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Grit
When you fail – and we all fail – own it and learn from it. 4/23/2018 | Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective
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There are plenty of definitions of grit – all of them accurate:

  • Pushing yourself to the limit
  • Unyielding courage
  • Mettle
  • Strength of will
  • Fortitude
  • Toughness

However, when I think of grit, one person comes to mind: Jim Valvano. For those of you unfamiliar with “Jimmy V”, he was a college basketball coach for the North Carolina State Wolfpack who, against all odds, beat a heavily favored University of Houston team to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament in 1983. Nine years later, Jimmy V was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer which would take his life within a year. Shortly before his death, Valvano accepted the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards. During his speech, which you can watch it below (grab a tissue before you do), he announced the formation of his cancer foundation and its motto: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Before winning the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Valvano had many years where he coached mediocre teams at non-traditional basketball schools: Johns Hopkins, Bucknell, and Iona. In other words, before he guided a team to achieve the ultimate goal, he failed time and time again. In fact, in his first six seasons as a head coach, he lost more games than he won. But, out of that failure, he found something. He found grit.

Grit is born out of failure. Grit is about having the passion and perseverance to achieve your goals. Yes, ability will always factor into the equation, but to really achieve lofty goals, you have to have the continual persistence and effort called grit.

People who possess grit are able to maintain their determination over a long period of time despite the inevitable experiences with failure. This passion – and the unwavering  commitment to the long-term objective – is THE overriding factor that provides the stamina necessary to stay the course.

When you fail – and we all fail – own it and learn from it. Use that failure as fuel to get you to the next success. For in that failure, you will find your inner grit and achieve your goals.

Bill is president of PromoCorner, the leading digital marketing service provider to the promotional products industry, and has over 17 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, immediate past president of the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), vice president of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, and developing branding that resonates with a target audience. He can be reached at bill@PromoCorner.com.

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