Category: Grit

Resilience is Forged by Determination & Grit

 

Last year in a virtual speech on resilience, I was asked if a resilient manager is the descriptor of someone without conviction or an objective.

“Oh no,” I said, “it is quite the opposite.”

In fact, as a keynote speaker on resilience, I know that the most resilient managers are determined, highly focused and always have a strong sense of purpose. To illustrate my comment, I gave her an example of a basic household item we all take for granted: the rubber band. I might start by saying that the rubber band hasn’t been made of natural rubber in decades!

Born of Vision

When we think of resilience, our minds tend to wander to elastic objects that stretch, bend and return to their original shape. But an elastic object, be it a rubber band or stretch band is first formed by heating chemical compounds, then poured into hardened steel molds, cured by steam heat and eventually cut by hard steel blades to an exacting thickness.

To make an elastic rubber band requires design, engineering, a manufacturing process, quality control and constant refinement.

The purpose of this post isn’t to teach organizations the art of rubber band making, but to illustrate that even the most flexible of objects or resilient of practices is rooted in solid ground or strong tradition or singular mindset.

While the willow tree may bend in the breeze, its strong roots do not; while the lifelong study of Tai Chi is seen as a process of flexibility and flowing movements, its practitioners are extremely aware of their core and connection to the earth.

Resilient Changes

In these times of constant change and the resilience required to meet those changes, the most successful organizations are those that cultivate three key practices: Vision, Mindset and Grit. Whether your organization is devoted to legal, accounting, healthcare or rubber band manufacturing, resilience must be deeply rooted in purpose.

Having a resilient vision means that although pandemic and recovery will cause our organizations undergo constant change this year, we must develop a plan that will connect us to “the earth” of our mission. This plan means we must be determined to be imaginative, creative, deliberate and powerful.

Having a resilient mindset requires not just our teams, but every individual on our team to work at being at their best. To be the best, we must be determined to develop a resilient mindset by honing our skills and strengths to handle with any problem or task that comes our way. The strong roots of the willow tree did not develop that way because of light breezes and plentiful water, but to cope with the changing terrain.

Developing resilient grit is to know that each day, every hour in that day we will face unexpected challenges that must be overcome. Times may change, workplace stressors and opportunities change, but grit is constant.

Resilience is forged of hard determination; to stand against the change and the challenges and ultimately to win, whether your company is involved in insurance, biotech or rubber bands. Resilience in tough times creates winners; narrow thinking or losing intent leads to failure and defeat.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Motivational Resilience Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Sometimes Resilience Means Standing Firm

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I have learned that most people confuse resilient with flexible. They are different words with different meanings. The definition of resilient I like to use in my motivational speeches is “the ability to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Flexible isn’t Resilient

There are all kinds of examples of flexible. A garden hose is flexible, and so is spaghetti. In a negotiation, we can say that one of the parties was flexible; students and teachers learned how to be flexible in high school Zoom meetings and certainly a yoga instructor must be flexible.

However, in being resilient, we must strive to get back to our original shape, or to be even better than we were before. Now, as the tragedies of 2020 begin to fade and the sunrise of 2021 optimism looms before us, we must learn how to spring back better than ever. Learning won’t be automatic.

On January 15, 2021, Professor Julian Birkinshaw wrote a guest article for Forbes on resilience. I want to quote part of a paragraph from the piece:

“But what does getting back to normal look like? There seem two very different answers to this question, depending on who you ask. Some argue that the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live our lives – for better and worse – and that these new attitudes and behaviours are now so ingrained that we aren’t going back. Others see these new behaviours as temporary adjustments to a one-off shock, and predict a wholesale reversion to type as soon as the shock is over.”

Professor Birkinshaw gives us a map with a fork in the road. We can throw up our hands and say, “nothing will be the same,” or we can have the mindset to stand up, stand firm, and be decisive in our determination to claw our way back to the best of what we had.

The choice is clearly ours to make. What is your choice? I surely know mine.

This is Nothing

Many years ago, I was involved in a serious car crash that hurled me from the world of a Division I football player and full-contact martial artist to a quadriplegic. If you would like, you may think of it as 2019 as it got slammed into 2020.

I awakened from the shock of my accident to discover every movement I had learned from childhood, every instinct I took for granted on the gridiron or in the ring was lost. It was from my hospital bed, the very moment I awakened that I developed my philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit.

