Super Bowl XLVIII winner, best-selling author, and international speaker Clint Gresham, spent six formative years in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Clint’s time in the high performance space with some of the greatest achievers alive, marked him with a passion for excellence and resilience, which he now imparts to individuals and teams around the globe.
After his time with the Seattle Seahawks, Clint wrote a book entitled “Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness.” The book teaches the principles of resiliency and success, to help anyone overcome their own challenging circumstances to become all they were created to be.
The meeting felt like any of the other hundreds of meetings I had sat through over the years. A woman named Angela Duckworth came up in front of the Seahawks and started talking about this thing called “grit.” It’s a word I have heard thrown around quite a bit in high performance circles and seems to be the buzzword of the day. Basically, grit is passion and perseverance. It’s the belief that setbacks do not easily sway you. It’s a dogged inner resoluteness which seems to increase with each attack. It’s also the number one predictor of success. The trait all of us want more of, but many don’t know how to actually develop.
As she began to wrap up her presentation, she commented on how “we are still trying to understand how to increase grit in people but it has proven to be the number one indicator for success.” I got the sense that much of her research pointed to this idea that you either have it or you don’t. I found myself disappointed. If you either have it or you don’t, what are we doing here? If it’s the most important trait in determining success, how can we grow it? She went on to say, “While we aren’t exactly sure how to increase it, one indicator seems to lie in the idea of a process based focus over an outcome based focus.” She alluded to work done by a woman named Carol Dweck, who was exploring the power of a growth mindset over a fixed mindset.
Dr. Dweck has been a pioneer in this idea of having a positive growth mindset. She talks about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass 84 units to graduate, and if they didn’t get those 84 units, they got the grade, “Not yet” as opposed to the standard for not completing the assignments which is “fail.”
How amazing is that!? If you get the grade “fail,” that is a strong label to try and shake. But by getting the grade “not yet,” it sets the children up for growth in the future. You’re on a learning curve that doesn’t assassinate your sense of worth. “Not yet” gives a path into a future full of promise. She went on to speak of some of the most notoriously suffering schools in the country who when they adopted this style of teaching, soared to the top. By teaching children to have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, a negative outcome doesn’t blow them out of the water. Trying something new doesn’t become a terrifying act of feeling stupid if you fail. Quite simply, a positive growth mindset is the key to grit.
How Gritty are you?
There is a test online you can take to figure out how “gritty” you are. When I read my results, it said “Congratulations! You scored higher than 20% of Americans!” If you do the math, you realize that is a really bad score! Now what is interesting about this whole thing, is by society’s standards, I have accomplished quite a bit. Six year NFL vet. Super Bowl XLVIII champion. Best selling author. International speaker.
But why is it, that when a test is done that is supposed to convey how successful I will be (grit), I tested so poorly? I think the reason is that the script in most of our minds are one of “failure,” instead of “not yet.” We have between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day and most of those are negative. If we want to be people who are resilient and strong, it is going to mean filling the garden of our mind with the truth of who God says we are, not our situation! We need to replace the negative self talk to be thoughts of hope and joy. Only then, will we enjoy our best life.
Here’s to Loving the Process,
The Higher Ground Men’s Conference will be held in Bellevue, WA on February 10th, 2018 and will focus on spiritual authenticity, sexual integrity, and social justice. Featuring keynote speaker Brock Huard (ESPN) and special guest Clint Gresham (former Seattle Seahawk), it will also have breakout sessions on a variety of topics including one designed especially for fathers and their teen sons. Buy your tickets now, or surprise your hubby with a fantastic Christmas gift that will make a life-long impact.