Earning a doctoral degree has been a dream since I was a young girl. So after reaching midlife, I decided go back to school and pursue my dream.
The journey has been long and arduous, with many ups and down. When I started, I was on fire to finish. I mapped out a two-year plan to finish my degree. Yes, it was very aggressive but I have always been an overachiever.
My classmates thought I would be the first to finish. However, life happened along the way and my plan went out the window. First, my father passed away. Over the next year, I juggled work, school, and my father’s affairs.
The next life event occurred when I received a diagnosis of cancer. This time I had to suspend my degree and take time to regain my health. For the next year, I was under the care of three different doctors who I saw every month, sometimes twice a month.
As you can image, finishing my degree was the last thing on my mind, however after I adjusted to my new reality I went back to work and re-enrolled in my degree program. I wish I could tell you I was focused and moving towards my degree but it was just the opposite.
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi
I spent the next year spinning my wheels. As much as I tried, my heart was no longer in it. For the first time in my life my life I found myself drifting along. I asked myself “why did I want to earn a doctoral degree?
As I worked my way through most of the obvious answers, I realized it wasn’t about the degree. Yes, I know what you are thinking. What? While I wanted the degree, it was more important to me to finish what I had started.
In their book GRIT to GREAT, Kaplan-Thaler and Koval, describe how we respond to challenges as grit. So what is grit? In general, grit is our ability to overcome obstacles.
Kaplan-Thaler and Koval breakdown grit into four essential components:
Yes, you can build grit. How? Grow your mindset, set high expectations, and fail forward.
Next month, I will graduate with my Doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership. Along the way, I have built grit.
Are you a leader with grit? If not, how will you build grit?
Kim D. Moore
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