What’s so great about mindset?

April 2022

Q2 is going strong and I'm excited to share a couple of new opportunities for you:

1. Have a question you'd like me to address on The Grit Factor podcast? send me a voicemail HERE, and I'll select questions to answer in future episodes.

2. If you love the podcast and want to keep it going, become a supporter! Check out opportunities HERE, and some pretty awesome benefits, including exclusive merchandise and content! I set this up a while ago, but have only just now launched to keep the podcast on the air. I'll shout out supporters on upcoming episodes as well. And let me know what you value, and what you'd like to see, with a quick email!

What’s so great about mindset?

The Grit Factor:The Podcast, episode 5

The Grit Factor podcast is LIVE! I can't wait for you to listen in to Gretchen Evans, a wounded warrior who worked to find a new purpose when a combat injury left her deaf. Her story will help you find your own sense of purpose and direction.

PS: You help others find the podcast (and ensure a second season) when you download, share and support!


We're all solidly into the second quarter. What challenges are you encountering? What are you up against? I talked to a client recently who shared that of course, they had the same retention problems as anyone else-- but he went on to share the psychological cost of these challenges as well. The issues with retention and engagement are all about the financial bottom line, of course, but the psychological strain on those who remain is at least as significant. The research is not surprising that when a company loses employees, it tends to be contagious-- other employees follow suit, compounding the problem.

This is why investing in your people is so critical-- it's evident that people are excited to stay somewhere when they feel that they are valued, and that the company is investing in them. Specifically, people want a connection to purpose.

This is why Paths 2 Purpose is resonating so deeply for people. The Next Step cohort at the Tuck School at Dartmouth just finished their Paths 2 Purpose Journey, and the feedback was phenomenal.

Erik, who gave me permission to share his experience of the Paths 2 Purpose program, wrote:

I’m about to retire and am involved with The Tuck School of Business “Next Step” program. Your program is a centerpiece of this first phase. I want to tell you, one week in, you have transformed me.

I am being seen for PTSD and TBI and have come to view myself through a lens of limitations. I felt defeated and a product of these problems. But, as I followed your lessons and wrote down the events in my life that have been formative, I saw in my own handwriting that there are so many more positive experiences than negative.

And then, more powerfully, I realized that in nearly every positive experience, I sought out a challenge and overcame it. My journey line became one of power and strength versus weakness and defeat. There’s a tremendous uplift in seeing this. Thank you. I feel and see that I’ve been carrying chains for no reason. Thank you for helping me to see my true journey line and own my story. It is restorative and healing.

The Grit Factor in 8 months:

Month 5 of our reflection on The Grit Factor. The last component of the Learn Leg of the Grit Triad, requiring deep engagement in the present, is building grit and resilience, in part through mindset (Chapter 5 of The Grit Factor).

Mindset can feel like a squishy thing, but it's critical to the Grit Triad, so much so it becomes not only one of the aspects, but the circle that surrounds the whole, what is required for every other piece to work.

In The Grit Factor, and in both learning journeys and keynotes, I talk about two key aspects: the growth mindset (and extended stress mindset), and the mindset of measured optimism, or grounded optimism. The importance of this is confirmed in three separate studies of POWs in Vietnam, each of which independently identified optimism as the most critical ingredient to their survival and reintegration after release. But the measured or grounded component is summed up best in the admonition by (POW) Admiral James Stockade: "You must never, ever lose faith that you will ultimately prevail in the end, balanced with the brutal realities you face in the present." It is hope, it turns out, that keeps us going, that saves us, in the end.

We'll talk about specific ways to do this in the next newsletter. But I'll close by saying that the power of mindset is that it's an individual choice-- it's your choice (listen in on episode 5 for Evans' take on this). Every day, and every minute of every day. How do you face challenges and disappointments? You decide.

To your grit,


PS who do you know who needs their own copy of The Grit Factor? Look ahead to graduations in the next two months...there isn't a better gift!

Giving Back:

How are supporting those who need it most?

In this time of war, like many of you, we're donating to the International Red Cross and to Doctors Without Borders, as well as the Episcopal Relief and Development Agency. Please consider giving generously to well-vetted charities making a difference in the Ukraine, Afghanistan and in places the world needs it most.

On my bedside table:

  1. Net Positive, by Paul Polman and Andrew Winston. Just ordered and anxiously awaiting this new Harvard Business Review Press release on how companies choose to make a positive impact on the world.
  2. A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway. About his life as a young writer in Paris with other notables including Gertrude Stein Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitgerald (sounds like a piece of work) and more.
  3. Marking the Sparrow's Fall, by Wallace Stegner. I'm working on a new project about living in Eastern Washington, and Stegner's work is required reading for anyone who loves or writes about the west.

A Few Other things:

  1. I talked to Deb Boulanger on her Life After Corporate podcast about speaking as a part of the journey and work. I get a lot of questions about this-- if you're interested, you can listen in here. Follow Deb if you're building your own business!
  2. Sneaking this one in: my first published poem appears in the Emerge Journal this month-- stay tuned, and follow them for more! it should be out any day!
The Grit Factor Book by Shannon Huffman Polson


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The Grit Factor:
Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World