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Get Grittier

| October 10, 2017

by Jim Bruce

I’ve written before on grit (see here), about having stamina, about sticking with what you’ve chosen or been led to do, your future, day in, day out, not just for a week, nor for a month, but for years, working really hard to make that future a reality.  Grit is a marathon, not a sprint.  To succeed, leaders have to have grit in abundance.
Recently, I came across a piece by Travis Bradbury*, 11 Signs You Have the Grit You Need to succeed, and it challenged me to ask myself his questions.  And, that, in turn, suggested that I needed to step up in several areas.  So, let me challenge you to “get grittier” by sharing his list of things you should be doing regularly to become grittier.
1.  You have to make mistakes, look like an idiot, and try again, without even flinching.  Don’t stress out about what went wrong.  See it as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching your goals.
2.  Continue to fight when you already feel defeated.  When the going gets hard you have a choice:  You can either overcome the obstacle and grow in the process, or you can give up.  And, given human behavior, if you give up it becomes so much easier to give up the next time.  When you push through the issue, your grit grows.
3.  You have to take the actions you’re afraid to take.  It may be having a difficult conversation, starting a difficult project, abandoning an activity, etc. because it is the right thing to do.  Once you know the right thing to do, take the action, don’t become paralyzed.  Make the tough call and move forward.
4.  Keep your emotions in check.   You’ll be challenged by negative emotions every step of the way.  Yes, you will feel the emotions, but manage them so that you do not lose your resolve to move forward.
5.  You have to trust your gut.  Bradbury says, “Trusting your gut is a matter of looking at decisions from every possible angle, and when the facts don’t present a clear alternative, you believe in your ability to choose, you go with what looks and feels right.”
6.  You have to give more than you get in return.  People with grit have learned that real results only show up when you put in the time and are willing to delay gratification for work well done.
7.  You are willing to lead even when no one follows.  Sometimes, even when you are right, you are unable to initially convince others to follow you.  People with grit nevertheless stay the course until they convince others to join their cause.
8.  You have to meet unreasonable deadlines and deliver results that exceed expectations.  Successful individuals find ways to take on strategic new initiatives, delaying or delegating current activities as necessary, and over deliver on them.
9.  You have to focus on the details even when it makes your mind numb.  When people with grit are challenged, they dig in, welcoming the challenge, with all of its attendant details.
10.  You have to be kind to people who have been rude to you.  You cannot give in to the innate desire, when people have treated you poorly, to treat them the same way.  People with grit treat people who are rude and cruel with the same kindness they extend to everyone else.  They don’t let others bring them down.
11.  You are accountable for your actions, no matter what.  Others are more likely to remember how a problem was addressed than who created it.  By holding yourself accountable, you show that you care more about results than about your ego. 
Eleven challenging steps to create a grittier you.  It’s your choice, you can get grittier with some extra focus and hard work.  The result will be a more effective you, a more effective leader.
Make it a great week.  .  .     jim
Jim Bruce is a Senior Fellow and Executive Coach at MOR Associates, and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, and CIO, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
James D. Bruce, You Gotta Have Grit, MOR Tuesday Reading, May 17, 2016.
Travis Bradbury, 11 Signs You Have the Grit You Need to, February 2016.
*  Travis Bradbury  is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.o  and co-founder of TalentSmart, a San Diego company providing emotional intelligence testing and training services.