Welcome to the GRIT formula interview series! We created this space for girls and women to get real and share their “gritty moments”.

Each interview highlights our GRIT formula.

Let’s #getgritty

Meet Zoe:
Zoë  Scandalis graduated as a two-time All-American tennis player from the University of Southern California. She led the team to two Final Four appearances in the Division 1 NCAA Championships. Upon graduating, she became Trojan of the Year, finished as a Top 9 Finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year, and made the selection weekend as a Rhodes Scholarship Finalist. She is passionate about women’s rights and mentoring young female athletes.
Tell us about a gritty moment in your life that has forced you to learn what you are truly made of…
Striving for a dream. Finding a way to love who I am and believe I’m enough without the dream in my hands but putting myself on the line each day and having the courage to fully get after it.
GUTS: How did you “grow guts” and be brave enough to get through your “gritty moment”? Were you afraid? Where did you find your courage? How did facing that moment affect your confidence? Did you feel more confident afterward?
I’m still in the process of growing guts. I still have moments where I’m not brave and I compare myself to other athletes, putting myself and my efforts down. I think accepting this path, knowing the doubts will be there but in the end feeling like a “somebody” whether I’ve achieved what I envision or not is what I’ve gotten better at. I know that being in the act of giving my whole heart to something, I’m a “somebody” to myself. Being passionate and diligent about my craft daily makes me respect who I am and what I’m doing. That right there gives me confidence that I’m in the right place and puts me at peace.
RESILIENCE: What did you learn from pushing through your “gritty moment”? What helped you “not give up” and persevere?
Listen to others and listen to my heart. Let things I come in contact with guide me. Time to write and reflect. Makes me realize my strength and what I really want out of life.
IMPERFECTION: How do you deal with failure and making mistakes? Did your “gritty moment” force you to learn and grow?
I guess I’ve reframed failure over the years. Failure is more or less an indicator of what you need to work on or where you may be in that present moment. It doesn’t define you. Understanding that failure doesn’t define who I am was a concept I struggled with in tennis. Now I attempt to make my mess my message.
TEAM: What role did your support system play in helping you through this challenging time? What role has this “team” had in your life?
They are the nudge of good sense always. When I want to get down and spiral into bad thoughts they snap me out. Keep inspiration alive and belief even when I don’t see it. Challenge me to see myself at my best possible version even when it seems so far away. A support system is everything.
What advice would you give to your younger “gritty girl self”?
Be different. Embrace being “weird”. It’s okay to be obsessed and want to learn and listen. Be that ferocious and eager person in terms of commitment and learning. Don’t pull back because others don’t like it. Stay committed to you, bask in your differences.