Transcript # 145. The importance of grit in job hunting and career success.

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I think this's very relevant at the moment because, there's a lot of, I think, especially younger generations that's fueled by the media that believe that, success, comes through. Sort of, not a lot of work, not a lot of hard work. and, it can be achieved sort of almost like overnight.

if you look at some of the kinda social media influencers and that sort of thing, that, also kind of amplifies this myth that, we can achieve success easily. and we put sort of people on pedestals and we say, oh, look, you know, they've become a great success, but we don't look at their history and how long and hard they've worked to achieve that success. 

Grit is all about passion and perseverance. It's such an important combination for professionals who find themselves at a crossroad in their careers. Be it a job loss, a major or a minor bump in the road, career wise, a disappointment at work, or when you find that your job hunting efforts are not translating to results, grit is a much needed trait that can help you succeed in your career. 

In this episode, we interviewed James Brook, CEO, and founder of talent, predicts plexus leadership to examine the components of grit, why it is so important and how you can develop it. And James is well qualified to speak on this topic. He's an experienced leadership and talent consultant, coach and advisor and business psychologist.

He has over 25 years of experience working with leaders, teams, and organizations to optimize their talents, strengths, performance, and. Before moving into consulting. James held corporate leadership roles in people and talent management in the UK and abroad with companies such as Yahoo and Novo Nordi pharmaceuticals.

His clients include Allen and ovary luxury brand L VM H face Facebook, Hilton, GSK, Oracle, and many. James has a master in organizational psychology and MBA, and an advanced diploma in executive coaching. He's a regular writer and speaker on talent assessment and developmental leadership, as well as the future of work.

This episode was recorded, live on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn a few weeks ago. So you may hear us interacting with listeners. If you are interested in participating and interacting with us in future live recordings. Please subscribe to my newsletter and I can keep you in the loop about future live streams.

I'm currently taking a break from demo when this episode goes live because I'm working overseas, but they should resume in a few weeks around mid-September 2022. My conversation with James starts, as I asked him about his interest in grit. And here's what he said. Let's listen.

my PhD, dissertation is all about, the emotional journey of entrepreneurs, which does, touch on grit.

Because as we'll see later, grit is all about passion and perseverance. And my. gestations are more around entrepreneurial passion. so, which is, you know, why entrepreneurs set up their ventures and how do they persevere through that start that difficult startup journey. So definitely kind of touches on grit, but it's not all about grit.

So in addition to all of these studies that you have already done, you are currently doing your PhD, is that right? 

Currently doing my PhD. Yeah. Oh, wow. 

James that's , very courageous of you and inspiring. maybe I'll do the same. I've always wanted to do a PhD. I've just never had the courage to move forward with it.

Yeah, it's a tough journey. but it's a very interesting journey. and it does require a lot of, a lot of grit, which, as I say, would you like me to say a little bit more about grit? 

Well, what is grit, James? Let's start with that. Sure, 

sure. So there there's different, definitions around grit, so there's no kind of firm agreement, but essentially what it is, Angela Duckworth has done most of the, kind of.

The research, and built out a kind of a model on what grit is. She's out of university of Pennsylvania, a, a professor in psychology, and she, defines grit as, essentially, you know, both passion and perseverance. So it's, dog of determination, really, to focus and achieve very tough goals, you know, over, the medium, a longer term.

but also having a real kind of deep, interest and, passion for one of abetter expression, in what you're doing. So really kind of loving what you're doing, enjoying what you're doing, or certainly having an interest in what you're doing. obviously there's a big debate in terms of whether or not you need to be passionate to be successful.

but what Angela Duckworth and her team has found, which I think is really interesting. I mean, she's not the first person to study this. There's been lots of kind of research over the decades is that, what's more important than innate intelligence and innate ability. Is really that practice and that perseverance and that sticking with it, until you actually achieve your goals and objectives.

And, and, and a lot of that is also about, the effort, but it's also about the focus it's really about, you know, staying focused. and those people are more likely to achieve excellence. High levels of success. then people who, you know, don't put in that effort and don't put in that time and don't put in that toil if you want.

and I think this's very relevant at the moment because, there's a lot of, I think, especially younger generations that's fueled by the media that believe that, success, comes through. Sort of, not a lot of work, not a lot of hard work. and, it can be achieved sort of almost like overnight.

if you look at some of the kinda social media influencers and that sort of thing, that, also kind of amplifies this myth that, we can achieve success easily. and we put sort of people on pedestals and we say, oh, look, you know, they've become a great success, but we don't look at their history and how long and hard they've worked to achieve that success.

