Organizing

3 Ways Activists Can Cultivate Grit

Joshunda Sanders
Jun 14, 2017

In his new Masters of Scale podcast, legendary tech founder and investor Reid Hoffman talks to famous founders to uncover their secrets to scaling ideas. The show features tech greats like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, and Google’s Eric Schmidt. In a new episode out today, Hoffman and his guests examine the quality of grit and interviews heavy hitters in the non-profit world about their keys to success. Check out the full series for great takeaways that apply to change-makers and techies alike, and read on for three tips anyone can use to get grittier.

  1. Make the hard asks: The secret to grit isn’t only your own hard work, it’s the ability to gather the resources you need.  VolunteerMatch’s President Greg Baldwin tells Reid Hoffman, “What we find so often is it’s in those big bold asks, those unreasonable asks that some of the most amazing things happen.” Volunteer hours, some workspace, or even funding are all reachable if you figure out who to ask (and keep asking!).
  2. Surround yourself with gritty peopleMasters of Scale guest Nancy Lublin of Crisis Text Line is adept at surrounding herself with extraordinary teams and volunteers. Her secret? Going after the people many other organizations are missing out on. “Moms of a certain age, love them. Deaf and hard of hearing. Phenomenal…Veterans. I love veterans, especially when the heat is on and we’re spiking. The veterans are like ‘We got this. We can do it. Let’s go.’”
  3. Work until luck takes over: Many of Reid’s guests in the series are happy to share the strokes of good luck that kicked their businesses into the high gear. But none of them sat around and waited for fortune to find them. The way Y Combinator’s President Sam Altman sees it, “luck is a big factor, but I’m going to keep working and eventually you know because it’s a random variable it’s going to swing my way.” All activists can benefit from an unexpectedly viral promotion, a windfall of money, a sudden flood of volunteers; make sure you’ve put in the hard work to take advantage of luck when it does choose to strike.

Hear more of the Masters of Scale podcast with new episodes every Wednesday. Like what you hear? Be sure to leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen.