01 December 2014

Now Is My Time #44: Cultivating Grit

Good morning friends. I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving last week had a wonderful celebration with family and friends. We had a lovely weekend with some much needed downtime and even a couple of good naps. We hadn't planned on it, but we made a good dent on our holiday shopping too - of course nothing we bought was on sale...sigh.

Today I want to talk about Grit - unyielding courage. I absolutely love that word. It reminds me of my grandparents. They had it, they lived it, they were the perfect example of it. I imagine based on the lives their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents lived it was a requirement for survival in those days.

Although it's not talked about much and doesn't exist quite in the John Wayne sense of the Old West it is often connected with, grit is just as much a survival need today as it has ever been. Our challenges are just different.

I decided to do a study about grit this weekend, what it really means, how it helps us survive and how to cultivate it. In my study I first found several definitions and many fantastically descriptive synonyms for grit. Some of my favorites are pluck, mettle, hardiness and fortitude.

Something I found very interesting is a lack of grit is a big concern for educators right now. There is a big push to break students out of a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset. In a nutshell, a Fixed Mindset is a "I can't do it, this is too hard" attitude and a Growth Mindset is a "If I use my skills and some perseverance, I can learn how to do this" attitude. I like this article by Andrew Miller about finding joy in grit in the classroom.

I have been thinking that grit might make a great family theme for 2015. While we are pretty good at fortitude overall, I think we might be missing some of the celebration and joy associated with grit. Maybe we are not appreciating the meaning, value and benefits of grit.

I feel like we should recognize the need and use of it more and celebrate the existence of it in our lives. I think there is a little bit of a "kick butt" attitude to grit and we're lacking that confident enthusiasm for our ability to kick whatever stands in our way. Our grit needs a little more sass to it. Sass, there's another great "old school" word I love.

I found four articles from Forbes about Grit from just the past couple of years. Each talks about how important grit is to success in life and business. Here are links if you are interested.

Got Grit? The Secret Sauce For Success
True Grit: What It Takes To Succeed As An Entrepreneur
625,000 Reasons To See Grit As Key To Success
Five Characteristics Of Grit: How Many Do You Have?

Now is my time to really value the grit I was blessed with and more importantly appreciate it's application in my life. Grit to me means "kicking butt with a smile." I've done a lot of grit over the past few years but I want to incorporate back into it, more powerfully, that confident "I can do this" smile. I think sometimes I have had more of a "I hate this, just put your head down and get through it" attitude.

As I look at wrapping up my year of Now Is My Time: 2014, the idea of putting more swagger back in my step seems like a perfect way to encapsulate what I've learned about life and about myself. And it plays perfectly into my plans for 2015. I can't wait to share with you my theme for 2015.

I've been working on it for a couple of months now, just gathering thoughts and sketching out plans. It's going to be a really fun one to kick off come January. Can't wait to start writing more about it in a few short weeks.

So what do you think about grit? How do you cultivate it in your life? How has it changed your life and who you are?

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