Grit: What is it?
Over the last 6 months I have been hearing the word GRIT a lot!
But it’s only recently that I understand what GRIT means. Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance. It’s something that a lot of us have and some don’t. Some have more than others and some have less. Like will power. It’s about falling down 7 times but standing up 8. People who are ‘gritty’ don’t let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses. These people may not show talent straight away, in their chosen sport or career, and they may not be a ‘genius’. These people ‘deliberately’ practice so they are prepared and can flow when performing…I don’t expect you to understand that last part.
I became really intrigued by GRIT. Being a coach, you meet all different kinds of people at different fitness levels. Something that I have noticed is, it doesn’t matter if you’re an elite athlete or the person that is back of the pack in class. What matters is what’s within. Your GRIT. When the going gets tough in training you really see what lies within. I am always trying to find ways to tap into my clients mind and get them to be ‘grittier’ but I just didn’t realise it at the time.
Some people already have it. You can throw anything at them and they cop it on the chin and push through. It might hurt, be really uncomfortable and they may want to puke but they push through and try to finish.
You could say I learn a lot from these clients. Then you have some that are not as gritty. They stop 10m short of the cone their meant to finish at (I do lose it when this happens, I believe in never falling short), they stop 2-3 seconds before the timer goes off, they walk when I am not looking, cut reps…… These people don’t do this all the time but at times when the workout gets really uncomfortable and tough some people just give in. This is something I aim to change. Every time I coach, I work a little towards changing this. Everyone is different, has different relationships, family life, been brought up differently etc. Some people just simply need to be coached and helped. They need to be coached to push past these ‘perceived limitations’ they put on themselves.
I have been fortunate to have some great coaches in the past & present, who have forced me to build character. I was never a good runner. I hated it. I still don’t like it that much. I remember everyone at training always being in front of me when I first started. I can still remember what my coach said to me, “Don’t stop & don’t give in. Even if you slow down and your run looks more like a shuffle, keep moving forward.” I took this quite literally. I did what he said. I’d set out each day to run somewhere. Whether it be down the street, 1km, the oval or 3km. I would tell myself I wasn’t allowed to stop. Did I fail? Yes! I did a fair few times! Did those setbacks stop me from trying again? No. In my head, I didn’t want to be that ‘kid’ at bootcamp who always had to stop. I got better and better at it as time went on. But, I didn’t get there straight away. I wasn’t allowed to run much out on the road by myself due to my age. Instead of waiting until I could, I would run around the house (outside). I swear my neighbours thought I was insane. For an hour everyday (sometimes twice a day), I would run lap after lap around our house. I ran that much over time I wore a track into the ground…Yes I was a bored kid at 16years old. It felt pretty good when I lapped people at bootcamp. Not because I lapped them but because I didn’t let the pain consume me. I made the run my bitch… even if I was slower than everyone else.
My GRIT story of my 16year old self is not for acknowledgement. I am by no means one of the grittiest people, I definitely know I can work harder at being grittier. Last week I piked it halfway through my session and nearly gave up. I felt horrible, like I was going to puke! Did I give up training all together? No. I gave myself a pep talk on the way home and a few points I need to work on immediately. I set myself a game plan to improve. My point is; what my coach said stuck, with me. It was like a light bulb moment for myself. This is what I aim to give to my clients. If something I say or do can alter how they handle their ‘perceived limitations’ then I have done my job (part of it at least).
I could spend all day discussing GRIT with you but I won’t. It involves a lot of nerd talk and I am sure I would bore the hell out of most of you. If you are curious in finding more about GRIT you can purchase ‘GRIT’ by Angela Duckworth. An awesome read that I recommend!
I’d like to share a quote from Teddy Roosevelt that I, and many other people find fitting. Enjoy!
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in triumph of high achievement, and at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~ Teddy Roosevelt