How to Have Grit When You Want to Quit
Grit matters when quitting is easier than pressing forward.
Perseverance isn’t grit until you want to quit. But what keeps you going when the path is steep?
Grit isn’t grit until quitting is easier than pressing forward. In other words, grit comes into play AFTER you feel like quitting, not before.
Grit isn’t exemption from the desire to quit.
Grit doesn’t make difficulty easy.
Grit is more valuable than talent or intelligence.
Who do you want on your team, an average person with grit or top talent that quits? Average talent with grit is better than top talent that gives up easily.
We all know smart failures and talented under-performers. But grit makes average Joe exceptional.
(Assess your grit with this 10 question assessment.)
#1. Grit is about others.
Grit comes FROM those around us.
Don’t expect others to step up for you, if you step down when things get tough.
My dad was the grittiest person I have ever known. Thankfully, there’s a little of him in me. When the soldiers beside you face adversity with grit, you find grit in yourself.
Grit comes from serving those you love.
You might not feel like going to work this morning, but you do it for your family.
Grit comes from the desire for respect and admiration.
The fear of disrespect keeps you going. What will your team think of you if you quit?
#2. Grit comes from joy.
Joy pulls you forward.
Forget about being present when you want to quit. Look toward future benefit instead.
Joy is about love.
Focus on the thing you love more than the thing you want to avoid.
You might not enjoy paperwork, but if it enables you to serve patients, then get it done.
Joy moves you from average to exceptional.
What keeps you going when quitting is easier than pressing forward?
How might leaders build gritty teams?
The Editor of Forbes on Grit (Leadership Freak)
4 Signs you have Grit (Time)
How does a leader nurture team members with grit? At some point that grit gets ground down. Case in point: I’ve been working on an improvement project for 3 years where departments acknowledge it’s needed, but no one wants to help. I’ve pushed and pushed, but the support I need from my supervisor is nonexistent. I consider myself pretty gritty, but I’m about out of energy. I’d rather apply that grit to things that are appreciated rather than to those that aren’t, even when I know it’s needed.
“Grit comes from desire for respect and admiration” I would also add that grit comes from the desire to do what is right. Right for the company, right for the customer, right for the department.
Ironically enough Dan, you always seem to have a subject matter for your blog that directly speaks to something affecting me currently! How do you do it?!? 🙂
Championing change is often a lonely endeavor. If the change is needed, persevere. The recognition and appreciation will come at the end. I say this at the end of a 4.5 year project resulting in a cultural shift within our agency.
Press the managers hard to get the right resources to support you. As change agents don’t often have authority over the resources, they must become adept at managing the managers. And, it can be helpful to let the resources know that you’ll work with the manager to set priorities. This technique, used sparingly and in a non-vindictive manner, can work wonders. You’ll make it!
You two are so spot on. I have found myself taking on thing that “I” felt needed changed without managements agreement. That often has not work. I find that I need at least permission to take on change for at least the big things. It also helps to get buy in from those who will be effected by this change.
Wow Dan! This post could not have come at a better time. Sometimes work can be overwhelming and this was a good reminder not to feel sorry for myself and to keep focus on the future and what is important. If things are tough now they will get better-if things aren’t tough now-they will be. Thanks for this timely post.
I was demoted without any cause or reason. I took my lumps and stuck it out. I did not want to let my manager at the time ‘beat’ me. I did not want my coworkers to lose hope, and I did not want to let them down. I stuck it out, and was promoted to a different department and beat out 11 other people for my new position. My new manager told me that part of the deciding factors was the ‘grit’ I showed in the situation I found myself and powering through.
I think that in the rush to hold up grit as the absolute #1 most important, most desirable trait, we forget the words of Don Schlitz, as made famous by Kenny Rogers:
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.”
Determination and grit shouldn’t be a substitute for common sense and self-preservation.
Grit and motivation are influenced by the way you frame the work. If the importance of what you are doing outweighs the difficulties of getting it done, your motivation increases.
Keeping your eyes of the prize, keeps you going.
Sometimes rest and a change of scenery helps me re-energize when I return to the task.
Grit works for a lever/leverage, yet mucks up gears/mechanics.
Be careful of which situation you are in as you practice it; the latter leads to getting quickly cleaned out and re-lubricated.
Amazing that this showed up in my mailbox this morning, just as I was getting super frustrated with everything going wrong, and with no fix in sight. Thank you!
On any given day I can look up in the sky and see an airplane. If someone can one day see a gadget flying through the sky and make it happen. Then, surely I have the will power to manifest my dreams into reality.
What an excellent and important distinction, thank you, Dan! Will be thinking on, sharing, and hopefully discussing each of these points much in the coming weeks!
Timely, Thank you. I woke up yesterday and recalled something my dad told me when I was young and determined. He said “Anna, you have never been a quitter”. 10 sessions to go. Ready to get this done. Ann
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Thanks!😄 Awesome article and every word awe-inspiring for what I’m dealing with as I launch my tech idea which is a Multicultural Green(Eco-friendly) Social Network. Again thanks because I got Grit.
What keeps you going when quitting is easier than pressing forward?
For some leaders, moving the proverbial ball forward is the only choice they have. To ensure their job/careers, success of the company, etc. But for me, it is part satisfaction and part completion of a task. The satisfaction part, as you mentioned “the joy”, keeps me focused. That feeling of having completed a task or accomplished something not previously done creates momentum that can be used to start a new task or set of tasks that can have a bigger return on investment.
Just being able to mark off a task from the to-do list lifts the burden from my shoulders. Until that task is complete, I stress about it all the time. With the constant self-nagging, I have to keep working to complete the task. Also, in reverse, if I don’t have a team member willing to give the same effort, then I can become worn out over time. If the support isn’t there, then it begins to feel like I’m just spinning my wheels for nothing.
How might teams build gritty teams?
That is a good question. I don’t think I’ve been in leadership long enough to answer that with much certainty. But I can say that when I worked with entry level staff and mentored them, they seen how I handled the workload. I’ve noticed a few of them take my advice/example tend to grit it out to complete their task. For those who are a little more seasoned, well that is where I could use some advice.
I don’t think that people quit because quitting is easier. I think people persevere because the negative consequences for quitting are more extreme. In order to build a gritty team a leader needs to illuminate the benefits of grit against the consequences of timidity. I think quitters (mostly) arise from ignorance. Most people have goals in mind of things they wish to accomplish and usually start out positively about getting those goals accomplished. Whatever tribulations they may encounter on the way might persuade them to falter, but is more of the negative influences that cause the falter or a fading memory of what was once initially thought of as the positive outcome? Take following health and safety rules for example. People do not perform a task thinking that it would be easier to just give up and hurt themselves. In the moment it seems easier to bypass a safety rule because in that moment consequences appeared to be in favor of that decision. We, as leaders, to continually reiterate the more extreme consequences for violating safety rules to create barriers that make choosing the unfavorable position seems more difficult. Grit comes from knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel that is greater than any flickering light behind you.