How far can grit and resilience take you?

As I reported in last month's e-newsletter, Todd Herman Associates (THA) moved to a new location on the final Thursday and Friday of July, with a few small items being moved on Saturday. That meant all the furniture, equipment, and boxes were in our new suite as of July 29 – just in time to celebrate our 34th anniversary on August 1.

A Pleasant Surprise

In my office, all my furniture pieces – including 4 bookcases – were in their final locations by Friday, August 11, just in time for me to be on our annual family vacation the following week. Because of several client deadlines prior to leaving, virtually nothing in my office was unpacked.

When I returned to work on August 21, I was pleasantly surprised to see what a great job our office staff had done getting my books unpacked and shelved, and placing plants in key places! I also noticed one item prominently displayed.



I'm not sure what caused my Business Development Manager to put this poster where she did, because it was easily overlooked in my old office. In its new home, the poster not only looks great, it also – coincidentally – personifies the "Grit and Resilience" theme I'd chosen for our August video and this e-newsletter.

Motivated and Accountable

This poster has been with me for years, and originally came from a friend who worked on Champion apparel at HanesBrands. I liked the poster when I saw it in my friend’s office, and was lucky enough to get one.

 ChampGirl 8 31 resized1

Apparently, this poster was referred to internally as “Push-Up Girl” – simple and descriptive, for sure.

With the poster now very visible in my new office, I asked several people what they saw in the overall photo. Here are some of their comments:

  • "Going for a new personal best!"
  • "Don't doubt what I can do!"
  • "I'm going to blow your mind with how many push-ups I’ll crank out!"
  • "I’ve got this!"

They also characterized the look on the woman's face as intense, motivated, and determined, and believed she personally was goal-oriented, accountable to herself and others for results, and readily coachable.

It's noteworthy that she is doing a regular push-up, versus a modified or bent-knee push-up. To me, this shows she is bound and determined to do push-ups just like guys do – she neither wants nor needs special treatment!

Defining Grit and Resilience

Angela Duckworth is an academic psychologist who researches grit and resilience. She defines "grit" as "the tendency to sustain interest in, and effort toward, very long-term goals" and explains "resilience" as the ability to bounce back after struggling or failing and to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, take a moment to collect ourselves, and then get back to the business of pursuing our goals.

Over the past 34 years, I've had to master both grit and resilience – "grit" because owning a small business takes determination and perseverance, and "resilience" because my position has required me to be creative in both client service and marketing, take risks, reinvent myself and THA several times, make mistakes and learn from them, practice personal accountability, challenge myself and my associates to always up our game, and to ALWAYS do these essentials “no matter what!"

Thank You To ...

Of course, I couldn't get to 34 years by myself, so a big "thank you" to family, friends, current and former associates of THA, clients, referral sources, individuals and companies providing services to THA, and countless others who have helped us along the way.  And finally, a special "thank you" to "Push-Up Girl" for embodying grit and resilience – and for inspiring this month's e-newsletter.


Todd L. Herman