How GRIT Makes the Difference Between Failure and Success

In 2007, I had the opportunity to change jobs. Changing jobs is in itself challenging, because you have to prove yourself in a new environment. The challenge was compounded by being in school pursuing a M.A. in Strategic Communication and Leadership at Seton Hall. The compounded challenges got even better; I was assigned a new project and a failed project. Both projects had demanding stakeholders with compressed timelines. It dawned on me that I was going to have long days ahead of me.

As the semester started, I felt the pressure because I was working nights and weekends. I struggled to keep up with the homework and papers that needed to be submitted each week. Some of my classmates contemplated quitting and I talked them out of it. Halfway through the semester, I hit the wall. Because of lack of sleep, I was unable to come up with anything to write. I suffered from writer’s block. The next three days were brutal as I continued to focus on leading my team to work on our deliverables. Each passing day, I fell further behind.

The thought of quitting finally entered my mind. By then I had 24 hours to turn in a paper, but I had not started it. I was running out of time; by 6 pm I was still in the office. I left late again that night just like every other night. I decided to think about why I had decided to go back to school. I focused on my desire to achieve the goal and decided to stay up all night until I completed the paper and turned it in. It was not my best work, but I’m proud of the fact that I pushed through amidst the challenges to get the job done.

Over the next 15 months, I continued to face the same challenges of juggling multiple priorities, but the one thing I learned is that people who push themselves to work hard when things seem impossible will eventually make progress and achieve their goals. Grit is the key to success. Grit is the ability to stay motivated when you’re failing. It is staying persistent and continuing to believe and continue your journey. It is believing that you can get it done.

How do we develop GRIT?

1) Believe in the purpose – hold the dream and let it motivate you

2) Stay motivated – use your purpose and let it guide you

3) Believe in yourself – trust that you have what it takes to get it done

4) Get back up and get back on the saddle – you will fall many times, but you don’t have to stay down. Be persistent and get up and dust yourself off. Get back on the saddle and get it done

5) Develop a growth mindset – My mentor John Maxwell taught me this four years ago. By developing a growth mindset, you can overcome a lot of challenges

6) Incremental improvement – Focus small improvements and a better version of yourself.

In the end, I was rewarded with a Masters Degree and my perspective changed forever. The program helped me to be a better leader. I learned the importance of GRIT and how it is important to anyone’s success.

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