Grit & Grace, With a Side of Humor

SHE is born into a low-income family and is their first to go to college. She works hard, takes chances, builds relationships and leads her company with a smile, kindness and determination.

SHE appears, from the outside, to have the “perfect” family life. But life throws a curveball and pulls the rug out from under her. She must find a way to climb out of the dark hole of judgment, financial uncertainty and raise her young children in a surreal set of circumstances.

SHE works hard, plays hard, volunteers hard and loves hard. But along the journey, she receives a diagnosis that changes everything and is faced with navigating her unchartered waters, pouring as much life as possible into the coming months and years and praying for a miracle.

What do these women have in common?

Grit and determination to climb the mountain ahead of her; Grace to climb that mountain in such a way that everyone around her is better for it.

It is all about the choices she makes in response to the hand she has been dealt.

Have you ever seen the British-American drama film, Sliding Doors? One woman, two parallel universes representing two choices that are before her. You should check it out.

Choices. We always have choices.

But I will tell you, as we begin National Women’s History month, I choose very carefully the women I admire, befriend or pull into my circle of trust.

I believe in working hard. I believe in integrity. I believe in transparency. I believe in helping others. I believe that the choices I make can affect others, so I am quite careful and mindful of those choices. I believe in grit, but grit with grace.

If you have the grit, but you take down, put down and are angry at everything and everyone around you…well, that is NOT the choice I am making.

But if you have the grit – that determination, that laser focus, that work ethic – and you empower and lift up the people around you, THAT is the choice I am making.

It is so important for us, SHE friends – especially today, as women – to approach our choice in today’s world with grit AND with grace. Throw in a side of humor and laughter and, simply stated, you’ve nailed it.

I was recently honored by Veritex Bank as the #1 Deposit Producer in 2017. Funnily enough, I wasn’t there because Iwas leading one of our Women in Business events (a bit of a calendar snafu). When I had time to truly soak it all in the next day, my reflections were about so much more than what happened in 2017.

You see, in my life plan (yep, you can hear God laughing now at that one!), I wasn’t supposed to be a banker. I wasn’t supposed to create and lead 3 Women in Business groups. I wasn’t supposed to write a book, at least not about child sexual abuse. But when life threw a few bowls of lemons at my children and me, we started a franchise of lemonade stands.

When the unexpected happened, I chose grit. I chose grace. I chose smiles and laughter.

And here is the best part: you can choose that too, SHE friends.

Maya Angelou quoteIt’s National Women’s History month and we have plenty of women in our history to reflect upon – their journeys, their accomplishments, their grit, their grace.

Our history of women is extraordinary and so are we. Ordinary women living extraordinary lives because of our choices. Living lives of grit, grace, humor & style.

Because we can. Because we are women.


Note from the SHE Files: Do it with GRACE

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Tammie James
5 years ago

Enjoyed reading this post, Darlene, and congratulations on being honored. In the short time I have known you, I can see that you are a true asset to any organization!

Kim Schlossberg
5 years ago

Great post, Darlene! Congrats on the Veritex Bank recognition – you deserve it!