Yes. And it's funny, you mentioned that because I have, yesterday made some updates on my schedule for the next episodes and there's one where I haven't really thought it through, but I wrote, I want to do an episode about the casino mentality. and this sort of dream believing know believing in a dream, but not necessarily actioning it.

And I think that during the pandemic, many of us have had this sort of dreaming of what's gonna happen next without putting in the steps to take you there. And I feel that with a younger professional. Especially with the younger professional. There is the tendency of this is a play. This is a casino mentality.

This is all a gamble. You know, it is what it is, whatever happen happens, and not really identifying what the effort is into, getting a career on track. 

Yeah, no, I think that's right. and I think we, we need to be careful not to over generalize, because there's a lot of young people I know who work extremely hard and they're very gritty.

but, but I think the media, as I say, are largely also here, culpable in the sense that they do portray and, and we have let's face it. We have since the kind of, beginning of kind of, you know, civilization, we have deified, Innate qualities and in so called innate qualities, innate abilities. and also we, attribute great success and great performance to individuals rather than teams, which is another kind of myth that needs to be debunked because most great successes come about through great teamwork, as well as, you know, hard work.

 so I think it's this whole kind of, you know, I suppose refocusing and making sure that people understand that. Yes, of course, you've gotta have some innate talent. You've gotta have some innate potential, but what's even more important is the hard work is the perseverance that is required to achieve your goal.

And that comes through for me, for example, as an entrepreneur, right? So I built a business over 13 years. I sold it three years ago. and without working seven days a week, you know, more than 60 hours. I, I, a week I probably would never have achieved what I achieved. Yeah. And I think that's the story you get from pretty much every entrepreneur you talk to.

I mean, there's very few entrepreneurs that, you know, become kind of overnight successes. it takes a long time before their business actually gains traction and becomes successful. And, uh, even when it becomes successful financially, then they have to keep going to ensure that it stays successful because we've seen examples like WeWork, for example, that sort of crash and burn, you know, they successful initially.

but then through combination of not great leadership, but also. You know, kind of lack of, sort of a good strategy and, sort of perseverance, they fall and they fall hard sometimes. So, so yeah, this kind of this perseverance, this effort and so on is what grit is, is really all about.

And as Duckworth found, and it's really interesting the research, because she's found that. across multiple kind of areas. So, so for example, she did a whole study, which is really interesting, just to explore, of west point cadets, you know, west point being the elite military academy in the us mm-hmm and she found that grip was a better predictor of success for west point cadets through their early training than, achievement tests and athletic ability, which is quite phenomenal to think about it.

Also, she found similar. That, for sales, people, grit is, the most important, predictor of success for sales performers. Yeah. And, and other, you know, sort of stressful occupations. So, leadership as well has been research around leaders and more gritty leaders, are more likely to be successful.

so I mean, know, I'm sure that the listeners can think about their. Network of people that they know. And I'm sure they'll think that, oh, you know, I knew somebody, for example, at school who was really intelligent and they aced on all the tests, but then they really struggled when they left school.

Yes. and, because they were maybe a bit restless or they didn't apply themselves or they never found their passion. They never found that thing that they truly loved. and that really differentiates between people who are gritty and people who, you know, might have that innate yeah. Kind of, you know, high IQ, whatever the case may be, but they don't actually achieve much in their lives.

James, how do you measure grit? is it an an aggregate measure? I'm assuming it is an aggregate measure and it's like an equation. How do you do. 

There is a scale and you can just go to Angela Duckworth's,website. So, okay. you can, you can Google Angela Duckworth, university of Pennsylvania, and you will get her website.

There's a 10 item scale that you can complete her sort of psych more psychologically kind of robust scales are, eight or 12 items, but she's got. questionnaire available to the public. So anyone can go and complete it free of charge. and, you can get a grit score. but also it's, you don't even need to do that.

It's worthwhile just reflecting in terms of, you know, how focused. Am I with the task, for example, my job hunting. How focused am I? also, how much interest do I have in what I'm doing in the journey, as well as the destination? you know, have I got a sense of purpose in terms of the type of role that I'm looking for?

Mm-hmm and do I stick with it? Or do I give up really easily? So these are the questions that you can kind of ask yourself to determine how, gritty are you if you tend to be very restless and if you tend to sort of give up easily and you tend to kind of, you know, face a few barriers and then you kind of get,down and, depressed and, and so on, then that might indicate that you're not that gritty.

 Is it possible for somebody to be gritty about something, but not about other things? I'm assuming it could be the case. Cause it could be like, then I'm I'm here thinking, is this a trait? Like I never go forward with anything. I don't have a sense of purpose or this is not my purpose, so I can't fill the grit.

