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7 Ways to Enjoy Life Full of Passion and Persistence

Life is full of ups and downs—challenges and struggles mixed with celebrations and accomplishments. In order to fully enjoy life, you definitely need to have some grit! Some may call it gumption, moxie or guts, but no matter the term you use, when you see it in others, it is truly inspiring. But, what does it mean to have grit? The website, A Fine Parent, defines grit as a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades. Wow.


This article is sponsored by Neely Coaching & Training


What does grit look like?

University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth PhD studied various groups like first year West Point cadets, competitors in the National Spelling Bee, and Green Berets to find out which characteristic they all shared to make it through high-pressure situations and succeed. She states that these individuals had grit – a combination of passion and perseverance. To have grit, you must have both.

It takes effort to turn a talent into a skill that brings success. Without grit, talent may be nothing more than unmet potential. Dr Duckworth says that being naturally smart and talented are great, but to truly do well and thrive, we also need the ability to persevere.

Grit demands that you take risks. People who have grit are willing to step out of their comfort zones. They are not afraid of failure as they know it can lead to learning something new or getting them closer to achieving a long-term goal. People with grit do not give up. They know how to enjoy life!

How do you get grit?

Grit is not something that is bestowed upon you. You must build habits that allow you to keep your focus and build resilience every day.

Embrace failure – I did not grow up in the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ era. When I was younger, I played in a girls’ softball league. My team, the Cobras, lost every game we played one season. Every game. Here is what is interesting, that is a time of my childhood that I vividly remember as being good. My teammates and I loved the game and we took it all in stride. My sister, who was also on the team, and I would loudly cheer “we are #4!” All of us knew we were putting out maximum effort. We continued to support each other. Our team got up to that plate and ran out on that field every game. We were building grit.

Surround yourself with people who persevere – Research shows that you become most like the five people with whom you spend the most time. Who is that for you and do you need to make some changes? People with grit don’t see problems: they see opportunities for learning. They meet every challenge with enthusiasm and innovative thinking and they seek ways to enjoy their life. When I apply what I have learned from my gritty friends, I feel confident and capable.

Take time to reflect

Taking time to reflect allows us to bring awareness to things we have accomplished, identify learning, and determine next steps.

  • How often do we achieve something, check it off the list, and move on to the next thing? I see this in my coaching clients when I ask them how they celebrated their accomplishment and the common answer is “I didn’t”. Achieving what we might see as smaller goals, gets us to our bigger purpose. Celebrating them keeps us going.
  • Maybe your day did not go as planned. Give yourself time to reflect on your day without judgment. What did you learn that can help you going forward?
  • Discover how you like to reflect – meditation, journaling, taking a walk or talking with a friend or coach. It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.

Be in a continuous learning mode

Curious about something? Do a little research. Challenge yourself to learn something new every week. Watch a Tedtalk video, listen to a podcast, or read a book. Have lunch with someone who you admire and trust and ask them questions. Put yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable.

Work with a coach – A coach can help you learn faster from your successes and failures. They will ask you the tough questions and help you to see situations from different perspectives. Continuous coaching conversations can provide built-in accountability.

Your mind is a suggestion machine – In a blog by James Clear, he suggests to consider every thought as a suggestion, not an order. Think you’re tired? Think you want to give up? Another thought could be that you will feel very good once you have accomplished this task. All of these are options and you have the power to choose which option you follow.

Consider who you are and who you want to be – Trust your gut. Choose joy. Show up.

We are introduced to grit early. From the book, The Little Engine That Could, we learn the mantra: “I think I can, I think I can. I know I can!” to adulthood when we tell each other to “stay strong”, we are developing grit. Grit helps us to remember that the struggle is real…and so are the blessings. Embrace your life, the good and the bad, and learn to enjoy it


Debby Neely is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation who specializes in leadership coaching and facilitation. Her business, Neely Coaching & Training, supports both formal and informal leaders in realizing their potential and in getting results. Their mission is to help you be the best you can be.

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