Grow My GRIT Blog

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How Are You Getting Through?

I realized last week that we are now moving into our sixth calendar month of living with countless restrictions as the global community continues to combat COVID-19. That’s already one half of 2020 spent in some form of lockdown! Although, I am not claiming to be psychic, I feel like I can say without a doubt that many aspects of our world have changed significantly for the foreseeable future. Wow!

If anyone had asked me in February how I thought the rest of 2020 was going to unfold, our current reality would not have crossed my mind. I don’t think anyone I know would have or could have predicted it! In light of this revelation, whenever I get into a conversation about living with the constraints of COVID-19, I ask people “How are you getting through?”

I’m always curious to hear how my friends and family have adapted their lifestyles and adjusted to this new reality. Additionally, I want to get people talking about all of the little things they’ve done to set themselves up for success! As I have mentioned before, these are gritty times and these gritty times have called for more grit than most of us even knew we had available deep down inside.

You all know my love of words by now and here’s another haze-ism: GRITuals. It’s a not-so-fancy word to label all of the routines and rituals I’ve been repeating each day or week to navigate this ongoing challenge! Sometimes we need a whole lot of grit to navigate a giant obstacle and other times we need to dig down and muster up enough grit do the same thing over and over and over again.

Three GRITuals that have become helpful for me are:

  • taking a few minutes each day to remind myself of the things I want to accomplish (e.g., spend a certain amount of time doing some form of cardio, call or text that person who’s been on my mind, play outside).
  • taking a few minutes in each day to identify possible obstacles that may pop up and making a plan to navigate or overcome them.
  • writing down everything I eat because I find it sooo easy to forget how much I’ve snacked between meals while working from home all the time. From the middle of March until the end of May, if I thought I was hungry, I’d check my list. I wasn’t counting calories or thinking about nutritional information; it was simply a confirmation that I just ate so I wasn’t really hungry. By June, I knew what hungry felt like and I realized I had completely curbed my snack attacks!

Looking back, what are some of the GRITuals you’ve developed over the last few months? Which ones have become a part of your day-to-day routine(s)?

Would You Rather Be a Pirate or Join the Navy?

In some of the previous blogs, I’ve written about grit as a trait that can define a family or even a culture. Now, during these times of self-isolating and physical distancing, I’ve started to think about other moments in history where people were forced to face significant changes in their day-to-day routines with little or no notice. How did these people adapt or change? Who came out on top and survived the chaos of the times?

As I thought about what I’d learned from some great history teachers, I came up with MANY instances where people were forced to dig deep and find a part of themselves that they likely didn’t even know existed. However, there is one group of gritty gurus that sticks out in my mind a bit more than the others. These people were able to survive and often thrive in times where each day looked totally different than the day before. More important, if they didn’t find their grit within, they might not have lived to see another day.

If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m talking about Pirates! For this particular group, the time or situation in history wasn’t more daunting than any of the others I considered; it’s just that their ability to beat the odds definitely sounds gritty to me! I’m hoping by the end of this blog you’ll agree how easy it is to “Arrrrrgh”-gue that Pirates totally fit the bill for a group of gritty gurus.

Sam Conniff’s “Be More Pirate” from my list of GRIT Lit celebrates a pirate’s endless ability to adapt and mobilize in the face of obstacles, which sounds a lot like grit to me! The front cover of his book references a classic quote from Steve Jobs to his Development Team in 1983: “I’d rather be a pirate than join the navy.” A thoughtful explanation of this pirate “call-to-action” appears in Fast Company. In it, the writer explains how Steve Jobs built his company by hiring employees who had the pirate mindset; pirates can stay creative and on-task in a challenging or hostile environment and they can operate when rules, as well as safety nets, break down.

Most people will agree that the first half of 2020 has exemplified a hostile and challenging time where the rules and our safety nets change daily, sometimes hourly. So, when met with a hostile environment, stressful situations and uncertain times, what better way to face the day than by being a little more pirate? Sam guides us through five fundamental principles of the pirate code to get us thinking about ways we can facilitate change as individuals and as a community.

Rebel – draw strength by standing up to the status quo.

Rewrite – bend, break, but, most important, rewrite the rules.

Reorganize – collaborate to achieve scale rather than growth.

Redistribute – fight for fairness, share power and make an enemy of exploitation.

Retell – weaponize your story, then tell the hell out of it.

In other words, he is encouraging us to know our grit, grow our grit and show our grit! These days, we need a level of grit unlike any other time we’ve seen in recent history. Relying on our inner pirate could be what gets us through.

As a testament to Apple’s love of pirate culture, a pirate flag has flown over the head office on more than one occasion. So, will you raise your flag, shout “Arrrrrgh” and challenge yourself to join me on a gritty Pirate adventure, unlike anything you’ve seen before?

