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The road to a successful career is paved with true grit

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If you are confident about your career goals and feel motivated to put in the hard work to achieve them, then chances are, you have grit.

Grit is an increasingly sought-after quality among managers who understand the value of balancing "on-paper" talent with perseverance, determination and passion.

It is often said companies are only as successful as the people they hire, so in a highly competitive environment, companies must nurture workforces that can help the business outperform the competition. On the other hand, in a labour market where talent is in abundance, candidates usually stand out to recruiters because of their grit and determination.

As more employers look for people with grit, it’s important to understand what it is and how to demonstrate "gritty" characteristics. In the same way that an Olympian might succeed through sheerdetermination to outperform, having grit is about your ability to continuously take your skills and talents to new heights.

A good place to start is by adopting a “growth mindset”. Stanford University psychology professor, Carol Dweck, describes the growth mindset as one that focuses on the possibilities for new skills and experiences, in contrast to the “fixed mindset”, which believes traits and abilities don’t change.

Thinking with a growth mindset means identifying and setting smaller goals for yourself while on the path to achieving your larger ones. This will help demonstrate progress towards your overarching objectives and also serves as a great motivator to build upon your skills.

When working towards your smaller goals, a clearly defined purpose is key to maintaining the type of passion and perseverance needed. Make sure to communicate your goals to your manager, how you will achieve them and how they will contribute to the business.

As you continue to work on your goals, proactively take steps to align them with your manager’s and the business’. This will demonstrate grit while ensuring your manager is well-equipped to support your goals.

Recent studies suggest employees are more productive when they believe their work is meaningful. So when looking for a new job, identify roles and organisations that could ignite your passion and help you evolve your gritty characteristics.

It can be tempting to misinterpret gritty people as being superhuman or invincible. But, even those with grit are at risk of making mistakes, bad decisions or burning out. However, it’s how you handle the bumps in the road that really determines and develops your level of grit.

While taking time to reflect will allow you to learn from failures and turn them into future successes, knowing when it’s time to take a break is key to developing the type of resilience and persistence demonstrated by people with grit.

There’s no doubt that with practise, you can bring out your gritty side in the workplace. From adopting a growth mindset to taking care of your wellbeing and finding a job you’re passionate about, there are many ways you can channel your determination into new-found skills and talents.

This article was originally published on May .25, 2019, for The Sunday Morning Herald

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