Developing Grit

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Would you consider yourself mentally tough? In other words, are you able to push forward despite setbacks, disappointments and mistakes? I believe the potential is within us to strengthen our mental resolve and develop a mindset that allows us to take positive steps forward, especially when the going gets tough.

When the tragedy of 911 occurred in this nation, the US Military needed to train additional Navy SEALS, but they had one problem. Although many recruits began the grueling program, only a small percentage actually made it all the way through, as many quit before completion. Of course the Navy did not want to change the challenging standards to become a SEAL, so they explored what they needed to do to help more recruits complete the strenuous program.

They began to examine the common denominators of those who have grit – the quality to be able push through obstacles even when they felt like giving up. One of the basic factors they found was mental toughness and positive self-talk. Telling yourself, I can do this, rather than thinking, I’m not cut out for this, is one of the keys to getting through the most demanding circumstances. As the Navy began to apply this research, equipping their recruits with mental tools to help them rise up to their obstacles, their passing rates increased by ten percent.*

Negative and defeating thoughts can easily pop into our minds, especially when things don’t go as planned. One way we can turn our self-talk in a positive direction is to memorize certain phrases to repeat to ourselves, especially when we feel like throwing in the towel and quitting.

As a successful businessman, my dad kept a 3 by 5 card in his pocket to pull out at times when he needed an encouraging reminder. Here’s what was written on his card:

  • I can do this!
  • If it is to be, it is up to me.
  • Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.
  • God is the strength of my life.
  • The harder I work, the better I get.

Whether you choose a famous quote, a scripture or an encouraging phrase, fill your mind with what is true, noble and admirable. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our focus. Know what is important to you and where you want to go in life. Remember you are not alone. Be willing to invest the time, strength and mental grit to overcome obstacles and reach toward your dreams.

Leadership 2

Check out Karol’s book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women for more inspiration and encouragement.

Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

*Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree (New York, NY: Harper One, 2017) p. 63.

Simply Radiant

Sunny Sunflowers  Oil painting on canvas.

When I first met a precious woman named Ellen, I was struck by her radiant smile. At first I didn’t notice her cane, but as she gracefully made her way over to meet me I could see that she walked with a slight limp.  Ellen told me that she was diagnosed with Spinal Bifida at birth, yet she was able to walk, and she was still thriving at seventy years of age.  Ellen is literally a walking miracle, because most children with Spina Bifida were not expected to live into adulthood. Ellen was able to be the recipient of an experimental surgery at a young age which enabled her to walk. When I told Ellen that I wanted to write her story she said, “Well make it all about Jesus, not about me.”

Ellen’s focus is not on herself; it is on the God who loves and cares for her and continues to shine His light through her.  Ellen views her physical limitations from a positive perspective. She recognizes that her challenges offer her an opportunity to reach out and serve other women who have disabilities, and we all have disabilities of some sort. Ellen is a beauty consultant and uses the platform of make-up and outward beauty to talk about the importance of inner beauty which comes from knowing the Lord.  Here’s her mission statement:

Making a DIFFERENCE in women whose lives have been touched by disability, assisting with their choice for their eternal destiny, one lipstick at a time!

Ellen realizes that no one is perfect, and our imperfections lead us to a perfect God.  It is in Him that we experience strength and joy in life. Ellen’s understanding of who God is, makes a significant difference in her life. One more thing I must tell you about Ellen is that she loves to pray. She looks to the Lord as her strength day by day, moment by moment as she visits with Him through prayer. Several times as I was engaged in conversation with Ellen she stopped to say, “Let’s go to the Father in prayer about this.” Right then and there she prayed.  And what a beautiful prayer it was, filled with love and trust and joy in her Heavenly Father.  Ellen is an example of a woman who lives with a confident hope in the Lord.  She lives with a perspective of thankfulness for the opportunity to serve God with her disability.  She also lives with a Heavenly focus, knowing that this world is not her home and that one day her earthly body will be transformed into a glorious one.

Perspective is everything, and it is a choice.  We can view our frustrations and our disappointing circumstances with anger toward God, believing that this life is all we have.  Or we can view difficulties from the perspective of “Lord, my eyes are on you. Use me in these circumstances for your glory.  Help me and give me strength along the way.”  With an eternal perspective we can live with confidence knowing that this isn’t IT.  We can look forward with confident hope toward Heaven and place our confident hope in the God who will care for us here. Ellen is a radiant woman with an eternal perspective.  I want to view the world like Ellen!

This is an excerpt from A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living