GRIT! Do You Have It? With Shannon Huffman Polson

From the cockpit to the boardroom, Shannon Huffman Polson shares her insights of grit and leadership to help others overcome fear, breakthrough uncertainty, and reach their full potential.

Shannon is a woman of many firsts. Among those high points: She is one of the first women to fly Apache combat helicopters in the U.S. Armed Forces, where she served on three continents and led two flight platoons and a line company.

After nearly a decade as an Army officer and attack aviation leader, and later as a leader and manager in the corporate sector at Guidant and Microsoft, Shannon turned her attention to storytelling, in part through her Grit Project blog and in her newest book. In The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the most Male-Dominated Industry in the World (2020), Shannon shares her own critical leadership lessons along with candid stories of remarkable female leaders and trailblazers.

Drawing on a distinguished military and corporate career, she reveals her lessons learned and leadership strategies to help you harness your own inner strength, move beyond resistance, and attain your goals. With an emphasis on grit – which she describes as “a dogged determination in the face of difficult circumstances” – she demonstrates how to tap into that passion and resolve so you can face your limitations, own your sense of purpose, and become a leader of greatness.

Key Leadership Takeaways:

  • FIRST LEAD YOURSELF- Don’t let anyone else define your self-confidence
  • PLAN FOR RESISTANCE- Rehearsal (of all possible outcomes) is key… your feelings and your behavior are based on what you think and believe
  • LEADERS KNOW TO LISTEN FIRST- This means spending time with your people. Taking care of your people is your first priority as a leader. You can’t do that if you don’t know them
  • FIND A MENTOR- finding mentors, both male and female
  • EXCEED THE STANDARDS EVERY DAY- know you’d better do better
  • PUSH YOURSELF AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITY- You’re smarter and stronger than you think. Push yourself to step out
  • KNOW YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES- The hardest place to get to that thing inside yourself called grit is in the face of your own failures. Own them, and move on– then figure out what lessons you can learn
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION- The most important question you can ask yourself is why. Connect as often as you can to your CORE PURPOSE, that thing that tells you why you’re doing what you’re doing.If you want to really crush it, ask yourself “why” not once, but five times. It’s what six sigma black belts do to drill into the root cause of a problem. Going deep with the five why’s reveals your core purpose

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