Mary-Ann Owens and Associates

Resilience Blog

Reaching your goals with Grit

5 Behaviors that Increase Grit

5 Behaviors that Increase Grit

What makes a person is how they react to the obstacles and roadblocks in their life and what they do to overcome setbacks. So let’s dive into 5 behaviors that support developing grit.

  1. Exercise Persistence:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge

Persistence means keeping at it and not quitting. Those who persist have committed themselves to an idea and they pursue it with vigor. Do you have an idea you have fallen in love with? Or could fall in love with? If you do this will help you persist. Not giving up on yourself or your idea is important if you want to make progress.

Persistence is an important quality of character because it means your journey will move beyond blocks and problems giving you energy and life. Persistence means creating new methods in your process and outcomes. That is advantageous when mastering yourself and your career.

  1. Practice your Craft:

“Your work is too important to be left to how you feel today.” Seth Godin

When you become a little better each and every work day, with time you will become a lot better at what you do. People with grit work on and practice their craft for 2-4 hours every day. This is called deliberate practice.

Successful people often practice their craft in the morning and follow this up with a rest period. With consistent practice a higher quality process can occur and weak areas can improve or be eliminated.

What are the components of your craft? If you are a professional athlete your practice could be stretching, exercising your muscles, eating and drinking for nutrition and strength, and centering yourself in the midst of stress. If you are a writer your craft might entail freeform writing exercises, editing, keeping notes on certain subjects, and research. You might be defining what kind of athlete or writer you are in the process of practicing your craft.

Your craft can be focused on, advanced, learned, and developed. In the process you can enhance your output. When we look at the components as practice, the difficulties and blocks may take on a more meaningful texture as they are supporting you to attain increased skills and over time, mastery.  

  1. Welcome Feedback:

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Ken Blanchard

Gritty people are open to, welcome and look for feedback on their work. They look forward to the adaptations that feedback can provide. They know that within one’s plight opportunity can often be found.

Feedback helps us improve what we are doing. It enables progress and when we are stuck, it gets us going again. Feedback enables us to know how we are doing in the eyes of our peers or of customers receiving our product or service.

Feedback refines or validates every component of our service or product. It is vital to keeping the life blood of our career, product or service relevant.    

  1. Focus on Work you Love:

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off of you." Maya Angelou

Gritty people work hard at something they love. If you love aspects of your work you won’t mind persisting at them because this will bring you joy. This makes the hard work tolerable.

This focus on that we love can also become a bigger purpose or calling. When we combine the love we have for our work with the love we have for others or the earth, it broadens the scope and impact giving us meaning and purpose.

  1. Hold a Growth Mindset:

“No matter what, people grow. If you choose not to grow, you’re staying in a small box with a small mindset. People who win go outside of that box. It’s very simple when you look at it.” Kevin Hart

Holding a growth mindset means welcoming and applying new ideas and processes. Challenges are considered new opportunities for improvement and they assist us to become better.

Learning is an experience that automatically creates tension and frustration. We grow as we get over these blocks and frustrations.

A growth mindset includes (source Mindset by Carol Dweck):

  • sees intelligence as something that grows over time
  • embraces challenges and risks possible failure
  • believes that effort and practice can lead to mastery
  • sees failure as temporary setbacks and persist in the achievement of goals
  • sees other people’s success as a source of inspiration
  • and sees feedback as an opportunity to grow and applies constructive criticism


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What This Blog is About

What This Blog is About

Welcome to The Resilience Blog.

The topics in this blog help you be more resilient in your career and as a leader. I write about ways to gain momentum and positively move through blocks that get in the way of your goals. I post articles on the blog about once a week. 

When I did my research study for my Ph.D., I got to conduct interviews with a number of successful and admired leaders. What fascinated me about them was how resilient they were. They had grown into leaders who could make things happen by demonstrating their resilience, confidence, and adaptive behaviours. I will teach you how to use and apply these resilient behaviours in your leadership and career leading to new levels of success. 

I am completing a book on Career Grit, which will include content and themes that will appear in the blog. If you have a story about overcoming challenges and becoming increasingly resilient in the process, I would love hearing about it. 

