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5 Benefits of Grit and How to Get it

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Find yourself face to face with starting something that sounds like a great idea?  Soon enough you might find the dip in your endeavour, project or race as I did Saturday morning.  Grit, some call it mental toughness, gets you through to the finish line or the top of a mountain.  Its what separates success from failure and is an essential leadership quality.

Ten kilometres wouldn’t normally be a big race for me, and my running habits over the last year haven’t been consistent.  At kilometre seven my legs didn’t want to keep running, they were burning and stiffening up.  My lungs were on fire and I had three kilometres left.  There was only one thing getting me through to the finish line and that was grit.

Grit isn’t about just bearing hard stuff to make the finish line.  It is also about making the hard decision to quit because its the smart decision.  Its about persevering and making the tough choices moment by moment through the hardest moments of life and turning them into fulfilling moments.  People with grit:

  1. Persevere through difficult circumstances without losing confidence
  2. Never become victims because they retain personal choice
  3. Are more consistent
  4. Focus on what they can control
  5. Learn from mistakes and then let go
My grit got me through to the finish line and to my goal of completing the race not for time, but for same day finish.  As it turns out, my time wasn’t too far off my regular pace, yet this finish felt better than any of my faster or longer races.  Why?  Because I truly earned this finish by persevering through wanting to quit.  I made the choice to keep going even when I passed my hotel.  I kept to the trail when I could have easily cut a corner and shortened my race.  I wasn’t racing to win so why keep to the track and finish?  Because this particular race has personal meeting for me and it means not giving up in other areas of my life.

How do you develop more grit?

  • Work with your feelings, validate them don’t ignore them.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable - Do things that stretch you
  • Keep an eye on the big picture - Learn your why behind everything you do. What's your source of motivation?  Why do you WANT to do it?
  • Develop simple repeatable resiliency habits. A personal mantra is an example.
  • Get clear on what is in your control and what’s out of your control. Then choose to let go and focus your efforts on what is in your control.
  • Set reasonable expectations.
  • Focus on the next step, not the finish line.

We had a saying when I used to rock climb." If you’re not falling, you’re not climbing a hard enough pitch." Fail going 100%.  Its not a matter of if you’ll end up failing, its a matter of when. If you’re all in you’ll fail and having grit will get you through it.

Each time I had to walk during the race was a small failure and yet I’d walk to the next lamp post, bridge post, or tree and start running again.  My race time could be seen as a failure but my finishing the race, was all success.  It all depends on how you look at it.

How do you develop grit?
Inspiration, LeadershipJenn Lofgren