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Developing Grit with Olympian Dr. Jeff Spencer

What is grit? How do you develop it? What is its importance in your goal achievement? In this episode, I discuss the answers to these questions with returning guest and Olympian

"It takes every ounce of courage that you have to go against the grain of what your fear-based instincts tell you."

Dr. Jeff Spencer

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Grit is developing our core competency of skill and belief in self.

If you haven’t listened to our previous episodes, listen to those first. In Kwik Brain 029: Goals Done RIGHT with Olympian Dr. Jeff Spencer, we talked about how you define the right goal. In Kwik Brain 031: The Champion’s Mindset with Olympian Dr. Jeff Spencer, we discussed the champion mindset that’ll propel you towards the right goal.

How to Develop Grit

Be mindful that in any goal we are capable of achieving, there will always be the daily grind

  1. The daily grind is a place where you feel like you’re doing the work but not getting what you deserve.
  2. This is when the bogeyman gets into your head and begins to tell you that you were too ambitious or that you set the wrong goals.
  3. This usually shows up right after you set the goal when you’re still in the honeymoon stage.
  4. The daily grind is inevitable so don’t think that you chose it or attracted it in some way.
  5. You will show up day in and day out and become frustrated because things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like.
  6. Know that the daily grind is real and not going away.
  7. Be careful – because if you’re going to quit, this is where you’ll quit.
  8. You need to fortify yourself to understand how you play the game and stay in the game when you’re virtually at your limit
  9. As we develop grit, we experiment with ideas and apply things for the first time that we’ve had theoretically but have never put into practice. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail.
  10. There won’t necessarily be leaps and bounds right now. This is about building competency.
  11. When things get tough, know that it’s supposed to happen.
  12. It’s not something you didn’t do – it’s natural and necessary.

Develop metrics

  1. Find metrics that are appropriate for the goal you’re pursuing that you can look at so there’s no illusion.
  2. You want metrics of progress you can see to know that progress is happening.
  3. In the Tour de France, your body might feel like it’s crawling. But if your speedometer says you’re riding at 10 miles per hour, you know you can trust that metric and you’ll get there.
  4. Sample metrics include registrations, opt-ins, and income levels.
  5. If you’re holding appropriate ground for where you are, that’s a good sign.

Don’t forget who you are

  1. We don’t change that much from day to day, but our perception of ourselves does.
  2. Have protocol you keep intact through policy.
  3. You may be tempted to loosen your protocol as you lose confidence.
  4. Hold your ground on policy so the integrity of the team stays together.

Take care of your body

  1. Get good sleep, nutrition, and some recreation.
  2. Don’t dig a biological hole for yourself where you lose chemical energy.
  3. Your brain is 2% of your body mass and consumes 20% of your body’s energy.
  4. If your brain doesn’t have the right nutrients, you’ll make amateurish mistakes.

Show leadership

  1. Tell the team that this is the place where you need to fight for a win.
  2. Your metrics show that you are making appropriate progress.
  3. You may be one step away from a breakthrough, but people have quit at that point because they believe they can’t do it.
  4. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other, watching the metrics, and following the plan, one day you’ll get up differently. This is when you’ll believe you can do it.

Examples of The Daily Grind:

Example 1:

  • Jeff has done 9 Tour de Frances, which pushes your mind and body to extreme limits.
  • But you stay in the game by putting one foot in front of another.
  • One athlete had an injury, and Jeff told him: when you’re out there on the bike today, don’t think about the finish line. Think about putting one pedal stroke after another and make that your metronome. This will be your guarantee that you’ll get to the finish line. He did, and he became a legend in his own time.
  • This also taught him that there’s always a way to the finish line. You just have to stay in the game long enough to be able to find it. And you don’t decide what it is in advance – because if you rely on your human nature to decide, you’ll talk yourself out of it every time.
  • Remember who you are and how you got there, put one foot in front of the other, and you’ll make it to the finish line.
  • You always have one more pedal stroke in you.

Example 2:

  • U2 goes on 18-month world tours, where they go to bed at 2:30AM after playing a different venue every night. This takes a tremendous mental and physical toll.
  • But U2 can’t afford to make a mistake.

There are no free passes for anybody from the daily grind. If you want to make something extraordinary, you must be able to face it and get through it.

Never let weakness convince you that you lack strength

  • We all remember a time when we didn’t think we would survive, but we did.
  • When you have those moments of weakness, take a breath and honor how far you’ve come.
  • Your history proves you have this strength.
  • You’ve got this because you are superheroes and champions.

Want more from Dr. Jeff Spencer?

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