Moving this thing forward. Maybe if I focus on something else, it, it, it's hard. Isn't it to kind of figure out if it's one or the other. For me, I'm, I'm finding it hard as I listen to you, but is. Is it so for others as well? Yeah, Renata, I 

think it's important to have part of grit is, finding your passion, finding what really interests you.

and also having a clear sense of purpose. So for example, as a, as a, as a runner myself, and, I'm sure some of the listeners a runners, you know, I don't, think to myself, okay, I'm gonna, this week go on, sort of three, you know, Five care runs or whatever the case may be or 10 care runs.

I think to myself, actually what's really important is that, I'm training towards an objective, a, a broader goal, and I wanna stay healthy and I want to increase my fitness and so on. And that's about that higher purpose. and, and when I come back, even though it might be really difficult to go out for that run difficult to get out the door, put my shoes on that sort of thing.

I know that when I come back from that run, I'm gonna feel really great. I'm gonna feel better than, than when I left. and so I do it even though sometimes it's really tough to do. So it's really about, you know, hooking into that higher purpose, what's meaningful for you. what's interesting for you.

What do you really enjoy? Doing, what do you want to become? You know, what sort of future self, are you striving to achieve? and so keying into those passions, keying into those interests, having that clear sense of purpose, and that will actually make it easier. for you even to do the stuff that you might otherwise find mundane and difficult, like me going for that run sometimes every week, you know, it's quite difficult sometimes to get out the door, especially when it's really cold outside.

Mm-hmm , 

 I'm, I'm also thinking about grit as we, get older, have you looked into this? I'm not sure what happens because as you know, as a career coach, I have clients that are. In mid careers, struggling to find their purpose. It's almost like they went through this massive marathon from, early career to mid-career and then lost their mojo completely sometimes. They're really, really struggling to find their sense of purpose in life, in their careers. And they're really lost at that sort of mid-career point. What could be happening there is, is it just the passion or is it that it wears out and you need to maybe recharge the batteries of.

Grittiness over time. 

Well, losing your purpose could happen for a variety of reasons, regards and it's really, at that point, it's a signal to you to take stock and to rediscover. What's really important to you. What value do you wanna bring? you know, and, and to get help from others to say it might be a coach, or it might be a mentor, it might be your partner, or it might be a peer colleague, whatever the case may be a friend to bring in other people to help you because to bringing in other people, to help you, that can also build your grit and going back to your point around, grit and, you know, Are you born with grits?

 is it a trait that's kind of, part of, you know, some people are not part of other people. certainly some people develop grit earlier in their life through going through, a lot of difficult circumstances, hardships and that sort of thing and overcoming them. So they might develop more grit earlier in life.

Other people can still learn grit later in life. and that's the really encouraging thing for all of us. So it doesn't matter what stage you are at life. you can be G gritty, but, the point is not to simply dive into lots of things without stepping back and reflecting and saying what I really value what's important to me.

how can I, feel that I'm doing worthwhile and meaningful work? through undermining their self-confidence, it also undermine their, their grittiness. It's much better to find something that you feel actually, you know, I'm going to focus on this now and then, and then to recognize that there's going to be setbacks. And challenges along the way. And that's all part of that, growth process.

and some people, unfortunately, they just think I need a job. And I'm gonna take the first thing that comes along and they take a job and then they regret taking that job. And that of course undermines their self-confidence. Yeah.

And, at sometimes navigating through really choppy waters, then you're not going to, you know, ever grow and you're not going to realize your full potential. . And so just recognizing that because a lot of people give up too quickly. You know, I was having a chat with a group yesterday,in a company and we were talking about careers and I'm saying a lot of people they give up too quickly before they've actually, you know, kind of got that traction.

They've found their way. they've built up those capabilities that allow them to be at their best that allow them to. You know, kind of achieve everything that, they, can achieve. And so I, I think, you know, there's a challenge out there and again, some of the younger generation, I see this with, it's like, I just want that next promotion, or I just want that quick success rather than actually saying to themselves, if I put in that hard graft, then I'm going to be really kind of successful and achieve my full potential, you know, a little bit like, I mean, at Glastonbury we saw Paul McCartney, right?

The age of. Oh, and, you know,I saw him, I watched him and I thought, wow, you know, great performance giving an awesome performance. But behind that performance is decades, literally decades of hard graft, hard work. Yeah. To get to where he's got to. So yeah, he's got, you know, a fabulous voice and of course he's got some natural talent to sing.

