Got grit?

Grit? What grit? The type of sand the Scots used in Upper Canada to make mortar? Hailee Steinfeld’s or Kim Darby’s stubborn character in the Coen Brothers film? Maybe that is the courage one shows when facing difficulties. Or a bit of all of the above, really.

What is the point, you ask? Coordinating a logistics project is not like being at war (although, understandably, this point is arguable), I personally tend to look at it as the combination of basic ingredients: planning, strategies, effort, persistence and meaningful tact towards my stakeholders. It is a commitment to a goal. That involves discipline, some kind of toughness without harming anyone around. Being gritty comes down to being driven and accepting to adjust to unexpected parameters and keeping going. Detours have taught me valuable lessons, both from a human and professional standpoint. It can be grueling sometimes, and the rewards make me forget that part.

I am glad persisting in some instances paid off. It does not mean that I know everything now, or that I am done with learning: the more I stumbled, the more humble, and aware, I have become. Having grit remains a great kick in pursuing and achieving a project, and reaching deadlines. Sometimes, projects feel easier, simply because the parameters look similar to some I have gone through before. The difference is that they just feel easier: they are not. They keep me on my toes most of the time. It may be easier to manage, it certainly does not call for laziness. Propensity to enjoy challenges (and reasonable risks, if risks can be reasonable, that is) sure caters the idea of grit too.

The grit in me transpires when I start and work on a project, a logistics one or not: some see me as a go-getter. Sure, why not! It does not prevent me from doubting, hesitating and having second thoughts knocking on my door. It is reassuring to be human after all: strategies and plans sprinkled with ambition, grit or assertiveness do not make me a machine, and that is pretty good news. It is about behaviour and connections: nothing linear or absolute, purely contextual, changing, adapting and evolving.

Being gritty is different from acting in a coarse, rough or harsh way: it is just the energy and the willingness to succeed without bullying the ones around. It is about learning of / about the surroundings and integrating them in the process one works on, and adds to the overall flow. Like Col. Stonehill said it in True Grit: “I do not entertain hypotheticals. The world itself is vexing enough.” Learning to know better and eliminate uncertainties as much as possible by using both one’s head and heart: that is my grit. How is yours?