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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life

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What Is Grit and How to Develop It for a Successful Life

Have you ever met someone who thrives through adversity, and who transforms their pain into opportunities for growth? In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth describes these types of people as possessing grit. From her research, she has found that grit is what separates those who are successful from those who fail.

So, what is grit, you may ask?

Passion + Perseverence = Achievement

In the words of Angela Duckworth herself,

“Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out, and not just for the week, not just for the month, but years.”

The problem that a lot of people face is that they seek the shortcut to success. They want to work less while still achieving more. Unfortunately, that’s not how success works.

If you want to achieve your goals, you have to be willing to do anything and everything. I believe that the most meaningful goals require an insane amount of hard work, determination, discipline, commitment, and sacrifice. But get real with yourself — are you ready to go all-in? How bad do you want to succeed?

Why Is Grit Important?

Nothing of value in life comes easily. Success is never a coincidence.

Research indicates that the ability to be gritty — to stick with things that are important to you and bounce back from failure — is an essential component of success.[1]

You can have all the talent in the world, but you will never achieve your goals without effort. This is why grit is the foundation of success.

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What Are the Characteristics of Grit?

The good news is that grit can be developed and mastered over time. However, you first need to adopt a growth mindset. Unfortunately, many people have a fixed mindset.

They are conditioned to believe that their intelligence cannot improve. While a fixed mindset is based in “I can” or “I can’t,” a growth mindset celebrates the journey from “I can’t” to “I can.”[2]

Do you see your intelligence as fixed, or do you believe that you can grow and change?

Below are the characteristics of grit. Reflect upon the ones that you resonate with the most and still need to strengthen.

Passion

Where there is passion, there is always a purpose. Passionate people know themselves inside and out. They have a clear understanding of their values, beliefs, and needs.

More importantly, they live in alignment with their truth and inspire others to do the same. Living with passion is about paying attention to and following what makes you come alive inside.

Not everyone will understand your path in life, and that’s okay. True grit is being able to tune out others’ judgments and stay in your lane.

Perseverance

I’ve never met a strong person who had an easy-breezy past. Persevering, despite all odds, is about learning how to sit with your darkness and soften into the discomfort.

The only difference between those who succeed versus those who fail is their willingness to persevere and continue failing forward. It’s knowing that your desire to achieve your dreams burns brighter than any obstacle.

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Learn how to embrace discomfort and use pain as a tool to grow and become more. Celebrate yourself every step of the way and don’t stop until you’re insanely proud of the person you’ve become.

Resilience

Gritty people are resilient, in the sense that they thrive through adversity. They reframe every challenge as an opportunity and do the work to become the master of their emotions.

Research reveals that resilience is a test of how tough you are. Instead, it has everything to do with your willingness to keep trying after others have given up.[3]

Resilient people are conscious enough to know when it is time to surrender to the rollercoaster ride of life. Their ability to soften into what is can make room for what will be.

What Is an Example of Grit?

It was like any other day in my life. I got on my motorcycle and rode off. Because I was just going up the road, I decided not to wear my helmet. Little did I know that this sudden decision would change my entire life.

I was supposed to be back home in 15 minutes, but that didn’t happen. Five minutes into riding my bike, I had an accident. I hit my head on the pavement, suffered a traumatic brain injury, and was rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. This experience left me with PTSD, post-concussion syndrome, chronic pain, and anxiety.

However, it also gave me a second chance to recreate my life and develop unshakeable mental strength and grit.

It’s been three years since my accident. I’m not the same person that I used to be. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I chose to transform my pain into power. To this day, I continue to pull upon my grit. It has become my superpower.

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Let me be clear: I’m not special. I was just willing to do what was challenging for many. Giving up was never an option. How I have responded to my knockdowns has determined my success in life.

The obstacles that I faced along my healing journey (and still do to this day) had given me a strength that I never knew I had. Pain can be a gift if you are willing to find its meaning behind all the mess.

When you have the courage to use your pain as motivational strength, you will realize that there is nothing you cannot overcome.

How Do You Develop Grit?

Grit is like a muscle that you train and flex at the gym. You need to do the same thing with your mind. Let’s explore what you can do to build mental toughness every day.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

The fastest way to master anything is to practice and repeat it. To persevere, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. This is how you flex your grit muscle.

At the end of the day, grit comes down to what habits you engage in daily. It’s about doing the things you know you’re supposed to do on a more consistent basis that will contribute to your success.[4]

The more that you invest in your personal growth, the more skilled you will become. In turn, you can keep doing the things that you excel at.

2. Connect With Your Purpose

Gritty people live on purpose.

After studying 16,000 people, Duckworth found that “grittier people are dramatically more motivated than others to seek a meaningful, other-centered life.”[5]

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The next time that you encounter an obstacle that tries to take you off course, reconnect with your why. It will be the one thing that motivates you to keep moving forward, even when you feel like throwing in the towel.

3. Don’t Give Up

When things get difficult, do you give up easily or use your low moments to push yourself forward and become stronger?

Gritty people look a challenge dead in the eye and give it a wink. They don’t quit until they win.

The only failure in life is quitting. Life is supposed to be messy. You’re supposed to fail. It’s a core part of the human experience. All that matters is how you respond to failure.

It’s okay if you fall seven times, as long as you make sure that you stand up on the eighth time. If you can master the art of never giving up, there is no limit to what you can achieve in life.

The Bottom Line

You have one life, so make it a masterpiece.

The only limitations standing in your way are the ones in your mind. When you master your mind, you master your life.

Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Strive to be a gritty person in every area of your life.

Your future self will thank you for it.

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More on Showing Your Grit

Featured photo credit: Jack Sloop via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.

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“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.

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Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”

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Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”

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“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.

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How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via unsplash.com

Reference

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