Why does he stand out so much from other people? Why is he still singing? Like he is at the age of 80? Well, because he works hard at it. He doesn't just work hard in terms of his singing, but he works hard in terms of keeping fit, keeping healthy, you know, he's. Apparently pretty obsessive about keeping healthy and by the way, grit is not about being obsessive. in fact, this is a very timely conversation here in the UK. Oh, because, obviously in the UK, we've got Boris Johnson, who's sort of, you know, clinging onto, power, even though that's not grit resigning, that's not grit, right. and this is an important distinction for the listeners, right?

This grit is not about being obsessive. Because if you get that manacle kind of obsessiveness, then that's the kind of the over it used or the tip over into that danger zone. where really, you've also got to know when, you know, when to, to walk away or, you know, rather than just keep kind of, so for example, if, you know, with one of your listeners, they might be applying for a.

and they might have a particular company in mind and a particular role in mind and they might say, that's the role I want, you know, that's aligned with my purpose. I'd love to do that role. And then they go, and they apply and they, you know, get rejected and they might say, oh, I'll apply again.

And I'll apply again, you know? And they might get. Through the first two rounds, they get rejected again. And it's good to also know when to step back and not become so obsessive, that you actually over invest. so I think there's a, fine line there that that that's worth. 


Well, that's what I love about the work that you do at talent predicts because having now done. Ooh, over 160 assessments, What I've, noticed is that, the talent predicts assessment that you guys very cleverly developed has that overflow.

When a talent overflows. I remember when you explained this to me last year, I was like, this is brilliant. 

This is the over the overused talents. Yes. Overused. 


Overused talents, or I that using them in excess. 

Yeah. Yes, yes. Yes. Cuz everything can be great up to a point. And then there's a line there when it does, get overused.

So I like the explanation in talking about, that line that you sort of came up with, I just wanted to kind of, Explain to those listening now and later how I understood to grit in my own words. And then you correct me if I'm wrong. Right? 

Have you ever wondered? What am I good at? What do I want for my career? If so, I have a budget friendly, straightforward and versatile solution for you. My new service is called find your talents. And like the name says. It will help you do just that. I have partnered with talent predicts to help you identify your talents, your career drivers and personal values.

Go to my website right now to learn more or wait until the end of this episode, whatever works best for you, but don't miss out on this opportunity. This is my most affordable easy solution to help your job hunt and develop yourself as a professional. There is a link to find your talents in the episode blog, or you can go to my website.

Ranata to learn more. That's R E N a T a B E R N a R D Now let's go back to the episode.

So grit, like many other psychological measures has a dial.

Everybody has a dial. I like this marking Sigman. Explanation of using the dial, you know, you're born with at a certain point of that dial and you can work yourself up to different points. So if you have more or less resiliency, more or less confidence, more or less optimism, hope and so on, you know, you kind of have that self awareness of where you are on the dial.

and then work on that dial with education, with development so that you can become grittier. If you feel like you give up very easily on things. did I get it right? Is that kind of, yeah, yeah. You've 

got a, you've got a baseline, right? Yeah. And the baseline depends on, obviously your genetic makeup, but it also, what you born with it, in other words, your innate, sort of ability.

and, and the traits, but then you can learn, and this is a great thing about things like grit. We can definitely learn to be cuz grit when you break it down is essentially about focused. Do I stay focused, on tasks that I really enjoy finding your interests and staying focused on them and not deviating too much from those.

Yeah. And, and of course in this modern world, it's very difficult sometimes to stay focused and people get really distracted and some people are just too restless actually to achieve their full potential. So it's really about how can I. Become more focused and get rid of, say no to those things that are gonna distract me.

And the other part of it is that whole effort piece, which is, you know, I've really gotta put in that effort and recognize that the more effort I put in the more, a return I'm likely to get, it was a great story. Actually, if I can just share it. Sure. Go ahead. Charles Darwin was having, writing a bunch of letters to.

Obviously the very famous evolutionary biologist was writing a bunch of letters to his cousin who was actually, more academically. Talented than Charles Darwin was. And Charles Darwin acknowledged that Charles Darwin said, look, you know, I'm relatively kind of, you know, ordinary bloke, with, actually kind of below average intelligence.

Right. But, they concluded between them in these letters and this correspondence, they wrote to each other that,the basis of peak performance or excellence, which obviously Charles Darwin achieved and his cousin didn't achieve, even though his cousin was more, you know, kind of innately intelligent was that hard work and that passion because of.

Of course what Charles Darwin did is over the decades, he collected all these sort of biological specimens and he created this theory about evolution, which just goes to show again, that the more kind of time, the more effort, the more you persevere. The more, you're likely to realize your full potential and achieve what you hope to achieve.

