Chapter 4: The Importance of Resilience and Grit to a Growth
We’ve already looked at the importance of the growth mindset when it comes to overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of life’s challenges. So, why are grit and resilient so essential for this mindset?
Combining Grit and Resilience is Important for a Balanced Mindset
Developing resilience and grit helps you to not only build a growth mindset but to sustain it too. It isn’t enough to have just resilience or just grit. You need to combine both things to achieve true success.
Grit contributes to your mindset. We’re all born with an innate level of grit. After all, think of a toddler who is just learning how to walk. Some toddlers will start doing this with very little encouragement from their parents. They start pulling themselves to their feet, taking a few steps before falling and getting up again ready to repeat the process time and again until they’re finally able to walk. Others, who fall several times, begin to need more encouragement before they can get up and give walking another try.
This natural grit needs to be combined with learned resilience so that your mindset can become more balanced. Achieving the right balanced mindset allows you to have perspective over the situations you face. As we’ve already pointed out, perspective is essential when it comes to overcoming adversity.
Importance of Resilience and Grit in the Workplace
One obvious situation in which grit and resilience are vital to success is in the workplace. Most of us have wondered from time to time why this or that person is so successful in their work. It’s important to understand that their success doesn’t come from their intelligence, their talents, or even their willingness to work for extra time or take on more commitments than are strictly necessary.
In the modern workplace where rivalry, strict deadlines, staff cutbacks and organization change are all commonplace, this type of success relies solely on the individual’s ability to not just cope, but to thrive in the face of stress and adversity.
When you encounter the inevitable challenges, you’ll encounter in the workplace, you need to be resilient and bounce back. The workplace will always present several stressors to its employees.
So, how can you become more resilient at work?
It’s important to be aware that resilience is actually just a skill, and like other skills, it can be learned and improved with practice.
A resilient employee can build strong relationships and connections with others. These are high-quality relationships that are characterized by several features, especially effective communication. Resilient workers who have positive working relationships do everything possible to help others to become successful at work since they’re team-players aiming for a winwin situation with all their fellow employees.
A resilient employee will also nurture the working network they’ve forged, building trust consistently with other people and fostering positive emotions with other employees.
The modern workplace is typified by stress, and with internet access and cutting-edge technology, work is constantly present in our lives. A resilient worker can manage this stress effectively, preventing it from becoming detrimental and overwhelming. By engaging actively in self-care, nurturing themselves when they experience stressful times, a resilient employee can avoid burnout.
A further characteristic of resilient employees is that they are true to their real selves. They behave in ways that align with their personal beliefs and values. Essentially, they demonstrate grit in their determination to achieve their challenging and ambitious goals, whatever obstacles they encounter.
A gritty, resilient worker perceives their work as meaningful and, thanks to this mindset, they feel their work will achieve an outcome that is valuable. This equips them more effectively to cope when work is stressful.
Even with a resilient mindset, employees will experience stress at work. But, a key characteristic of such workers is that they monitor their thought patterns when under duress and identify the patterns that impede their chance of success.
Resilient workers are also adaptive and flexible, ready to cope with change in the workplace. So, how can you develop more resilience and grit in your working life?
Take a positive stance – this allows you to adapt more effectively to adversity, giving you more control over your working environment. Putting motivation and energy into your work will build personal resilience.
Having emotional insight – with emotional insight, you can be more aware of the emotions you’re experiencing, and whether they’re positive or negative. You’ll also be able to consider the impact of your behavior and reactions on yourself and others.
Developing balance – personal resilience is achieved through a healthy work/life balance. You need to take the time to recuperate, unwind and relax so you can bounce back from stress.
Fostering spirituality – finding purpose and meaning in your work and believing it contributes to a greater good buffer the negative effects of stress.
Becoming reflective – if you can be in tune with your emotional reactions and feelings, this helps to protect you from the negative effect of stress. An awareness of your potential triggers will allow you to prepare effectively and gather the necessary resources so you can bounce back in the face of adversity.
Importance of Resilience and Grit in Your Personal Life
Everyone experiences times in their lives when they face difficulties, issues and challenges. Friends often tell us to be strong and eventually we’ll get through it, but what does this really mean and how can it be achieved practically?
