Growing up, I could almost perfectly reiterate the lecture I would get from my parents. “ Go to school, pay attention in class, do your homework, get good grades, etc.” The last part of the speech always ended with “ never settle, stay curious.” At the time, I sat there and pretended to be intrigued by the conversation even though I was counting down the seconds until I got to go play outside with my friends.
It wasn’t until I got older, that I really started to think of how much my parents did actually know about life (shocker to every kid!) and how much of that conversation I truly absorbed.
As I was scrolling through the daily Pulse articles, an article by CEO and Co-Founder of Koru, Kristen Hamilton, caught my eye. The article was about Grit, which is something I had blogged about in the past after watching Angela Duckworth’s Ted Talk. I have always enjoyed reading articles on Grit as I believe that it is one of the biggest factors leading to someone’s success in not only the workplace but also in life.
Hamilton discusses five different things she looks for during the hiring process to assess how “gritty” someone is. Her approach to this is very interesting and is very similar to what I look for when trying to find the top talent for clients.
Know how to fail.
I never look at anything as a failure, but as an opportunity. Take it on as a challenge. Be better next time, be creative and innovative and learn from it. As Thomas Edison perfectly stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
When I interview candidates, I rarely ask what is the biggest accomplishment you have had in your career. I always ask, what is the toughest problem you have encountered, or about a time things didn’t go as planned. The answer to this usually helps me determine how qualified a candidate is for a role more so than just talking about everything they have done right. I want to know what’s gone wrong, and better yet, how they fixed it! . If you have never learned how to fail and keep going, than you have never learned what true success feels like.
Candidates who have this quality are the people you want working for your company. Anyone is capable of doing a great job, but its those who can watch something fail and still have the willingness to put it back together that will be in it for the long run and help take your company to the next level
Forget the grade/ Throw away your entitlement.
If only I could have given that line to my parents growing up! Its not about the grade, its about the bigger picture. It’s about teamwork, and making sure you are doing the best thing for your team, and your company, and not needing recognition for doing it. Working hard to get what would be considered an “A+” in the workplace is important, but it has to be for the right reasons. “Make it your goal to show up for something bigger than you” or else you may not have something to show up for in the future.
Be an owner/ Live life outside of your comfort zone.
This is where that curiosity piece my parents always talked about comes into play. Always strive to learn more, ask more, discover more. Be creative and innovative and don’t wait to be told how to do something, figure it out! Be curious!
Thinking back, my parents never let me settle. Not in school, not in dance, not even in cleaning my room! They always pushed me to do more and learn more and eventually it became second nature. Now in the workplace, I constantly look for ways to be more efficient and I continuously push myself to learn new things. I never want to be comfortable in my job. I want to continue improving myself and my team, and finding new ways of doing things, so that we can all reach our future goals for the company. I think Hamilton explains this perfectly when she says,
“Become comfortable in the uncomfortable. You won’t regret it. Grit is what makes you stand out – not just in a company or in school, but in life. At the heart of it, grit means striving for progress and never yielding in pursuit of your passions.”
Grit can encompass so many different things and all are equally important. Forget about the 4.0 and the degree from Harvard. Find the candidate who knows how to fail, work for more than themself, and who always pushes themselves and the rest will fall into place.
© Stanisaw Tokarski
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