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The key to being a successful entrepreneur

The key to being a successful entrepreneur

By Kelly Fischl, Director of Coaching Ink

Kelly FischlWhat is the best predictor of success?

What do all the accomplished entrepreneurs have in common? What will increase your chances of building the business of your dreams?

For years, psychologists, and organisations alike, were convinced success was associated with Intelligence Quotient, or IQ. More recently we have focused on Daniel Goleman’s model of Emotional Intelligence, and along the way, we have seen articles highlight the propensity for social intelligence, physical health, and even beauty to play a role in success.

Yet none of these attributes provide a holistic or reliable measure of success over an enduring period of time. In fact, researches have long noticed that IQ, talent or other common attributes do not always translate into achievement.

So, what is the best predictor of success? More than anything else, the answer is ‘grit’.

What is grit?

Grit is best described as the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, Peterson Matthews & Kelly, 2007). People high in grit will maintain effort and interest towards their long-term goals. In contrast, people lower in grit are more easily discouraged and prone to being led off track by new, more exciting interests and projects.

More than any other attribute, grit taps into a dimension of achievement related to sustained commitment. This commitment entails working arduously towards challenges as well as maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity or setbacks.

Interestingly, the concept of grit predicts success across various areas, from West Point graduates to spelling bee winners, sales professionals to trainee teachers. Time and time again, the question of who will succeed and why, comes back to ‘grit’.

Want to know how gritty you are?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a robust, yet simple test called the Grit Scale. The good news is that grit is not fixed, or enduring, it can be developed, and for most people, will naturally increase with age.

Take a few moments to found out how gritty you are, and start making some small changes to build your level of grit.

Simple steps to boost grit

1. Focus on past perseverance – Think about situations or circumstances in your past where you have displayed perseverance. What was the situation? What strategies did you use to overcome setbacks or obstacles? How might those strategies assist you now?

2. Embrace your long-term goal – Its important to have small wins and celebrate your success, however, grit is all about the long-term goal, so be sure to reward and celebrate your hard-work and determination along the way, rather than only focusing on immediate outcomes.

3. Prepare for setbacks with multiple pathways – Take some time to brainstorm as many possible pathways to your long-term goal as possible. The more pathways or options you have, the greater confidence and speed you will have to rebound from setbacks.

4. Choose your goal wisely – Perseverance is one thing, but passion is much more difficult to develop. Make sure your long-term goal is intrinsically motivating; if it’s not something you are passionate about grit will be difficult to achieve day in, day out!

“Grit is living like it’s a marathon, not a sprint” Angela Lee Duckworth. Hear Angela talk about her research on grit via TED About the Author: Kelly Fischl is a Coaching Psychology Consultant passionate about creating high-performing and flourishing individuals, teams and organisations. Find out more at www.coachingink.com.au.


Kelly Fischl is a Coaching Psychology Consultant passionate about creating high-performing and flourishing individuals, teams and organisations. Find out more at Coaching Ink

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One Response to The key to being a successful entrepreneur

  1. Gerry Fischl says:

    Hi Kelly,
    You are 100% correct. I have alway’s said to anybody that wanted to listen, my success was never about how smart I was , but much ,much more about how many punches I was prepared to take, But bounce back virtualy immediately .
    Not easy to do over a long period of time.
    GRIT is definately the word.

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