I recently came across the topic of grit when listening to a podcast by two of my favorites on the topic of mastery and success, Pete Caroll (Head Coach of Seattle Seahawks) and Michael Gervais (Sport Psychologist & High Performance Coach).   I had always thought of grit as the cowboy with dirt in his teeth, driving horses across the range.  Basically a badass, hard-driving individual.  As I began to learn what the true essence of grit is and how it can be a driving force in the pursuit and accomplishment of our goals, I was so intrigued and have fallen head over heels for this word and topic. Angela Duckworth, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and leading researcher on the topic of grit, finds that grit predicts success more reliably than talent or I.Q.; and second, that anyone, man or woman, adult or child, can learn to be gritty .
Grit consists of two components in its definition:
  • Passion – what drives you to pursue your goals.
  • Perseverance – what keeps you going even when you encounter setbacks and challenges.
Grit is seen in the communities of Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico that have been devastated by the recent Hurricanes. In the face of such horrible loss and the challenges facing them, they choose, with an almost greater determination to come back stronger and pull together and rebuild. Thank goodness for the grit that is shown in our first responders on a daily basis who run into the fires, go dead-on into the storms, and dive into dangerous situations to save lives. I have a feeling that grit will be an increasingly necessary trait with all of the uncertainty that is happening in our society and environment. Again, grit is a trait that we can strengthen within ourselves, we never have to concede!
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Grit is the team that is unified and draws faith from one another that each and every time they show up to perform and play their game they have the opportunity to be successful and embrace every moment they have to improve as individuals and as a team.
The mindset of a “gritty” person or culture of a “gritty” team leans into challenges and uses them as opportunities to learn and improve rather than draw fear from performances that are challenging.   A setback or hard loss fuels them to come back stronger and create a new chance to get things right.
Here are 5 ways to develop your grit so you can use it at anytime in your life:
1.)   Live in Passion! Come back to the root of what ignites you and what you stand for. How can you elevate and contribute to the well being of others? Cultivating your purpose and passion even a little bit every day will stoke this fire and it will be hard to resist doing what you love.   And by all means, don’t wait for an epiphany of knowing exactly what your purpose is! Just follow your curiosity and what brings you the most joy or strongly holds your attention. This is your door into that inner drive toward true passion.
2.)  Believe that you are worthy of anything that you would like to accomplish. You are meant for greatness and there is no one like you.  “Our worth and belonging are not negotiated with other people.” Brene Brown. This inner worth came in handy for me when I was just beginning my mental training business. When describing what I did to an individual, he sarcastically stated, “how is that working for you?” Oh hell no! This comment actually made me realize I was on to something and I stubbornly dug in deeper into educating others to the importance of the mental game for success!
3.)  Lean into challenges and view them as opportunities to learn and grow. Resist fear of failure, embrace vulnerability and be ok to make mistakes.
4.)  Wake up every day and see it as a new chance to get a step closer to your dream. Be hungry for the chance to do better today, even better than the day before.
5.)  Surround yourself with gritty and supportive people. Aka: Gritty mentor. Choose one or two people that you know are resilient and have these characteristics. Call them up! Bring those who support your efforts closer and let them know about what you love to do and your goals. I have built my friendships around those who keep me moving forward and encourage me to take the most daring steps. We all need to be pushed at times and those people who challenge our comfort zones are priceless.
To show up each day and stay true to our hopes and dreams and make a difference is true grit and frankly, very badass.  Good luck to you and always remember that your efforts encourage others to be brave and gritty.