Cuz many people never realize their full potential in their 

lifetime. That's so funny that you mentioned that exchange of letters and how one was smarter than the other, but the other did better because I was about to tell you a story about my grandfather who started six different university degrees.

Until he finally and finished one and I was going down that same track because I started three. And by the time I enrolled in the third one, my family had lost hope. Like, no, she's not gonna finish it. . But when I was in high school, in Brazil, you know how you don't know this? Cuz you're in the UK here in Australia on grade six, everyone goes to Canberra to visit Canberra in Brazil.

Everybody goes to a town called O. That's black gold. That's where all the Brazilian gold came from in the 17th hundred and all of that. And my, grandfather grew up in that little town and we stayed the accommodation was his former boarding school. Look how the coincidence. I had no idea. So when I stayed there, I, I saw photos of my grandfather and his brother.

And I was like, oh, this is really weird. It was so cute. It was the cutest thing. I mean, there were photos of all the students, but the students were ranked by. how good they were so that the, the top students were show first in the photo. Yeah. Those things that, you know, we don't do anymore, but my grandfather wasn't the smartest person.

And in the end, after all of that journey, trying to find a degree that he. Liked. And he ended up doing, he actually became, quite successful in what he did and you know, his, brother who was very, very smart was top of the class finished as ducks. didn't do so well. And, and my grandfather in fact, supported his entire family at some stage, you know, and it was really interesting to see that difference there.

from somebody who was also, in his journey to find purpose and something he really loved was stowed. He didn't have grit, not maybe grit, but, you know, perseverance or whatever other word, was fashionable at the time. You know, people had lost hope with my grandfather. He was considered a Bohemian and a, you know, somebody that did when, in fact, I think not everybody.

Has a sense of purpose from the beginning. And he had the privileged position of being raised by a family that could afford his change of mind. 

 and I think this is a great example in art and, and as lovely story because I, one of the 

founders of empire, by the way, if anyone has flown on a band anus.

Oh, okay. So apologies for that. is not, not many people enjoy flying in small planes. 

But it does. It does. I think, underline, I think a, the importance of, of grit. Yeah. But the other thing that I think it really kind of highlights is this notion that you sometimes have to experiment quite a bit to find your true calling and your true kind of, sort of purpose if you want.

and, and, and I think the, you know, what, what I do see though is sometimes people tend. Go, almost like too far with that experimentation and they don't settle because become too restless and, and that's fine if that's okay with them, you know, if that's their definition of success in life is lots of variety doing lots of different things and so on.

That's fine. but if, you know, people are starting to feel frustrated by that and they don't think, oh, you. I'm drifting and, I'm, you know, I'm not achieving what I hope to achieve. I'm not filling my, my potential. That's really kind of a signal to people that actually, they need to probably just settle in to one thing, you know, there might be half a dozen things that they're really interested in settle into one thing, and then focus on that one thing.

And I'm a little bit like that, cuz I'm very creative. Right? Mm-hmm so I have lots of different ideas and I could probably be doing. Half a dozen things or more probably dozens of things actually. Yeah. that I'm interested in that I'm curious about 

that's the hard thing when you're creative entrepreneur, isn't it?

Absolutely. But I've kind of trained myself to focus and to say, okay, well, you know, I'm gonna focus in around leadership around talent because those are the. The areas that, a I've got a lot of experience. I've got a lot to offer, I think, and I can make an impact in those areas. and so I, exert my efforts and my focus around those areas and I, I just say, okay, the other stuff maybe I can do in my retirement or.

You know, maybe I can, can do one or two things as a bit of a hobby kind of side gig or customer be, but the major effort, and focus is gonna be on, on the things that you know, is, is in line with, my, my purpose. 

Do you think part of having grit is also the understanding that. Things take a long time to be understood, to be learned, to achieve the success.

So I'll give you an example. A lot of people come to me for coaching and they think that if they sign up with me, they will get a job next month. And then when I tell them, look, sometimes the selection process takes a month and a half. And the best chance you have at the end of that process is 50% because you're competing with, let's say one other candidate, if.

Too, in which case it's 33%. So people don't, it's that thinking fast and slow situation when people are not very good at judging how to proceed with their plans and not making good plans because of that. do you think that that there's a lack of understanding of how long it takes for you to be success?

