Building Grit

By E.M. Godsman, ELAvate Global

Many people have the potential to achieve greatness. The one thing that separates the great from the good is their Grit. Put simply, grit is your determination or perseverance. The ability to keep going when things are tough, just as the Japanese proverb states, get knocked down seven times, get up eight: the ability to see a task through to its completion not matter the consequences. That’s why little Mattie Ross picked Roster Cogburn to avenge her father; he would get the job done come hell or high water. That’s what the modern age needs from its sales people, individuals who are will keep going and going, till they get their target, regardless of the circumstances.

To be considered an individual with grit is not an easy task, it takes a while to cultivate and requires a lot of will power. Epictetus once said, “Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on me”, it is easy to let temptation get the best of you. However, we can train ourselves to produce a strong resolve. By building our resistance to temptation we improve our will power. This will power can be used in all areas of our life and translates into our determination to get the job done.

So to help, here are 3 ways to help develop your resolve.

1. Have a solid schedule which pushes you from the get go.

Having the same routine every morning may sound boring but it has many benefits, both psychologically and physically. By sticking to the same routine, it reduces the number of decisions we make in a day. Researchers reckon we can make around 230 decisions in a day (Wansink and Sobal, 2007), but this number can be a lot higher depending on your schedule for that particular day. So removing some decisions from your morning, (like; the time you will get up, what exercise you will do, what you will eat), saves you brain power. Gives you an extra advantage of being fresher throughout the day.

Having the same routine also has benefits to motivate you to success. Top athletes like Michael Phelps have their whole morning routine mapped out to the last second, including listening to the same music. By sticking to their routine they have achieved their first goal of the day, which makes it easier to build momentum and keep going.

Further still, getting up early has more benefits. While the majority of the world is asleep, there are no distractions, no interruptions, nothing calling for your attention. It provides the perfect opportunity to get some serious work done. It is amazing the sense of achievement you can have by starting your day before seven o’clock; you can do more with your morning than most people can do in a day. Make sure you get your eight hours though. Burning the candle at both ends will only burn you out.

Give yourself goals for each day that are going to push you. Plan out our tasks for the day ahead the night before, some can even do for the whole week. Again, this saves from wasting decision-making but it also provides a sense of achievement. There is visible proof that you are moving in the right direction. There are many acronyms to help you design goals, one of the most common is SMART; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time. It helps you define your goal precisely allowing you a better chance at completing it and measuring your performance.

In addition to having big tasks to complete through out the day, set yourself smaller personal goals. These can be things like, correcting your posture when sat at your desk or focusing on your handwriting everytime you pick up a pen. Although they don’t work towards your main goal, they do help build your will power through focus.

2. Give yourself a break

Will power is a muscle. Just like other muscles it has to be exercised to improved but it also has to be rested. You can’t start out from day one and expect to live life as a stoic. Keep yourself stretched for too long without a break, you will snap, relapsing back into old habits. You need time to build your resistance to temptation. Plan in breaks into your day, whether that is time with your family or an indulgent snack but make sure there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Although all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. Don’t go overboard with rewards. Delay them to after achieving big goals and remind yourself throughout the task that this is why you are doing it. Not only will you appreciate it more but you won’t over indulge either, keeping your resistance up. The Stanford Marshmallow Tests are a perfect example of this; the children who were able to refrain from eating the marshmallow went on to have better outcomes in the life because of their ability to restrain themselves from imeadiate satisfaction. Practicing a little self-control builds your ability so when it comes to the tough gritty tasks you are able to dig deep and get going.

3. A Positive Mental Attitude

Having grit is all about having the right attitude, so you need to keep yours positive. Going into any task with a positive mindset will increases the likelihood of success, especially when faced with a colossal project, or an incredibly audacious sales target. Big ventures can be very draining, so stay focused on the small chunk of work in front of you and don’t worry about the rest, go one step at a time until its done.

Mediating can also help maintain a positive mind state. By quieting your thoughts, you can focus clearly on problems, breaking them down to find solutions which you can easily implement. You should also reaffirm yourself. Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you are doing a good job. You are trying to improve, that is truly worth commending. It is tough which is why not many bother; you should be proud of that.

By taking the right steps every day, you will gradually develop your resolve. Aristotle once said that excellence was a state of mind, as is grit. Developing yours now, will only help you more tomorrow. Life won’t get any easier or your customers easier to please. Having the strength to carry on regardless of the circumstances is only going to act as a blessing in your life and ELAvate you to greatness.

About Michael Griffin

Michael is the CEO of ELAvate Global and Equipping Leaders for Asia Pte. Ltd. Over 40+ years, his career has revolved around developing leaders, especially sales leaders, in emerging nations. Mr. Griffin has spent the majority of his 40+ year career in Asia. His areas of expertise include Sales Productivity, Senior Executive Development, Cross Cultural Leadership, Strategy Mapping and Balanced Scorecard.

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