The Dirt on Grit
5 Perks of Making Adversity Work
Okay, so you don’t like rolling around in the mud! I get it!

No one likes the uncomfortable feeling of failure and the impact of tough times.

Yet, for most of us, the ability to experience the dark side of life allows us to fully grasp the light. The truth is that we need to get dirty in order to grow. Success is born from desire so deep that it transcends hardship and actually makes us more creative, responsive, and determined.
In a study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science Journal , researchers at the University of Buffalo and study author Mark Seery determined that “A history of some lifetime adversity, relative to both no adversity, or high adversity, predicted lower global distress, lower functional impairment, lower PTS symptoms and higher life satisfaction.” Essentially, grit and resiliency are the positive byproducts of tougher times.

The next time you experience a setback or feel as though things are especially hard to navigate, think about the beach. Most of us love going to the beach. Yet how many of us love the messy sand? It’s gritty! We endure the grit so that we can enjoy the ocean, and the fresh air, and the experience itself. We put up with the “adversity” in order to enjoy the overall experience. Life is like that beach. Most of us will encounter sand. What we choose to do with that encounter is what determines and drives our success.

Feeling a bit gritty?

Then gain some traction by celebrating these 5 perks of capturing and positively repurposing this grit in any situation:

1.    Tenacity: Tenacity is a leadership skill and grit is the extra footing required for successfully executing it. It is learned not when things are going well, but when things are not. Consistency affords us the ability to keep going, to take ownership of a situation, and to choose the process over the outcome. When we are gritty we are committed to the action steps involved in following through and riding out the wave of the highs and lows in life. Grit drives patience, empathy, and stick-to-it. When others are giving up, those with a bit of dirt on their hands are becoming more creative and invested in figuring out what can be done even when it seems like nothing can be.

2.    Broadened perspective: People who have never experienced hardships tend to see things from one vantage point. Having been on the roller coaster of life and exposed to the ups and downs our point of view will tend to match our experiences. The more experiences we gather, the larger the scope of our choices and our decisions. This ability to understand a problem from a variety of angles is a key to problem solving and managing successfully in business and in life.

3.    Empathy: It is not by chance that we often seek out opportunities to give back based on our own experiences. I am a transitional life strategist because coaching was my own mid-life reinvention. We teach what we know and we understand in 360 degrees when we have personally lived through challenges ourselves. The ability to be less judgmental and to lead with compassion is a life skill that cannot be taught it can only be acquired from rising above oneself.

4.    Gratitude: Grit gives us the ability to be thankful, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but also as a lifestyle everyday. Adversity opens our eyes to the possibility of a less-than-perfect life. On the flip side of failure is appreciation. The beautiful thing about living grateful is that it anchors us in today and the possibilities at hand, and in so doing it elevates our energy and our clarity. This vision that life as good also helps us to bypass fears and take action where we may not have before.

5.     Purpose: The ripple effect of balancing and living the good and the bad is that our sense of purpose shifts. Sense of purpose is meant to change and develop over and over in the course of one’s life, yet we often don’t stop to recalibrate. Grit gives us the traction to be able to dig deep and do just that. What is next, and what we can do now are illuminated in the afterglow of a fail. A redefined purpose may emerge after feeling stuck or limited in the circumstances of life, yet it builds and rebuilds from the foundation up. Think of a child with a box of Legos! They spill 1000 pieces out onto the floor and begin to build. Then their kid brother knocks it down. The next day, the child rebuilds a different structure. It is the same in life. We are continually under construction, and sometimes when life intersects our purpose it allows us to rebuild in a renewed and refreshed way.

Look for my upcoming podcast interview with Stacy Francis for Financially Ever After

Look for my interview later this month on and in The Bergen Record with special columnist Jackie Goldschneider

3/2: Bergen County Professional Women's Network Luncheon

3/8: Private Client Keynote for International Women's Day
Princeton, NJ

3/9: Recording Like A Real Boss Podcast

3/14: Women in Financial Industry Luncheon

3/27: TedX Lincoln Center

3/29: YWCA Bergen County Women's Leadership Conference: Our Time is Now

3/29: Cocktails & Conversation NYC