I talk a lot about the importance of RESILIENCE, consistency, persistence, and that continuous effort that you’re putting in – showing up, doing the work, learning from failures – is so key to being successful in your business. But that’s not enough. Let’s face it, simply working hard all the time sounds pretty bleak! So in addition to that perseverance you need to be persevering in pursuit of something meaningful: a bigger purpose, ‘why’ or passion. That’s what Angela Duckworth calls the power of passion and perseverance, and that is what we mean by GRIT.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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The power of passion and perseverance
Hello there, and welcome back to another episode of the Reimagining Success Podcast. And I’ve just started reading the book, Grit by Angela Duckworth, and maybe you’ve read it, in which case you’ll know much more about this than I do. But I think it’s such an important and interesting concept, grit. It sounds a little bit uncomfortable. It sounds a little bit like hard work, maybe persistence, perseverance, but it’s a really interesting and, I think, powerful concept in the context of working towards your goals, building that sustainable business, that’s going to allow you to escape the 9:00 to 5:00 for good, building resilience, as we talked about last week.
So, Angela Duckworth, she talks about passion and perseverance and grit, making up grit. So what does that look like? Well, she says in her introduction when she begins that in her vast research that she’s done, the people who are at the top of their game, of course, they had talent, of course, lots of things they’d maybe had luck, there were lots of common themes there, but there are a couple of perhaps, well, I was going to say perhaps surprising things, but perhaps it’s not so surprising. But what she noticed with every single person who was at the top of their game, in the one percent, doing an incredible job in whatever field, whatever domain, they were in, they had two things and that was passion and perseverance. This incredible resilience and persistence to really push through when things got tough to persevere beyond so-called failure, to keep going, and also this incredible direction, incredible sense of purpose about where they were going. And I think that’s really interesting. And again, in the context of everything I talk about here on the podcast, I think that duality of the passion and perseverance is really critical.
So let’s break that down a little bit in terms of passion and perseverance. I want to, as ever, think back to my own experience, and one example that comes to mind is music.
And so, when I grew up, I had a natural talent for music, as it were. I had a good musical ear. I started playing recorder very badly. We all do this at school. I don’t know if you do that in your country, but in England, at least everybody plays recorder. I remember when I first started, I was literally just copying other people’s fingering. I have no idea how I eventually learned how to play. I don’t remember anyone teaching me recorder. Maybe nobody teaches you. Nonetheless, I played recorder. I started playing the piano. My piano teacher across the road, actually, at my parents was teaching me piano. I did violin briefly.
In fact, mum tells the story, which is relevant in this context of me coming out of school one day in primary school saying, “Mum, I really wanted to play the violin.” And she’d heard of this incredible cellist who had said one day to her parents, “I want to play the cello,” and she became this fantastic cellist. Now, needless to say, that did not happen. You don’t know me as a famous violinist. So clearly something went wrong there along the way, but it was a nice idea. And I appreciate the opportunity, so thank you mom. So, I played a little bit of violin. I played clarinet. I played tenor recorder, I believe it was called. I played tenor saxophone. I don’t even know the names of them, which is clearly telling you that I haven’t succeeded very well in this music business.
Nonetheless, I did grade one piano in the music exams that we have here in the UK. I did grade one violin. I actually did. clarinet up to grade five, but that was really bad. I hadn’t prepared well at all. And the reason why I’m babbling on about all my random instruments that I kind of remember the names of, is that right, I remember I had a friend, and she… I’m not going to comment on her talent. I don’t know if she was better or worse than me, but nonetheless, what she did have was, and I think my mom called it, iron bum. I’m not sure if that’s an expression [Swedish 00:03:49] in Swedish, if you are listening in Sweden. I know I do have some listeners in Sweden. I’m not sure if that expression exists in England, but this idea that you just have this, you just… I guess you can sit for a long time, because you have a metallic bottom and you sit and you just keep going. And she went up to grade eight flute and grade eight piano.
