Today I want to encourage you to keep on keeping on.
I saw a quote recently that said, “The reason most people give up is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have come.” And isn’t that true? Most people do give up because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have come.
For many of us, we become discouraged at what seems to be either lack of progress, or how slow the journey has been or how long it seems we’ve been walking towards our goal, until we look back and see just how far we’ve come.
So today, if you find yourself discouraged, allow me to encourage you to keep on keeping on, and let’s stop and reflect on just how far you’ve come in a relatively short amount of time. Of course, my use of the word relatively is different to each one listening, but I am pretty sure, if you’d be honest with yourself, you’d have to pat yourself on the back in your realization of just how far you have come. It may not have been easy, but remember, slow and steady wins the race and keeps you focused on your goals, your dreams; your hopes.
Every day I see people who did not think they could survive a break-up, and yet here they are weeks, months and even years later, not only surviving, but in many cases thriving in their personal lives. Or when someone loses a job and finds another. In hindsight, they realize just how quickly they have landed on their feet and how much happier they are in their new space. And even when a loved one passes and you’re not sure you can go on, but before you know it, a week, a month or year goes by and here you are, you are still standing.
Today I want to focus on how well so many of you are doing against all odds, because you are the ones who look down the line and see just how far you’ve come.
I know it is easy to get discouraged and give up, without a doubt it is hard out there, but for so many, you’ve beaten the odds. In fact, you’re finally on the other side, no matter what has come your way. You’ve held your own, you’ve survived against all odds, and, friend, you’re still standing. You may not understand how, and that’s okay, as long as you’re standing in the light of a new day.
So today, look around. You’re still here and you’re doing well, or for some, you’re doing well enough. And I think that deserves a moment of recognition for your tenacity or, as I like to say, your grit.
I like that word—grit—not to be confused with grits, our southern delicacy, or GRITS–
Girls Raised In The South-–
but the true definition of the word that has come back into our language, as Angela
Lee Duckworth has defined it for our generation.
Angela Lee Duckworth is a former 7th grade teacher who took time off and obtained a PhD in psychology. Dr. Duckworth studied passion and perseverance for long-term goals. She studied kids and adults at West Point, at a national spelling bee contest, new teachers, sales people and many others, in a determination of what was the best predictor of long term success. She wondered, why did some kids with a high IQ not perform as well as kids with lower IQs?
She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled.Grit mattered more than any other predictor- socioeconomic level, IQ, or talent– in later success.
Dr. Duckworth has described grit as “… sticking with your future day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality.”
People who have grit understand the reason that other people give up is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have come.
I am a great believer in celebrating the small things in life. I think if you are constantly waiting to celebrate great successes, you miss out on so many small victories that can help spur you on to more success.
I was recently speaking in MS at a young women’s leadership conference and, as I talked with tomorrow’s leaders, I encouraged them to build their self-talk in a positive way, building on small successes. Whether you wake up in the morning and do what I like to do, you know, look in the mirror and say, “Deb Sofield you’re a rock star,” or “Deb Sofield, you are so funny”, or “smart”, or “kind” or fill in the blank with a positive self-affirming statement about your self-worth, it makes for a much better day. If I had to wait until I did something BIG to celebrate I’d never get to do anything, because big things are hard to come by, whereas little successes happen daily, if you’ll just slow down, pay attention and be grateful.
What is interesting about my topic today is, for so many it might seem a little like encouragement, unless you happen to be one of the ones who has grit and has beat the odds, and then you and I know that hindsight is the best view of all.
For those who are struggling to keep going due to the magnitude of the battle or issue or family problem at hand, let me encourage you not to give up. Because you’ve got to “stick with your future day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”
I don’t know the magnitude of the battle you’re fighting, but I do know that if you walk away you’re sure to lose. But if you fight on, you never know when you might just win. Let me encourage you not to be beat down by the issues at hand. You never know when things can change in the middle of the struggle, as long as you keep on keeping on and doing your part in an honest and fair way. And when it comes to family, don’t worry, the kids do grow up, siblings occasionally come to see the light and parents many times finally come to understand that they’re not so great at decision making, since the world has changed so much.
My message for so many listening today is not to give up…at least not yet. Let’s give it a little more time. Because, as you have seen in your own life when you look back you see you’ve come a long way from where you started, and, although the journey seemed long and hopeless, many of you today are closer than you’ve even been and are more hopeful than you’ve been in years.
With all my encouragement for today, I do realize that the reason most people give up is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go, instead of how far they have come, but, friend, at some point you’ve got to stop and take an assessment of your progress and be encouraged that you’ve come this far. And if you’re not encouraged yet, hang on; you will be, if you keep on keeping on and traveling the road to your future.
I am glad that today we can celebrate your success, the fact that you’re still standing against every storm, you’re still standing against great odds but, most importantly, you’re still standing. Because you realize that sticking with your future day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality is the best way to live the life you’ve imagined and to do what you were born to do.
Quick caveat, if you’ve listened to my show for any amount of time you know that I am adamant that, if you are in a relationship that is harmful – physically, mentally, or emotionally – you need to seek help and walk away. Friend, if you are being harmed, there is no shame in walking away to save yourself or your family. It has nothing to do with GRIT but common sense to protect you.