Hattie Elliot on Managing Adversity by Embracing Challenge

In Chapter 11 of 19 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, female entrepreneur Hattie Grace Elliot answers "How Have You Learned to Adapt When Things Have Not Worked Out as Planned?"  Elliot talks about the highs and lows of her life experience and the importance of acknowledging disappointments, picking up her chin, and moving forward by executing her plan.  She refuses to play the victim role and tries to emulate people who take difficult situations in stride. 

Hattie Grace Elliot is the founder and CEO of The Grace List, a social networking company that creates destination events and experiences to forge lasting personal and professional connections across its young professional members. Elliot graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she studied economics, philosophy, and politics.


Erik Michielsen: How have you learned to adapt when things have not worked out as planned?

Hattie Elliot: I guess for me I just don’t think there’s any other option than, you know, I can choose to sulk in a corner and have a pity party or I can choose to lift my chin up and, you know, walk forward. It’s one of the reasons I, you know, love the city, that I love being an entrepreneur, because if I don’t show up or I have a sick day, I can’t pay my bills. I just—I haven’t given myself another choice. Things constantly in my life, I’ve had such extraordinary high highs and, you know, and I’ve experienced real heartache and real tragedy, and real disappointments, but there’s, for me, something very empowering about just, you know, acknowledging, you know, the disappointments, and the times when things haven’t work out, and you know, great, take a breath, take a little ohm moment, whatever it is. And then picking my chin up, and coming up with a plan, you know, of how I’m gonna move forward in my goal, and how I’m gonna fix this, and then, most importantly, actually, you know, executing it. 

It’s—you know, never easy but it always feels so much better to me to at least know that, you know, to not be the victim and just to do and be the best I can, you know, with the situation at hand. I think that—you know, I’ve heard it said that, you know, extraordinary people are those who just kind of, act in such a way, you know, during really difficult situations, just act in a—as they would normally and conduct themselves normally. It’s not that you’re, you know, over the top, and you’re like going and saving the world, but it’s just, you know, being gracious, and handling the system—you know, the situation to the best of the ability in a way that I hope when I look back, whether it’s today, tomorrow, in 5 years, I never have any regrets about how I treated anyone, and I never say what if, I just know I handled it to the best of my ability, and that’s all I can do. I’m not perfect, but it’s just taking the deck of cards that we all have, sometimes it’s satatious, sometimes it’s fabulous, and doing what we can with it, making the best of it. Making margaritas out of limes, you know?