I am passionate about these career related topics:

  • methods to positively connect with others,
  • ways to lean into feedback,
  • reframing negative experiences,
  • making progress on your goals,
  • methods to enhance your positive impact, and
  • meeting challenges.

In the leadership area I enjoy focusing on: 

  • creating a safe environment, 
  • being more positive in your self-management and with your team,
  • raising your self-awareness,
  • bringing safety along with you wherever you go,
  • being able to have tough conversations when needed,
  • building trust, and 
  • ensuring your team performs. 

I hope you sign up for the blog soon and that you and your team apply these resilient behaviours thereby increasing your success.

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How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

How to Advance Your Career Even If You Don't Have a Job

Many people think they need a job to make progress in their career. You don't need a job to make progress. Over time doing things that create forward momentum may create the work you need. So don't wait to start doing these career advancing moves. 

  1. Promote your progress. Let those with the authority to spend money and make decisions know the advances you are making in your learning, networks, and knowledge of their industry.
  2. Do your homework. Research the leading organizations and individuals in your field. Learn what they are doing to stay ahead.
  3. Have your finger on the pulse. Know what the emerging issues and trends are within your industry.
  4. Put your hand up. Volunteer within your industry association or on the board of an organization with a cause you are passionate about. Volunteering is a way you can expand your network and build your skills.
  5. Broaden your network in your field. You can attend industry events with a goal of meeting 3 new people at each event. You can let your current network know that you want to expand your network. Ask yourself are there people you should get in front of? 
  6. Find a mentor (or two). Spend time with people in your field who are further along the career path or considered experts in your industry.
  7. Polish your online profiles. Keep the information current on these public profiles, so that your contacts can be up to date on your progress.
  8. Push your passion forward. Advance your knowledge and abilities in areas of your career where you are truly motivated. This will be fun and rewarding as the learning and knowledge add to your skill sets.
  9. Take a risk. Put more skin in the game by putting yourself out more. You could organize an event, write an article, or offer to do a talk. Your efforts and learning can open doors, allowing you to meet new people, develop new opportunities, and give you new information and energy.
  10. Chart a career path for your career progress. What skills do you need as you round out your experience and move forward on your career path?

You can learn the skills you will require through;

  • taking a course,
  • researching and learning on your own,
  • writing an article and posting it,
  • volunteering, or
  • finding an expert or mentor.

These actions will advance your process, add to your knowledge base and network. Even if you don't have work, setting goals and carrying out some of these actions will move you closer to getting work that you would enjoy and shine at.

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What it Takes to Coach for Pride

What it Takes to Coach for Pride

I saw an article in the Globe and Mail on the weekend that outlined how Bob Johnson, the hockey coach, emphasized pride in his coaching. This is a motivating way to coach people and is also important for leaders in organizations. The article stated that this way of coaching was a switch from the aggressive style of coaching using fear and humiliation with hockey players that was common in the early years of hockey.

I bet you are thinking to yourself that coaching for pride would motivate and engage you a lot better than coaching based on fear and humiliation. This is also what they found with hockey players. 

Why would this method of coaching be discussed in a resilience blog? To make coaching for pride happen, the leader or coach needs to ensure they have a positive relationship with themselves. If the leader cannot see what is right for themselves, they won’t be able to see what is right and what they can be proud of in others.

Be aware, though, that some leaders present themselves in an arrogant way, they seem to act as if they are the only ones who have positive qualities. This is actually an insecure way of leading which is not based on a positive sense of self. These leaders need to get feedback from others to verify what they are truly good at. They also need to confirm with others what their skills are and support themselves in those skills.

To gain skills in this method of coaching you may need to:

  1. Start by asking yourself what you did well today. Notice where you feel good about the things you have accomplished. This can range from simple accomplishments such as writing a great email or having a productive conversation to completing a complex project in an effective way. The important thing to acknowledge is that you contributed and made this result happen.
  2. After a period of time focusing on the first point, start to shift your attention to notice what others are doing well. Notice how your team members contribute weekly and with time and increased awareness, you will want to start to notice others' abilities. 
  3. Changing deep beliefs that keep you stuck and focused on what is going wrong, rather than what is going well may require you spending time meditating or working with a coach.

When you are able to have pride in your own accomplishments, you can encourage others to have pride in theirs. 

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