I refused to see myself as a victim. I refused to see myself as having a life that was fundamentally change. I saw, instead, a resilient person who would shake off the worst of what was thrown at me, and that I could “spring back into shape.”

I gave myself a vision of independence and wellness. I empowered myself with a mindset to develop – not arrogance – but high self-esteem, and purposed to do whatever it would take to continue working to achieve my goal, even if I faie.

These years later, I have success I could never imagine, the love of a wife and friends, and the ability to stand firm against the tide. We have all been through a rough patch, but none of us are resigned to the negativity and the hopelessness of what we went through last year.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, resilience speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

You are More Resilient than You Think (But You Already Knew That)

 

As a keynote speaker on resiliency and overcoming challenges, I want to congratulate you. You made it through 2020. Maybe you’re a little scarred and bruised, but you did it. I’m willing to bet that deep down you knew you could overcome last year’s challenges.

On the other hand, perhaps you’re worried about 2021; you’re convinced that 2020 was a fluke and that you can’t possibly go on it unless there’s a miracle. I’ve got good news for you. With vision, the right mindset and grit this year could be the best one ever. What’s more, there’s research that proves it.

More Resilient than You Think

Toward the end of last year, the Harvard Business Review featured an article by Marcus Buckingham, head of the ADP Research Institute on the topic of resiliency especially in light of the COVID pandemic.

The Institute conducted a major research study and found that not only were women and men equally resilient, but that age was never a factor. A man of 77 could be equally as resilient to change as a woman of 33.

In terms of the pandemic, the ADP Research Institute found that the closer a person was to family, friends or associates during this COVID time, the greater their resilience. In fact, “the more tangible the threat, the more resilient they became.”

What was most fascinating to me as a keynote speaker on resiliency was the finding that the greater the number of workplace changes, the greater the resilience. Sales teams, marketing or production departments, in fact any department, can adjust their resilience levels to meet most any challenge.

Be Determined to Be Resilient

Though the article developed conclusions about resilience in terms of COVID, I know first-hand that when I awakened following a horrific accident that left me a quadriplegic, I had no choice but to be determined to be resilient.

As I quickly assessed the number of changes my body had undergone, I knew I had to be resilient and I could overcome adversity. I could either be a victim of circumstances or have the vision of overcoming my situation. I had to develop the daily grit to fight through whatever life had thrown at me and I succeeded.

However, a virus or an accident are not the only circumstances that can cause us to lose resiliency.

Whether you are a member of a sales team that had no choice but to work remotely, a shop foreman in a production facility where everyone has had to socially distance, or the manager of a large accounting staff where everyone has had to work with clients under difficult situations, you can either be willing to fight back or to cave-in.

You can succeed in 2021. This can be the most successful year of your life but you have to be resilient enough to believe it. I’ll leave you with a final thought from the article:

“Many of our leaders are not giving us enough credit.  Psychologist Viktor Frankl told us back in the 1930s: ‘Our response to unavoidable suffering is one of the primary sources in our lives of meaning and purpose and self-efficacy. Suffering and difficulty must never be hidden from us.’ ”

No matter what we’re faced with this year, let’s meet it head-on. Let’s all have the vision, mindset and grit to bounce back from the adversity of 2020 and charge ahead.

 

Book Scott Burrows, keynote speaker on resiliency and overcoming challenges by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

“Dealing with It,” Isn’t a Game Plan

 

In a recent virtual presentation I gave on goal setting and success for 2021, I commented that “Dealing with It” isn’t a game plan. Goal setting and success require determination. Times may be uncertain but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals.

Who will win in 2021? The person with vision, mindset and grit.

Build Something Powerful

Business journalist John Boitnott recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur magazine entitled “How to Build Your 2021 Business Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty.” Boitnott listed several focal points to consider that not only apply to entrepreneurs, but to anyone in sales or marketing. The three most important points he raised were:

  1. Focus on what you can do.
  2. Provide valuable resources for customers.
  3. (Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

I would like to briefly discuss the items in view of my philosophy of vision, mindset and grit and how they can turn 2021 into the best year of your life.

