booksCentral to our team values is the concept that we can never stop learning, reading, connecting and sharing.  This month, we will share books that have impacted us personally and/or professionally. Perhaps one of our “book reports” will inspire you to join us in our quest for continuous learning. (Although we suspect you are already there.)

    In preparation for the 2017 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, the title of Angela Duckworth’s presentation caught my attention: “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” Although I hadn’t given a lot of thought to grit, I felt that my career in non-profit work had made it possible for me understand the power of passion and perseverance. I was hoping she would confirm that these two qualities were as significant in defining success as I had always thought them to be.

    The short answer (and the good news): Yes, they definitely are!

    In Angela’s presentation, based on her book by the same title, she makes the case that passion and perseverance are as important in defining success and high achievement in our personal and professional lives as are high IQs, natural talent and social intelligence. She notes that life is a long journey and that those who ‘show up’ consistently, stay focused on long-term goals and commit to being lifelong learners will have a higher potential of reaching their greatest aspirations. 

    I found two concepts in her book especially insightful:

    • Effort counts twice
      Duckworth makes the point that Talent x Effort = Skill and then goes on to note that Skill x Effort = Achievement. It’s encouraging to know that high skill levels and great achievements are both made possible by our efforts.
    • Perseverance is the most important factor in predicting long-term achievement.
      She points out that commitment to long-term goals and that living life as if it’s a marathon, rather than a sprint, provides the best set of circumstances for achieving high levels of success.

    Perhaps the most encouraging take away from Duckworth’s research and teachings is that no matter where we’re starting, we can ‘grow our grit’ (along with our potential for high achievement) by:

    • Staying focused on what’s passionately important to us
    • Engaging in what she defines as ‘deliberate practice’
    • Finding purpose in life by contributing to the well being of others
    • Remaining hopeful in the midst of all circumstances

    I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside so many of you who are committed to the highest degree of personal and professional success. I encourage you to read this book for greater insights and to continue on your journey of accomplishment and purpose.

    Interested in finding out how gritty you are? Take the ten question Grit Test.

    To hear the author in person, check out her Ted Talk


    Have a favorite book you think our readers should check out? Comment below! We’re always up for a good recommendation.

    Posted by Mike Bussey
    Mike Bussey

    Written by Mike Bussey

    Mike Bussey provides a comprehensive portfolio in fundraising and strategic management for YMCAs, churches and other faith-based organizations. Prior to joining the Donor By Design team, Mike served for eight years as YMCA of the USAs Financial Development consultant to 350 YMCAs in 14 Midwest states, as well as to the Jerusalem International YMCA.

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