Got Grit?

Grit.  Maybe you've heard this term used in school or a business setting.  But what does it mean? Graduate of University of Pennsylvania and recipient of the McArthur "genius" award, Angela Duckworth, wrote a book aptly entitled, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She watched her math students and noticed that the most successful ones didn't necessarily have the highest aptitude, but they did rank high in their levels of perseverance and passion for long term goals, which is why for many outcomes grit has been shown to be a more accurate predictor of success than other talent measurements like IQ or SAT scores. Those who were most successful in decades worth of research were those who had the highest levels of grit.

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It's a concept celebrated especially on holidays such as July 4th.  Many of us live in a free country but are imprisoned by patterns of shame and fear that we hide from others.  This holiday, we encourage you to take a moment to consider areas of your life where you don't live so freely.

Each day, we have a choice. We can hide, cover up, and fake it and be consumed with image management.  But in doing so, we lose.  We lose the opportunity to see our need for grace, forgiveness, and healing. 

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Middle Spaces.


I’ve recently moved.  Well, it actually isn’t past tense, it's still currently happening.  I moved from one house and I’m moving to my permanent place in 2 weeks.  But in the meantime, I’m living out of a suitcase at my friend’s house, which challenges even my already strong minimalist mindset.  When living out of suitcases, it’s funny how little I really need. But those items that I do need, they aren’t optional at all.  They are necessities.  I can live without another pair of jeans, but not a toothbrush.  I can live without my throw pillows but certainly not shampoo.  I shiver at the thought of not having any of these necessities!  Gross!

And what is true for my moving scenario is also true of life; at least it is for me.  For someone whose pretty action oriented, I feel like middle spaces and "in the meantime" moments are as awkward as middle school…everything feels off, uncomfortable and unknown.  We all just want to make it through alive!  Middle space seasons are bookended by the fresh and hopeful new beginnings and the clarifying, final endings.  But the middle spaces of life look different for everyone.  It can look like waiting for the test results, for the admissions letter, for a future spouse, and for the husband or wife during a season of separation.  Often the middle spaces can feel aimless and plagued with questions, fears, and doubt. 

I’ve come to find that the middle spaces not only makes up the majority of my journey but it also creates the sustenance of life.  Character, patience, resilience, and a sense of purpose always come out of the middle spaces when I’ve “waited well.”

We are all waiting for something. 

And in these middle spaces, we have choices.  We have the choice of accepting (not necessarily enjoying) the season, start packing and engage in the few but very purposeful activates.  We can actively surround ourselves with wise mentors, close friends, God/higher power and engage in healthy life habits or we can just self-medicate and distract in efforts to simply get through. If you are in a middle space today, I urge you to learn to wait well by packing along some life giving necessities for your journey, however long it may be.

Don’t waste the wait

Lean in, learn, and grow.  In due time, you will see that whatever/whoever you are waiting for is so worth the wait.  Happy Packing!

-E. Shupert