I was very impressed by the power of Sisu when I heard about it for the first time. It was a few years ago during my frequent business trips to Finland. Once I had a pleasure to participate in the speech done by one of the Sisu promoter – Emilia Lahti. She spoke about the very strong inner power that makes people start persist all the barriers and keep on moving towards the goal regardless of all the boundaries. It was amazing!
What is sisu? It is not possible to translate it directly from Finnish, however we can loosely say it is close to strength of will, perseverance, determination. We can find that etymologically Sisu comes from “sisus’ which means “guts, entrails”. However there is still a huge difference between Sisu and guts or even grit.
Joanna Nylund, author of “Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courarge” explains it: “Grit is what people employ when they get started doing something – the strength you need to leave a bad relationship, decide to lose weight – but Sisu is the extra fuel tank you didn’t know you had. The one you tap into when you’re already on your way and the going gets really hard. What you call on when you’re struggling to reach your goal, that’s when Sisu comes in.”
It made me think whether it is something that only Finns have or can I find it in me too?
I started to analyze the last 7-8 years of my life and I realized that one of the most common question I heard from the people around was: “Where do you get this all energy from?”. How is it possible that a mother of two small kids, who is a very active businesswoman travelling a lot in business, still finds a time for fitness classes and running trainings 5-6 times per week, still prefers to eat and cook healthy food instead of having an easy excuse for everything – “I am too tired of all the responsibilities I have and have no time for anything more…” Sure, it would be the easiest way to justify everything, but somehow it never came to my mind… Instead, I have been always hearing a quiet voice in my head, who told me to keep on moving, setting up new goals and achieving it even in the hard times.
That was my Sisu!
You will not do the half-marathon in March, if you do not push yourself to go out for running late evening in January with the temperature -14 degrees…
You will not develop your business, sitting and waiting for a Client knocking on your doors….
Every success comes mostly from the hard work and consistency. Sisu is something that will let you make your dreams come true.
My ways to connect with my inner Sisu:
- Always set a goal which is not easy to achieve – you need to be realistic, but you need to require from yourself more than you did last time and also more than you would require from others.
- Be humble and disciplined. If you decided to do something and you really believe in it, don’t let anyone put your down on it, listen only to yourself and those who support you. You are the person, who knows you the best and you are the one who gives the direction to your life.
Do not compare to others – you are unique and you need to find your own way.
- Let yourself to have a time to rest and relax, but never let yourself to be lazy. If you feel your body and mind need to rest, do it – it is the investment to your strength. But never justify your failures with lack of time, too many duties etc. If you are determinate to reach the goal, you will always find a time. There are for sure time consuming activities in your life – like scrolling social media, watching too much tv series or chatting about nothing.
- Have a clear plan and follow it. My acceptable level of plan change is only 5% – reserved only for unexpected circumstances (like children sicknesses). However I always try to keep it rescheduled in the way it allows me to make 100%.
Hope you will stop today for a moment and start to think whether you feel your Sisu inside you…. It lies within you, and you are very likely to have used it already. If so, I am looking forward to hearing about your way to find it.
Best Regards- Beata Stramska