Grit Copy

Time estimate: 10 Minutes

To achieve better change outcomes you won’t succeed with a growth mindset alone. You will need to combine the growth mindset with grit. Grit is defined as a sustained effort towards a specific goal.

summit, climb, climbing

Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth researched who is successful and why for the last decade or two. She found that the biggest difference between achievers and quitters was grit.

“We need to take our best ideas, our strongest intuitions, and we need to test them,” Duckworth said during her TED Talk in 2013. “We need to measure whether we’ve been successful, and we have to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again with lessons learned.”

Her formula for achievement is skill times effort and for skill is effort times talent:

In her research she found that we have the ability to grow grittier if we:

  1. Find a greater purpose in what you do
  2. Develop a fascination for your goal
  3. Compete with yourselves for daily improvements
  4. And develop a growth mindset

Your EXCELerate Change Leadership tools are specifically targeted to help you put this advice into practice, e.g.:

  • Using Valere and Rapid Change Planning to drive purpose
  • Using the vision board and visualisation walks to boost motivation
  • Using progress statements to introduce competition
  • Using speed mentoring and the principles of mastery to practice your growth mindset

On page 11 of your workbook you will find an overview of all EXCELerate tools.

Grow gritty

Get gritty about being gritty in 3 steps:

  1. Define grit for you
  2. Aim for small wins
  3. Develop strong habits

Step 1: Define grit for you

Defining what grit means to you, involves being very clear about your goals.

For example:

  • Talking to one stakeholder every workday of the month
  • Asking for feedback two days in a row
  • Calling a mentor every month for a year

Step 2: Aim for small wins

Grit is often perceived as the way we respond to extreme situations, but what about day to day activities?

Your brain is like a muscle. To grow and develop your brain you need to work it frequently. Develop grit by aiming for small wins.

For example

  • Choose to initiate a conflict resolution conversation with a difficult stakeholder, even if it would be easier to just do nothing
  • Choose to act on constuctive feedback, even if it would be easier to just hate it
  • Choose to ask an extra question to clarify, even if it would be easier to accept a broad answer

Use little wins and small steps to affirm yourself that you have enough guts to face the change and bring people along.

Step 3: Develop strong habits

According to a study from Duke University. habits, rather than conscious decision-making, shapes as much as 45 % of our daily choices. So if we develop strong habits we are much more likely to stay gritty as we do not reevaluate that choice.

A study in London found that it takes anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances; on average 66 days. Interestingly, the researchers found that “missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process.” In other words, as you form your new habit you should apply your growth mindset and don’t get disheartended by setbacks.

It’s not about having more courage, more talent, or more intelligence. It’s about consistency, your determination to practice regularly, and your commitment to your schedule.


Michael Edwards “Eddie the eagle” is a great example of being gritty. He is an English ski-jumper and Olympian who represented Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping, although being disadvantaged by his weight, heavy farsightedness, and the lack of financial support.

  • He was consistent.
  • He got onto the practice run every day.
  • He didn’t get disheartened by the failures.
  • He found himself a mentor and watched others to learn.
  • Eddie was not a born athlete but he set himself a very clear goal i.e to be an Olympian.
  • He worked consistently, did not get distracted by criticism and followed a strict schedule to achieve his goal.            


Time estimate:  7 Minutes

This topic has additional resources in the Materials tab to deepen your understanding of grit. At any point in time feel free to come back to this material.


Time estimate: 7 Minutes

This topic has additional resources in the Materials tab to deepen your understanding of Grit. At any point in time feel free to come back to this material.

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