How To Develop A Growth Mindset Through Grit & Resilience

They say, “tough times don’t last forever.” But in the moments where we’re in the thick of things, it can be hard to believe. A trait that has helped me get through the challenges and setbacks that come my way is grit—a big part of my growth mindset. Although grit is often used interchangeably with resilience, there is a difference between the two.

Grit vs. Resilience

For example, grit is what allows us to keep grinding every day. It’s a trait fuelled by passion and helps us stick to the task(s) at hand so we don’t stop short of our goals. 

Resilience, however, is not necessarily aligned with a specific goal. But rather, the ability to bounce back from challenges, while turning those tough lessons into wisdom we can grow from if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation one day.

Embodying Resilience and a Growth Mindset

Embodying either one of these mindsets can be difficult during the best of times, but even more so as this year quickly comes to a close and we’re faced with the natural urge to end things off on a high note. This feeling is only compounded by everyday external barriers, such as unemployment, economic downturns, loss, or illness.

These obstacles are why it’s understandable many people may question how it’s possible to hold steadfast in their vision, while in the midst of so much.

In my own experience, I’ve endured all of the issues I listed above, all at once.

And while it wasn’t always easy to actualize grit and resilience, I also know that it’s the combination of these two mindsets that got me through it.

At one of the most desperate times in my life, I’d racked up close to $100k worth of financial debt. I was riddled with stress and anxiety. The weight of it all was pretty close to unbearable.

But, it was also this feeling of being pushed to the brink – a stage it arguably didn’t need to reach –  that was needed for me to make a change.

What Resilience Looked Like For Me

It forced me to look at my options, and essentially audit my life, in order to prepare for the year ahead. My options were to continue to drown in debt or find a way out of it; I chose the latter. In this particular instance, resilience looked like asking for help. 

That help came in the form of one of the best investments I’ve ever made: my first business coach, Codi Shewan. With Codi’s help and guidance, I was able to double my business, and become debt-free. 

I had to become radically honest with myself to even consider hiring a business coach. That radical acceptance of my reality was where I found resilience. Once you accept the setback, you open yourself up to accepting help. This only helps you learn from the situation. It was also during two of my biggest moments – bouncing back from depression and learning how to walk again – where I was forced to accept that exercising resilience was the only viable option for me.

Have Grit and Keep Going

The paralysis of both myself and my father, followed by my bout with depression, forced me into situations where I needed to have grit and keep going; a trait that ultimately led to some of my most significant breakthroughs. I often think back to the moments where I would relentlessly try to move my toes, despite days on end with no movement. Until one day…they finally began to work.

The ultimate payoff was the moment I was able to walk again. There were days when I felt like beating my depression was a pipe dream. It felt so impossible.

But even so, I continued journaling (which all started from asking myself the question, “How can I use this?”), reading, and asking for help, and, slowly but surely, I fought my way back to a happy and healthy life.

(Take a look at this post next: Why Burying Your Emotions is Bad For You and How to Stop)

Decide What “Hard” Means To You

I’m a strong believer that to acquire grit, you need to practice it. The first decision you should make is to “do hard things,” such as:

  • Committing to going to the gym on a regular basis
  • Eating healthy meals when everyone around you is eating poorly
  • Asking for help to move a project along at work
  • Apologizing to someone for a mistake you made
  • Cleaning your house to alleviate mental anxiety

What’s deemed as a “hard thing” is subjective. So, define what that looks like for you, and proceed from there. 

I’ve used several different resources over the years to assist me when developing grit. My biggest inspiration over the years has come from looking up to heroes in my life who demonstrated it.

In my younger days, it was extreme sports athletes like Travis Pastrana, Tony Hawk, and Matt Hoffman.

As I grew older, entrepreneurs became my new heroes, and people like Dan Martell, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Elliot Hulse quickly became some of my biggest influences.

I also highly recommend “Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life” by Eric Gretiens, and the book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.

Grit & A Growth Mindset: Takeaways

Here are a few personal takeaways about grit and a growth mindset I’d like to leave you with:

  1. Adopting a mindset to “be gritty” is something that can happen at any time. You can make that mental shift today by simply making the small choice to do a “hard thing”. However, becoming “a gritty person” is something you can achieve by demonstrating this habit through repeated actions.
  2. Remember that grit is a requirement for being resilient. If resilience is bouncing back from challenges, then being gritty is what will help you do just that. Grit is a consistent, daily behavior, while resilience is something you demonstrate when you have a setback. Pause during that time to leverage your wisdom and make a decision about your next step.
  3. Each challenge we face is an opportunity to grow stronger or learn something new. We may not always create the outcome we expect, but adopting the trait of grit and mindset of resilience is what will lead to a growth mindset.

(There’s also power in knowing when to walk away…Read about that next!)

At the end of the day, it’s all about focusing on the small things that make a big difference to becoming the hero in your own movie; an experience I speak a lot about in my keynote on The Hero Mindset. Every day you must recommit to facing the challenges you have with an attitude that will continue to propel you forward, even if you find it difficult.

The hardest part is simply getting started.

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