“GRIT. Passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Having stamina. Sticking with your future, day in and day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. Grit is living life like it is a marathon, not a sprint.”–Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth discussing the only quality she found as a consistent predictor of success.
As a team, we all have ups and downs and part of what makes our SMACK! Media team really special is that we all understand that it can take a little “grit” to get through tough times, be it personal, professional or even athletic. The “grit” comes from within; however, the strong support from each other makes these tough times or challenges easier to get through. You know, “grit it out!” We’re not afraid to roll up our sleeves, speak up or go the extra mile to get the job done.
Here are the pivotal moments and lessons that instilled in us the character building grit that has helped us in our professional, athletic and personal lives:
Eli: My father is a refugee from World War II who has taught me a lot about perseverance and determination. He always told me, “Never give up,” and still does. Watching my dad use his interpersonal skills, ‘street smarts’ and treating people with respect while he built successful businesses has taught me grit. Success in work, life and sports doesn’t come easy and it’s when you put in the hard work, the “grit,” that’s when the magic happens.
Joanna: I moved to Boston for a job after living abroad in Germany. At the time I had only briefly visited the east coast, had never been to Boston and didn’t know a single person in the city. This experience taught me to be happy and secure with myself even when I didn’t feel like I belonged or when the local support system was lacking. It was a rough and fairly long adjustment period before I felt like I really was “at home” in Boston, but I gained an independence and toughness that has served me well in life. (Joanna is pictured above with her support network of friends and teammates that she has developed in Boston.)
Sara: My parents used sports to help teach me a lot of life lessons, and there were many of those, especially when we didn’t make a team we wanted to or when we lost big championship games. When my family moved, just before I entered 7th grade, it was a really tough period of time because I was brand new to a different middle school, in a new state and without any of my old friends. It took me 2 years to start feeling like this new town was my home. That age is tough for most kids, and I remember it being especially hard because I was trying to make friends and was super awkward (think braces and crazy frizzy hair)! Getting through that adjustment was a grit developing experience, and I leaned a lot on my athletics during that period. My soccer teammates became great friends (I’m pictured above in the middle front row with them) and I gained a lot of my confidence through my performance on the field. Throughout high school and college, and even now, whenever I’ve facing a really tough situation, I will pull from past tough experiences to gain strength. I always feel like, if I could make it through that, then I can definitely handle this!
Morgan: I was born with Eczema, an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, and had terribly itchy open wounds and rashes over most of my body throughout my childhood through middle school. Of course kids would tease me about the bandages I wore on my arms and legs, and the rashes around my eyes and face, but that didn’t bother me nearly as much as the daily pain and discomfort I could not avoid. I had major flare up again my freshman year of college, and that paired with a dorm virus I caught, weakened my immune system to the point that I almost had to leave school. Throughout all of this, I never lost my desire to take part and experience the things I love and work towards my goals, even if it meant taking an alternative route. I learned from an early age not to wallow in what I could not control nor worry about what others said, but instead find the grit to smile, be creative and work hard to get after my dreams! (I am pictured above, age 12, during a bad flare up. Despite this I won and PR’d in mile race and then met my running hero Steve Scott, who would later coach and help me through my college health struggles.)
Natasha: My grandmother has a quote, which I have always taken to heart, “You can either cry or laugh. The decision is yours.” I have applied this quote when I need extra courage, and need to push through things with grit. I have an option— I can choose to move forward with a smile, or cry and wonder what the reasons are for why something is happening. This mentality not only applies to pushing through tough workouts or races, but in situations where my character might be challenged, and I have relied on this advice since I was a kid— believe me, it has help me grit out a lot of things!
The next time you experience a set back or are having a tough day, take a few minutes to think back to a time that required grit to succeed. Drawing upon these memories can continue to give us strength and help us grow!