Now, does it matter if we go up to grade eight flute, grade eight piano? I think getting into universities and jobs that shows an amount of, let’s say, grit, perseverance, hard work commitment, and so on. I feel like I was a bit more flaky. The fact that I did a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and the fact that I didn’t continue, I didn’t take one thing and get really good at it, and then we went to the next thing. I just dabbled a little bit.
Now, if I’m going to be kind and compassionate with myself, I take a step back and ask myself, okay, why was I doing these instruments? Why was I playing? What was the point of music for me? And for me, it was the fun of it. I loved musicals. I love singing, still. I loved playing, but I wanted to play Disney at the time I wanted to play musicals.
I did not want to do the scales on the piano. I did not want to practise the arpeggios or whatever else I needed to learn in order to do the exams and the theory and do the classical pieces. Now you could say that I was lazy. You could say they didn’t have that grit, but let’s break that down again into the passion and perseverance that I mentioned at the beginning of Angela Duckworth talks about in her book.
Yes, I had a passion. I had passion for music, but I didn’t have the perseverance. So what’s gone wrong. Well, I think that direction was missing. I didn’t have that passion in the sense of the purpose of understanding what I was trying to do. I think, again, if I’m going to be kind to myself, if somehow somebody had helped me to understand that I needed to learn those scales and arpeggios and theory and classical pieces in order to get good enough so that I could then play my Disney and musicals perfectly… To be honest, a bucket list goal for me, would be to sit down at one of those pianos in a public place and just play a beautiful piece, confidently in my own little world, and I’d sound amazing and people would listen and they’d go, “Wow, she’s incredible.”
Not sure if that’s a bucket list goal I’m going to work towards. Again, it’s not high on my list of priorities because it’s not, strictly speaking, linked to a bigger purpose for me. There’s no big picture vision in my life where… Well, it could be part of it where I’m playing the piano in the Venice marketplace, whatever, but really I’m working on many other things, so of course, some things get deprioritized.
But again, the reason I’m babbling on about my different music experiences, instruments when I was younger is that I really saw this difference, now looking back, between this girl who did grade eight piano, grade eight flute, really stuck with it. And either because her parents made her or because she realised the importance or she had a great teacher who inspired her, whatever it was, she somehow stuck with it and succeeded in finishing those, and really getting that to the highest level that you can. And I’m sure she can now play piano very well and do that whenever she wants to, and flute is maybe a bit trickier, but I’m sure she could pick that up as well, if she wanted to. Whereas for me, I have my piano in my study, in fact, usually, except that I’m in the middle of a move still as I record this, and yet I only sit down now and then, and I’m sight reading, and I enjoy it, but, oh, what I wouldn’t give to have practised and learns much better.
Now also again, to think about this from a different perspective, it’s not just understanding that I needed to do the scales and so on, maybe somebody could have come with a more creative approach and realise that what I wanted to do was this Disney and musicals. And they could have helped me through that and not force me to do… Why do I need to do grade eight? Why do I need to do those exams? If I’m not planning on having a classical education, helped me to understand you don’t need to do that stressful process of testing your skills, but let’s work on the scales, because that’s going to help you with the fingers and understand and, et cetera, et cetera.
So an example of me not having that grit, but what about you? Can you think of an example from your childhood or your maybe more recent experience as well? Is there something that you wish you had done, something that you really didn’t stick with? And yet, now, if you think back, hang on a second, you begin to understand why that was. So again, let’s look at the passion and the perseverance.
Now, passion, as I understand it, is not about that cliched advice of you should follow your passion, follow your heart’s desires. Now I happen to believe, as I’m sure you do, I hope you do, that following your passion, being passionate about something is going to help you have the grit, have the perseverance, have the sense of purpose and the enjoyment for this to be sustainable. But that’s not to say, Oh, I’m passionate about photography, therefore I must build a photography business. The point I think is that you need to be passionate about whatever it is that you do choose to do.
So if you decide to be a careers coach, then be passionate about that. Be passionate about the amazing difference you can make in your client’s lives. If your virtual assistant be passionate about the time you’re saving people, the incredible attention to detail you’re going to have, the massive help you’re giving someone to free up their time and space and energy, to focus on what really matters for them. So whatever you choose to do, be passionate about that.
