Women who want to make it in their chosen field need to have grit (ie. perseverance, direction, passion, endurance, never say die attitude). In my case, it’s like I’ve always had it, but mine is wrapped in shyness (because I truly am as well and can’t seem to shake it off). Many times, people who don’t know me misunderstand. They only perceive the shyness or softness, but in time they’d see that, as long as I haven’t decided to walk away, I’m one of the most shamelessly forward and persistent female around. Ha ha! But these traits I usually confine to my career and professional life.
I learned very young that if I don’t persist or have grit, the boys are the only ones who’d be enjoying the prize. And I too want the prize. I’m actually very competitive deep down but I also learned very young that this is frowned upon in females; that if you persist nonetheless you’re going to walk a lonely path. That doesn’t really bother me although I do compromise on certain matters.
Loren Legarda was recently featured on CNN Philippines Profiles. She shared that when she was in broadcast media, she wrote letters to heads of States which became her ticket to getting the role to interview Nelson Mandela when he visited this country. It was grit, or colloquially, kapal ng mukha, she said.
Grit is the reason women are able to break through the glass ceiling. The other reason, especially where men are the dominant force, is having a male mentor. It’s true what Sheryl Sandberg wrote in Lean In. I too had male mentors from whom I learned the recipes of success and who opened doors and rich experiences for me in my youth. In that aspect, I was very lucky to have met (considering that we don’t choose the people we meet in life) and worked with them.