What’s GRIT Got to Do with It?

As we navigate this planet-wide pandemic, an important question we can consider each day is “What do I have to offer others?”

It’s easy to become introspective at times like this but that’s how we end up focusing on our fears, all the things we cannot do and how out-of-control most things are that were in our control only a few weeks, days or even hours ago. With never-ending access to information about all of the things that are beyond our control right now, it can be easy to lose sight of the simple gestures and the choices that are fully in our control. I know that it may sound counterintuitive when we’re bombarded with the terms “self-quarantine”, “social distancing” and “isolation”. However, there are times when the best thing we can do for our friends, family and community isn’t doing something with them directly; it’s keeping them in the centre of our hearts as well as our minds.

In order to support my friends, my family and my community, I commit to the following GRIT during this collective pause:

G is for give healing energy to those who are suffering physically, mentally or spiritually. I’m fortunate to be in good health so I can send love and strength to people I know as well as people I don’t know.

R is for recharge regularly. I can’t be a rock for others if my foundation is crumbling so I’m making time to do things I love each day with people I love. Shout out to Power Yoga Canada’s online community!

I is for illuminate any darkness I encounter by making space for it and investigating. Whether it be through a smile, a listening ear or encouraging words, I can offer a little bit of light in these dark and difficult times.

T is for tolerate uncertainty because it’s the only thing that’s certain in our world right now. Going back to the fact that so much of what’s happening is beyond our control, it’s critical to accept that we really can’t imagine what tomorrow will bring.

If you were to define your GRIT in the face of this unprecedented global transformation, what can you offer to your friends, your family and your community?

What Does ‘Leveling Up’ Look Like for You?

In a previous blog named GRIT Lit, I promised to explore some of my favourite books and poems that capture all things gritty!

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Steve Kamb. Steve wrote a fantastic book called “Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story”.  I thought I would share this book today because I’m re-reading it as I work toward one of my impossible goals for 2020.   I can only imagine the confused expression on some of your faces when you see me referencing a book involving video games! While it’s true that the only video game I have EVER played is Tetris, Steve takes great care in making the steps relatable and conquerable. And even though there’s a bit of video game vocabulary, the book’s content resonated with me completely!

Steve shares his six-phase model for an adventurous and happy life then he challenges you to harness your inner Rebel and join the Rebellion.  Simple, right?!? His six phases are:

  1. The Call to Adventure
  2. The Hero’s Journey
  3. Crossing the Threshold – Design Your Own Game
  4. Leveling Up – Advance in the Game of Life
  5. Mastering Ordeals – Activate Beast Mode
  6. The Road Back – Continue? Or Game Over?

As I read through the book the first time and now that I’m reading it again, it’s exciting to see my new friend GRIT hanging out in between the lines and in the margins. To me, the role of GRIT is evident in each of the six phases but it’s most prominent when Steve shares his options for “Leveling Up” and “Mastering Ordeals” in life. Even though GRIT did not make it into the index, you’ll find its close friends – accountability, action, gratitude, hope, personal growth, personal limits, success and willpower – as themes covered in the book.

Without giving away too much more, the most dog-eared section in my copy of the book is the one on “Leveling Up” where Steve provides practical strategies on how to become an unstoppable force of awesomeness and how to persevere in the face of obstacles and ordeals.

While contemplating what the next level of happiness or adventure looks like for you, how can you level up your GRIT along the way?

What’s Your Impossible Goal for 2020?

I’m so grateful to my friend from elementary school, “Let’s-Do-This Lyndsay”, for introducing me to Brooke Castillo and The Life Coach School. Brooke and her team of Life Coaches offer more resources than I’ll ever be able to use! I started with the Entrepreneur courses because I still have so much to learn about running a business.  

In the monthly challenge to students for December 2019, Brooke invited us to identify one impossible goal for 2020 and 100 worthy fails that we’ll make as we work toward the goal (e.g., 25 per quarter). I jumped at the opportunity to do just that and I actually set two impossible goals for 2020! I’ve also come up with my first 25 worthy fails which I think of as small steps that will keep me travelling in the general direction of the goal. 

My first impossible goal is to deliver five workshops on GRIT in Europe this year. I love travelling to Europe and Finland is the GRIT capital of the world, so it seems like a great place to cultivate more conversations! My second impossible goal is to secure a book deal in 2020. Steve Kamb, a favourite author of mine, wrote an inspiring book called Level Up Your Life. Similar to what he did, I’d like to publish my framework and make it available to as many people as possible. Equally important, I want to use my book as a platform for celebrating the range of my family, friends and clients who made the journey to know, grow and show their GRIT in 2020.   

I’ve always thought of my own GRIT as my default setting in the face of existing obstacles. However, as a direct result of Brooke’s December challenge, I’ve been reflecting on the future-oriented element to my GRIT. So, how will my GRIT allow me to deliver workshops in Europe and get a book deal here in North America?

