What comes to mind when you hear, read, or write this word?

Edgy. Rough. Clenched fists and jawbone. Tense muscles. Leaning in. Masculine. Force. No giving up. “Just do it”.  “True Grit.” Guns and cowboys and soldiers. Cross-fit + bootcamp. Discipline. Strength. “Suck it up and push forward.”

If those words resonate, you are in the majority.  Internet research while writing this post brought up 3,855 books on amazon and 44,200,000 google search hits.

So what if I told you that my definition only sees those words above as a small percentage of Grit.

How does that make you feel?

Lost. Confused. Curious. Interested.

Angela Duckworth, the famous research on Grit, defines it as passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

I agree and disagree.

Perseverance. Yes.  Good stuff.  Until your ego steps in and commandeers your perseverance for its own benefit.  Achtung baby – autopilot and comparison alert!

Passion. Yes, BUT…Passion is overused and overrated.  Passion inspires jobs/careers and one night stands.  It often describes feelings that, when you start asking the hard questions, turn out to be impetuous and fleeting.  And an impetuous life isn’t for the meek.

Passion often morphs in to ego-driven desires.  A slippery slope of noise, low energy, and trouble in our modern world of choices.

So what is Grit?

In my last post I told my story of how I crafted the name “Inspired Grit”.  An oyster, a grain of sand, and the fluidity of tides, currents, and water.

Water. A powerful element simultaneously capable of great destruction and supplying life.

Water and Grit are allies.

In my world, Grit is…
  • grace.  It is feminine.  It is being receptive, curious and nurturing.
  • strong and limber. Strong and limber. Strong and limber.
  • allowing the silence and noise to have a beginning-middle-end.
  • acknowledging the noise without being bullied.
  • suspending judgement while something emerges and develops.
  • retaining judgement when you know your energy and BS demand something better.
  • knowing when to lean in and go for it (gumption), and knowing when to allow something to simply be and emerge.
  • what supports you in the deep, dark periods of life.
  • the foundation for your sparks during periods of hope, light, and optimism.
  • unique to you. It can be tracked, traced, and cultivated.
  • complex. Nacre, the layers in a pearl, develop over time. The complexities can’t be seen, understood, and appreciated from the outside. Like you.
  • challenging and engaging. The discovery process is fascinating and frustrating.
  • multifaceted. Just when you think you get it, a new angle emerges.

Grit. Grace. Gumption.

Knowing when to flex and when to flow.

Knowing when, and what, to seize and to release.

Knowing when, and what, to drive and to receive.

Perception. Discernment. Focus. Flow.

With Grit, Grace and Gumption,


PS – I just bought Angela Duckworth’s recently released book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”.  Stay tuned for my takeaways in a future post.