“People are rewarded in public for what they’ve practiced for years in private.” -Tony Robbins
If you’ve been hanging out with me for a hot second, you know I'm all about playing the long game and cultivating a grit and growth mindset.
I like to think of this stellar combo as being an oak tree versus a weed.
Weeds pop up overnight. They smother gardens as they suck up resources. They’re easy come, easy go. We can pluck a weed out of the ground without any effort, and the next day it can be replaced by another of the same.
Oak trees, on the other hand, have roots that go deep. In fact, their roots can total hundreds of miles (fun fact). They're strong and can withstand the winds and storms that pass year after year. Oak trees stand the test of time.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think about my business (and life), I’d much rather be an oak tree than a weed!
Fun analogies aside, let’s get back to a grit and growth mindset and playing the long game. You may have heard me sing my praises for grit in the past. I know it’s a harsh sounding word, but its meaning is anything but.
Grit is a term in psychology, and it means the passion and perseverance for a long-term goal.
Grit IS playing the long game.
A growth mindset is the other piece of our mindset combo. In psychology speak, we can have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, and trust me, we want a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is the mindset that thinks, “We’re born with it”. This mindset believes that whatever skills or talents we have are set, and there isn’t much room for improvement.
A fixed mindset decides after a few subpar tries at live video, that we suck at it and therefore shouldn’t do it. It’s the same mindset that tries any new skill in our business, like sales calls, and after less-than-stellar results wants to throw in the towel.
Then, there’s a growth mindset. This mindset believes we have the ability to grow our talents and mind. This mindset believes that through deliberate practice we can get better and excel at anything.
Faced with the same business frustrations this mindset says, “I can figure this out. I can learn this. I can do this.” It asks, “How can I get better?” It knows, “I WILL get better” and has the passion and perseverance to stay in the game long enough to make that a reality.
This combination of grit and growth is that strong mighty oak tree, and it’s also an important part of what makes up a successful, CEO mindset.
I get that this sounds great in theory, but isn't always the same in practice.
“Grit and growth, yeah!” We nod our heads and agree until we’re facing our own set of challenges and 'growth opportunities'. Suddenly grit doesn’t sound so appealing and that fixed mindset can feel like a get-out-of-jail free card. Like so many things, these are easier to throw a hashtag in front of than they are to cultivate.
It doesn’t help bolster our commitment to the long game when popular culture seems to strengthen a fixed mindset and weaken grit.
We live in a world that promises us instant everything. I can microwave my food and order anything I want on Amazon and have it here tomorrow. There are quick-fix solutions all over the place and we celebrate the ‘overnight’ success.
Since we’re wired for comparison, this can send us is into mental quicksand pulling our grit and growth mindset down.
And the long game? It’s pretty much the least sexy topic out there. Who wants to sign up for sustainable growth with a side of grit when you can instantly download success? Who wants to put in the hours to deliberately learn and master a skill when you’re being promised 10k months on automation?
But we can’t crash-diet our way to what we truly want, not if we want anything sustainable. We can’t microwave success. And last time I checked, Amazon Prime doesn’t have build-an-entrepreneur-overnight for two-day delivery. Sorry not sorry.
It takes time to truly master a skill, acquire experience, and become the person we need to be to step into what it is we want, whether that’s a successful business, a creative talent, healthier body, or athletic skill.
It takes time to develop and nurture the relationships and connections that are essential for business success.
It takes time to test and tweak our message, offers, marketing, and sales efforts.
It takes time to show up, fail, pivot, and leverage those failures into success.
I’m not big on promises, but I promise you this: If you take a look at the people you admire who are excelling at what they do, they’ve committed to the long game and daily grit required. I’d bet they’re all about a growth mindset. Their path is most likely littered with failures, setbacks, and challenges we can’t see that they’ve have the grit to persevere through.
Even if they SEEM like an overnight success, I promise you, there’s something that’s been done behind-the-scenes that you aren’t aware of. They've got some roots that are digging deep to support them.
And if you’re sitting there thinking, yeah, but I want it now. I don’t want to wait. Know it doesn’t have to take forever. It’s all about the mindset and approach and less about the time frame.
Wherever you're at on your journey, remember that a sapling will always be stronger than a weed.
Let’s all stand taller and stronger than instant gratification. Let’s water our trees, allow our roots to grow deep, so we can be the ones that stand the test of time.
Wishing you your version of success!