(G)ratitude – I’m so grateful for existing models/templates on how to write books!

(R)esilience – I’m expecting a lot of rejection letters right from the start as well as some non-responses from publishers, but I’ll learn as much as possible along the way! 

(I)magination – I’ll be putting a lot of thought into creative ways that I can curate the stories people share with me!

(T)ime – I’m setting up dedicated “book blocks” each week to re-learn as much as possible about the publication process before jumping in!

I know I have said it before, but I will say it again: my basket of business blessings is overflowing; every possible resource I need to continue along my entrepreneurial path keeps showing up at the most ideal time. As I make my way toward my impossible goals with many worthy fails along the way, I’m going to do my absolute best to stay the course! 

What do you think could be your impossible goal for 2020 and how will your GRIT help get you there?

What Have I Got to Gain?

Decisions, decisions, decisions…  According to a recent Google search, the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions a day. Most of those decisions are reflexive or unconscious decisions (e.g., scratching, yawning, blinking) but that means there are still a lot of conscious decisions we make on a daily basis. Some of those decisions are less involved such as “What are we going to eat for dinner?” or “Where should I go to get gas?” Even fewer of these daily decisions will be large, impactful ones such as “Should I quit my job?”, “Should we get a pet?” or “Should I go back to school?”

Often, the larger decisions are not made on a whim; they require time to weigh the pros and the cons. Whenever I’m part of conversations with people contemplating a major decision, I find that many of them tend to focus on scarcity. This, in turn, generates anxious and fearful thoughts about the potential losses which ultimately delays the decision and forces people to stick with the status quo. So often we ask ourselves, “What have I got to lose?” and a flood of answers may come. Although it’s usually a rhetorical question, sometimes we’ve got a lot to lose and sometimes we’ve got nothing to lose at all!

In my personal definition of GRIT, the ‘I’ refers to imagination and this component often prompts me to flip things around a little. For example, when it comes time to make a big decision, I tend to ask myself the question “What have I got to gain?”

I find that this subtle shift in perspective will get me energized about a situation that may otherwise appear negative. When my brain registers that I may gain something positive such as insight, perspective or guidance from a challenging situation, I start to imagine new benefits that hadn’t even crossed my mind.

So try and recall any of the 35, 000 decisions that you’ve already made today including the one where you chose to read my blog!!! By the way, thanks for sticking with it 🙂

How do you think things would be different if you approached any of the large decisions by asking yourself “What have I got to gain?”

What have you got to gain in 2020?

 

 

Do You Have a Plan B?

“If you express your intentions, the realization of those intentions will follow. Letting other people know your intentions also often leads to the arrival of required assistance from unexpected sources” (Masaru Emoto, 2001).

This quote from Masaru Emoto describes exactly what has happened to me in the last six months! It’s fascinating to know that my journey from unbelievable loss on June 17th to unbelievable gain after setting an intention isn’t rare at all. Similar situations have happened to people over and over again all throughout history in many contexts. I’m not blazing a new trail so I can sigh a breath of relief and find comfort in knowing that almost any challenging situation in which I’ve found myself, or will find myself, has been experienced by a total stranger who is somehow also a kindred spirit.

I’ve relied on my GRIT more times than I can count since launching Gritty Guru Company a few months ago. Although the path I am travelling is new to me, it is well-marked and defined by my commitment to my Plan A: accompanying others as they take the time to Know, Grow and Show their GRIT. Little did I know that stating my intentions to start my company out loud and sharing my vision with powerful people around me would make this journey a reality. One of my favourite parts of this adventure so far is that, by letting others around me know my intentions, I’ve been embraced by a community of my own Gritty Gurus who have brought valuable insights, hugs and inspiration to my travels.

I know each and every day there are so many decisions that you are likely working through. For the decisions that you’ve been contemplating, both big or small, are there a couple of steps on the path you can finally commit to and unleash the “required assistance from unexpected sources”?

Say your intention out loud, get on the path and let a Gritty Guru join you along the way to your destination. Yay for Plan A; no need for Plan B!

 

 

Do You Find Inspiration in ‘The Invitation’?

In a previous blog I shared a list of great publications that put the spotlight on grit. I called it GRIT Lit and one of the two poems is ‘The Invitation’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I thoroughly enjoy this poem because I feel as though it draws attention to the range of grit needed for all manner of situations that life inevitably throws our way. 

I invite you take a few minutes today to find a quiet space and read the poem out loud from beginning to end in one sitting. You may even need to read it more than once; take your time and let the words settle around you as well as within you!  As you’re reading, notice which sentences make you nod your head in agreement or even utter mmm-hmmm. Can you identify a person in your life who embodies these characteristics? Are there any lines that fully align with who you are? Is there a section that you feel doesn’t fit with you at all?  Finally, take notice if there are any verses that cause confusion or heartache!  Are there any sentences that make you shake your head in disagreement? Perhaps there are some parts that seem like a new thought or new way of thinking? 

