When I think about how I want to raise my children, what values I want to instil in them, one word comes to mind: grit. What is grit? Grit is power to persevere over time. The power to push forward, no matter what obstacles are in your way to achieve your true potential. The unfortunate thing is that I don’t know if you can teach grit and even if you do, it might not have the same effect as the sharpness of fear or roughness of failure has on the system.
MacArthur genius grant winner Angela Duckworth is the author and researcher behind “Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance” and the Ted Talk that has been viewed over 16 million times. She is clear that grit is not talent or success, rather it is your persistence to hold steadfast to your goal over time.
Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx is the prototypical example of grit. During her interview on Lewis Howe’s podcast “The School of Greatness” (https://lewishowes.com/podcast/sara-blakely/)she describes her journey to creating Spanx, from knocking on dozens of manufacturers doors until one finally in her words “took pity” on her, to writing her own patent for the product Anyone could have cut the feet off pantyhose, but it was her years of persistence, of perseverance, of grit that has established the billion dollar company she owns today.
Similarly co-founder of Orange Theory Ellen Latham created a now billion dollar business in a market that is beyond saturated, ie the fitness industry. By capitalizing on her masters degree in Exercise Physiology as well as focusing on her strengths as a group fitness instructor and pilates instructor, she created a brand that is science backed, technology tracked and spreading like wild-fire across the world. She says in an interview with Tony Robbins (https://tonyrobbins.libsyn.com/from-home-business-to-billion-dollar-fitness-empire-orangetheory-fitness-meteoric-rise-to-the-top) that by focusing on her strengths after being laid off from her job in her late 40’s she turned a potential failure into a growth opportunity. She also used the mantra during her rise to the top that has stayed with her even until today- “Why not me?”
Perhaps the best way to teach our children grit, or at least attempt to, is to model it. To show them that no matter the obstacles that we face, whether they be physically or mentally, we can push forward.
So when I kiss my kids good night now I pray that they will be healthy and kind and happy but somewhere in that same breathe, I’ll will also pray that they have the resolve and “grit” to get through life’s challenges – one day at a time