I looked up the definition of grit recently and found these two definitions:
“courage and resolve; strength of character”
“firmness of character; indomitable spirit.”
Right now, a lot of people are struggling with different things like having to teach their own children without teaching experience, finding ways to produce income after being furloughed, not being able to see their loved ones or worse yet, watching loved ones struggle with a severe illness like COVID-19. So, why am I talking about grit? Because we need it!
I had been to a training years ago on resiliency and heard this term used. It’s a term I had heard when my dad would make us watch old Westerns on TV -- not something I had really thought of since then. It has however stuck with me because the more I teach and help people, the more I realize this is a key component for people to keep going during tough times.
So, how do we know if we have “grit” or how do we get it?
Well, chances are if you have grit these characteristics might resonate for you:
1. Agency. When you have agency, you are generally an active participant rather than someone who passively allows the rest of the world to make decisions for you. It means acting independently and making choices for yourself rather than procrastinating until the circumstances make the choice for you. Sometimes the choices you have are limited and when you have agency you will respond to the experience rather than react to it.
2. Focus. Focus on the things you can control and address the things you do need to attend to. For instance, I can control (and attend to) how I am interacting with people and I cannot control how people react to me. This can be difficult at times, especially when you think you “know” how someone else “should” act or what they “should” do.
3. Resolve. Increase your resolve. Think of it as digging deep to find that passion and strength to weather the storm while remaining flexible enough not to break. It reminds me of a tall birch tree slowing moving back and forth as the gusts of winds try to make it fall.
4. Patience. Find patience within yourself. Now, you might be thinking of patience as a noble characteristic or virtue. I am talking about the patience that comes in the form of being willing to endure the pain that can come with delaying instant gratification or implementing strategies to tolerate distressing situations.
5. Persistence. Be Persistent. Persistence is a fierce mindset of steadfastness, continuing forward when your brain is trying to tell you to slow down or stop. You can have persistence in external conditions, like trying to finish a marathon or in internal situations, like sitting with difficult emotions. Either way, persistence is staying the course until your goal is achieved.
If you have noticed, “I have difficulty in some of these areas,” don’t lose hope because I have a solution for you!
My new DBT course can help you to build up grit by attending to the areas that you have either never learned how to deal with or to re-establish a commitment to making them a priority. This particular course is faith-based, however anyone can apply these skills to their lives.