Essential Skill Overview: Grit

Get your grit on to push through challenges.


Perseverance, tenacity, doing the hard things. It's also called grit. Has a nice ring to it, huh? It kind of brings up visions of John Wayne after a hard day's work. Simply put, grit is about persevering. Being tenacious, never giving up. You've heard the saying, when the going get tough, the tough get going. But that's not the whole picture. You see, being tougher only gets you so far.

There's a difference between slogging through the mud with your head hung low, and really persevering. And that difference is your purpose, your why behind the effort. Have you ever done something really, really hard? What kept you going? What kept you from quitting? I'm guessing it wasn't because you just love the pain of the harder road. No, you had grit because you had your eye on the prize, a worthwhile reason to keep persevering.

Mountain climbers, they don't climb the mountain because they love the severe cold and the aching legs. No, they do it for the end result, the view, the conquest, the sense of accomplishment, the knowledge they did what few others have ever done. And do they get tired? Want to give up? Sometimes even fail? You bet. But their purpose sustains, produces, you could even say inspires, their grit.

They know that failure is not a permanent condition. The brain grows during challenges. In strength, it perseveres. So the next time you're tired, feeling worn out, ready to throw in the towel, stop and ask yourself the why. The purpose, the passion, the reason for your grit. And then get back up, look at the prize, and ask yourself, is this worth my sweat? And if it is, then go after it with that grit filled stride, knowing that this truly is an essential skill.