Over the course of the last year, one of the topics that my mind has been fixated on is the critical factor that shapes whether I reach a goal. I’ve read books such as Angela Duckworth’s Grit and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and even the host of John C. Maxwell books (too many to name). I completely agree with much of what is presented in each, and especially the idea of grit. In my opinion, grit is the will power to succeed despite odds being stacked against an individual or a perceived lack of “natural talent”. Personally, I consider myself gritty. I’m one of those guys who has always had less than stellar standardized test scores and never considered to be particularly talented at any one thing but I’ve always consistently set and reached my goals.
But here’s the thing: I don’t actually attribute all my success to my grittiness. One common factor that I noticed is that I’ve always had a TRIBE. My TRIBE at various points in my life can be characterized by individuals who empower me, who push me to do better and who are in the running the race with me. It’s like assembling a team for a new business venture. I like to consider some key elements when I’m evaluating who should be a member of my TRIBE:
- Grit – Does this person have the ability to fail fast and move on to the next one?
- Relatable – Can this person empathize? Can they comprehend the challenges ahead of me?
- Positive attitude – Is this a person who speaks words of encouragement?
- Skill – Does this person possess tight skills? And can I rely on this person to help me develop my skills?
- Compassion – If I fail, will this person help me get back up again and again?
In my most recent endeavor, applying to business school, I ended up linking up with a group of like-minded guys who continually pushed me further every single time I wanted to give up. At one point, I felt as if my dream of going to an elite M7 school was dwindling because of my GMAT score (which never really improved). These guys wouldn’t let me stay in my bubble of mediocrity and I’m continuing this journey in the fall one of the best schools in the world (The Wharton School).
Greatness is contagious – be intentional when assembling your TRIBE.