Grit And Resilience: Qualities Everyone Needs For Life’s Curveballs

Grit And Resilience: Qualities Everyone Needs For Life’s Curveballs

Time to talk grit. As experience shows us, life can throw curveballs—on both a personal and professional level. When the unexpected comes our way, grit and resilience are key factors in overcoming obstacles and achieving success.

Grit: The Hidden Key To Success

Grit and resilience are trending topics for a good reason. In her revelatory book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., reveals her research findings on grit and its role in individual and professional success. She explains that grit is the combination of passion and perseverance. It seems simple on paper, but living grit can be a challenge. It means being willing to make mistakes and get back up over and over again. It means hours and hours of practice, effort, frustration, intentional goal-setting and following through despite setbacks.

In an HBR article on organizational grit, Duckworth and Thomas Lee write that grit “propels people to the highest ranks of leadership in many demanding fields.” Successful executives and other business leaders demonstrate grit. Luckily, grit is not necessarily an inherent trait. It can be taught, practiced and developed over time.

Throughout history, the people we deem geniuses were certainly intelligent, but more importantly, they also had grit.Thomas Edison failed several thousand times before creating the lightbulb. J.K. Rowling struggled to write Harry Potterand was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before finally signing with Bloomsbury. Steve Jobs founded Apple, was fired and then came back years later to lead the company to exponential growth and success.

If these smart and passionate people had not been so resilient, we never would have known about them and the world would—quite literally—be a darker place.

Why Grit Is Especially Important For Leaders

Perseverance and resilience are constant themes in my sessions with clients. High-level decision-makers face huge pressures and uncertainties on a daily basis. Fear of making mistakes can be a serious reality. However, my advice is to take fear out of the equation and make well-informed choices based on the knowledge and information at hand. And if mistakes are made, get back up and try again.

These ideas are not just buzzwords in a pep talk. They are real ingredients that create tangible results. Once leaders understand and practice these characteristics in the workplace, they can start teaching the concepts to others and create “gritty” teams. As I wrote about recently, it all starts with you.

First of all, lead by example and practice what you preach. When discussing grit with your teams and encouraging perseverance through the challenges they might face, share examples of difficulties you yourself have experienced. Consider sharing failures and the various solutions you had to try in order to get past those failures. Talk about current obstacles and even brainstorm solutions with them. Once others see your own determination, they will in turn be motivated to emulate your grit and resilience in the workplace.

In her book, Duckworth explains that the successful leaders she studied “not only had determination, [but] they [also] had direction.” For a gritty team to work toward achievable results and a common purpose, they need a clear direction. In the executive world, that means leaders must communicate team objectives and make sure goals are aligned at all levels. Aligning goals across teams and departments can be a challenge in and of itself, but it is crucial for success.

Final Thoughts

Grit is not for the faint of heart. In this era of instant gratification and the desire for quick results, perseverance and resilience can be challenging, even frustrating. However, determination, direction and practice will allow you to become a “gritty” leader who will relish the victory of overall success both in your own life and for your organization.

This article has previously been featured on Forbes

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