Definitely Renata, definitely without a doubt, I think. And, again, the media and, our society, encourages this action orientation, right? If you're not doing something, then you can't be working hard. Yeah. Now I know a lot of people who, they spend a lot of time planning and reflecting and they're incredibly effective.

why? Because they're actually able to step back from that action orientation. and they're actually able to say, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna think, and I'm gonna plan. I'm gonna sense make and I'm gonna engage others, you know, to support me in doing that. And that takes time. And so that's, that's slowing down to speed up, you know, which I think is such a great principle.

You know, that's slowing down to speed up because I think in this sort of society, People are often encouraged if you're not doing something like, like for example, with the job hunt, right. If you're not sending out lots and lots of CVS to lots and lots of agencies and lots and lots of people, whether you not gonna be successful.

and that's not the greatest route to success because what people need to do is step back and say, you know, what role would I really like to do? How am I gonna get that role? Who's gonna help. to get that role. And so it's all those sorts of questions that they need to be asking in order to, how can I put together the best, you know, sort of,email cover letter or CV resume to, to get that role?

How, how can I, what, what other, you know, kind of approaches and strategies can I use? And so on. That's all about that planning. And it's stepping back from that kind of that, excessive action orientation, which, so many people have nowadays. So I, I agree. I think, I think, again, it relates to this kind of whole thing around, you know, this culture on or society on steroids.

you know, we, we have, unfortunately, now at a world where things are expected to happen so quickly and there's so much information overload. That people, you know, get distracted rather than actually focusing and planning and thinking what they gonna be doing and how they need to do it. so, so I think, yeah, definitely.

So we have, understood that grit is we can find out how much grit we have by going to a website. And I'll link that in the episode, show notes, So, we have gray, who's been listening and she said, Angela Duckworth's work is awesome. So we'll make sure that we do that. then we also know that it can be learned or developed so we can work on it.

We. To be careful for it not to go overboard and become, detrimental to our career success. 

If we're thinking an on obsession, an OB, an obsession, I think, unless you are an elite athlete, I think elite athletes and so on, you know, or elite, performers, they have to be a little bit obsessive. Many of them are actually the research shows.

But I think, I think other than that, unless you wanna be kind of, as I say, one of those kind of elite performers, other than that, you shouldn't be obsessive because that's going to, interfere with other aspects of your life, you know, your kind of home life and your, you know, your personal life and so on.

So it's really important to integrate in a harm, more harmonious way, your grits with, you know, sort of balance in your life. 

Yes. Yes. I agree. and by the way, if anyone is interested in understanding elite sports and grittiness, there is a Netflix, I believe it's a Netflix episode. It's actually a documentary that has several different people interviewed.

And one of them is CA Jenna, who, wants one or two, Olympic medals. And I watch that in awe of the perseverance and the absurdity of her goal. Like it's absurd to be so focused. Right. But that's what we see in elite. Athletes, if we can. transfer just a tiny bit of that understanding and that,development of a routine where you are learning every day and building muscles every day.

And we can use that metaphor to understand muscles in your executive career as developing yourself as a leader, as a colleague, as a somebody that will do effective work that will,do better reports and better presentations each day and not seeing an off day as something to be considered a failure, but just an opportunity to learn.

in job hunting, not see, a selection process that didn't go your way as a failure, but as an opportunity to say, to look at continuous improvement. So what can I learn from this? Yeah. To use next time, 

right? Yeah. It's very related to the growth mindset, Renata and, you know, I always say to people, the, principle around marginal gain.

So, you know, which is really about doing a hundred things, 1% better. But it's not just about doing a hundred things 1% better. Yeah. or becoming 1% better every day, you become 40% better over the course of the year. Right. or around 40%. but it's also about making sure that that is focused around a clear goal and purpose.

And not to be distracted and having that ability to say no to stuff, and bringing in people to support you as well, because the more people you have to support you, we've gotta think not so much individually, but we've gotta think about grit also about, building a, personal board of directors or, you know, building a network of people around us who can make us feel.

More gritty, you know, who can, help us to persevere through those challenging times because there are gonna be challenging times. And in fact, if you achieving your full potential, you're going to experience more headwinds. You're gonna be experience more kind of buffeting, because that's the nature of, excellence and high performance.

So it's about surrounding yourself. As I say, with people who can really support you and energize you and encourage you and help you through those difficult times. If you've got a lot of people that drain your energy, I would suggest also that you try and maybe, in the same way, gardener would prune, you know, the garden.

It's also important to prune our relationships as well, and keep the people and spend more time with the people that really energize us and make us feel more. powerful. If you want, make us feel more confident, make us feel. gritty. And as I say, some of the people that make also people that can help us learn and then, you know, sort of cut out the people who, really drain our energy or spend less time with them.

