Grit to Great Public Speaking

You've got to get gritty if you want to become a polished speaker.

I know something about grit and that's why ten years ago, I decided to write a book on the subject. I planned to call it Grit to Great. The title was clever, and I felt I had some wisdom to share because I was living a pretty gritty life.

I knew what it was to be strong, determined and steadfast, so I purchased the URL. I made a chapter outline, and then promptly became distracted with raising my girls as a single mom, working full time, moonlighting, moving multiple times, and dealing with all sorts of tricky circumstances. Looking back, I’m very proud of how I kept us afloat during some very tough times.

It was during those whirlwind years when I let the URL go. Who was I kidding? I didn’t have time to write a book.

The irony is not lost on me that in 2015, someone else wrote that book.

Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval became a national bestseller.

While I wasn’t gritty about writing the book, I still consider grit to be one of my defining qualities. This topic remains close to my heart. I credit the power of grit with my own success, and the success of so many people I coach and teach.

So what is GRIT?

Grit is relentless perseverance over time, regardless of setbacks.

It is old fashioned hard work, the refusal to give up on something, and the willingness to invest sweat equity.

My grit showed up fiercely when it came to raising my girls in a stable, loving home. Today, I have grit and passion around my role as a coach, helping clients find their ease and joy in their work.

Angela Duckworth, the Psychologist who coined the term 'GRIT' and has done countless studies on this quality, used science to prove that having grit matters a lot. Her TED Talk on Grit has over 16 million views!

Professor Duckworth's impressive research tells us that the secret to outstanding achievement is not IQ, social intelligence, or talent. It’s a special blend of passion and persistence that is the single best predictor of success across all types of jobs and industries. It’s as true for West Point Cadets as it is for small children.

It’s grit to great, my friends.

What does grit have to do with becoming a polished speaker?

The most successful clients I work with are the grittiest. They just won't give up. No one is born knowing how to WOW an audience: it takes practice. To become a polished speaker requires a mindset that says - every outcome provides important information. We are always learning.

You can become grittier...

I want you to keep showing up, trying your best, and finding excuses to practice your public speaking. Volunteer to facilitate the next meeting, make the client presentation, or speak up during a high-stakes conversation. Be brave and take chances.

Most importantly, ask for feedback and listen to what you hear without getting defensive. After that, try again.

Deliberate practice over time is what is going to make you better.

For more inspiration and deeper insight on grit, watch Angela Duckworth’s popular TED Talk here.

Wishing you a gritty week!


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