Focus on What You Can Do

For most of 2020, the world was in some form of lockdown. Business was tough, lay-offs and bankruptcies were everywhere and pessimism was at an all-time high. Despite the doom and gloom, some people did rise up, in fact whole companies rose up, and had incredible years. I’m not dismissing the challenges certain sectors of the economy faced, yet what was it that enabled some businesses able to fight and survive while others gave up and walked away?

It comes down to vision.

Vision focuses on what we can do, right here and right now. In focusing on what can be done to better a situation, rather than wringing our hands and giving up, is empowering. For me personally, vision saved my life.

After an accident took me from being a Division-I athlete to a quadriplegic, I developed the vision to be as strong and mobile as I could be. I progressed further than anyone (except for myself) could have imagined. View 2021 through the lens of vision. While that might sound like a play on words, giving a strong focus, a lens, to your vision is more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Provide Valuable Resources for Customers

Virtually everyone who works, works for a customer. Think about it. What is your plan to provide the best customer service in 2021 that you can for those customers?

It comes down to mindset.

Your 2021 mindset must be to do everything in your power to deliver a level of customer service that far exceeds any experience your customer has ever seen. Customer service wins and keeps customers. Your goal, your mindset, must be to earn a “Five-Star” rating every day. To whatever level you can be there for customers, be there!

(Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

Is this a mistake? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No! We have seen the worst of it in 2020. The year threw everything it could at us. There are no surprises now. What will it take to develop a successful 2021 game plan?

It comes down to daily grit.

Vision and mindset are necessary, no doubt about it, but in 2021 it will take grit to make the plan work. Are you willing to fight for every victory, every success, every square inch of success?

Getting up from a hospital bed did not happen all at once for me. It was the daily progress, the struggle and the sweat. Grit isn’t pretty, but it’s the glue that holds the plan together. It is grit that will bring you out into the sunlight.

You will get through this, but just don’t deal with it, rise-up and become the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Dynamic Goal Setting and Success Motivational Speaker, can be reached through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Adversity is Not a Four-Letter Word

 

Several years ago, the Harvard Business Review ran an article entitled “How to Bounce Back from Adversity.” It is as important now as when it was first written a decade ago.

One of my favorite passages rings true to me now, more than ever:

“Even for the less heroic among us, adversity can touch off intense bursts of negative emotion—as if a dark cloud had settled behind our eyes, as one sales manager described it. We may feel disappointed in ourselves or others, mistreated and dispirited, even besieged.”

It’s true. Many of us play the blame game or the victim role when times get tough. It is as though some of us expected the good times to last forever, back to the glorious pre-pandemic days, back to when we told ourselves we could sell or market anything. Truth be told, tough times have always been with us.

The winners in tough times have been resilient and, as the article explains, we learned to bounce back. We were determined to bounce back and had a vision of ourselves as winners. But we all know those who put together strings of four-letter words and who threw up their hands and quit.

The Difference is Grit

Adversity is always with us in one form or another. Currently, it is a virus that has shut down the way we do business. In the past it has been recessions, depressions, fuel prices, inventory problems, raw material shortages but somehow, the best of the best overcame adversity and succeeded, while others used disparaging words and walked away.

What was the difference? Were the successful brighter, more connected or better looking? That is what the victim mentality suggests, but it’s not true. The experts agree that the one quality the most successful sales and marketing people share is another four-letter word, “Grit.”

Grit is not the same thing as determination, though they are often used interchangeably. I can be determined to sell more, market better, produce a higher quality product. But the machine that drives that determination is the daily, hourly, grind it out effort that refuses to give in and that says, “I will do what I need to do to be successful.”

I was recently shocked to hear a manufacturer friend lament that he couldn’t get his suppliers to return his calls, and another story of a physician who was waiting on some promised information from a pharmaceutical sales rep. Both stated that they were getting so impatient they were considering alternatives.

We can attend all of the virtual meetings we would like, where the vice president of sales or marketing tells us to be determined to sell more and market our products better, but “determination” is much like good intentions. What makes the difference is the grit to follow-up, give superior customer service and to always out-hustle the competition.

