The Magic Sparkle Dust of Influence

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Grit is like magic sparkle dust. Call it grit, tenacity, persistence, stamina… it’s about your willingness to keep going and keep doing activities that we we call “concrete action” toward your goal. It’s considered an influence power source, but it comes entirely from within yourself. The wonderful thing about it, though, is that if you build your grit, you have the capacity to magnify every other influence power source there is.

“But Kara”...you say, “If it’s magic, how do I get some of that for myself?”

Well… it definitely is magic, but it is NOT out of reach. You just need a magic wand.

You can work on grit. You can build it. You can stretch and develop it like any other muscle. And it’s magic sparkle dust.

Say you have a thing you’re working toward, like running your own business. You’ll throw together a website, scratch out a business card, and maybe even tell some friends about how you’ve got this side-hustle going now. You had some great ideas and then you hit a slow point. Only so many people in the world owe you a favor, and they’ve all paid up. This is when grit kicks in. If you’ve got a big reserve of grit inside you, you’ll buckle down and hustle… It’s called a side-HUSTLE for a reason. If you don’t have grit, your business cards will collect dust, and you’ll let your domain name lapse when it comes time to pay up for another year.

So… if you think your dreams are worth it, then they’re worth suffering for. And grit is what gets you through. The trick, then, is building up your power source so that it’s there when you need it (this is your magic wand!).

Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Start small

Grit is a muscle. Like any muscle, it needs exercise to get stronger. Pick anything - literally anything - that you’re not super jazzed about doing, and do it anyway. It’s the doing it anyway that builds your grit muscle. All the great personal development and productivity experts out there will recommend starting with something simple (not easy… simple) to get you started. Things like building a running habit or eating right or showing up at that yoga class or pretty much anything related to healthy living is a great way to start. Even something like doing 10 push ups a day. The point is these habits are all in the service of a bigger picture goal that all of us can get behind (being healthier) but they’re kind of a pain to do in the moment (you won’t feel like it). BUT... if you do it anyway, you’re being good to yourself, and you’re building grit.

2. Find something you’re curious about

You have to have a natural curiosity or interest in order to pique and hold onto your subconscious. Don’t pick a goal that someone else gives to you or that you feel like you should have but you don’t have any enthusiasm for. Pick something that you’re at least moderately fascinated by. For example, right now, Stephanie and I are trying to develop our B2B sales prowess. For SURE, the sales process isn’t what makes us leap out of bed excited for the day, but we’re willing to put our heads down and hustle because the bigger-picture vision for ourselves and our business are worth it.

3. Create a support structure

Routines routines routines. Habits habits habits. This is boring, annoying and OBVIOUS, but very important. This is especially critical when your enthusiasm wanes over time or flags on a low day. Make sure that there is some type of support system or tripwire to keep you invested in your goal. Building on my example, Stephanie and I are occasionally obsessed and giddy about sales efforts. Those moments usually happen when we land a big deal or learn something new in all of our experimentation. But oh, does the pendulum swing the other way too. That’s usually after we’ve tried something for 6 weeks and we still haven’t seen any traction, or we invested heavily in an idea that just isn’t going anywhere and we have to admit to ourselves it’s time to cut our losses. On those days, we have routines built into our week and month that force us to stay focused on the big picture, and keep hustling anyway.

4. Run small experiments and create feedback loops

This one should happen again and again, similar to your routines. Make sure you’re creating opportunities to test your abilities and get information on your progress as you continue your effort towards your goal. There’s multiple benefits to this - you’re gaining confidence as you practice and you’re building competence as you get feedback and adjust. In our sales efforts, we try different approaches, see what works and always ask for feedback. We don’t just go into a dark room, put a plan together, wait until we’re at the finish line or end of the year and hope it worked.

5. When in doubt, remind yourself of your why

If I’m not putting in the hustle, Stephanie will say, “it sounds like you don’t really believe it’s that important.” Sometimes we forget the big picture and just think about what’s right in front of us… and what’s right in front of us isn’t something we want to do. Believe me… I doubt I’ll ever love cold-calling random HR Directors to ask them for a meeting. The number of times I get sweaty and my heart rate rises...it is truly not my favorite activity. But when I think of the WHY I’m doing all this hustling in service of, and remember the big-picture reason behind it all, I get energized again. Keep your big goals and the big motivation present in your mind so that you do the little tasks in front of you that you don’t feel like doing.

What are you game to get gritty about?

-- Kara Davidson, Cofounder, wolf & heron