Years ago, I pulled up YouTube and watched a TED Talk from Dr. Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at Penn whose words piqued my curiosity that day.
The topic? Grit.
My response? Dr. Duckworth and I need to talk.
Her TED Talk had — in a new way — put words to something we had been looking for and developing in our players and team for a long time. In that video, Dr. Duckworth perfectly articulated a cornerstone theme in our program, one that has been a driving force in our growth over the years. So, I needed to learn more from the world’s foremost expert in grit research.
Dr. Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” At the Seahawks, we outline the grit concept with five descriptions, thanks to the guidance of Dr. Duckworth:
- Passion: This is all about having a fire, purpose, and deep love for whatever you’re pursuing.
- Perseverance: It’s about enduring, sticking with it, and always hanging tough, especially when you face difficulties.
- Resilience: We can’t let obstacles get in the way. Challenges will come, but we must bounce back, and we must always believe and hold onto hope. Optimism is key!
- Driven to succeed: We want to operate from that inner motivation, that internal drive, and not let anything distract us from our pursuit.
- Finisher: Finishing for us is doing right longer than the opponent. We make a commitment to finish strong on every step of the journey.
Passion, perseverance, resilience, driven to succeed, and finisher — this is grit to us, and it’s what we aim to operate with every day, every game, and every season. And keep in mind that we’re not just trying to find and develop gritty players — we’re striving to become a gritty team.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to put grit on display every week during the season. And our Monday Night Football game at San Francisco last week was a prime example of what grit looks like — our players displayed their vibrant passion, they persevered through the ups and downs, their resilience was unquestionable, they had a relentless hunger to win, and they wrapped it all up with a beautiful finish in overtime.
“Our most important talent is having a talent for working hard, for practicing even when practice isn’t fun,” Dr. Duckworth said in her TED Talk. “Success is never easy. That’s why talent requires grit.”
Talent without grit can only take you so far. So yes, talent requires grit. And grit always leads to great things — especially to finding your best!
What element of grit — passion, perseverance, resilient, driven to succeed, and finish — resonates with you the most? Which one do you want to commit to developing more in your life and work?