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Grit: When You Want Something, You’ll Do Things You Hate

Trusted to serve
by Tamara Paton in How to get on board, Motivation

Recently, I asked someone for a favour.

I hate doing this. Truly. I feel so much hate for favour asking.

Why? Well, a few reasons:
1. I feel like I’m bothering people.
2. I don’t like to bother people.
3. Sometimes they say no.

That last one is just the worst. When you start a business, write a blog, speak publicly, or build a board career, you put your heart into it. And I’ve done all of the above in recent years.

When you ask people to endorse, share, and buy your ideas, you put yourself on the line. When they say “no,” it feels pretty terrible.

I can’t tell you how to avoid this fate or how to feel better when it happens. Instead, I’ll share what I tell myself when it happens to me:

When you want something, you’re willing to do things you hate.

Maybe you hate attending networking events. Maybe you hate writing LinkedIn articles in your field of expertise. Maybe you hate reminding people about your interest in board work.

Maybe you hate introducing people in your network to one another. Maybe you hate serving on small non-profit boards that don’t reflect your talent. (Someone actually said those words to me last week. I promise that no non-profit is beneath you, especially when you are starting out.)

Be that as it may, if you want something, you have to do the difficult things. This is grit.

A colleague of mine advised a tech founder for a year. He didn’t expect a penny for this service. He is now chairman of the company’s board. This is grit.

Recently, I met an aspiring director who has spent 10 years serving on 5 different non-profit boards. Of the 40 business cards I received that night, hers is the one I kept. I want to help find her first paid board gig. This is grit.

You have to take courses, refine your elevator pitch, and listen deeply to others. You have to write thought leadership pieces, make connections, and do great work for free. This is grit.

Of course, you can choose to not do these things. You can back away from your goal. You can forever be someone who only talks about one day joining a board.

Sometimes it’s better to act as if we have no option but to do what is hard. Besides, doing that thing we hate gets easier over time. And in my experience, it’s worth it.

Thank you for reading! If you found this post useful, please share it with others in your network. Doing so helps my work reach others and would mean so much to me.

Grit: When You Want Something, You’ll Do Things You Hate

by Tamara time to read: 2 min