisted. I did this for a long time because it was important for me. It meant a lot to me to have my degree.
Grit is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Research shows that GRIT is a core indicator of success.
Look at those who have made it
Dig into the back-story of some of the most successful people out there and you’ll see that they were not overnight successes. Most of the individuals that have "made it big", like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Reba McIntyre, Jack Canfield, Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, had a long history of failures. They spent many years being determined to figure it out. It required them to fail, fall and get back up, again, and again. It required GRIT.
Think about your challenges
As a leader, you already know, that it is not easy! Each project, program, client, and employee requires a measure of effort that extends over time. You have to dig deep to get through some of the chaos, challenges and stress. And, you must do this over and over. You are much more willing to do this when you care a lot.
What do you care about?
This question about what matters to you is critical to getting gritty. The definition of grit includes two “Ps”: persistence & passion. To be gritty, you must care about your tasks and the eventual outcomes of your work. It must be significant to you. It has to matter. Grit requires a measure of passion about what you are doing.
Grit was instrumental in my success
I worked hard to get my degree because it mattered a lot to me and. Therefore, I was willing to work on it for a lengthy period. Grit, perseverance, and passion for long-term goals got me through the course work.
Why is this important in leadership?
To be an exemplary leader, you know it takes hard work. You know you are much more willing to work hard if you care about the work you are doing. Finally, you know you’ll ensure that hard work over the long haul. That’s GRIT.
The 3 reasons you should lead like Ma Ingalls
They are the three components of Grit.
1) Ma was determined to be successful. So you should you be persistent and strong-willed.
Determination gives you capacity to:
a. face challenges
b. Dig deep during tough times
c. Get you through big projects
d. Handle tough conversations
e. Stick with things that matter
2) Ma cared deeply about her family. She devoted herself to their well-being. So you should fire up the passion in your work.
Connecting to your passion means:
3) Ma stayed the course despite adversity. She endured for the long haul. So you too should be practicing endurance.
Enduring helps you to remember:
Let Ma be your mentor
By following Ma Ingalls example, you will be a respected and sought after leader. Not only will your leadership flourish, but you will find yourself much happier.
Become a gritty leader:
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.