Fit looks like grit

Grit is something that I’ve been learning about since first watching Angela Duckworth’s TED Talk. How could I develop grit in myself? How could I raise gritt” kids? How can I build and encourage my teams at work to be more gritty? If I’m totally honest, I don’t regularly feel very gritty myself. In general, I like to do things I’m “good at.” Rather than working hard to build new skills, I will go where I can most easily find success and stick with that.

Back when we were still commuting, I listened to a podcast interview (Kara Swisher and David Epstein) on the way to work. David’s recently released book Range is now on my wishlist. Three ideas stayed with me after the episode:

  • Many of the characteristics we use to define people are actually “states” not “traits” — they will change based on context. An introvert in one situation, will be an extrovert in another.
  • “Grit” is one of these states (not traits?!) that we put a lot of time trying to find and develop, when really a good “fit” looks a lot like “grit.” The personal and professional implications of this are massive if you are able to realize and accept that a lack of apparent grit in one situation is not a moral failure.
  • If you recruit for fit, you will find your team will have more apparent “grit” and as an individual it’s ok to sample around and try things until you find your fit.

I’m no psychologist, but just observing  the many professionals throughout my recruiting career struggle and ultimately “fail” in one organization, move to another and become an absolute star this rings true. 

Listen to Kara Swisher and David Epstein: Why Successful People Don’t Do Only One Thing Well in Recode Decode Podcast [Listen]