Not completely sure how the conversation began, but recently I found myself engaged in a deep discussion revolving around the absence of “GRIT”…no, not the stuff on the bottom of a bird cage…but GRIT…TRUE GRIT…John Wayne style…
The dictionary defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” By some observations it appears that we have become a society of wanting/getting everything NOW…that long time goals met with passion and perseverance are things that were met for those days long gone by…. Personally, I couldn’t disagree more!
As leaders, we must model what it is we expect from those we serve. Consider these 5 characteristics of grit as outlined by Margaret M. Perlis in an article in Forbes magazine.
1. Courage - The courage to take risks, the courage to fail and learn from it, the courage to do the right thing versus the easiest.
2. Conscientiousness – Being achievement oriented, meticulous; a commitment to going for the gold, versus just showing up.
3. Long-Term Goals – Endurance – Follow Through - According to Perlis, “One of the distinctions between someone who succeeds and someone who is just spending a lot of time doing something is this: practice must have purpose. That’s where long-term goals come in. They provide the context and framework in which to find the meaning and value of your long-term efforts, which helps cultivate drive, sustainability, passion, courage, stamina…grit.”
4. Resilience – One must exhibit a combination of optimism, creativity, and confidence, which, when combined, empower us to “recalculate” our course, and keep emotions in check…”everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it is not the end…”
5. Excellence vs. Perfection – In general, those with grit don’t seek perfection, but rather drive for excellence. Perfection is described as an absolute, a perception of an ideal, and pursuing it is somewhat like chasing an illusion. Anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, and clinical depression are only a few of the conditions ascribed to a “perfectionist”. Excellence is far more forgiving, it allows for disappointment and prioritizes progress over perfection…it embraces life-long learning.
Simply put…grit is an attitude about seeking, striving, finding, and never yielding…it’s what leaders must exhibit…or as “The Duke” would say…”True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows should have been done.”
Develop your GRIT…to be GREAT!
Be good to yourself…