Do You Have What It Takes?
Joanne Rowling was born in Yale, England, on July 31, 1965, and came from humble beginnings. Rowling grew up in Tutshill, England, with her younger sister, ailing mother, and her father. After being rejected from Oxford in 1983, she graduated in 1986 with a degree in French and Classics from the University of Exeter. Her mother, Anne, died in 1990, after suffering from multiple sclerosis for ten years. It was on a train in 1990 where Joanne was inspired to write a story about a young boy who attended a school that taught magic. She began to write furiously in her seat.
She married her first husband in 1992. After a miscarriage, they had their daughter in 1993. It is speculated Rowling suffered domestic abuse during her first marriage. She and her daughter moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be closer to Rowling’s sister. She also had three chapters of what would be an international sensation of a novel. She divorced in 1995. Soon after, Joanne applied for welfare benefits and later got a job teaching at the Edinburgh University.
In 1995, as J.K. Rowling, Joanne sold Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London, for a £1,500 advance. Barry Cunningham, the editor at Bloomsbury, suggested Rowling get a day job since she had little chance of making money in children’s books. In 1997, Rowling received an £8,000 grant that enabled her to continue writing.
Over the next ten years, J.K. Rowling would write six more novels. They were wildly successful in print and turned into blockbuster movies. Rowling is now the seventh wealthiest woman in England; more wealthy than the Queen herself. J.K. Rowling lived the “rags to riches” story.
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Get Some Grit
Merriam-Webster defines grit when it pertains to a personality as, “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.” Do you have unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger? I’m sure you will encounter either or both while you are starting a business or writing a book. The hardships of growing a customer base and the danger of losing brand equity are real. Get some grit and push through.
Forbes states someone with grit has five character qualities: courage, consciousness, endurance, resilience, and excellence. I could not agree more. Not only are these qualities important in someone with grit but they occur in this specific order.
The first step towards grit and success is courage. You need the courage to do something different. Courage to quit your stable job for a startup. Courage to say no to a product that would hurt your brand, regardless if it is projected to be lucrative. Courage to spend the money and hire someone to assist you in something you cannot do on your own.
You need to have a sense of your own morality in your conduct, intentions, and character. Are you in the business of solving people’s problems or are you trying to gain fame and fortune? Set a long term strategy and stick with it.
It took J.K. Rowling five years to pen the Harry Potter story and seven years before she could write full time. Overnight success is not likely to happen. People often forget Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook for years in a dorm before he became successful and a movie was made about him.
Rowling received, “loads” of rejections when she was pitching the Harry Potter idea to literary agents. Some of them were nasty in their responses. Stay resilient when it comes to rejection and obstacles.
The final quality of grit is just as important as the first one. You must maintain excellence in your work and products or services. If your excellence slips then so does your brand equity. People did not love Harry Potter because it was the first wizard story. They loved it because it was an excellent story.
It Takes Grit
Business is hard. Writing books is hard. Money is tight. Time is short. If you have grit, are you acting on it? If not, then focus on these five aspects of grit and apply them to both your personal and professional life. There are hundreds of reasons we could tell ourselves, significant others and friends why we did not or could not start a business, write that book, or go on that adventure. It just takes grit.
Thank you for reading this installment of Daily Download. Please like, share on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. You can follow me, Ryan A. Ross, on Twitter @ryanthebossross and follow Rae Publishing on Twitter @raepublishing and on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out the archives. There’s a lot of great stuff including Wednesday Writer’s Workshop and Friday Fiction Breakdown. If you have a topic you would like to see appear on the Daily Download, please email me.
Question of the day: Do you have grit? Please comment below.