GRIT: WHAT IS IT? DO I HAVE IT?

Next Spring’s ABA Women Rainmakers Local Programing will be on the subject of Grit.  So what is it?

Some people like to lump Grit in with resiliency but it is different.  Grit is intestinal fortitude.  Grit is taking a project and having the determination to see it through to the end.  I like to think of Grit as Determination.  Websters says it is “stubborn courage” and of course, the word comes from sand which is “gritty”.

The word itself is really good however because it sounds so earthy.  If you say somebody has Grit, you know they are never going to give up on a task.

So an attorney can build up some Grit if they are lacking.  But what about the circumstances when Grit becomes inappropriate or downright harmful?  Take for instance the attorney that hangs onto a case which is a loser and puts his or her heart and soul and money into it and ends up ruined?  Remember A CIVIL ACTION? This is where the lawyer lost all perspective and essentially ruin his life trying to get plaintiffs a settlement for toxic waste.  You can still get the movie on Netflix and both it and the book are based on facts.

It would seem that grit should be tempered with common sense.  Let’s take a look at your present Grit.  On the Grit-Meter are you a “0” no Grit at all or a “10” with so much Grit that you hold on much too long?  Are you sometimes a “3” and sometimes a “9”?   What situations makes you come closer to a “10”? I’m guessing these involved emotional issues.

So it would seem that at times Grit can also be lethal.  I have seen clients of mine who have held onto legal situations which wear them down and create chaos with both their health and their career.  I see this as a greater problem for attorneys than not having enough Grit.

iStock_000011571579SmallIf you  decide that you need more Grit in your life, then there are simple tasks to keep you inspired as you tackle a project.  First acknowledge that all projects first go through a honeymoon period when things are new and very interesting.  The second stage involves seeing what work is entailed in producing a result.  Usually if this is carefully laid out, you can begin on the project with some energy.  When you get to the third stage, however, and all the unknowns pop up, this is where you have to make a decision.  It is important to realistically look at the situation and decide if it time to get your Grit meter up to a 10 and continue.  If, on the other hand, you can foresee that your tactics have to change to salvage anything out of the project, acknowledge that.  Is the path you are on the best of the client or are you just feeding your own ego?  Is the project one which will badly impact your life?

Finally if you make it through stage 3 you are onto stage 4. Usually by this time you are somewhat tired of the project. If it is still worthwhile, you might want to get some help to keep your energy up.  Outside support and review might just close the gap so you can have a successful resolution.

So check on that Grit meter of yours and let me know your thoughts.  Stay tuned for ABA local programming for more information.