top of page

The Unfinished Work of an Entrepreneur: Cultivating Grit for Success


Black woman entrepeneur selling food out of food truck

The work of an entrepreneur is rarely done. When you decide to make yourself useful in the world, you are signing up to be a problem solver. However, being a problem solver brings its own set of challenges and obstacles. As an entrepreneur, you must develop grit – an essential key to this journey. Without it, you might quit before you even get started, but if you stick with it, you will find yourself growing your grit capacity.


"When you decide to make yourself useful in the world, you are signing up to be a problem solver."

Growing your grit capacity becomes increasingly important as your company expands. The larger your business gets, the more responsibilities and systems you need to manage. Developing grit cannot be done unintentionally, especially for entrepreneurs. My definition of grit is simple: it's the conscious decision to dig your feet into the ground, face whatever you must, and decide that you're not only going to survive but also thrive.


The Importance of Mindset


One of the primary ways to develop grit is by starting with your mindset. Do you find yourself giving up quickly? Your actions are a great indicator of your assumptions about quitting or staying in the entrepreneurial fight. Identifying your deep-seated beliefs and the drivers behind them can help you grow your grit capacity.


As entrepreneurs, especially in urban communities of black and brown people, we face unique challenges. Systemic barriers, limited access to resources, and often, a lack of representation can make the entrepreneurial journey even more daunting. But it's our mindset that can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and resilience.


"It's our mindset that can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and resilience."

Think about it: every time you face a setback or a roadblock, it's an opportunity to strengthen your resolve. Instead of seeing obstacles as insurmountable, view them as stepping stones toward your ultimate goal. Your mindset should be one of unwavering determination and belief in your ability to overcome any hurdle.


Start Small and Build Momentum


The second way to grow grit is to start small. Look around you. Think about your life and your daily routines. What does your schedule look like? Are there any built-in rhythms that you can use as a platform to strengthen your grit muscle?


For example, I intentionally park as far away from wherever I'm going. Why? Because it forces me to walk extra. It's a small act, but it has big rewards. This simple habit builds my physical endurance and mental toughness. Once you've mastered that level, pick something that causes a little bit more pain, sweat, or energy.


Small actions like these may seem insignificant, but they build up over time. Each small victory adds to your grit reservoir, preparing you for larger challenges. It's about building a habit of perseverance, one small step at a time.


"Each small victory adds to your grit reservoir, preparing you for larger challenges."

The Power of Community


The last but not the only way to grow grit is to find a gritty entrepreneurial community. Birds of a feather flock together. If you really want to accelerate, find entrepreneurs who don't mind the ugly, gritty terrain and follow them. Stalk them. Show up at their events. Invite them to coffee. Become a grit student of theirs. You never know; you might find yourself as the King or Queen of grit – either way, we both need it.


Community is crucial, especially for black and brown entrepreneurs. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who understand your struggles and can offer support, advice, and inspiration is invaluable. These connections can provide the encouragement and accountability you need to keep pushing forward.


"Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who understand your struggles and can offer support, advice, and inspiration is invaluable."

Look for local entrepreneur meetups, online forums, and social media groups where you can connect with other gritty entrepreneurs. Share your experiences, learn from their stories, and build a network of support that will help you stay motivated and resilient.


Real-Life Examples of Grit


Let's look at some real-life examples of grit in action. Many successful entrepreneurs started with nothing but a dream and a relentless drive to succeed. Oprah Winfrey, for instance, overcame significant obstacles in her early life, including poverty and abuse. She faced numerous rejections and setbacks but persevered, ultimately becoming one of the most influential media moguls in the world.


"Many successful entrepreneurs started with nothing but a dream and a relentless drive to succeed."

Another example is Elon Musk, who faced numerous challenges with his ventures, including SpaceX and Tesla. He experienced multiple failures and near-bankruptcies, but his determination and belief in his vision kept him going. Today, he is a leading innovator in space exploration and electric vehicles.


These stories remind us that grit is not about never failing; it's about never giving up. It's about learning from failures, adapting, and continuing to push forward, no matter how tough the journey gets.


Practical Tips for Building Grit


1. Set Clear Goals: Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve can help you stay focused and motivated. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps and celebrate each milestone along the way.


2. Embrace Challenges: Instead of avoiding difficult tasks, embrace them as opportunities to grow. The more you face challenges head-on, the more resilient you become.


3. Practice Self-Care: Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial for building grit. Ensure you get enough rest, eat well, and take time to recharge. A healthy body and mind are better equipped to handle stress and setbacks.


4. Stay Positive: Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on your strengths and achievements. Surround yourself with positive influences and practice gratitude regularly.


5. Learn from Failure: View failures as learning experiences rather than setbacks. Analyze what went wrong, adjust your approach, and keep moving forward. Each failure brings you one step closer to success.


6. Seek Support: Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Reach out to mentors, peers, or professional networks for guidance and support. Building a strong support system can help you navigate challenges more effectively.


The Role of Grit in Urban Entrepreneurship


In urban communities, where resources and opportunities can be limited, grit becomes even more critical. Black and brown entrepreneurs often face additional barriers such as systemic racism, limited access to funding, and fewer networking opportunities. However, these challenges also create a unique resilience and determination that can drive success.


As urban entrepreneurs, we must leverage our grit to create opportunities not just for ourselves, but for our communities. By building successful businesses, we can generate jobs, create wealth, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.


"We must leverage our grit to create opportunities not just for ourselves, but for our communities."

Grit and Innovation


Grit also plays a vital role in fostering innovation. In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, staying ahead requires constant creativity and adaptability. Entrepreneurs with grit are more likely to take risks, experiment with new ideas, and persevere through the trial-and-error process of innovation.


For example, many groundbreaking products and services we use today were the result of countless iterations and failures. The founders of Airbnb faced numerous rejections and struggled to gain traction in the early days. However, their grit and belief in their concept kept them going, and today, Airbnb is a global success.


Embracing the Journey


The entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. It requires unwavering determination, resilience, and a willingness to face challenges head-on. By developing grit, we equip ourselves with the tools needed to navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and ultimately achieve our goals.


Remember, grit is not something you're born with; it's something you cultivate through mindset, small actions, community support, and learning from failure. As black and brown entrepreneurs in urban communities, our grit not only propels us forward but also sets a powerful example for others.


"Grit is not something you're born with; it's something you cultivate through mindset, small actions, community support, and learning from failure."

So, dig your feet into the ground, face whatever comes your way, and decide that you're not only going to survive but also thrive. With grit, we can turn our dreams into reality and create a lasting impact on our communities.



5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The Power of Compassion in Entrepreneurship

In the world of entrepreneurship and business, it is easy to overlook one major detail in the journey: compassion. To my knowledge, I have rarely heard compassion and business mentioned in the same se

Comments


bottom of page