I recently had the opportunity to meet with Christie Dawes, Australian Paralympic wheelchair racing athlete. Christie’s story is truly inspirational.
Christie has one thing that all successful people have. It’s called GRIT.
Grit is displayed in characteristics such as:
In Christie’s speech, she detailed how like all successful athletes of her calibre, there have been times when she wanted to give up.
Times when things felt too hard. Times when perhaps she felt that she was putting in a ton of effort and not seeing the results she wanted.
Christie faced many opportunities to call it quits during her sporting career. But she chose to stick with it when times got tough, and she pushed through to amazing success.
There is an awesome TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth on the topic of grit. She calls grit the key to success.
Duckworth left a high-flying job in management consulting and took a job teaching mathematics in school.
In her years of teaching, Duckworth found that persistence trumps academic performance when it comes to long term success.
She was so fascinated by this discovery that she became a psychologist to learn more. Her research confirmed that social intelligence, good looks, physical health and IQ – all things that we traditionally associate with success – are less important than grit.
She defines grit as the passion and perseverence for very long term goals.
We all know of famous people that have failed spectacularly but continued on.
Oprah Winfrey was fired as a news anchor, and told she had no future in television.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC, was rejected by over 1000 restaurants before one agreed to use his chicken recipe.
And JK Rowling received 12 rejections of her first Harry Potter book before a publisher agreed to take it on (and the series has now sold hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide).
Those people had tough times. They had opportunities to give up. But they persevered after failure. They had passion for what they wanted, and they had grit.
If you’re going through a tough time in business or work right now, but you really love what you do and are passionate about it, keep going. If you are making a difference in the lives of your employees, your workmates, your customers, the community – keep going.
Yes the economy can be tough. Yes there is a mining downturn continuing to affect many businesses in our region. But if you truly believe what you do is worthwhile, get grit and stick with it.
Talk things over with a supportive friend. Get an accountability partner to keep you motivated. Get inspired by someone who’s been through similar challenges.
We all go through tough times in work and in business. If you love what you do, get grit and keep moving. Your success is ahead.