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VOL. 130 | NO. 95 | Friday, May 15, 2015

Angela Copeland

The Power of Grit

ANGELA COPELAND | Special to The Daily News

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This NBA basketball season has been an exciting one for the Memphis Grizzlies. If nothing else, Mike Conley’s recent injury and subsequent return to the game has demonstrated that the Grizzlies, and the city of Memphis, have some serious grit.

Grit is defined as having perseverance and passion for long-term goals. A gritty person is able to stay the course in the face of adversity and setbacks, often not requiring much outside positive encouragement. They find the strength from within.

The concepts behind grit have been around for years. But, in 2013, educator and researcher Angela Lee Duckworth got the world talking when she introduced the idea of grit during a moving TED Talk. She became interested in grit when as a teacher, she noticed that it was often not her most intelligent students who were doing the best in her class. It was the grittiest.

In fact, when it comes to careers, much of our success also is determined by how gritty we are. Those who possess grit have the ability to set and maintain very long-term goals. Rather than being defeated by failure, they learn from it and keep moving. Gritty people don’t give up.

Grit is an incredibly powerful idea because it means that being the smartest isn’t always what will take you to the top. Many times, it’s your ability to persevere. On her University of Pennsylvania website, Angela Duckworth writes, “The…reasoning suggests that grit may be as essential as IQ to high achievement. In particular, grit, more than self-control or conscientiousness, may set apart the exceptional individuals who…made the maximum use of their abilities.”

In my own career coaching practice, I’ve also observed this to be true. Those who keep moving through rejections find a job more quickly than those who become discouraged and give up. It also seems that those who have overcome obstacles early in life are less deterred than those who’ve had things go smoothly. They’re prepared with how to overcome difficult situations, and are less upset by them. They move through the tough times and realize things will improve.

You may be wondering how you can increase your own grit. First, try to pursue things that interest you. You’re more likely to care about them. Then, practice, practice, refine your approach, and practice more. Don’t let failure stop you; it’s normal. Learn from it and keep moving. And, most of all, stay committed to your goals. Avoid becoming distracted by the shiny object syndrome.

In addition to the grit shown by the Grizzlies, Memphis is itself a gritty community. Memphians are creative and incredibly entrepreneurial. You can see it in our history of cutting-edge music that pushed boundaries, and today in the growing startup community. Just look at the businesses forming at Emerge Memphis, Memphis Bioworks, and the EPIcenter – not to mention educational technology programs like Black Girls Code.

As you can see, there’s more than one reason the Bluff City is known for its grit and grind. Go Grizzlies!

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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