In law school, I had to write an article for our school’s law re- view (think journal). These articles typically are 20-40 pages in length, are well researched, and well cited to other sources, in order to add conversation to the legal bodies out there. Every student had to write it, including me, and I spent two months writing and working on mine. In my mind, since I had no choice but to write it, I was going to get it published. Each law school (including mine) had a journal, if not several journals. Naturally, I thought the easiest place to publish my article would be in my personal law journal. However, they decided not to publish it, so I was determined to shop it to other schools’ journals and get it published.
I sent it to five schools. The responses rolled in. But, they were not positive responses–they were rejection slips. You know the kind: “Despite your excellent work we regret to inform you…” I cannot tell you the rest, but you get the message. 0 for 5. I sent it to five more schools. Those schools did not even respond, and I was ignored. Ten rejections.
What would you do? What if I told you that no one from my school at that time had published an article as a student outside of the law school? Would you continue to apply to other schools or do you quit and just shelve the article and let it collect dust?
I will tell you what I did: I was going to send it to every accredited law school–over 180 at the time I was in law school. And I did. More rejection letters. 15. 20. 30. 50. I got 61 rejection letters. 61.
The 62nd law school sent me a letter as well: “The St. Thomas Law Review is pleased to extend an offer to publish your work entitled, “Gore’s Metamorphosis in State Farm v. Campbell: When
Guideposts Make A Detour.”
With that offer letter, it is as if the other 61 law schools didn’t matter–because I was going to be published. Even more importantly, I was going to be published by another law school as a law student. I was achieving what no one else did, and it felt amazing! Grit is defined by Angela Duckworth (in her book titled Grit) as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.”
Do you have grit? I boil grittiness for achievement down to two questions: (1) What do you want and (2) what are you willing to do to get it?
What Do You Want?
What do you want? It is a simple question to ask, and one of the most difficult for me to answer. What I want also changes from time-to-time. Have you considered what you want out of your career, family, and personal development?
What Are You Willing To Do To Get It?
You only have 86,400 seconds in a day. 1,440 minutes. What are you going to do with them? Once they’re gone, they’re gone. You cannot get yesterday back. You can only do something about what you want today.
Do you want to lose weight? What are you going to do to make sure you do it? Diet? Exercise? Both?
Do you want to make $500,000 this year originating loans? Ok, do it. How many loans do you need to originate to make $500,000? How many points do you get per loan? How many leads do you need to get there? And how many of the 1,440 minutes in each day do you need to allocate spending time getting leads, talking to leads, working with your processor/underwriter and getting it funded?
Do you want to spend more time with your family? How much more time? What will you give up to do it? What are you willing to do to achieve your goals?
There is no other way to say this – gritty people achieve their goals. They don’t just sit there and wait for their phone to ring, or hope they get that sale. They make things happen. All gritty people I know have the following habits:
They Don’t Make Excuses
Gritty people don’t make excuses about what they failed to do. You didn’t close the sale? You didn’t achieve your goal? Okay, so what are you going to do about it? What are you going to learn from your failures and implement, so it doesn’t happen again?
I’m a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk’s videos, and I remember one of his more famous videos, where a member of the audience was asking Gary about what he should do when he faced obstacles X, Y, and Z and complained that “there’s nothing I can do.” Gary told him that no one cares about his excuses because while he’s complaining, someone else out there is doing it.
They Plan Their Year Backwards – By The Quarter, Month, Week and Day
Gritty people know that if they don’t have a plan, they’re not going to achieve their goals. A great exercise on how to do this is the Crystal Ball exercise. The Crystal Ball exercise makes you think about the end of the year, and know you knocked it out of the park. What did you do to knock it out of the park? What SMART goals did you set to do so?
Why Have a Mentor/Coach
Ever drive down a strange road at night? How do you feel? I feel uncertain in those scenarios. Even in business, there are roads I am going down for the first time, and I feel uncertain. I knew at this point I needed to hire a coach.
A coach is someone who has traveled down that road and can guide you through it. My coach has provided invaluable advice on anything from building a sales book through assisting me in a partnership break-up. His guidance was invaluable.
I am also fortunate enough to have mentors in my life. These people are successful entrepreneurs whom I ask questions of from time to time, and their answers help guide me to the next level.
Navy Seal hopefuls go through BUDS training for months to become Navy Seals. The Seals, however, don’t test a person’s physical strength as much as they test someone’s grittiness. They want to know whether that Seal has the mental toughness to get through any situation. Seals have grit.
Grit will get you through dips and challenges. Grit will make you achieve where others will just quit. Become grittier, and I promise you will achieve everything you set out to do.