13 The Power of Sisu

How a word changed everything

Kristine Smolsky was a former co-worker of mine, and she and I were driving home in her car one evening after a work meeting. I had recently submitted my letter of resignation from the organization. Kristine now congratulated me on my decision, telling me how proud of me she was for standing up for what I believed in.

“Have you ever heard of the word sisu?” Kristine looked over at me and said.

I had never heard of it before.

“I want you to look it up when you get home,” she said. “Because you’re that word.”

This was what I found on Wikipedia:

Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns… It is generally considered not to have a literal equivalent in English.”

I had not started writing, but I’d certainly been on a search to find my life’s purpose. So when Kristine mentioned sisu in relation to me, even before I looked it up, I knew that it would come in handy one day. And it has been the constant thing that sees me through my impossible dream.

Sadly, I found out that Kristine had passed away from an illness in December 2018. I was devastated, but who she was as a person, our connection and her having shared with me this powerful word from her culture have all attenuated my loss.

Turns out, sisu has always been part of my life.


Electronic Press Kit for Garie McIntosh’s Novel “What’s in a Name” Copyright © 2022 by Garie McIntosh. All Rights Reserved.

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