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Corporate Culture

Getting Gritty

Travis Dent
Travis Dent
Sr. Vice President, Employee Benefits

A lot has happened in the last year and a half. While it’s fair to say that with a period of 19 months at any given time in someone’s life a lot would happen, this particular run has been exceptional.

During the last 19 months, we’ve seen the world change, we’ve seen our routines change, and for many of us, we’ve had dynamic change in both our personal and professional lives. While I’ve often heard the Heraclitus saying that “The only constant in life is change,” I’d say even he would be surprised with the clip of the current shift in the world.

Recognizing that as a backdrop for so many, Holmes Murphy hosted a series recently with Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, a speaker and author of the book “Beyond Grit” to engage with our sales team on how to harness and understand all they’ve learned through this period. While virtual, it was a rewarding 1.5 hours listening to Dr. Kamphoff intertwine stories about her time helping professional athletes and corporate executives, alike, with mental fortitude, as well as sharing stories of developing grit within her own life and family.

Definition of Grit

To understand the session, I thought I’d start with a definition of grit, finding two that I liked. First, I went for the gold standard with the “Merriam-Webster Dictionary” which describes grit as “mental toughness and courage.” It’s short and to the point, but I actually found myself preferring Wikipedia’s definition of grit as a personality trait stating that “in psychology, grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective).”

Linking the two definitions, I chose the common theme of mental toughness and perseverance. Wherever your walk has taken you in the last 19 months, perseverance has played a role. Your path has most likely changed from what you thought it might be, but it always does. The moves have possibly seemed more extreme during this time, but with the movement has come growth and purposeful change.

Developing Your Grit

Applying lessons learned along with the concept from Dr. Kamphoff’s session, I wanted to share her 5 ways to develop your grit:

  1. Grit STARTS with understanding what you really, really, really want both long-term and short-term.
  2. Grit is POWERED by purpose and owning it each day.
  3. Grit is FUELED by empowering emotions such as optimism, hope, confidence, and gratitude.
  4. Grit is IGNITED by an unwavering commitment to powerful self-talk.
  5. Grit is POWERED by compassion and forgiveness with yourself and others.

A simple word with a strong message to encourage commitment, compassion, concern, purpose, and tenacity along the way.

Applying Grit to Your Life

In thinking of all that we’ve learned in both 2020 and 2021 and with an eye on a rapidly approaching new year, I am struck by one additional comment from Dr. Kamphoff. At the end of her session she said, “What if everything happened for you and not to you?!”

What if we look at all that has happened in our lives, and certainly this most recent stretch, as something to make us better people, better leaders, better friends, and simply better at all the things we do and the people we are? What if, through all of this, we’ve become grittier?

While change is hard and the last few years have left an indelible mark, what has happened for us has made us better and, without a doubt, made us grittier!

Enjoy your grit, embrace your grit, and grow your grit…you’ve earned it!

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