For me, the last two sentences in the poem speak to my soul. They reliably get my head nodding and my GRIT growing: “I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly enjoy the company you keep in the empty moments.”  

Let the words sit with you and allow yourself to fully embrace the invitation!!!

 

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dreamfor the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day.And if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, Yes.

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get upafter the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation, published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999 All rights reserved

 To Be or Not to Be… a Guru?

The term guru can mean very different things to people based on their culture, faith or personal history. In spite of the variety, I’ve noticed some common threads throughout the definitions. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a guru is a Sanskrit term for a “teacherguideexpert or master” of certain knowledge or field.[1] In pan-Indian traditionsguru is more than a teacher, in Sanskrit guru means the one who dispels the darkness and takes towards light, traditionally a reverential figure to the student, with the guru serving as a “counselor, who helps mold values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student”.[2] A guru is also one’s spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized.[3]. 

The definitions which resonate most with me are the ones recognizing that a guru’s primary responsibility is drawing out wisdom and insights from within an individual as opposed to imparting external thoughts and ideas. 

During many memorable times in my life, I have inspired and been inspired by my friends, family, and co-workers when we tell each other about difficult aspects of our lives. I’m truly humbled whenever people choose to share what’s in their hearts as well as on their minds! I see marvelousness in people around me but, all too often, I realize as I listen to their stories that they have lost sight of their gifts and their GRIT. In this sense, I believe a Gritty Guru is someone who promotes candid self-reflection and encourages people to consider the opportunities that often come with challenges once they tap into the mountain of resources already residing within them.

In my last blog, I talked about GRIT trading cards as a tiny, keep-close-to-you reminder of the amazing person you are and the unexpected results that are possible when you know your GRIT.  My consulting model is firmly rooted in the value of igniting people’s understanding of the resources they already possess and working together to navigate obstacles with renewed purpose and passion. As a Gritty Guru, I won’t define your GRIT for you, but I’ll do the following throughout our time together:

  • listen to your words, 
  • teach you what I know about grit, 
  • remind you of your unique abilities, 
  • guide you toward implementing the ideas and visions you have about you and 
  • inspire a sense of GRIT that you can keep with you in everything you aim to do. 

Honestly, I was nervous about using the word guru in my company name.  I was nervous that people would assume there was an implied distance or perceive an imbalance of expertise between myself and others. I considered other names such as: (i) Gritty Girls and Guys, (ii) Gritty in the City and (iii) GRIT Group. After much reflection, Gritty Guru Company seemed most accurate in communicating my sincere hope for others to thrive on the opposite side of the obstacles after they’ve taken the time to learn as much as possible about the path ahead and the ways in which fear, doubt, hopes and dreams may impact travels along the way.

So, yes, I am a Gritty Guru!  I can be a Guru and you can be a Guru. In fact, you may already be a Guru!?!

“Can I Carry You Around in My Pocket?”

For as long as I can remember, friends old and new have been asking me this question! I’m honoured each and every time someone asks it while, at the same time, I giggle a little on the inside at the thought of how a “mini me” would actually live and survive inside a pocket all day long 🤔. So, what I really think might be happening here is that my friends would like a pocket-sized souvenir of our conversation or interaction. It would need to be something quick, simple and tangible that reminds them how they feel about themselves and their awesomeness when they need it the most. 

 With this in mind, and with some serious inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk’s throwback to the popularity of trading sports cards, I came up with an idea for GRIT trading cards! So now anyone can have a portable summary of their marvelousness handy and available whenever they want it.

 The trading card will summarize what you believe to be your G, R, I, and T words and you can use it as your GRIT ‘compass’. I think it would be fantastic (or just a nice change of perspective) to have people articulate to themselves or to others what makes them gritty and makes them great. Knowing, growing and ultimately showing your GRIT to others won’t be difficult when you have your trading card close by.

My hope for these GRIT trading cards is for everyone to have a reminder of what they’ve got going for them. It’s so easy to lose sight of what we bring to a situation but it’s hard to forget when we have a hard copy to reference!

My GRIT trading cards will debut this coming Saturday, November 23rd, at a holiday Health and Wellness event in Aurora called Awaken Your Senses. If you’re able to make it out we can start looking at your GRIT compass and have your trading card ready to take home with you!!!

I’d love to get a picture with you and your GRIT trading card; you can start sharing your GRIT by sending a picture of your trading card to hello@growmygrit.com or you can tag me on Instagram @growmygrit

Thanks to the creative team at By Design Graphics for making the trading cards a reality.

If you had a GRIT trading card, where would you keep it?