David Simnick: On Grit


David Simnick is the CEO and co-founder of SoapBox Soaps, a company whose mission is empower customers with the ability to change the world through everyday, quality purchases. He is an alumnus of the 2015 Young Leaders Conference.

2017 was the hardest year of my professional and personal life.

The company that I had built with my best friend had declining revenue, our investors were suspicious of our future, and all indicators from the market were telling us that we should fold. We had an offer, albeit an awful one, by a similar consumer company to acquire us and their negotiation tactics were beyond Machiavellian. Oh, and we had to lay off half of our staff to preserve cash.

Grit is what got my co-founder and I through these incredibly difficult times. Time and time again, I’ve seen this single quality be the indicator of future success for leaders. Can they bear the short-term fear, uncertainty, and pain to lead their teams towards greatness? Do they have the deep conviction to preserve?

I believe one can foster Grit. It isn’t a born with quality. Think of a time where you confronted a challenge and bear the burden to overcome and nurture that resilience. One does not need to be egotistic to have Grit. They just need confidence in the ability to see something through. That is built through experience.

Seek to build your reservoir of Grit. For the depth of that wellspring will bring you success.

Our company is now 16x larger than where we were in 2017 with a healthy profit. Grit is what got us here and will continue to propel us forward.