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Grit+Grace – a Female Leadership Style

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Grit+Grace event through the Women United group of the United Way of Metro Chicago. It was a powerful and insightful experience for me that I'd love to share with you.

Grit+Grace was a panel session featuring:

  • Cheryle Jackson, VP of Global Business Development, AAR

  • Sol Fores, Founding Executive Director, Las Casa Norte

  • Ana Dutra, President & CEO, The Executives’ Club of Chicago

  • Mary Ann Ahern, NBC 5 Chicago Political Reporter (Moderator)

The session started out with a discussion on what exactly Grit+Grace is. I was intrigued. Sure, we all know technically what the words mean on their own, but together they could lead anyone in quite a few directions.

Grit – defined as small, loose particles of stone or sand OR courage, resolve and strength of character. Grit to me definitely a combination of these, but is more closely aligned to the idea of loose particles of stone. They are tough. They don’t go away when they are in your shoe. They are necessary to make the driveway even and to make the foundation strong. They are determined. They fight. They are passionate and determined. They get it done and are necessary to make things happen.

Grace – is about elegance, blessings and gratitude. It’s a higher form of generosity and is something that I personally strive for in how I interact with others. Grace is about how you treat everyone – with elegance, politeness, undeserving favor, and forgiveness. Grace also applies to how you treat yourself. It’s self-care, it’s rest and recovery, it’s compassion and acceptance and it’s a gift to yourself for more.

If you think about it, this combination of Grit+Grace is powerful. You fight when you have to and you offer reprieve when you don’t. You push and don’t give up. You drive for more, more, more – achieving things never thought before – and then you recover and rest and rejuvenate. You heal, just like athletes do after a big workout. You offer grace to yourself to enable you to have grit. It’s a beautiful push-pull combination that works to elevate the confidence and authority that women have in leadership positions.

If you can turn on the grit in X moment and the grace in Y situation, how powerful could you be? Women are often degraded for being too aggressive (aka a B@#$^) or too soft (how dare you show any emotion) – and that baggage weighs on all of us in our abilities to show up how we are, as we are in any given moment.

So rather than living with that baggage, let’s live with Grit+Grace. Let’s be real. Let’s own the moment. Let’s be powerful and let’s be vulnerable (because even in that we are powerful). Let’s fight and do what is needed to be the leaders we are – and let’s practice grace and generosity and sustained appreciation for those around us, and ourselves.

Grit+Grace is a brilliant leadership strategy for women and one that I encourage you to consider. What could Grit+Grace mean for you? How would it impact the way you are showing up?

You, my friend, can have it all – just maybe not all at once. Grit+Grace will get you there.

Oh, and if you have not had the pleasure of hearing Cheryle Jackson speak about Grit+Grace, check it out here.

And if you want a little extra support in bringing your Grit+Grace to life, leadership coaching may be a great option for you. At WeInspireWe, we believe that everyone has a voice and a gift to share. Let us know how we can support you in bringing your voice and gifts to the world.

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