A few weeks ago, one of our teammates made a suggestion during a work anniversary lunch with our CEO Fiona Kesby. Why not share links to the motivational videos that are shared at the end of most Lunch with the CEO presentations?
Good idea! Here’s one that Fiona shared during Lunch with the CEO in August 2017 and that feels relevant these days, as we all adjust to a public health crisis that none of us has gone through before now.
Angela Lee Duckworth is a psychology professor who has received the MacArthur Fellowship (yes, the “genius grant”) and who likes to observe individuals that succeed in “super challenging settings.” What makes them tick? What makes them deliver and exceed expectations in the toughest conditions?
It’s not a high IQ or elite levels of physical health or good looks or talent.
It’s grit, which Angela defined as a combination of passion and perseverance. It’s what fuels the commitment to work really hard to make a desired future happen. Like devoting 10,000 hours to master a skill.
How do we add to our reserves of grit?
First, cultivate a growth mindset.
Remember that the ability to learn is not fixed. It’s something that will change, if we make the effort to change it.
Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck and Greg Walton have found that one of the most effective ways to help students get better grades is to help change their mindsets.
Remember this the next time you hear yourself saying, “Oh, I could never get better at math (or learn a new language or figure out how to use that software) because I’ve never been good at that sort of thing.” Remind yourself you’re perfectly capable of gaining a growth mindset.
Now, when we learn something new, we’re not going to master it right away.
So when we falter or get things wrong, it’s OK. Failure is rarely permanent.
Keep learning, keep on practicing, and refuse to be limited by the way you’ve always done things before.
One way to reinforce your growth mindset is to seek challenges that require a slightly higher skill level than what you currently have. Think: stretch goals. (Or in more old-school terms: A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.)
Second, remind yourself of what your work means.
It’s not just a source of income, although that’s obviously important.
Grit can also come from “ a deep and enduring motivation” to do meaningful work.
Think about what problems you’re solving for your clients and your team. If you do your job so exceedingly well, you just might be part of the reason a business halfway across the world survives these challenging times.
Have a goal that you hold in high regard.
BTW, Now That You’re WFH
Working from home presents its own set of challenges, as some of us are surely starting to realize.
If you haven’t done so already, ask a loved one to help you stay focused and productive. Keeping distractions at bay can be a team effort.
In case these reminders got lost in your inbox (because, let’s face it, some weeks “inbox zero” can feel like a pipe dream), here are some friendly reminders.
What are your hacks for staying productive and managing your time and attention while working from home?
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org please, so we can share them here and on our social media channels.