From Setbacks To Comebacks Using Grit
…you'll need all 6 types of grit too!
This week I’m breaking down the 6 types of grit and how they can be applied to help you win your finite and infinite games.
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“Who are we? #teamGRIT!” was my sales team’s battle cry when I was a District Manager. 😤
I was 22 years old and had a sales force of mostly high school and college students where we sold a premium USA-made product. 🇺🇸
A big part of sales is having the mental fortitude to handle all of the objections that come with the gig. And being that we had a premium product that basically sold itself, my main job was to teach my reps to sell themselves and improve their grit.
One strategy I implemented was using a TED talk video during the interview process. After I did my presentation, and while the applicants completed their applications, I would play the video to set the tone and culture to what the team was about.
The TED speaker is psychologist, Angela Duckworth, someone I actually study today with peak performance and featured in my book.
This had to be something very important if I used it for one of the first impressions in possibly joining the sales organization.
But grit was something very important in my role as a high school basketball player.
See I was 5’5 and played for a 6A powerhouse program in Alabama. Of course, my height forced me to play point guard, but my grittiness and toughest helped me excel at the position and on the team.
Grit helped me on the basketball team, helped me run my sales team, and helps me today while facing adversity in the infinite game of life.
It’s been over 10 years since I navigated through my life after sports transition and got started in sales.
Since then, much scientific and medical research has been done to look inside the brain and tell us what exactly is going on during these gritty moments.
Let’s take a look at some of the findings and see how you can implement them today.
From Setbacks To Comebacks Using Grit
“No pressure, no diamonds.”
Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said this three hundred years ago. It was true then. It’s still true now.
In peak performance terms, a “setback” is simply your skillset falling short of the challenge presented in the challenge/skill ratio, the flow trigger of all flow triggers.
This is great feedback because if we know how the setbacks happen, then we know how to respond to them versus react to them.
But before we can improve the skill that pertains to the specific challenge, we need to improve the skill of grit to “recover” from the setback.
The term is thrown around a lot so let’s break it down and discover how it alone can provide you with a toolkit of skills in the face of adversity.
6️⃣ Types of Grit
Grit is motivation writ large—not just the energy it takes to push through a difficult task but the energy needed to push through years of difficult tasks. Without the ability to tough out the hard times, you’ll rarely get anywhere worth going.
Think of it this way: intrinsic motivation (flow) launches you down the path of peak performance, proper goal setting helps define that path, and grit is what keeps you keeping on despite the odds and obstacles.
When psychologists describe grit, they often lean on Angela Duckworth’s definition of the trait: “the intersection of passion and perseverance.”
When neuroscientists talk about grit, their discussion focuses on the prefrontal cortex, or the part of the brain that sits right behind the forehead. The prefrontal cortex controls most of our higher cognitive functions, including both “goal-directed behavior” and “self-regulation.”
The term “goal-directed behavior” covers all the different actions required to accomplish one’s goals.
Self-regulation sits downstream from here. It’s how we feel and what we do with those feelings on our way to accomplishing those goals. In other words, self-regulation is both the ability to control our emotions and the ability to persist through challenging, strenuous tasks—what many sports coaches mean when they refer to discipline.
For sustained high performance and high achievement, you’ll need all six types of grit that peak performers regularly work to improve.
1️⃣The Grit To Persevere
Duckworth believes that “All high achievers are paragons of perseverance.”
Perseverance is the most familiar version of grit. It’s day-to-day steadfastness. the kind of persistence that lets you tough it out no matter the circumstances. Kick me in the teeth or sing my praises, doesn’t matter, I’ll still be here.
Three skills that matter here are: willpower, mindset, and passion.
2️⃣The Grit To Control Your Thoughts
If you’re interested in being your best, your inner monologue needs to support the best you want to be. In fact, when it comes to sustained performance, because doubt and disappointment are constant companions, controlling your thoughts is often the ball game.
Three skills that matter here are: self-talk. gratitude, and mindfulness.
3️⃣The Grit To Master Fear
Every successful person I’ve met is running from something just as fast as they’re running toward something. Why? Fear is a fantastic motivator. Which is why learning to treat fear as a challenge to rise toward rather than a threat to be avoided can make such a profound difference in our lives.
This approach takes our primal drive, the need for safety and security, and gets it to work for our benefit.
4️⃣The Grit To Be Your Best When You’re At Your Worst
Josh Waitzkin, a peak performance polymath, believes that perseverance, thought control and fear mastery are critical for long-term performance, he believes there’s an even more important differentiator.
“The grit that matters most,” he says, “is learning to be your best when you’re at your worst. This is really the difference between elite-level performers and everyone else. and you have to train this kind of grit on its own, as a separate skill. But, if you can do this, what you discover is real power. There’s real power there—and it’s power you probably didn’t know you had.”
5️⃣The Grit To Train Your Weaknesses
The kind of grit that results from training to be at your best when you’re at your worst ensures that when those conditions show up in the real world, you’ve got the prior experience to control fear, maintain focus, and utilize your skills to the utmost. But this is only the first half of the equation.
The second half involves training your weakness, Even if you practice being your best when you’re at your worst, there will always be a few weak links in the chain. And these potential fail points become actual fail points once the pressure gets turned up
6️⃣The Grit To Recover
There’s a dark side to all this grit: exhaustion and overwhelm.
Burnout isn’t just extreme stress; it’s peak performance gone off the rails. Burnout is identified by three symptoms: exhaustion, depression, and cynicism.
It is the by-product of repeated and prolonged stress. Not the result of working long hours, but rather the result of working long hours under specific conditions: high risk, a lack of sense of control, a misalignment of passion and purpose, and long and uncertain gaps between effort and reward.
Unfortunately, these are all conditions that arise during our pursuit of high, hard goals.
This is why it’s time to get gritty about recovery.
Setbacks aren’t the end of the world.
They are opportunities to make a comeback.
And in peak performance terms, they are challenges stacked upon each other to force you to rise to the occasion and use the habit of ferocity to lean into the face of adversity.
But, unfortunately, our skills don’t rise to the level of our expectations, they fall to our level of training.
Being gritty isn’t a switch we flip on, it’s a skill we consistently hone.
You needed it as a kid navigating a new world.
You need it now to navigate a new environment like school or the workplace.
And you’re definitely going to need it to be a peak performer and play the infinite game of life.
Hope this added the fuel to ferociously launch your week! ♾️🔥🚀
See you next Monday! 😎
And when it comes to the infinite game of life…
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