Climbing the ladder of success can be a lonely task and often the higher we climb, the lonelier it becomes.
Business life is not always filled with unicorns and rainbows. We all experience days of frustration and disappointment, days when we have to face our fears, make tough calls, push past failures, recalibrate, and dig deep to keep focused on opportunities that lie outside our comfort zone.

No matter where we are on the ladder of professional success the journey requires grit, determination and perseverance. Having the right crew to help you overcome these difficulties, keeping you mentally tough and balanced, is not just crucial — it’s essential.

Captain Joseph Charles Plumb, Jr, aka Charlie Plumb, is a former US Navy fighter pilot. He flew 74 successful combat missions over Vietnam, and it wasn’t until his seventy-fifth flight that his aircraft was shot down. Plumb ejected and parachuted to the ground under fire.

He was captured and spent 2,103 days as a prisoner of war. Years later, he described how he was approached by a stranger in a Kansas City restaurant:

‘You’re Captain Plumb.’
I looked up and I said, ‘Yes sir, I’m Captain Plumb.’
He said, ‘You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war.’
I said, ‘How in the world did you know all that?’ He replied, ’Because, I packed your parachute.’

So ask yourself this: Who has your back? Who packs your proverbial parachute and looks out for you when you make the jump at those critical moments in your personal and professional life? Who is your pit crew?

They may not share the spotlight with you, but they are absolutely riding shotgun alongside you. They go that extra mile, they look out for you mentally, physically and spiritually — because they care about you. They understand your dreams, goals and aspirations, and they encourage you to move forward while at the same time being very aware of where you are right now and what you have to focus on and deliver in the present.

Like a Formula One pit stop, your personal pit crew can make or break a race. They fuel your resilience, polish your tough exterior and keep you match-fit for survival and success. When the white flag is waved, you need to dig deep and find the determination to keep going. You need to remain strong and focused on your vision in the face of any challenges or slips along the way.

In Angela Duckworth’s TED talk ‘The Key to Success? Grit’ she says, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Grit is what we all need to run the marathon of our dreams, to navigate complexities and recover from setbacks. This is where your pit crew can add stamina to you, your momentum and the action you take.

So who is your pit crew? Who is packing your proverbial parachute?