Got Grit? The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself

22 03 2015

Worry. Never have we worried so much … with so little good to come from it. I am reminded how little value worry has … in fact the impact of worry is similar to fear; it’s a success killer. It gets in the way of performance. Like negative mental rehearsal, we end up creating the very thing we are trying to avoid. The next time you really want to “fly, soar, and succeed at work” remember the Flying Wallenda’s, an aerial circus family out of the U.S. In the late 1970’s the eldest Wallenda, Karl, was performing on the tight rope tied to two of the tallest buildings in Puerto Rico. On that occasion he fell to his death. Some time after he died his wife was interviewed about what happened, and she said, “It was the first time he ever spoke about falling off. He became consumed by the safety details, the weather, and ensuring all the guide wires were correct. Prior to this event, these concerns were not on his radar, he never spent time worrying about them.” We move in the direction of our dominant thoughts. What we pay attention to creates our reality. Now is the time to practice Focus, Optimism, and Persistence. In short to build real GRIT. Read on, for the best question you can ask yourself when your internal weather turns and the gale force winds push fear straight in your face. GRIT disarms fear. And it’s not that hard to do. Here’s the one question you need to ask yourself every day to ward off fear, recover, and regain confidence and perspective. POWERFUL QUESTION:

If I knew that everything was going to turn out just fine, maybe even better than I hoped, how would I be today? How would I use this time in a way that serves me, my family and my leadership?

Managing worry and fear is a new life and business imperative. It is not pollyanna to focus forward, continue to do good work and believe that it matters. It takes a great deal of resilience and grit to move through uncertain times with confidence. And you can.

Why should you act as though everything is going to be ok? 1. Because what’s the alternative? It’s the only thought that serves you. Believing there is nothing you can do … leads to “who cares, so what, why bother, what’s the point?” and that just doesn’t help. Fear can be paralyzing. It will shut you down. Worry keeps you painfully in the future and serves no useful purpose. It’s like negative mental rehearsal. It’s this simple: Tell yourself a bad story — leads to bad feelings — leads to bad actions. (you can fill in the blanks) Tell yourself a good story — leads to good feelings — leads to good actions (again fill in the blanks) Pick a story that serves you. It will lead you to point #2. 2. It leads to purposeful action. Asking yourself, “What can I do now?”, is a great question. It is always a great question because it keeps you firmly planted in the here and now, where you can do something worthwhile. If work slows down or production slows down, how could you use this time to get better and prepare for what’s next? If you knew everything was going to be ok, how would you use this window in time? What do you need to learn? How can you rejuvenate? What needs some fine-tuning? This is resilient thinking that leads to action and engagement. 3. You become a positive force. Every family and workplace needs someone who is not all doom and gloom, who is calm and confident and models grace and resilience. Your energy is contagious. You are a breath of fresh air. We need you. Think of what you can model to your kids by showing them how you handle the tough times. 4. Deep confidence is inspiring. Someone who is truly inspired is not attached to outcomes. When you get so focusssed on the result or goal that you are gunning for, and things go sideways it is hard to stay invested. When big goals are driving the action, fear often rides shot-gun. What if it can’t be done? People who are inspired, do things because it is the right thing to do. Because there is no choice. It represents the truth. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. What are you willing to work at, with no guarantees? Because the work itself matters. This is the real secret to GRIT.