Optimize Your Life

Episode #5: Stressed? You Have More Control Than You Realize

Show Notes:

You’re listening to the optimize Your Life podcast with Dr. Sharon Grossman, episode number 5.

Hello and welcome back. This is Dr. Sharon. I’m so excited to be talking to you again today. And I’ve got something really important to share.

You know, previously we talked about the importance of having goals. Some of those goals may be short-term, but if you’re working toward longer-term goals, you are in the right place because today, we are going to be talking about what it takes to be successful when you’re focusing on the future. 

If you’re in it for the long haul, you’ve got to have some things in place to be successful and today we’re going to uncover what differentiates those who are successful in achieving those big goals from those who aren’t.

What I’m talking about boils down to one word: Grit.

So today, we will uncover what grit is all about, how it differs from resilience, and how it relates to discipline. 

What is grit? According to Angela Duckworth, author of the best selling book, Grit, this is the definition.

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It’s having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

Let’s break that down. But before we do, take a moment to consider some long-term goal you have right now. Then, think about how to apply grit to it. 

Based on Duckworth’s definition of grit, there are 3 aspects you need to focus on when it comes to your long-term goals.

#1: Passion: You have to be excited about what you’re working towards

#2: Perseverance: You have to stay persistent in working towards that goal even when it’s challenging and even when you don’t get immediate gratification. By definition, you are working on something that is a long-term goal, so you delay achieving success, but remain focused on the goal anyway. 

#3: Stamina: And speaking of focus, stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. 

How do you fare? Are you passionate about your goal? Many of us have goals but we’re not very excited by them. We are working toward them because we think we should, that it would be good for us, but our heart just isn’t in it. Think of someone who learns medicine because their parents tell them they should become a doctor when really that person wants to be an artist. Get in touch with your “why” and make sure that you’re working on the right things for the right reason. If you are, it won’t be too difficult to feel passionate about your goal. 

When you work on your goal, do you stick with it? So many times we go for immediate gratification. We procrastinate on the rest even when we know it’s sabotage. Just like the person who wants to lose weight. They know all the things they need to do to accomplish their goal. But it takes work. They might get excited when they’ve lost 5 pounds, but when they have to skip dessert night after night or lay off the wine even when they are hanging out with friends, they are less excited about this diet idea and are therefore less likely to stick with it. 

Often my clients complain that the things they need to work on are hard and they crumble. I love to tell them that they need to sharpen their pencil. In this case, what that means is that they need to change their identity as someone who can’t handle challenges to someone who can take challenges head on. Doesn’t that just feel more powerful? You have to believe in yourself. There’s so much mindset magic here. I hope you’re getting that. 

Lastly, do you start strong but peter out? Do you find it difficult to sustain your physical or mental effort? Do you become easily distracted? Do you experience energy crashes that lead you to drink more coffee or eat more sugar? Play around with this. Make sure you take on a warrior spirit. Be serious about being successful. It won’t happen by accident. 

So now that we’ve uncovered what grit is all about, let’s talk about the differences between grit, resilience, and discipline. 

This is how I think about it. 

We just explained what grit is. Think about it as when you have a goal that you just keep going with it. Resilience, on the other hand, is when you’ve had a setback as you’re working towards that goal that you quickly bounce back.

And discipline is the ability to control your emotions and overcome any sort of obstacles and really pursue what you think is right despite any sort of temptation that you might have to abandon it.

 All right? Ao I hope that’s clear. Essentially, what we’re saying is you got to have this mindset that you’re in it for the long haul. You’re going to come across some challenges, some obstacles and when you do you already have pre-programmed your mind to know that that’s expected, that it’s not going to stop you, that you need to keep going, that you need to bounce back. They all tie together in a way where they all have this one mindset of strength where you’re saying, “I understand that it’s going to take time and I understand it is going to take effort and that’s okay because this is important enough that I’m going to apply myself. I know that it’s going to take me 10 years to go to graduate school and get my degree and launch my career. Or it’s going to take me 10 years to get to my first million dollars. Or is going to take me 9 months to have a baby and I have to carry this extra weight.”


 Whatever the goal might be, there’s always a price. It’s easy for us to stay stuck in the status quo. And I say “stuck” but really like a lot of people might just feel content there and that’s okay. You don’t have to have these goals. But if you do want them, you’ve got to be really in tune with the purpose of that goal and stick with it no matter what. 

So when are you thinking about your personal goal, I hope that you’re able to apply some of what you’re learning about the mindset that it takes to be successful, that you can approach whatever it is that you’re working on with that sense of determination, with that discipline, and knowing that when you come across any sort of obstacles, anything that makes you take a step back, it’s not the end of the world. It’s part of your learning journey. And you can embrace it and you can learn from it and you can become even stronger in your approach now that you have that information. 

When you have this kind of positive attitude about working hard, then your work becomes delightful. 

And so I would love to hear from you about your personal goals so be sure to check out my website drsharongrossman.com, and feel free to leave me a note and let me know how it’s going. I’ll talk to you next week. Take care.

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