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The first day back at work after the Christmas and New Year break can be one of mixed emotions. For some of us, it can feel “same old, same old”, we don’t want to get out of bed.

For others, we may be starting something new. We can anticipate the adrenalin rush, the feeling of sunshine and “this is amazing!”, even if it’s not all plain sailing.

I’m wondering, do you know a way of getting back into the groove which feels a more even keel, whatever your situation? Where you can see the wood for the trees, and a path to your future?

Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance” continues to support my growth. Her research helps me to value the process of finding my purpose; creating my path and deciding between my career and professional choices on the way.

Angela defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. I wrote some more about this in my previous blog, and the challenge of being clear about what my long term goals are. Ones that can inspire over time.

My learning moves on. Now I can more truly see Grit as the fuel, not the outcome. It supports achievement of the long term goal, it is not the destination in itself.

There are lots of reasons you and I may need more clarity about our purpose or long term goal.

We may have been brought up to think it was not for us to have a purpose or long term goal. Perhaps it was a little pretentious, or not what people from our family, work culture or background did.

And even if we did think it was OK to have a purpose or long term goal, we still might not know how to find one that is really relevant to us and rings true over the test of time.

Reading Angela’s book in full, I came to see it this way.

Your purpose is a combination of your interest, (shortcut – the questions that fascinate you), and how you can use your interest to help others. This unique combination becomes your contribution to the world.

If like me, it has been slow for you finding your purpose, here are three ideas to help:

  • You may think you don’t know what it is, but that’s not true. Your purpose can be hidden so deeply under layers of what others want for you or think is best, it is submerged. Rest assured, it is there though, waiting to be allowed out. Your job might be to give it permission.
  • Your precise purpose may take time to evolve. There may be a lot of experiments to clarify and fine tune where exactly your interest really lies. On the worst days, this can feel like endless false starts and failure. Instead, you could think of this as work in progress, an iteration and learning in disguise. With each step, you get closer to finding out.
  • Others can help you get there faster. Surround yourself by others who can support, encourage and help you take another step each day. It is the planning and taking action, the clarification from constant loops of experience and reflection, that helps progress be made.

If you need an example, this one might help.

For many years I did not allow my passion for travel as an activity in its own right. Although it certainly fascinated me, it felt to the alongside my “work” purpose, not legitimate in its own right.

This has now changed. There is a feeling of time slipping through my fingers. In 2020, I want to make a far more overt commitment to travel, and from these experiences allow the expansion of my perspective and mind.

Although I don’t exactly know how this will happen, in my bones I know this will make a positive difference to how I help people stretch, develop and grow; in other words, how I make my professional contribution to the world.

Let’s bring this back to you. Is there anything in 2020 that you need to give more space to, more permission for, to allow your purpose and long term goals to clarify?

Connecting with that feeling inside of long term purpose, and developing your next set of activities towards this, can help that feeling of even keel. It can help you see the wood for the trees, as you step more confidently and positively into the New Year.


Gill How is a National Training Award Winner, Innovative Leadership Developer and Master Executive Coach.  She loves to work on global projects with leaders, managers and professionals, to help them:

  • develop their awareness and skills
  • enhance their work with their teams
  • improve their performance and business results.

If Gill can add value to your goals, whether you lead a Learning & Development team, run a Leadership Development consultancy, or are an ambitious professional, get in touch.


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


Photo credit: Gill How, taken in Durleigh Woods on Christmas Day.

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