By Dee Allan
Do you want to know the real reason why you may not have achieved your goals? The truth lies within a four-letter word called ‘grit’.
‘Grit’ researcher, Angela Duckworth, made some headway in understanding the meaning of the word in the work context. She explains in her revered TED Talk, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, that both elements need to be present for anyone to be ‘gritty’, and that grit was also a more significant indicator of success than say, talent, for example.
If we are able to become ‘grittier’, we are more likely to not only get our ideas off the ground, but to stick to them for the long-term.
While there is further research to be done to understand grit and, specifically, how we can learn it, I have spent some time trying to build my own grit muscle by investing in personal development and setting up multiple businesses. During the last 18 years, I have interviewed and coached thousands of candidates and met with hundreds of corporate clients, and this has led me to conclude that there are four major personas that make up grit. Gritty people have a healthy relationship with these four particular personas, whom they consciously or subconsciously ‘call upon’ to help them achieve their goals.
Meet the Sage, Wizard, Warrior and Robot
Our inner sage is responsible for our mindset and setting goals we are passionate about. The sage’s job is to keep our thoughts in check. For our thoughts lead to feelings, which leads to emotions, which become the basis of our actions, which are not always for the better. The sage is our inner mentor. We must have a healthy relationship with our sage, and must check in with them daily. When we don’t have a kind and loving relationship with ourselves, our clarity is not there. Hence cultivating selflove, self-care and balance is critical. For then we can really begin to design how we want our future to look. This enables us to set goals we can become aligned with and passionate about.
Our inner robot is responsible for taking persistent actions. They allocate time to actions, ensure we are managing our productivity and efficiency levels and not getting distracted. They keep showing up and doing the routine, mundane and/or priority macro and micro tasks, no matter what. They are our time-keepers.
Our inner warrior is responsible for being resilient and persevering in spite of it all. They house our ‘fighting spirit’. Our warrior helps us go the extra mile when we feel we can go no further. They are our strength.
Our inner wizard is our resourceful energy. They are creative, they find a way. They tap into solutions and make the best of what we have. Our wizard will direct us to finding answers, people, resources and ideas that can help move the needle for us. They are our inner troubleshooters, strategist and source of ideas.
THE GRIT TEST
For those who possess grit, the above personas show up when needed to get the job done. Sometimes, a particular persona is required, other times all four need to show up.
If you are wondering why you have ‘failed’, quit a task, or given up on yourself, then ask yourself if you have met your inner sage, warrior, wizard or robot yet. They each exist in each of us, it’s just we don’t have equal relationships with all of them. Indeed, we have preferences and natural strengths with some of the personas. Often one of these personas is dominant within us. The good news is, that we can strengthen all of them once we know the techniques to awaken them.
Indeed, you can learn how to apply the grit test to all your past failed pursuits and you will see that there was a fundamental flaw with your relationship with your sage, warrior, wizard or robot, that ended up resulting in the breakdown of your pursuit.
THE GRIT HIT TEAM
To really self-assess how ‘gritty’ you are about your goals, ask yourself who shows up the most for you. Is it the sage, the warrior, the wizard, or the robot?
Which persona is missing from your grit-hit team? Therein lies a major clue on which persona you need to spend more time strengthening. Once you understand which of the four personas is ‘weak’, you can source mentors, tools and techniques to strengthen that particular persona.
If you feel less than inspired by your goals and dreams, then that’s a huge indicator that you may need to go back to discovering your ‘Why?’. Why do you want what you want? Why is that goal important to you? Why should you invest your energy and time on that particular goal?
As Simon Sinek says, starting with your ‘Why?’ is critical to really understand if you’re truly passionate with your reasons behind wanting to do something. If your ‘Why?’ is weak, you will likely not complete the task. So, spend some time with yourself to get crystal clear on what your goals are, and why they are important to you. Then you can move onto assembling your sage, warrior, wizard and robot grit team.