There are a handful of qualities that come to mind when I think of my professional mentors, and other global business leaders, who have been highly-successful in their endeavors – they’re all trustworthy, they’re resourceful, they’re enthusiastic, and they’re results-oriented. But what is that one quality that each of these individuals possesses? In my opinion, it’s grit. It’s that rock-solid resilience and extra drive that keeps them focused on the end result.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “grit,” it was recently made popular by Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She noticed her highest performing students weren’t necessarily the ‘smartest’ people in the room, nor those who had the most natural talent. It was the students who had that ‘extra something’ who were the most successful. A select few individuals were motivated to work harder than those around them, despite facing obstacles, until their dreams became a reality. As Duckworth also describes it, “a gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”
So how do you develop this grit if you do not already possess it? You can train yourself to have more fortitude and perseverance. While it can be challenging, here are five quick tips to help:
- Pursue Your Passion. If you’re passionate about what you’re working on, you’ll be more likely to stick with it for the long haul.
- Have Exceptional Role Models. Find someone that you look up to who can help you along the way, and who you can learn from. Share your aspirations with them, and ask them to hold you accountable.
- Trust Your Instincts. Don’t second guess yourself. When making decisions, think about every possible angle. Then make a decision based on those facts. Most of the time your first instinct will be right.
- Take Risks. This one’s critical. Without taking risks, you can’t succeed.
- Be Tenacious and Resilient. Expect adversity – and lots of it. If you face a minor (or even major) setback, keep trying. Trust me when I say, adversity only makes you stronger. You’ll learn from adversity, you’ll try again, and eventually you will succeed.
As Steve Jobs once said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
I encourage each of you reading this to take a moment to think about your the goals that may already have been established by your heart and your intuition, and the steps you need to take to get there. In my experience, the best way to develop mental strength is to slowly build small steps into your routine and with time, these steps will become habit. I encourage you to power through the obstacles you will inevitably face, and strive for progress. Along the way, remember that your family, friends, colleagues, and BNI are here to support you at every step in your journey to success.