The term “grit” is in the news at present.
If you didn’t already know this, “Grit” is the term coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth to describe a quality that research has shown to be a key predictor of success in life. In her recently released book of the same title (A), Duckworth elaborates on just how powerful the combination of passion + perseverance is, and how it can be developed intentionally.
What does this have to do with my post today?
I’ve been intrigued by this topic for some time, in a somewhat abstract way. As a mom, I want my teenage kid to have grit. As a physician coach and business owner, I like to imagine I’ve shown some grit in my lifetime but have told myself I no longer need to embody as much grit as I’m over the hump. Hah!
Last night, as I was completing my 63rd day in a row of relearning French with the marvelous Duolingo, and pumping the air when I was rewarded with a badge indicating I was 43% fluent, I was hit by the realization that this IS grit in action. I set a goal a few months ago of reviving my high school French by doing at least 10 minutes of Duolingo a day (passion) … and have been able to stick with the challenge with some ease (perseverance).
What have I learned that I can share with you as you set your goals?
- set the goal that is most meaningful to you at present – physician leadership skills enhancement? Physician business success? Physician career change?
- break its achievement into the smallest steps possible – map those out using a tool like Trello or a mindmap
- work the steps day after day or week after week
- find a way to be held accountable (a buddy, an app) – be sure to get regular feedback (Duolingo sends me encouraging emails, and shows me my streak each day)
- keep at it! And keep at it even more.
By the way, as my next step to French fluency, I am now reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” … 2 pages a day … in French. I should be done with the book in a year!
Au revoir, mes amis.
I am so bummed that on the 98th day, I broke my streak. So, persistently and with grit in mind, I started back up right away! I’m now on day 9 again, and determine to go past 100 days. Wish me luck!