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I laughed, but it felt right, when the Managing Director of my first client organisation described me as gritty.

It felt like a back to front compliment, but I knew it was true.

For him, working with me meant there was a persistence to see the project through, to keep the quality high and to genuinely search for the best answer to the problem.

He wanted a rigorous solution which people would want to buy into, own for themselves and refine over time.

He hired me to lead a business process improvement project in his financial services organisation. It was tricky, complicated and oh, just a little bit boring in parts.

For him, I was a good person to hire. We got to the end and delivered the result. It stood the test of time.

More recently, Angela Duckworth and her book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”, has gained my interest. It was recommended to me by a close colleague and friend.

Angela Duckworth became fascinated about the qualities people who are successful use. In fact, these are qualities which to me, they more accurately combine. In her words, grit is a strength defined as passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals.

If you are interested in finding out more about how gritty you are, you can take her free grit scale test here:

I have found that over my career my own grit score has varied. Although I am very strong on perseverance, my passion – my long term goal – has not always been clear. Sometimes, particularly when I am making changes, I do not see what my enduring or underpinning goal has been until afterwards. I get tied up with the short term; my underlying energy is harder to find and my motivation becomes murky.

Does any of my career story resonate with you?

Early in my career success meant being an expert, like the business process improvement facilitator example above.

From this, I moved to the drug of achievement – my National Training Award for my work with Southern Railway is the work I am most proud of here.

My discovery of coaching at Southern was a game changer for me, allowing my interest in how people stretch, grow, connect and work together well to emerge more clearly.

This became the thing I liked to do the most.

More recently I have broadened again. I like delivering any professional skill training where I see motivated people getting the “aha” moment – when they realise their new awareness can be useful to them.

I now love working internationally in different cultures too, where I can support professionals to be effective with the challenges of working in a global team.

In between each of these changes, my energy could be erratic and my motivation variable until it became clear.

Does the clarity of your long term goal fluctuate with your career too? Let’s be specific – are you at a clear or murky stage right now?

Because your energy, your perseverance, your effort, and ultimately your success, is so much easier when your passion for your long term goal is clear.

If coaching support could help you to increase your grittiness score, get in touch.

If gaining clarity about the next phase in your passion is something important to you right now, I would love to help.

You can learn more about Angela Duckworth’s approach to researching grit here:


Gill How has a passion for Leadership Development, is a National Training Award Winner and a Master Executive Coach.  She loves to work with leaders, managers and professionals, to develop their awareness and skills, to enhance their work with their teams, their performance and results. If she can add value to your team, whether you are an L&D Director in an ambitious organisation, or a Leadership Development consultancy needing another high calibre associate in your team, get in touch.


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Photo credit: Antranias

Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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