Sometimes we can't cut them out. So, you know, because they're 

family members, what do you do exactly? I was about to ask you, what do you do? with family members. Don't understand your perseverance, your grittiness and your, you know, Your dedication to something that is so important to you. do you have a pitch, something that you can share with us an idea because you can't just opt out of some relationships, 


No, you could, you can't run out to you. Right. And that's why I said, it's about, you know, maybe. either spending less time with them, or if it's somebody really close to you, it could be, you know, your partner, it could be your kids or whatever the case might be. Then what's really important, I think is that, you also, just, help them understand.

why you know, that grittiness is important for you and why that focus is important for you and also align around expectations in terms of some of the sacrifices and trade offs that you're gonna have to make. I mean, if you look at all the greatest performers in the world and the people who have done really well, I mean, one of the people who's inspired me massively is Nelson Mandela.

Mm-hmm Nelson Mandela was incredibly grit. You know, you know, spending, those decades in, in prison and coming out and, you know, being a great,premier for South Africa, you know, in so many respects, he was really gritty, but he made tremendous sacrifices. in his personal life in particular, you know?

 and so it's really about that kind of, I suppose, that, leveling with your partner and saying, this is really important to me, and this is why it's important to me. And yes. is, is that okay? Kind of thing. And will you, are you happy to support me? I'm not expecting you to show the same, level of determination, perseverance as myself.

Is it okay. You know, for you to at least support me, encourage me. and if I'm getting into that, if I'm tipping over into that obsessive zone, let me know, keep me in check. 

yes. Yes. I'm gonna add to that because I think, we're both gritty you? And I, I'm not sure about your partner.

but I'm usually the one that initiates, a transformation in our family. You know, I'm the one who wanted to move to Australia. I'm the one who decided I didn't want a permanent job anymore. And I'm very blessed that Andrea. Supports me, but he supports me because he has to, not necessarily because he believed in, I hope he's not listening to this, probably, probably 

because he loves you.


loves . But what I like about this devil's advocacy that he plays in my. My life and in our life, as we are planning our lives together is a level of accountability and it forces me to, come up with milestones. So that, that he can agree with what I'm going for. You know, so I'll say to him, look, I'm going to look for another job and I'm hoping that it will happen in six months time and between now and then I need to have this space to job search without you asking me every day, how it's going.

So. You know, and, that is the same. If you're doing career transition, like many clients of mine are doing, you know, moving from, one career to another, or from having a full time job to, becoming more entrepreneurial and, building their portfolio careers that those transitions are hard to do when your partner is not necessarily on the same.

Ball as you are. It's just not really easy to do those career transitions. And I think I don't see that as a bad thing. I see that as an accountability and an opportunity for you to, present a plan of action and agree on some milestones together. Yeah. No, absolutely. 

And I think it is about the nature of partnership.

Isn't it. And how we define what does a good partnership look like? A good partnership is about understanding each other, being there for each other, supporting each other, but not necessarily being the same. So we don't necessarily need to be the same people, but it's about, you know, and it's the same with, for example, my wife, it's about making sure we kind of.

Sharing in an open and honest way, you know, how we feeling at any one kind of point and, and making sure that, you know, I, I, I know that she's very good at keeping me in check in terms of some boundaries, because if she wasn't in my life, then I wouldn't have many boundaries. And when I have been on my own, before I, met her, for example, you know, I was working until one o'clock in the morning and then I'd kind of get up the next morning at six o'clock and, and carry on working.

so because, I love what I do. I'm, I'm very fortunate. I'm very lucky that in the main, most of the time, not all the time. Yeah. I love what I do. and when I'm not enjoying what I'm doing, I remind myself of why I'm doing it. It's a little bit like that running analogy I was using earlier, you know, when I'm running and I'm thinking.

It's damn cold outside and it's maybe raining and I'm feeling pretty miserable. I'm thinking, well, you know, I'm doing it because I wanna stay healthy. You know, I want to, do that half marathon because I do a lot of half marathons now. and that's what I'm working towards. I'm working towards that kind of that bigger goal, that bigger objective.

So you, touched on something that I think is gold, which is the fact that. in order for you to embrace that grittiness, you can't really rely on motivation alone. No, that's why I'm so disciplined with my time and Andrea husband. I don't know why we're talking about our our partners here, but he makes fun of me.

He marks my calendar because my calendar is there's a, a bit of time allocated for. Thing that I do, you know, and it's really because if I am only relying on my motivation, I will wake up tomorrow and I won't feel motivated to do it. Yeah. Yeah. And I won't do it. Whereas if it's in my calendar, I will do it.

