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Part 2: Stupid grit

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

In the past 18 months, our personal and professional lives have been completely altered.

For many, we are just now going back to working in an office, we’ve gotten into the swing of the school year, your social calendar is picking up, and you are back to the hustle (…or the grind?!)

Wow, we are resilient. (Resilience is the optimism to keep bouncing back from failure.)

And wow, we have grit!(Grit is our passion and perseverance towards reaching a long-term goal.)

Grit is awesome! But while grit is an amazing trait, imbalanced it can lead to what I call “Stupid Grit.” This month my clients in the membership are focusing on this topic because it’s so important.

I’ve introduced this concept before, but I’ll do it again as I’m seeing a lot of need for it lately.

I’m working with a lot of corporate clients and teams who feel completely overwhelmed and can’t prioritize. I’m working with many individual clients who are feeling Covid burn out from months (almost years!) of uncertainty.

Rather than address the lack of focus or ability to manage the stress...

We hang on, grinding it out as we and our teams feel overwhelmed and underproductive. Where individuals feel stuck, unable to cope with the smallest of stressors.

I’ll reintroduce you to "Stupid Grit," Grits ugly stepsister.

“When you drive forward to the detriment of yourself and others, I call that ‘stupid grit,’” explains best-selling author and positive psychology coach Caroline Adams Miller. “It’s what happens when athletes play through pain and ruin their careers. It occurs in workplaces when people become too rigid around ideas or practices and fail to pivot when the market changes. In mountaineering, it’s called summit fever. In scuba diving, it’s called the rapture of the deep.”

Our culture rewards us for accomplishments but not how we get there. As a result, many of us exhaust all resources at all costs to complete things.

As you may have heard, last year I published my book “Out of the Grind and Into the Flow.” It took me four years.

F-O-U-R years.

When I was done, my Dad asked a question that illustrates the majority of our culture. He asked, “how many books do you think you’ll sell?”

I can honestly tell you (as many authors can) I did not write the book because I thought I would sell a ton of copies. I wrote it simply because I had so much fun doing it.

I enjoyed the process.

…And it was also hard work.

Similarly, when I ran marathons, people would immediately ask “what was your time?” Not “did you have fun?” or “how do you feel?”

How many times do we accomplish things and get asked, "what was the result?" Why don’t we ask "did you have fun?" or “was it worth what you had to sacrifice to make it happen?”

So how can we tell the difference between Stupid Grit and Grit?

How do we stay balanced?

I call it the Puppy Test.

If you’ve ever had a puppy (kitten, baby, or something that you’ve loved that’s been hard work) – you know that there will be periods of hard work, but we do it because it truly feeds you back. It nourishes you more than what you put into it or its growth-related stress (where you grow from the challenge).

And so as we start to emerge into a faster pace and maybe even return to pre-covid times, I ask you to pause.

P A U S E.

To check in and ask yourself "is this work, effort and sacrifice is actually nourishing me back?""Am I growing?". Or is this stupid grit where you’ve become too rigid, inflexible, or focused the outcome (even if it doesn’t serve you)?

After you've answered this question, carefully discern.

For any high performer out there, the science shows that it takes authentic grit, not stupid grit, to go from doing things to getting things done.

For all of those teams out there who feel overwhelmed and underproductive to all of those individuals who feel stuck- let’s get present and use the puppy test (as silly as it sounds).

Let’s banish burnout by learning how we can put our energy toward meaningful and fruitful goals instead of stupid grit.

Feel like you or your organization are running on stupid grit and need some extra support? Reach out for a FREE 30-minute coaching call. I work with both 1:1 and corporate clients to help increase performance and wellbeing through my proven Performance-Based Mindfulness methodology.


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