So again, it’s not about just saying, “Oh, I’m passionate about Disney, therefore, I should work at Disney,” or “I’m passionate about cakes,” or whatever it is. It’s really thinking, okay, whatever I am going to do, do I have the passion? Do I have the purpose? The sense of direction? The understanding of why I’m doing this? It’s meaningful to me. I can see the big picture. I can see the future me.
In last week’s episode, we talked about what the future me would do. So I can really see the business, the lifestyle that that future me would have, and that motivation is going to intrinsically pull me towards this bigger future. And that for me is the passion. So again, you’re not just following something because you’re passionate about it. You’re being passionate about the thing that you’re focusing on, your goal. So again, if you’re thinking about something that you’ve been trying to work on, but you haven’t been achieving, then take a step back and think, okay, do I have that passion? Have I been really immersing myself in this and learning and investing in becoming better in my personal development and reading about it? Have I been really dedicating time to master this, and as such become really passionate about it. Because I do think there’s a link between being incredibly good at something and being able to enjoy it. So that’s the passion side.
Now, what about the perseverance? Now, you need to keep that passion, keep that purpose in sight in order to persevere, in order to have the resilience that we’ve talked about the last couple of weeks as well, in terms of the ups and downs of your business, inevitably, there will be tough times and we need to be able to respond to those. We need to persevere even when we don’t do as well as we thought we would.
So, again, I keep repeating it, but that’s what we’re talking about today, the passion, the perseverance, let’s look at these through the lens of building your business. Let’s look at passion. I mentioned the virtual assistant. For example, I mentioned a coach. If I look at my business, even in the smaller perspective, we’re assuming, now, you know what you’re doing in your business. You have your business idea, your niche, whatever. If I have a project, okay, I’m going to create this self-directed course this year.
I’m going to write this book. I need to really be clear on what purpose that book is going to serve. What role is going to have in my brand ecosystem. It’s going to reach a different demographic or a group of potential clients who are further along than my previous book. It’s going to be a calling card for me in terms of authority and credibility. It’s going to be sort of a point of market entry product for people to get spend 7.99 on Amazon for the paperback or whatever it is, Kindle, possibly even read it for free on Kindle. And then that will be an entry into my community. The book is going to link into encouraging you to join my Facebook group, the One Step Outside Facebook group. Ultimately, it’s going to lead to that course that I just mentioned as well.
Where does that call set in my business structure and strategy? Well, I want to have, again, this self-directed course, which is for people who are earlier on in the process, they’re not ready yet to invest in working one-to-one with me, working in a more dynamic context in one of my group programmes, but they could still benefit. And once they have done this course, they will be ready to join the accelerator, for example. So already, in fact, my voice is getting passionate because I’m really excited about this. I can see I’ve talked myself into, of course, I need to work on these things. They’re so important. I can see exactly where they fit in the hierarchy of my products and packages.
I can see they’re going to reach this new audience. I can see how amazing I’m going to feel, once I have another book in my hand, and it’s going to just open up so many opportunities to me, in terms of this slightly different aspect of the message that I have in terms of building a sustainable business. That’s going to allow you to escape the 9:00 to 5:00, not just taking that decision to quit your job, but actually to make it happen over the longer period of time. To not give up when the going gets tough. Ironically, very much at the heart of what we’re talking about today, to persevere, to keep going and to have that grit and resilience to keep going on.
So lots of interchangeable, almost words, of course, they’re nuanced and they mean different things, but they’re all very much relevant and intertwined. So that’s the passion. I have the passion because I can see the direction which I’m heading. I can see the role within the ecosystem. I can see how it all fits together. So again, for you, if you have one of those ideas, I want to launch a podcast. I want to write a book. I want to do a Ted Talk. Really take a step back, maybe grab a pen and paper. If you’re like me a bit more verbal or go and meditate, go for a walk, have a think about it, draw a mind map, whatever feels right to you, but really think about, okay, what is the purpose here? What’s the direction in which I’m heading? Where does that fit to my ecosystem? Why am I passionate about this? I can really see how this is going to help my clients. I’ve had so many potential people come to me asking me about this. And I haven’t had anything.