So the only free resource, of course, this podcast is a free resource, everyone. But if you go to. website, or even the, episode show notes for this podcast, I give for free a schedule for job hunting. it's called the optimized job search schedule. And there's a masterclass it's also free that goes with it because I'm not gonna give everything that I do for free James, but I will give that for sure, because if you can at least initiate your job search with a schedule.

There's nothing more difficult in, in an executive career or professional career than looking for work when you're unemployed. 

I think, I think that's right. I think that's right, Ron. I think it's about that planning that I was talking about earlier. You know, it's about that before you jump in and do anything, it's about this stepping back and I'm so glad that you providing, you know, people with resources to do that where you've gotta schedule you're blocking out time and you saying, okay, I need to plan this.

and then I need to focus on executing the plan. And part of that planning really should be who, who can help me. Who can I connect with? Who can really help me, you know, in terms of people who can encourage me, people who can maybe mentor me, people who can maybe help me with networking, you know, so people are gonna play different roles.

Mm-hmm but it's really about that intentionality and that focus, and then just sticking to plan and recognizing that not everything is gonna go to plan. You're gonna have to evolve that plan. You're gonna have to change that plan, but, having that plan and trying insofar as possible to stay focused and then also saying no, because people are gonna be asking for your time and so on, and it might be, you're gonna have to say to your partner, actually, I've gotta spend, you know, I can't be with you, on the weekend or I can't go to that particular kind of party, whatever the case may be, because this is really important for me.

Yeah, sure. And so I'm gonna execute that plan with discipline. Yeah. And, and persevere, until I achieve that particular goal. 

Mm that's gold. Yeah. No, you, you did say that before and I just. Decided to say it again. to reinforce the best. James, look, it's been fantastic talking to you. thank you so much for joining me. 

It's been a pleasure. really enjoyed it and thanks for inviting me on and uh, I'll be delighted to come on again. 


I always enjoy talking to James. And here are my reflections from our conversation a few weeks ago, when we recorded this, everyone can learn grit. This is great to know. I was afraid. It wasn't the case. And I'm so happy that I've done so much research for this episode and that I am very confident that grit is something we can all acquire.

However, I think grit is also something that is easier to learn. If you are applying it for something you really, really want to do. So before engaging in a big project, like job hunting, do the homework about what you really value, what you really want out of life. You will be competing at the tail end of a recruitment process with other candidates that like you are very well qualified.

So it's important to align your job search with what you really want. It's much easier for you to convey interest, intent, energy, and enthusiasm for a job when these feelings are authentic. If a candidate is hungry for that role and you are applying for that role because you only need a job. Chances are you are not going to get the job.

And the other person will. So think about that before embarking on job hunting. I am of course biased because I am a career coach, but I'm also a former job seeker and executive myself with a long professional history and many, many, many bumps on my road.

So here's what I think it's very difficult to go on a job hunting journey on your own. The support of a career coach, be it me or another coach you trust can really help speed up the process to help you get to your job faster. There will be less trials and errors and less learnings along the way. At least less learnings, the hard way along the way.

So here are my action points for you. Please review my services online on Ranata Bon There's a link in the show notes and see if there's anything there that you can invest in. Then you find my talent service is an excellent option. If you're just taking baby steps towards investing in yourself, you don't have to spend much just start with something so that you can see how important and how good the results are for you.

Do some self-reflection and also talk to people in your life, you trust and have your back and ask them for honest feedback to help you with your career journey. And finally read more about grit and career development in general, if you haven't yet signed up for my newsletter, I send a newsletter weekly to job hunters and career enthusiasts with lots of interesting links to articles, that can help you with that.

So go to the show notes and, subscribe to my newsletter and I hope it helps. If this episode was useful to you, please remember to subscribe to the podcast. If you haven't done that yet and give it a five star rating on your app, some apps allow you to do that. You can also, in some apps, provide feedback and reviews, and these things are gold for podcasters.

It helps us understand our listeners, the higher ratings also help. Reach out to more audiences. And that's exactly what I need to do with this podcast it's growing, but it can be so much bigger. Another great episodes to listen to. my first episode with James Brook from a few years ago, it's episode 77.

What are employees looking for in assessment tests during the recruitment process? And if you are interested in other topics such as, personal agility, which I think goes very much along. grit, you can listen to my episode with Mary Ann Ru on personal agility, I will leave a link in the show notes below for you.

All the links are in the episode, show notes, by the way. So always check that out. And the podcast blog has the most complete set of show notes and links and information. And of course the blog. So go to Renata to read more about it. Bye for now. And I will see you next time.




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