Mastering Grit as an Entrepreneur

By January 16, 2020 June 22nd, 2023 Tips to Improve Performance

Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

In her best-selling book Grit, Angela Duckworth writes, “As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.” Business leaders prioritize talent over potential to an extreme degree in others and ourselves. However, most people have the one tool they need to become skilled in their area of choice, regardless of whether they are naturally talented. This tool is called “grit.” 

An exhausted professional woman resting against the turnbuckle in a boxing ring.

What is grit, and why is it important?

The two main components of grit are passion and perseverance. Think about professional athletes: they weren’t born with the ability to excel in their chosen sport. Instead, they achieved greatness through a love of the game, a refusal to quit, and a dedication to perfection. Grit, as an entrepreneur, is no different.

Talent is overrated when it comes to employees—grit is more important. Hard workers can easily beat the naturally gifted if willing to put in the effort. As leaders, we should reward and encourage this kind of hard work and dedication rather than focusing solely on employees with a natural talent for a specific skill.

Effort + skill development = results. Anyone can become exceptional at their job if they consistently work at it. This is the attitude we should cultivate in our employees and ourselves. Grit, as an entrepreneur, can help you excel. 

Developing Grit as an Entrepreneur

As a business leader, chances are there are any number of areas in which your skills are lacking. For example, no high-level employee is a financial, marketing, or sales expert. However, you must develop skills in these painful areas to survive and prosper. Here are four ways to encourage grit in yourself and your employees. 

  1. Make it clear that grit is a priority. Explain to your employees what grit means to you and reward appropriate behavior when you see it. For example, acknowledge when an employee works hard to learn a new skill or is dedicated to improving.  
  2. Model the grit you want to see. Sometimes, you might have to “fake it till you make it.” You might not feel like you’re progressing toward your goals, but that progress will naturally occur if you are dedicated. Grit, as an entrepreneur, is an ever-evolving process.
  3. Don’t punish failure. As in any endeavor, there will be setbacks. Improvement can only happen over time; while you and your employees learn, you will make mistakes. Frame these as a learning opportunities and reward employees who take their lessons to heart. 
  4. Track your progress. Establish a method for yourself and your employees to measure your success, whether by evaluating your metrics over time or having weekly check-ins to discuss your wins. Then, celebrate these successes as a team. 

Can grit be developed? I certainly believe so, and talking to an experienced business coach can help you get there faster. Fill out my contact form to schedule a complimentary coaching session, and we can work on developing your leadership skills together. The importance of grit as an entrepreneur, both in yourself and your employees, cannot be overstated. By the way, I highly recommend reading the book Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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