Grit and the Rezooming Attorney


Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things? The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. In other words, grit.

This is the July installment of The Rezooming Attorney and so I’m adding an additional book to the summer reading list of my rezooming readers. I just finished reading the book Grit-The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.  It will assure you have the grit to rezoom.

If nothing else, we rezoomers have grit as we re-enter the legal world after a hiatus. What Ms. Duckworth says beyond this grit will amaze you and help you successfully navigate your reentry!

“Focus on one thing at a time.” Find out what your passion is and keep learning about it until it becomes second nature, gets under your skin and becomes part of your DNA. Duckworth spoke on CBS this Morning about substituting following your passion – the mantra of commencement speeches – to foster your passion. I love that tweak. It takes the pressure off of those of us who don’t yet have a passion we feel committed to pursuing. We are still exploring and allowing ourselves to learn new things.

Passion is a process; some come by it easily, some need to do a bit of weeding until they hit the sweet spot. Whichever path you take, your grit will keep you moving forward.

In exploring what you want to do when you rezoom,  Duckworth makes a few suggestions:

“Practice what you already enjoy.”
“Get a job or internship in something you want to learn more about.”
“Escape boredom creatively – don’t sit in front of your smartphone or computer.”

If you foster your passion, at the beginning you will always learn something. What you learn will end up leading you to your true passion. Passions are developed over time; you just don’t find one. Do what’s difficult first, practice to get better at it, fail and get feedback. Duckworth suggests that you keep at it until the, “natural end,” which, when translated, means no quitting when the going gets tough. You chose this challenge; see it through to the end.

Duckworth speaks about the questionnaire she created which measures grit, The Grit Scale. It asks questions like:

“How persistent are you?”
“Is it all about goals?”
“How consistent is the direction in your life?”

Find out whether you are consistent or inconsistent. Do you have a Telos* that motivates everything you do? Having purpose is the first step to having Grit. It is, “Not just about more time on task, but also better time on task.” [Grit pg.118-empahsis in original]

Finally, ask yourself, as Duckworth does, if you are willing to take these steps to reach your purpose:

  1. “ID a burning interest”
  2. “Practice”
  3. “Contribute to well being of others”
  4. “Develop a sense of higher purpose”
  5. “Overcome pessimism by cultivating a growth mindset”

Look for the ying and yang of your passion, “desire self-respect over self-expression and encourage intellectual curiosity and independent reasoning. “ We need to encourage ourselves to have grit and foster our passion(s).

Today’s society is geared toward winning and there are societal barriers to success still in place today. Using self-control and stick-to-itiveness, one can possess the grit for successful rezooming. Anyone can learn to be gritty. As Duckworth says, “It has nothing to do with IQ or station in life. It depends on seeking out and following the advice of mentors we meet along the way. Cast a critical eye on individual ascendency and challenge social inequity rather than inadvertently reproducing it. IQ should be measured on environmental input, not just isolated testing. Testing can be gamed. Grit is not as dependent on cultural influences as it is on character determination. It shows cultural tenacity and is a better engine for social mobility.”

Duckworth closed by saying why grit trumps talent.

In her diagram:
Talent + effort = skill
Skill + effort = achievement

Duckworth indicates clearly that effort is two times more important than skill or talent. Focus on what you want; foster passion, practice don’t quit and you will easily be able to rezoom your legal career. Now get out there and Rezoom!

[* Telos-an ultimate object or aim]

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

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