To read the first piece in this two-part series on pursuing grit to become a better leader, click here.
Don’t wait for the opportunity. Create it.
The only way to achieve this is through practice.
I am talking about purposeful and deliberate practice.
Only then can we improve performance and efficiency and grow from past experience. The more we stick to it, the better we get.
Building your grit muscle
Deliberate practice means avoiding time on emails, on your smartphone or any mindless, wasteful activities that won’t get you to where you need to be.
If you speak to the most successful leaders, they have achieved because they have mastered deliberate practice.
They assess whether anything coming their way is the way forward, or if it will get them to their destiny. If it doesn’t, they are very comfortable with saying no. They have very strong boundaries.
Grit and mental toughness are like a muscle. Just like going to the gym, the more you exercise and do your resistance training, the more you build, grow and develop those muscles.
Now, I know this may all sound mundane to some. But if you want to master grit as a leadership attribute, then you have to do the hard work.
And the best way to do this is to turn it into a game. Make it fun. Enjoy the process.
Dopamine makes you addicted to seeking information
There is enough research and evidence out there that shows us how the more we celebrate our small wins, it releases and increases our neurochemicals such as dopamine.
These are feel-good emotions that drive the brain to want to achieve more, which helps us work harder towards our goals. They boost our motivation, inspiration and ambition.
The other incentive here is to find meaning, purpose and aspiration as to why you are doing what you are doing. In other words, get crystal clear on your ‘why’.
What’s your purpose? Why do you do what you do? How does it benefit the people around you?
The key to discovering this is to create personal vision and mission statements.
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible
Your vision is your ‘why’ you do what you do. It incorporates your values and your desired future state. It is your north star. Once you are firm on your ‘why’, it is much easier to build your mission statement as your path to your vision.
Your mission is your ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘how’ you do it.
For example, my mission statement is to help as many individuals like you to transform and create a vibrant, fulfilling life by tapping into their superpowers, finding the leader within and drawing on their greatest assets to bring out their fullest possible potential. It’s time we all stepped up and developed the mindset of a leader.
Everything I do is aligned to my mission statement.
Last but not least, surround yourself with grit leaders. The legend Jim Rohn says that we are the average of the five people we spend most time with.
As human beings, we are social creatures. Behaviour breeds behaviour. Neurons mirror neurons. We naturally start thinking, feeling and acting out what we surround ourselves with.
Take some time to evaluate your inner circle. Are you inspired by the close ones in your life? Do they believe in your potential, passion and power? Are they a reflection of the grit leader you aspire to become?
Grit means not taking ‘no’ as the answer
Putting it all together, define what grit or mental toughness means to you.
What if you:
- Delivered all of your projects two or three days ahead of time for the next four weeks?
- Coached your team by modeling true grit, embedding the learning through teaching?
- Communicate, connect and correspond with your ‘why’ every day for the next month?
What if you can go the extra mile?
A grit leader doesn’t just absorb information. They create the information. Instead of sitting there in silence, they communicate and lead by being their authentic self.
Mentally tough leaders don’t have to be more courageous, more talented or more intelligent. They just need to be more constant, dependable and persistent to achieve the triumph, glory and grandeur that their hearts desire as leaders.
Grit comes down to building daily habits. It’s about doing things on a consistent basis, committing to daily practice and sticking to a schedule. Yes, your calendar. The grit leader honors what is in their calendar. They do not deter from their plans.
All of these lead to overcoming roadblocks, confrontations and distractions on a daily basis. Grit leaders find a way to navigate the obstacles, challenges and setbacks with a strong purpose, a mission statement and a clear vision.
Then they take the learnings and map out what they would do differently next time. And as a result, they grow and succeed.
What if you were able to supercharge your leadership attributes with grit, grace and glory? What then could you accomplish?