As we’ve already learned, resilience means having the ability to bounce back and adapt when something challenging happens in life. It involves picking yourself up after a painful experience or trauma and moving on after using it as a life lesson.
Your resiliency level will undoubtedly develop and change throughout your life. At times, you won’t cope well, and at others, you’ll surprise yourself at how well you’ve managed a challenging situation. Resilience is a psychological tool that we can implement to achieve emotional normality.
If you’re experiencing problems in your personal life, it can feel as if everything is becoming overwhelming. Relationship issues, illnesses, financial problems, housing difficulties… the list is a long one. When you encounter these problems, it’s hard to stay balanced and to swim against the tide. Recovering and regaining stability is impossible without grit and resilience.
Grit and resilience are key in your personal life for numerous reasons. It allows you to develop a protective mechanism against those experiences that can be overwhelming, while helping you to maintain more balance in your life in periods of stress and difficulty. They also protect your from developing mental health disorders.
Being resilient in your personal life helps you to achieve the following:
- It improves your academic achievement and learning
- It reduces your chance of becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol and reduces your risk-taking behaviors
- It increases your involvement in family and community activities
- It improves your physical well-being
Chapter 5: How Grit can be Cultivated in the Workplace
Think about a work environment where your failures were met enthusiastically and learned from. Picture an organization where teams tackle new challenges with enthusiasm and excitement, delivering projects well and in a timely manner over and over again. Now imagine a team that demands and craves feedback, being able to take criticism on board without negativity. This is the kind of workplace that demonstrates grit and resilience in practice.
However, if you’re in the workplace, how can you cultivate more grit and resilience so you can cope more effectively? If you’re leading a team, how can you foster these qualities in your workforce?
Personal Ways to Cultivate Grit at Work
We’ve already pointed out that grit is more important than knowledge or talent. We’ve also demonstrated that grit can be improved. So, how can you cultivate more grit in yourself when you’re in the workplace?
Here are some top tips:
- Pursue your passions. The passions we have are usually things we haven’t mastered yet, but that inspire us and drive us to improve. Passions involve adversity and challenges, but we find the process rewarding. When you’re in the workplace, you can’t necessarily choose your passions to pursue. This is why you need to seek for meaning in your work. When you believe your work is important and matters, you can find it more satisfying. Work on activities that you find exciting or make the activities you have to undertake exciting. People with grit don’t have a job, they have a vocation.
- Practice makes perfect. People with grit work hard for their success. Hard work develops skill, and we all know we’re more likely to persevere with the things that we’re good at. To achieve anything, whether that be improving your sales techniques, getting a promotion or completing a project on time, you’ll need to practice. Yes, it can be tedious, but it’ll always be worthwhile. After each task, you need to review how things went and what could be improved in future. Work on those weaknesses to boost your chances of success next time.
- Keep going. Keep pushing and sticking with things, even if you’re desperate to quit. Persevering makes you more gritty. If you believe you can improve things, that improvement will happen. Picture your goal whenever you want to quit. Find support or read an inspiring quote as a reminder you will prevail. Above all, remember that it’s normal to fail and make mistakes, and that failure is necessary for improvement.
- Give your work meaning. Tweak the way in which you look at your job. Rethink your responsibilities and reframe them in a more meaningful way so you feel fulfilled. Doing this will boost your performance and your job satisfaction. Don’t focus on promotions or bonuses. Instead, work out your clear purpose and vision, and set yourself ambitious goals. Most importantly, understand that your work is having a positive effect on other people.
- Trust yourself. Often, people facing setbacks give up. They believe they don’t have what it takes to succeed. However, changing that approach helps you build grit. It isn’t always easy to trust yourself and your own abilities, but it’s a skill you can learn. Ask yourself what you trust most about yourself. Ask your colleagues the same question. Then use the answers to reinforce your self-belief.
- Surround yourself with gritty individuals. We’re all influenced by people around us. If you socialize with other gritty people, you naturally develop more grit yourself.
