On Sunday March 18th, I went to bed promising myself that I’d walk to work the next day, from Kitukutwe (Kitty Town) to Naalya – about 12 kilometers. I had come to the realization that I wasn’t investing sufficient physical capital and therefore compromising the health of my body. I thought I’d give it some shock by subjecting it to a 12km walk!
I woke up the next day and it was raining!!! It wasn’t torrential. It was that ka quiet-ish rain that makes you lose every negotiation with your blanket. “Am I going to walk in this rain?” I asked myself. I was steadily losing the initiative when I jumped out of bed, got ready and decided to take the walk. I knew that I had to keep my promises to myself if I was going to keep growing as a leader. This was no longer just about physical capital, this was a matter of character.
You see, not even my wife knew that I’d made this promise to myself. It was an internal matter. But to grow in character, we must learn to keep our promises to ourselves. Reputation is what others think we are, but character is who we really are. One of the top requirements in character growth is GRIT. Because situations and conditions are always changing, the only tool a leader has in their arsenal for leading self is GRIT!
I am an observer of life, and I have realized that it’s not the most talented who achieve greatness, it’s the most tenacious. In every area of life, be it sports, music, business, leadership, marriage, name it; the people with great success have had something in common, and that’s GRIT. Others may have had great talent or gifting, or even great opportunities, but those don’t last. It’s the tenacious who keep building and going in the same direction for years, and when they succeed, people assume they only began yesterday!
We used to go swimming with my friend Timothy Sebalamu. We’d set out to do a certain number of laps across the pool, usually 20 to 40 laps both ways, meaning 40 – 80 one way. We’d start swimming the breast stroke at a moderate pace. Guys would come around and do wonders – diving, butterfly stroke, racing across the pool etc. They then go out, order drinks and hang around. Sometimes they’d even leave, while we were still in the pool, going from end to end with a moderate paced breast stroke. That experience taught me a lot about grit and staying power.
- Do you make promises to yourself?
- Do you keep your promises to yourself?
- Do you keep your word to others?
- Do you keep time regardless of circumstances?
- Do you turn in your assignments in time?
- Do you write through writer’s block?
- Do you sing through the tears?
- Do you preach through the doubts?
- Do you play through the pain?
- Do you walk through the rain?
- DO YOU HAVE GRIT???
Make a promise to yourself this week, AND KEEP IT! Have a gritty one!