A little while back, I asked for some feedback and insights regarding the topic of grit. As a partner in the Grit Meets Growth podcast, grit has become something I am very interested in. Not only do I want more of it for myself, but I want to help other people grow more of it in their lives as well. The deeper I dive into what grit is and how it leads to breakthroughs, the more I want to understand it and how to grow more of it. With that in mind, I asked three questions…

  1. How would you define grit?
  2. What’s the connection between grit and growth?
  3. What’s a real-world example of grit have you witnessed or experienced?

What you shared was insightful. Here are the uncut responses I received…


How would you define grit?

  • The ability to keep working toward a goal overcoming challenges, and sticking with it even when it’s HARD
  • Working and fighting through any and all things that stand in the way of your ultimate goal.
  • Grit is the continuous hard work that gets you to your goal.
  • Grit = Gut response that is solid, holds true, and is authentic to self
  • The ability to see the road ahead no matter how foggy it might get. You gain hope that helps you fight through the pain.
  • Grit is illustrated when someone displays consistent perseverance despite or throughout adversity.
  • Grit possesses great courage because you are fighting your past challenges, setbacks, criticisms, and perceptions and choosing to move forward to move to an end. GRIT = Grateful, Reflective, Intuitive, Testing
  • the combination of passion and perseverance
  • Your willingness and ability to fight through the mundane and tough times. Grit is a learned behavior, not a given behavior. In other words, grit is embracing the suck.
  • I believe the official definition of grit is the combination of perseverance and passion or the point where the two meet. Grit is having passion for the task at hand, but it’s also finding the strength or endurance to overcome the unforeseen obstacles that come with that task. It’s a very positive trait that I don’t think just anyone has. There’s an element of intensity with grit.
  • Grit is the strength of your character.


What’s the connection between grit and growth?

  • Grit turns into mental toughness, which in the end turns into growth. It is a progression. Proving to yourself that you can overcome and achieve in the face of adversity makes you different that many others. Putting yourself in these situations is hard. It’s dark but very necessary. Growth comes from being uncomfortable and in those dark places.
  • Grit takes more work and effort than growth. Growth can happen in many forms and without you even trying — grit you have to have and work at it.
  • Grit is the “how,” growth is the “outcome. ” Grit is the day-to-day action you take to achieve your goal/growth.
  • Grit is where you come from, the building stones/foundation, and growth is using that to go forward and continue the path to earnest movement in an upwards direction. The combination is the jewel.
  • Nothing can be accomplished, nor can it grow, without a little bit of grit. Even a small seedling cannot reach the mighty sky as a tree if it never cracks its shell.
  • Growth happens when situations requiring Grit are experienced (perseverance throughout adversity).
  • With growth, you have chosen to reframe negatives (challenges into opportunities). Grit is the perseverance it takes to stick with your choice.
  • True growth inherently stretches people out of their comfort zones and can be unsettling. Grit creates a powerful foundation to support people in sticking it out through the discomfort and staying committed to what it takes to have meaningful transformation.
  • Those with grit get growth. Growth is always uncomfortable and often relies on doing mundane behaviors over and over before finding the desired outcome. If you can embrace the suck, you can grow.
  • If you have grit, then you grow. You were courageous or found resolve. At the end of it all, you grew (physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.). Just like rain, you can’t have it without clouds. Just like grit, you can’t have it without growth. But just because you grow, it doesn’t mean you have grit.
  • When you have grit, it means that you will do whatever it takes, no matter what is thrown your way, to achieve your goals. When you have grit, it forces you to grow and always become better.


What’s a real-world example of grit have you witnessed or experienced?

  • The transformation that my body is going through is proof that grit leads to growth. I battle with the b!#@h voice most mornings and win. What does that entail? It entails ignoring that voice and going to the gym or doing a workout even when I don’t feel like it.
  • Watching a business owner fail three times….losing almost every penny he had…but then selling others (on what he can and will do with this business with their help), getting them to contribute financially to this last opportunity…and succeeding beyond his/their wildest dreams.
  • I coach my daughter’s hockey team. Those girls have grit!!! They fall down constantly during practice and get up again and again. It amazes me constantly how quickly they learn and develop their skills. They go from barely being able to stand on the ice to shooting around quickly and confidently. All because they were ok with falling down again and again.
  • Watching a dear friend experience an unexpected pregnancy. Dealing with the issues and values, making the tough choice, standing beside the decision, and creating love and opportunity.
  • My dad is a farmer, and I watched him toil throughout the night to harvest the grain or put in the crop and, with little to no sleep, go out and do it all over again. I saw him push himself through very difficult challenges to provide for the family, and I always admired him for that.
  • I continued to display grit while seeking out a promotion to Senior Analyst within my company. I completed many applications and virtual interviews but did not receive a job offer. Despite not reaching my goal, I continued to apply for Senior Analyst positions and hone my interview skills.
  • Moving from self or others’ criticism to be authentic to who I am to become.
  • I see this daily with my coaching clients. They set a change goal that is something they can’t just will themselves to do; identify their underlying psychological Immunity to Change that gets in their way of making progress on the goal and then embark on a many-month long journey to dig into where this immunity came from and ultimately rewrite their self-limiting narrative so they can grow and move towards their goal and success. Another example would be my son in his Taekwondo journey. Through many of the belt graduations, he’s faced times where he’s tired, frustrated, and wants to quit. But then he looks forward to the next belt and digs in, and does the work.
  • My dad joined a nearly bankrupt company in the early ’80s. For the first ten years, it was a struggle of epic proportions, and he could have walked away and found another career. He didn’t. He fought through the slog and used creativity, knowledge, and intellectual curiosity to foster growth and sustain the business. The ’90s got better, but not by much. It was still a major challenge. In 2003 he orchestrated the buyout of a company everyone said wasn’t for sale. The first two years of the purchase didn’t go extremely well. After about two years, they turned it profitable and, in turn, made it into one of the largest privately held companies in the state. He could have given up dozens of times, and admittedly he tried to early on. He fought through it with grit and determination and retired, having built the family he worked for a little empire. It is motivation to me daily to slog through the suck. Eventually the good comes.
  • We have a good family friend. I’ll call her Jane (keeping anonymous). All her adult life, she has wanted to become a doctor to serve those who are otherwise not served with medical care. She has a huge heart. She did not get matched for her residency. While on vacation celebrating her friends who did get matched, she saw someone drowning in the ocean and, without a thought, jumped in to save them. In doing so, she was flung up against the rocks and suffered a severe head injury. It took months for her to get back to feeling like herself – all while finishing up her internships and medical exams that she had to pass to become a doctor and in order to interview for another residency. Her grit and determination got her through that extraordinary set of circumstances. I’m proud to say she is now a second-year resident and serving the communities she wanted to through family medicine. She is thriving! She still has headaches and lasting effects from the injury. But she is able to practice medicine. This is an example of grit.

The Takeaway

Looking at those responses, there are some clear takeaways on how we see grit and the results it can help us create. I’ll be back next week to share what I’ve unpacked, and I’d love to hear from you as well. As you read through these responses, what landed for you? What takeaways did you unlock? And most important, how will you use this to develop more grit in your own life? Send me a message at: john@depthnotwidth.com

Follow me here as I share some of my personal takeaways on grit. If you liked this, you’ll also get massive value out of the Grit Meets Growth podcast that I share with Chris Cathers. Find it here or on your favorite podcast platform! – John