Relentless Drive and Leadership
Grit in terms of leadership is your ability to focus on your goals and to work on them for extended periods whatever the competing interests or obstacles. Successful leaders aren’t just gritty themselves, but they can also instill that quality in their workforce. Leaders performing at the highest lev el push both themselves and their employees to push their boundaries, take more risks and face more challenges.
How can you show relentless drive through your leadership?
If you’re keen for your workforce to attempt new things and embrace risk, inspiring them is key. You need to share your own vision so their work develops more meaning and they feel like they have a shared purpose. Helping every team member to see the ways in which their specific goals and tasks drive your vision forward helps to bring them all a step nearer to achieving the goals.
Part of this involves setting high standards. Workers are usually keen to meet your expectations, and not to disappoint. This means setting the bar at a high level without it being too hard to reach is vital. You also need to ensure you’re holding yourself accountable too when it comes to meeting the standards you’ve set for your workers.
Once you’ve set out the standards for your team and defined your goals clearly, you should give your employees autonomy over defining how the tasks will be done. Don’t micromanage. Allow your workers to display their own commitment and ingenuity. Allow them to be free to experiment, to try new things and to think in different ways. If they succeed, recognize, reward and praise them. If they fail, encourage learning from their mistakes.
Creating a workplace culture that supports grit development means modelling this behavior to the workforce. Show them in practice how grit looks. That means embracing challenges yourself and taking risks.
Helping to Build a Strong and Relentless Team
With all of this in mind, how do you build a work team that is relentless and strong? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction:
- Establish a positive work environment. Creating a work environment in which your team feels safe and know that making improvements is just as vital as the final goal itself is essential.
- Set realistic expectations. It’s important to have ongoing dialogue with your team, instilling the concept that failure can be positive, and lessons can be learned from mistakes.
- Set stretching goals. If your team stays within its comfort zone, there’s a lack of creativity and innovation. Your team must be encouraged to identify its limits so you can then implement new goals to push them to exceed those boundaries.
- Monitor experiences. At regular intervals, you need to get team feedback so you can clearly understand their frustrations and pain points. Making yourself available to support them whenever necessary is key.
- Learning and reflection – reflecting and learning is part of the improvement process. Identify where positive learning can be made from failures and mistakes.
Chapter 6: Cultivating Grit in Practice
Now you know the importance of cultivating grit, but how do you actually go about doing this in person? Even with examples from real life of what grit looks like in practice, how do you put them into effect in your own daily existence? Here, we look at some top tips to help you cultivate more grit in your own life.
Know What you Want
Cultivating grit begins with knowing precisely what you want. If you are aware of what you desire and you can visualize that goal, you’ll inevitably work harder, persevering more so you can achieve it. Having a clear vision of the path ahead is vital. If the world can’t see your vision and even think you’re mad for seeing it, you need to keep your own vision of your goals stronger still, maintaining the grit to carry on despite the naysayers and negativity.
Know Your Why
Knowing your purpose doesn’t just fuel positivity, it also helps to drive grit in a major way. Knowing your why prevents obstacles from blocking your path, and when you have a purpose that is greater than the challenges you face, you’ll never give up.
Loving Your Choices
If you don’t love what you do, you can never excel. You’ll never find the motivation to overcome the challenges and persevere. On the other hand, if you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll never quit even if the rest of the world believes you should. You’ll carry on turning up day after day, putting in the extra work that it takes to succeed, and learn that your success will never be created through the opinions of others.
Embracing the Fear
A major component of having grit is being aware that failure is inevitable at some point on the way. However, you mustn’t allow that failure to stop you or define you. Failure is essential on any path towards success. It isn’t an enemy. Rather, it’s a growth partner that refines you not defines you. If you never failed at anything, you’d never be able to develop the necessary character to succeed. Grit means failing yet moving forward. Failure is an event and not a definition, so leave the past in the past and move onwards.
Ignoring the Critics
You shouldn’t want recognition for what you do, you should want to succeed for the sheer joy of it. All gritty people experience attacks, criticism and scrutiny. The key is to overlook the critics and ignore them. Expect criticism and don’t be surprised to encounter it, but don’t be swayed by it either. Accept it and move on. Know you have the resilience and grit to live with criticism and to carry on moving towards success.