Grit can seem like a gift some people are naturally born with, yet there are effective ways to develop it, in life and at work. Grit can look like the ability to stay cool under pressure, dedication to a long term goal, or simply a gut-busting work ethic.
The good news is this resilience is not unachievable to those struggling to cope with work. Beyond simply being resilient these tips for developing grit will ensure that rather than bouncing back repeatedly you begin to jump hurdles as you head towards your goals.
Overcome the ‘Finish Line Effect’
If you’ve ever run in a race, you may have noticed that no matter how hard you try to run those last ten metres, your body will begin to slow you down as you prepare for the end. Slowing down could be the difference between first and second, last and second-last or simply reaching a new personal best. The finish line effect is the understanding that as humans reach 70-80% of their goal, we begin to prepare for the end.
Companies can find this incredibly frustrating and costly as what once appeared to be a routine year slowly dissipates into missed targets. It’s important to acknowledge and combat the Finish Line Effect to ensure you or your business no longer fall short of your mark.
Two tips for overcoming the Finish Line Effect:
- Set bigger long-term goals – try setting the 80% mark at a level you are happy with even when if you don’t reach 100%, and you are still left with a pleasing outcome.
- Supplement with short term goals – have people work in smaller blocks to make the finish line seem easier to break through than it will at the end of a larger chunk of work.
Work your Passion
The easiest way to find your grit is by passionately completing as much work as you possibly can, thus reducing the chore-like nature of the task. Taking this approach will exponentially increase your development, productivity and overall enjoyment.
If you are not currently in your dream job or find yourself stuck in a field that you’re less passionate about then view this time in your life as a stepping stone. Develop your grit and slowly but surely strive towards that dream job by bringing everything you have to nail your current one.
Taking the positives from the negatives
It’s now common knowledge that we learn from our mistakes. What isn’t said quite as often is that there is a difference between passive and active learners. People with grit understand the value of mistakes and will fail again and again but keep coming back with innovations and improvements.
If you strive to be someone with grit, a band-aid approach isn’t an option for you. Instead, its back to the drawing board to analyse mistakes before rebuilding something better. Ensure you schedule yourself ample time for this evaluation, and you are sure to raise your grit in the process.
Be the right kind of optimist
We can easily fall into the trap of simply sitting around and hoping for things to get better. This form of optimism relies on everything external to one’s self. A gritty person understands that if you want something done, then you go out and make it happen. Look down the end of the tunnel when things go wrong and install a belief in yourself that you will get there. Make decisions to control what you can. Ensure you eat well, exercise and apply 100% of yourself to the task at hand.
Tips for gritty optimism:
- Get good support from people around you – people often believe that it’s weak to ask for help. Gritty people understand when constructive and supportive networks exist around you, all your goals feel far more achievable. Good networks could include close friends, mentors or coaches.
- Know how to set goals – while gritty people are known for their ability to test limits, they are also aware of the edge of those limits. Set goals that are achievable and measurable, with time parameters. Such a format allows for self-assessment if things go wrong, for corrections, and for setting a new optimistic goal with greater wisdom.
In the 21st century workplace, grit is a development too valuable to ignore. It’s important you start finding effective ways of becoming a ‘grittier you’ at work.
Improving this will equip you to work towards successfully achieving long-term goals. When you possess grit, you understand that it is never too late to give your all or try a new strategy.