In conversations with business leaders one trait most of them speak to is hiring people for their teams that have the GRIT to move through barriers and make progress everyday, even in the face of tremendous adversity. But where does GRIT come from, can it be created or brought out of people, and should it be a part of our organization’s culture?

First let’s look at the Oxford definition of GRIT: Courage and resolve; strength of character”

When you think about the four words that define GRIT why wouldn’t every organization be seeking out these characteristics when hiring new people, or developing the next leaders for their business?

Many of you have looked at competitors or organizations that you want to emulate within your own organization, but in your research how many times have you found the word GRIT as a key ingredient in how these organizations define their BRAND POSITION or their CULTURE and VALUES? Don’t we all want to work with and for organizations that have been built to withstand adversity?

We also seek out BRANDS that emulate the characteristic of having GRIT, particularly in areas of our lives where we demand durability, ruggedness, and quality to last a long time in demanding conditions.  

Think about Dodge Ram being “Built Ram Tough” or Jeep’s personality of being rugged: “The toughest vehicle in the world”. Or when we are seeking outdoor clothing and gear that is durable and resistant there is Arc’teryx which was founded in Vancouver in 1989 and has perfected hardcore tech apparel. Their gear is built for severe outdoor extremes and is “blizzard-ready”.  

Other well known brands that bring to life components of GRIT and ruggedness are: Harley Davidson, Columbia Sportswear, GoPro, Merrell Hiking Shoes, Carhartt, and Stihl power tools.

I see GRIT in leaders, organizations and brands as being a combination of resilience, perseverance, and determination.

As you age into your 50’s and beyond, GRIT may be your secret weapon as a leader. While the psychological factors like growth mind set and passion are waning, your mind’s accumulation of facts and knowledge is starting to peak. Also as you move into middle age research indicates that the combination of perseverance and determination is rising and peaks in your 70’s, as do a number of other intellectual traits.

Five Activities to Fuel Your GRIT:

1. Let’s start with exercise…

Physical activity is important in keeping the grey and white matter in your brain more functional. Most people who portray a high level of GRIT are also physically active and have felt the energy and confidence they receive after stringent exercise. Do you have a big meeting tomorrow that you want to bring your A game to?Have an energized workout the night before. This will help your cognitive ability as well as help you relieve stress and get a good night’s sleep. Try to get your heart rate up, challenge your body and mind for 30 to 45 minutes at least 4 to 5 days a week. Also, have the GRIT to be consistent with your physical activity, prioritize this in your day, and celebrate the feeling you have after your workout.

2. Take on the hardest thing you have to do today right now…

After deciding what you are planning to accomplish today, take the one thing that you dread doing or you know is going to be the most draining thing and complete this item first in the day. Bring GRIT and energy to the item and look to blow through it so you can get to the rest of your day.

3. Always look to challenge yourself…

We are living in a time of convenience and luxury and as a result our society is getting soft and looking for the easy way out. Every day look for opportunities to challenge yourself or put yourself in some discomfort or pain. Take the stairs versus the elevator, stand out in the cold while you fill your gas tank, dive in the lake first thing in the morning versus taking a warm shower, read a book versus listening to it, get up early versus sleeping in, call an old friend versus watching tv. Little things everyday can help you build the GRITTY mindset that will give you the strength and knowledge of knowing “You will get through this”.

4. Learn something new…

A great way to fire up your mental fortitude is to continually be curious and desire to learn a new skill. The more challenging the new skill the more reward you will receive. Start small with an activity that may also lead to positively impacting others areas or people in your life, such as learning to cook or repair something in your home.And once you’re ready for a bigger challenge perhaps learn a new language or how to play an instrument.

5. Give Back…

At a time where we can just sit around and order everything we need from Amazon or Skip the Dishes,more and more we need people to get off their couches to help others. Determine a cause that fits with your Purpose if you know what your Purpose is, or something that is connected with a value you have in your life and show up to pitch in. GRITTY people look outside of themselves and think about their communities and how they can make a difference. There are hundreds of reasons we are all too busy to help others but GRITTY people make this a priority and make the effort, even when they would rather chill out that evening or weekend.

Some of my time for the last 2 years has been supporting EO members and sponsors in the Okanagan by sitting on 2 chair positions: marketing and learning. With the crisis we have all been up against there are many times where I could have bowed out and not delivered for these business people in the Okanagan community, but my commitment and a little GRIT would not allow me to let these people down when they were also in need of connection and support.

My name is Rod Anderson and I help leaders build gritty brands that stand out and withstand competition and crisis. Contact me at 403-978-3332

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