I’ve been thinking a lot lately about grit. It’s such an undervalued quality. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, grit is the meeting point between passion and perseverance.
You can watch this incredible TED talk about grit here.
Gritty people stay the distance. Grit helps us keep going when we’re tired, frustrated or scared. For that moment when all seems lost, or that obstacle seems too great.
Grit is what we need when we’re getting outside our comfort zone.
This year I’ve challenged myself to live more fearlessly; to get out of my comfort zone frequently, and do things that scare me personally or professionally. While this might be a bit of a different piece of advice from me – I think it applies a hell of a lot to the work people like you do every day.
I really put my grit to the test this last year. I decided to do something that scared me – learning to ride a motorbike.
I started lessons in January 2017. My first few weeks was knee-shaking, white-knuckle experience. I was quietly terrified. When I finished my first lesson, the instructor told me at least I was better than the last girl he taught, who lost control and rode into a fence. Points for me then.
Despite the less than stellar start, I stuck with it. I eventually got out on a main road in traffic, found 5th gear, and even approached 80km/h. Now, I felt like I was flying. The feeling of freedom was truly incredible.
Then I decided I was ready to get my licence. I won’t bore you with the details, but my newfound super confidence was crushed – I failed. I picked myself up, and went again. I failed again.
Fitting in tests around running a growth business, being a mum of a 5-year-old, and generally having a life wasn’t easy. I had gaps when I couldn’t ride, gaps when I travelled. But I kept trying.
I’m not proud to say I failed five times over six months, but I am proud to say no matter how dreadful it felt, how much I felt like a failure, I kept going back. Each time I failed I learnt something new. Something that would keep me safe on the road. Make me a better driver. Make me a better person. Grittier.
I kept trying new things. I borrowed a friend’s 50cc scooter, to get more used to riding in traffic. I watched online videos. I did lessons. And more lessons. Lastly, I decided to take my test at a different centre, just to have a psychological change of area.
I’m proud to say that last week I passed with flying colours. I put myself a LONG way out of my comfort zone, pushed through the fear, and now have discovered something that I genuinely love to do.
So here I am. A licensed motorbike rider, with grit.
Now I want you to ask yourself. What are you too afraid to do? What could you achieve with a little bit of extra grit? I hope my story has inspired you, even just a little bit, to picture something you want to achieve – and keep working until you get there. Believe me, it’s worth it.