Purpose: the multiplier that turns THE GRIND into TRUE GRIT for MEANINGFUL GROWTH

True Grit = Passion + Perseverance x PURPOSE

Purpose is the multiplier that makes hard work less of a grind.

COMPELLING SENSE OF PURPOSE is the catalytic element that is often missing from exhortations that we show more GRIT or find a GROWTH MINDSET.

PASSION and PERSEVERENCE can be very hard to maintain if you don’t have a clear sense of WHY it makes sense to push through discomfort, frustration or even boredom. It can be hard to maintain focus on growing your abilities if you don’t also have a compelling picture of what you stand to gain or create by growing them.

If you find yourself feeling that you can’t muster much grit or you can’t maintain your belief in your ability to grow, it may be time to take another look at how to connect what you are doing to a compelling sense of purpose. When you lack a compelling sense of purpose, almost anything can come to feel like a GRIND.

Grind and grit can both be useful, but we need to be careful not to conflate them since they are different in important ways. Grind dictates that you keep your head down and keep doing the same thing until you get it right (or at least done). Grit dictates that you pull your head up and keep trying different approaches that get you closer to your goal.

Gritty people do not grind it out so much as they refuse to give up. Grinding is something they do while they search for the right opportunities, and they frequently raise their heads to look around for those opportunities. They know that when their noses are down, their eyes are down too, and when their eyes are down, they might be missing some new development that could bring them closer to the place they are really trying to get to.

After one of those days when you feel like you knocked yourself out, but you’re not sure you made any headway, consider the possibility that you may have succumbed to the grind when what you really need is grit. Ask yourself:

– Do my objectives mean something to me?  Are they big enough to keep my attention and pull me along even when I stumble? Do they pop into my mind even when I have forgotten them in the course of the daily grind?

– Do I own my work or do I feel as though it is forced upon me? Could I reframe my goals and actions to make even the grind aspects of my current situation more meaningful?

– Do I regularly set aside time to focus on and take a few actions that will bring me closer to realizing the goals I really care about? Do I support this by grinding as necessary on other things that keep me going while I look for ways to reach my goal?

– Do I believe my important goals are possible, even if they seem like a pipedream to others?  Do I have a way to remind myself that I am getting closer to those goals, even when they still seem to be a million miles away?


– Do I pull my head up from the grindstone periodically to scan for opportunities that pop up along the way? 

– When I recognize a new opportunity, am I flexible enough to give up an old idea or approach so I can find out more about this new opportunity?

© Dana Cogan, 2024, all rights reserved.

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