Grit: Key to Success

Ten days ago on a beautiful Saturday morning, I did something I had never done before. It was actually something I wouldn’t even have considered doing a year ago.

I participated in a 12 km run through the forest, rivers, and muddy ponds of Scotland whilst overcoming 60+ odd obstacles along the way. Did I mention the mud?

Considering I had never run more than 5 km’s prior to the event, plodding along in treacherous mud, was a physically demanding experience, to say the least. Successfully completing the run which is known as the Lanrick Challenge didn’t require much skill on my part. It was a pure test of resilience in the face of difficulty. It was all about grit.

Grit can be defined as our ability to persevere in the face of adversity. We often attribute talent as the key to success in but in fact, it is our grit and ability to persevere that enable us to succeed in business and life.

Professor Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, who is the founder of a non-profit organisation called the Character Lab, and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and perseverance has done a wonderful explaining the power of grit over talent.

In her book, Angela demonstrates how our level of success in life depends not so much on talent but on our grit; “it isn’t how quickly or easily you get better at something but it’s the quality and quantity of your engagement. In a way, you can think of talent and effort being the two things that, in combination, create skill.”

So whether we’re doing a 12 km run through the Scottish backcountry, launching a technology start-up, or implementing a change programme in a large organisation; our success will not be determined by our talent alone but by our grit to make it to the finish line no matter how muddy it gets!

Ps. For the record, I wasn’t sponsored by the CME Group. Just my lucky cap from the good old investment banking days. Many thanks to my Managing Partner at Exolta Russell Dalgleish for inspiring me to take the challenge and also for the generosity of family and friends for the sponsorships which helped me raise almost £200 for Scottish Air Ambulance and The Sandpiper Trust.

Grit: Key to Success