For me, another thing is personal branding. Now, building your personal brand platform is one of my five pillars of building a sustainable business. But I’ve had so many people come to me, in fact, that I’m now working on a specific programme for personal branding, and I have a group of people who are going to be working through that to really deep dive on that.
And again, I’m passionate about that, because I can see people are coming to me asking me for this, and it’s going to really serve a purpose for them. And as such, of course, serve a purpose for me in my business and brand hierarchy again.
So of course, if people are coming to you needing this, if you’re seeing a gap in the market, if you’re seeing that people have this problem that you can solve, that’s hopefully going to give you the passion and the direction, the purpose of where you’re heading. So that’s the passion with your business.
Now, secondly, the perseverance, again, I think, do go back and listen to the resilience episode. Really, really important thinking of how you can keep going, how you can really respond to difficult situations in the moment, but then also how you can build your resilience in the longer term. And a couple of key things there is one is in fact, again, it’s very much intertwined, having that sense of purpose, knowing where you’re going, because then little setbacks will be just that, they’ll be setbacks. And so knowing that you have this bigger purpose, there’ll just be some lumps and bumps along the way, but you know that, hey, okay, it’s some detours along the way, but this is where I’m heading and I’m going to get there. It’s just a question of when and how, not a question of if I’m going to get there.
So really accepting what’s happening, focusing on a solution, having a clear purpose of where you’re going to, and importantly, keep talking about this, but surrounding yourself with like-minded people, surrounding yourself with a support network, asking for help to make sure that you don’t give up. Now, we’re not saying keep going until you’ve spent every penny of your savings and you’ve failed and everything, and it’s been a disaster for months and months and years on end. No, if you’re seeing that things are working, that’s where you need to ask for help, that’s where you need to get that support system in place.
But we are saying is look, it is going to be tough, whatever you do and persevering through that toughness, through the disappointments, through the unexpected things that do and don’t happen, through those failures, setbacks, whatever you want to call them, through people not turning up to a webinar, through your launch not going as well as you’d hoped, not as many people bought and so on. You just keep going. You do another webinar. You learn, you really step up. You lean in, you contact more of your leads. You do more sales posts. You show up more. You go on more people’s podcasts. You do more videos, et cetera, et cetera. So really persevering, swallowing your ego a little bit and just keep going. Just like a machine, dump, thump, thump, keep going on those important pieces the puzzle.
So again, if you have read the book, I’d love to hear from you, what you think, do you have that passion? Do you have the perseverance? What do you think about this idea of grit? It’s something we’ve been exploring now this week and we’ll continue to explore as I also read more of the book. So I apologise to Ms. Duckworth, if I’ve bastardised a little bit of her content, but those are the insights that came to me as I thought of this duality of passion on the one hand and perseverance on the other.
So again, an important question to ask yourself, if you’re struggling to achieve your goal, big picture of building this business or something specific like launching a course or a book or whatever, what is it that’s missing? Is it the passion side of it? Is it that sense of purpose and direction on the one hand? Or is it the perseverance? Are you giving up? Are you letting your ego get in the way? So I hope that was powerful for you. An important message that you may be needed to hear. I know I needed to hear it. And as I said, I’ve sort of persuaded myself of the importance of some of my goals, so I’m going to get back with renewed energy and effort to work on my goals as well this year. Love to hear what you think. Do, again, touch on any social media channel.
And of course, again, if you would like to join us in the Business accelerator. The Outsiders Business Accelerator is a fantastic place for you to express your passion, to refine your purpose and your sense of direction, your definition of success, to join a community of like-minded people, to have the accountability and support that you’ll need in order to persevere, and of course also learn the strategies, techniques, and tactics that are going to help you get to where you want it to be.
So you can find out more about that at onestepoutside.com for that accelerator. I’d love to work with you and help you achieve your goals that are meaningful goals that are really going to make a difference for you in your life and in your business. Thanks so much for listening. I wish you lots of passion, perseverance, and overall grit in working towards your goals. Remember, that’s what’s going to make you successful, whatever success means to you. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.
If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:
Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation
Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall
Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com
Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5
Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate