I have been hearing the word grit a lot lately. It started when I purchased Angela Duckworth’s book GRIT (Scribner, 2016) in an airport bookstore this summer.
In it, Angela writes “Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it.” She elaborates on the two components of grit: passion and perseverance. Grit is more about commitment, endurance, and consistency over time than it is about talent.
Grit is needed to accomplish goals—especially stretch goals—and to change behavior. When I first started thinking of people who have grit, I thought about the TV shows Spartan Race and American Ninja Warrior. The participants and athletes in those competitions must have grit in order to fail and come back again and again.
Grit also applies to Olympic athletes. Consider the grit displayed when a young girl commits at an early age to be one of the best gymnasts at the Olympics—like Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez on the 2016 US Olympic Gymnastics team.
In another way, grit can come into play when we are coaching clients toward achieving their goals. It begins with helping them create a SMART goal they are passionate about that will cause them to stay committed and consistent over time. For example, a client had a goal to take a situational approach to leadership in order to create a high performing team.
We discussed the passion and motivation the client had to become a situational leader. We also discussed his perseverance and commitment to intentionally flex his leadership style regardless of high pressure situations. The coaching lead him to increase his commitment by creating a structure to remind himself to flex his leadership style, identifying accountability partners, and asking for regular feedback from his team. Over time, the client increased his grit to be a situational leader—and subsequently increased his success.
Could a rediscovery of your own grit level help? You can apply grit principles to your goals by answering these questions:
- What is the motivation for this goal?
- Is this a goal that will stand the test of time?
- Are you passionate enough to remain committed if you start getting distracted by other ideas or goals?
- What will cause you to hold steadfast to this goal?
I think you’ll find that when you increase your level of grit, you’ll set yourself up for success—just like my client.
About the Author
Terry Watkins is a coaching solutions partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.