If January is the month of motivation and goal setting, then February is the motivation hangover. When all your great goals suddenly do seem as lofty as they probably were, and instead of charging the hill, “I CAN DO IT!” being your battle cry, you crawl back under your bed sheets and think “maybe tomorrow.” Perseverance can be hard, but could it also be one of the crucial factors to success?
There’s a Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth called “The Key to Success? Grit.”
Angela did her research at places such as West Point and National Spelling Bee where the stakes were high, and asked “Who is successful and why?” Her research revealed that talent and intelligence were not as strong of a determining factor as GRIT.
Grit -/grit/ noun. Courage and resolve. Strength of character.
She found that motivation and perseverance were key! People who are gritty are not afraid to fail. As Angela discovered, such gritty people don’t view failure as a permanent state, which enables them to pick themselves up, brush off the dirt, and try again. The people who were determined and kept their eyes on the goal were the ones who succeeded. So often we believe we must have a certain set of skills to “make it.” And, like we discussed in my last blog, operating out of your strengths is crucial. However, when living outside of our strengths, which is inevitable, we must mentally prepare and build up our determination.
I re-read a quote today from a classic, League of Their Own, and had one of those “ah-ha” moments.
“Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. Hard is what makes it great.”
Being a company that has experienced hyper-growth for several years and to be a company that will “stand the test of time,” I have days when I’m very aware of how hard it is. This quote just made me remember, OF COURSE!
What we’re doing is GREAT. We want to change our part of the world and have a positive impact on our customers by making their lives better. Our desire to hire wonderful people to serve our customers and produce an innovative product is hard. That’s why we set out to do it 10 years ago. My two other partners and I wanted a chance at doing it RIGHT. If it were easy, the companies we all left behind would’ve done it.
Yes, strength and talent are all needed to be successful, but it will be GRIT that makes this company stand the test of time. The desire to succeed—the longing to see our dream become a reality—motivates us to endure the hardships. But grit is hard. It’s difficult staying focused and remembering why we started out on this epic adventure in the first place!
As Angela defines grit: “Sticking with your future…working really hard to make that future a reality.”
On the hard days we’ll remember “of course!” Greatness has a cost, and the road to greatness is paved with grit.