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Edge is one of my big E words. Edge theory is the idea that change happens at the margins rather than in the muddling orthodoxy of the center. I came across a prescient expression of edge theory in the donut analogy that leadership expert Camille Preston used in a Fortune article last week to decipher the way we live and learn.

The donut hole represents our comfort zone. Routine. Familiarity. Boredom. The actual donut represents our learning zone, where we feel inspired, awake and alive. This is where we experiment and learn new things. The edge of the donut is where the magic happens – with some trepidation. It’s the edge of our learning zone, with our comfort zone marking a mere spot in the distance, where we face challenges and achieve results worth fighting for.

So what sets the fighters apart from those who avoid the donut’s edge? Grit. Stamina. Determination to succeed. Saatchi & Saatchi called it “Nothing is Impossible.”

Camille Preston offers five strategies to develop your grit:

  1. Be agile. Flexible in your approach, but firm on your outcome. 
  2. Know your way. Seek clarity of purpose. It will drive you. 
  3. Get emotional. Don’t be afraid of getting a little hot under your collar. Emotion brings energy and drive to succeed. 
  4. Build the best team. Surround yourself with people who you like hanging out with, who you trust, and who will take care of you. 
  5. Unplug often. Take time out to reflect and renew. 
Things to meditate on next time you’re eating a donut.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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