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Grit work ethicI used to have a sticker next to my computer. It said “Die Trying.” It was the culture of the company I worked for – where the boss hurled battle cries like, “Play hurt!” “Dig your cleats in!” “This ain’t no country club!” We were a small, yet powerful, team. What we were able to accomplish was remarkable, and our successes drove us to work harder. We celebrated often, whether it was for conquering the competition or recognizing our own mammoth efforts. It was a constant thrill and the work ethic built confidence in each of us.

That job was a good fit for me. This recovering Catholic doesn’t feel like anything is finished until I leave a little blood on it (click to Tweet if you’re RC, too!). I know it’s a myth, but it has to hurt – just a little – for me to feel like it’s “finished.” I am convinced this guilty masochism keeps me striving for excellence. It pushes me. It’s my quality control.

There’s a difference between those who are willing to die trying and those who are not. It usually shows up in results. (click to Tweet)

I’ve noticed a lot of creatives expect things to happen organically. I can understand that because that’s how our creative work is processed. Intuition and inspiration play a large part in knowing how to approach our work, understanding when something is complete and, at least for me, there’s an entire “letting it go” part in the middle of the creative process that allows the best work to spring forth…almost on its own.

Letting “it” come to you works great in creative endeavors.

It doesn’t work very well in practical pursuits like productivity and marketing.

You have to do your legwork. You have to stretch. You have to be willing to die trying. That madness that has you working in the studio at 2:00 am – that’s not always inspiration…sometimes, it’s a DEADLINE!

And that’s okay.

Because stuff happens. Stuff happens when we are willing to “die trying.”

I love this clip with Will Smith. He’s says he’s not the smartest or most talented guy in the room. But, he’ll stay on that treadmill longer than his opponent…because he’s willing to die on the treadmill. That, Smith claims, is what makes the difference in his success.

Most of us value success, fulfillment, recognition. Whether you get it or not depends upon a few things. Luck? Sure! Opportunity? Certainly! Talent? Yes! Then there is that other piece…Grit. If you aren’t the luckiest and most talented contender, you must have grit. It’s the fuel that may just make the difference. It’s the ingredient that might just get you there. If you don’t get “there” every time, that’s natural. You’ll probably pick up some other bi-products along the way – things like confidence, camaraderie, strategic skills, faith.

And speaking of faith…a little reminder that the very best things in life often wear disguises. They come wrapped as parcels we may not have chosen. Sometimes, they just choose us, because, newsflash, you don’t know everything.  As you forge ahead,  may your grit be curious and accepting. May the burning in your “trying muscles” have stamina and faith. May you be bold and tireless.

Go Get It, or Die Trying,



Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who champions others to follow the path less traveled; the path that leads straight to their joyful hearts.♥ Contact her for a gentle hand Writer, Artist, Coachholding or a swift ass kicking.

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