The Value of Grit

(This is a “reprint” and a bit of an edited “hybrid” of a previous post. I selected it because, while I understand the value of grit, I also understand the value of the combination of letting go while still engaged in joyful pursuit. It’s a balance I’m struggling with….so while I struggle, you may want to read this…)

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 fallacy, but I believe it has to hurt – just a little – for me to feel like I’ve done well enough.  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 creative people 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 it a critical component in achievement, but shouldn’t be relied upon…at all. 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.

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,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and  artist. She writes this blog in hopes it may help you, also, create a well-lived life. Writer, Artist, Coach
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