Are you gut-strong?
Even the best-made plans can go awry, and even the most organized of us can sometimes be caught by surprise. Some people are motivated by challenges – so when things are running smoothly, they are easily distracted. Others, when faced with obstacles, need a little support to get over the bumps in the road.
The great industrialist and automobile pioneer Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” The difference maker that can change your attitude is gut-strength.
In their book Heart, Smarts, Guts, & Luck, authors Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh define one of the characteristics of successful businesspeople or entrepreneurs as “guts-dominant.” Guts–dominant people are not only the people who have an idea, but they’re willing to take action on it, endure trials and tribulations to keep it alive, and evolve as necessary to see that idea come to life.
When you have guts, you take action. You are resilient. You are accountable. And you get things done. This is a concept our military students and veterans know quite well; they are people who have a vision, make a plan, take action, measure results and adjust accordingly.
How can you tell if you are gut-strong?
When you encounter an obstacle, do you stop in your tracks, unable to fully function because you are analyzing every possible outcome (repeatedly)? Or do you briefly consider your options then take a decisive action? Gut strong people take action.
Are you willing to make tough decisions and accept the outcome? Notice this is not the same thing as blindly forging ahead and damning the torpedoes – that isn’t strength, that’s carelessness. Gut-strong people accept responsibility and consequences for their actions.
If you’re saying to yourself, “But I don’t have any of these qualities,” think again.
You’ve already made a tough decision: You’ve decided to earn your degree. The responsibilities attached to this are substantial – you’ve got to do the work to gain the prize. If you have a family, work, or other commitments as well, you must work out a way to honor those too. That takes resilience and – you guessed it – gut strength.
You can bet that the ride won’t be smooth. But it will be worth it. The experience and knowledge you gain will propel you toward your goals, and the sense of achievement and confidence you earn will stay with you throughout your life.
Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.