Grit is what separates the good from the great.
A lot has been written and discussed, about the attributes that are most essential to success — passion, energy, talent, commitment, a willingness to sacrifice. And it’s true that successful people combine some or all of these traits.
But for me the most important thing, the one that binds them all together, can be summed up in a single word: grit.
Having grit means you’re brave enough and strong enough to do what it takes to succeed.
It means you believe in your success to the exclusion of any other possibility.
It’s a force so powerful that it allows people to stand out from the rest and succeed even though their skills and experience may be less than top-drawer.
So how do you know if you have grit?
Here are 15 signs:
1. You’re comfortable being uncomfortable.
Grit means regularly sacrificing comfort by stepping out of your box. It means you don’t have to accept your limits or settle for what you are; you have the ability to create who you want to become.
2. You stay on course until you succeed.
If you have grit, you have tremendous focus. You know how to stay on course until you get to where you want to go. If you can keep focused on what you want and keep moving toward it, that’s the way to succeed.
3. You maintain your commitment even when you’re knocked down.
Having grit means you’re fully committed to the cause. You bring together good ideas and hard work, ambition and dedication, and your commitment stands the test through time and troubles.
4. You use your intuition when most would use their rational mind.
You trust your gut when you have grit. Most people think they have to think smarter to be better, but to have grit is to trust your instinct over logic. If you feel in your heart that something needs to be done, you do it.
5. You put up a brave front even though you’re scared.
When you have true grit, you’re courageous despite your fear. You put up a brave front because you know that everything you want is on the other side of your fear. Grit is finding the courage to do something that terrifies you.
6. You keep going even when you’re not sure you will win.
Grit tells you it’s important to succeed but it’s not all about winning — the journey is as important as the destination. When you keep going and rely on your grit, it will carry you to places they never knew you could reach.
7. You don’t allow anything to get in your way.
Having grit means you know it’s not enough to hope your success will all work out — you have to do whatever it takes to make it happen. You’re determined and prepared for any obstacles that may lie ahead.
8. You’re strong-minded and mentally tough.
No thought can take you off course; no challenge will throw you off track. When you have grit, you’re strong-minded and mentally tough enough to see possibilities where others cannot.
9. You don’t take embarrassment to heart.
When you have grit, you don’t get humiliated or mortified by mistakes you’ve made or failures you’ve encountered. You refuse to give up, give in or get out — when you know what you want you let nothing get in your way.
10. You accept support but you don’t rely on it.
Grit means you can use help and accept it when it’s available, but if not, you get it done on your own. It’s great to have help, but it’s not the deciding factor when you’re deciding whether to proceed with a plan.
11. You learn as you go and stay flexible in your thinking.
Grit makes you a constant learner, seeker, explorer. Learning is something you do with every new experience and encounter, and your mind is open to new discoveries.
12. You forego perfection for high standards.
You don’t get bogged down trying to be perfect. Instead, you strive for something that’s actually attainable: quality, being the best, giving with excellence and maintaining high standards.
13. You stay positive even when the situation is negative.
Grit means you may experience negative circumstances and attitudes, but you don’t allow the negativity to keep you down. Grit leads you to a conscious choice to stay positive when things are negative.
14. You care about your return on investment.
You’re all about putting your heart and soul into something and getting something out as a result of your efforts, but that return isn’t always financial. It may be in the form of new knowledge or experiences. Your payoffs are measured in meaning.
15. You will do anything, but not everything.
Grit means that you know what’s most important, you understand the difference between being busy and being successful, and you align your actions to your priorities because that’s the approach that best moves you toward your goals.
Originally published on Inc.com