Blog Post

25 August 2017

Grit + WhiteSpace

Last week, Joyce shared her insights from the first day of the Global Leadership Summit. Now it’s my turn to talk about day two and my main takeaways.

Grit

As a team, we’ve been reading Grit by Angela Duckworth, so I was very excited to learn she’d be speaking. According to Duckworth, what she calls “grit” can be learned, so don’t check out if you don’t currently consider yourself gritty. It may help to hear her definition:

Grit is sustained passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

She quoted the legendary Will Smith to provide further clarity: Don’t be afraid to die on a treadmill. Another important component of grit is deliberate practice, for which Duckworth provided this handy diagram (if you can read my chicken scratch)!

In her studies, Duckworth found that as grit increases so does life satisfaction. She’s also found that grit is a more accurate predictor of success than innate ability. No more “that’s just not my thing” excuses!

What can you do to build grit?

  1. Develop your interest before training your weakness.
  2. Know the science of deliberate practice.
  3. Cultivate purpose in your work.
  4. Change your mind about changing your mind, a growth vs. fixed mindset.
WhiteSpace

Have you ever listened to someone speak and thought, “get out of my head!” For me, that was Juliet Funt on day two. She’s the CEO of WhiteSpace at Work which focuses on making work simpler and more effective. According to Funt, white space is a strategic pause between activities that is far from empty.

When we slow down, great ideas can grace us with their presence.

White space is not meditation, mind wandering, or mindfulness. It is a reductive mindset. Sound appealing? Funt gave us the formula to achieve it. To create white space …

  1. Become conscious of the THIEVES.
  2. Defeat them with the right QUESTIONS.

The THIEVES start out as assets but quickly …

  • DRIVE becomes Overdrive
  • EXCELLENCE becomes Perfectionism
  • INFO becomes Information Overload
  • ACTIVITY becomes Frenzy

The QUESTIONS help us defeat the thieves …

  • DRIVE – Is there anything I can let go of?
  • EXCELLENCE – Where is good enough, good enough?
  • INFO – What do I truly need to know?
  • ACTIVITY – What deserves my attention?

To dig a bit deeper, here’s a great video from Funt on the topic of thieves. I don’t know about you, but I was able to quickly identify the thieves of my white space. I was just as easily able to identify my desperate need to create white space in my own work and personal life. Here’s to white space at work and at home!

We hope these leadership nuggets have proven valuable to you and your continued professional and personal growth. If you’ve never attended a Global Leadership Summit, we highly recommend it. Read more and mark your calendar for next year!