These are not easy times for anyone no matter what industry you are in, and the times call for resiliency in the face of adversity. However, these are not impossible times. Forget about fancy terms, buzzwords and slogans. Focus on the simple things and the simplest words, and always value the power of grit.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Resilience, Adversity and Change Motivational Speaker for your next sales meeting through this website or by calling (520) 548-1169

Change is Everywhere, But Nothing Has Changed About Staying Safe

 

As a virtual safety change management speaker, I know that in these uncertain times, nothing is more important than staying safe on the job. Unfortunately, because of stretched resources, layoffs and communications in the “new normal,” staying safe is harder than ever.

I’m not alone in that opinion.

EHS, the international developer of environmental, health and safety management software said in their April 21, 2020 blog, Why Safety Is More Important Than Ever During Tough Economic Times, stated:

“During a crisis, your business will only survive if you can keep your employees engaged and motivated. One of the key ways to keep teams engaged is to stay unified, and the only way to do that is by showing employees that you care. You need to show them that they are valued and that you’re ready to go to bat for them.”

Engaged and Motivated

How are you keeping your employees engaged and motivated about safety with all of the changes going on around them? How are you showing them that you care?

Are you determined to go the extra mile make a difference? Does your vision for a safe workplace match the difficult forces of change?

Safety is not a casual exercise; it must be daily focus of everyone in the organization.

Due to the corona virus pandemic, the majority of safety departments are having to make do with less. The way safety messaging is being conveyed has also changed. Safety talks are often virtual rather than in-person, or at best, in-person and distanced with masks. It is easy to lose touch.

Melissa Raffoni, writing for the Harvard Business Review (May 1, 2020), talked about the obstacles created by trying to communicate virtually. Among the several points mentioned in the article, she emphasized:

“For some, it’s uncomfortable…for many of us adults, who didn’t grow up with that same [virtual] technology, it [communication] can still be quite uncomfortable. This lack of comfort makes it harder for some to open up, connect, trust, and communicate with each other virtually.”

Safety, as we all know, is an agreement to look out for one another and for ourselves. Raffoni continued:

“Interpersonal dynamics are harder to manage [virtually]… You can easily lose people’s attention. It’s challenging enough to engage people in a face-to-face meeting, but virtual meetings often come with a plethora of new distractions.”

In these changing times, when safety is more important than ever, when we must be engaged and motivated, conditions have caused many of us to be less trusting, less communicative and easily distracted.

This combination could be an extremely hazardous or even deadly combination of factors.

Overcome the Forces of Change

The only way to keep the workplace safe in difficult times is by meeting the challenge head-on. This means that everyone in the organization must develop a safety mindset. The organization must be determined to communicate safety by every virtual means possible and it must strive to find a way to convey the messages in person, whether socially distanced, wearing masks in one-to-one meetings, whatever it takes.

Finally, overcoming the changes that are affecting safety takes grit; we must all be resolute that despite the challenges, our daily goal is to protect our most important asset: the lives of every individual in our organization.

 

Scott Burrows, Safety Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

Small Business in America: It’s Gut-Check Time

 

Being a small business resilience speaker and having my own business, I relate on a personal level to one of the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic: how it impacted small business across America.

By May 12, 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 100,000 small businesses had shut their doors.

A small business doesn’t necessarily mean a “Mom and Pop Stationery Store.” The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having as many as 1,500 employees and $35 million in sales.

When a small business goes out of business, it is a tragedy. A business isn’t a “thing,” it’s people trying to build something for themselves and their families.

It is Time for Small Business to Go Big

In July 2020, the United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey entitled “Small Business Corona Virus Impact Poll.” The poll reported that of the small businesses that survived the first wave, “Two-thirds of small businesses (65%) are concerned about having to close again or stay closed if there is a second wave…”

The survey reminds us that after the initial lockdown occurred, 85 percent of small businesses were forced to temporarily close. They don’t know if they can survive a second onslaught.

However, there is optimism in this bleakness. Businesses are taking action to anticipate the second wave: 32 percent are purchasing extra inventory, 29 percent are updating websites and improving social media profiles, and 25 percent are refining and boosting e-commerce.

While I’m pleased that small businesses are taking steps to look ahead, there is much more that can be done. In an Associated Press release, entitled “Ways Small Businesses Can Fight Back Amidst COVID-19 and the Retail Apocalypse,” Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan had some interesting insights including the implied need for local businesses to have the determination to reach out to local communities and to make an impact.

There is great wisdom in reaching out locally. In fact, Mr. Buchanan now sells his produce almost exclusively online.

When I speak to small business associations, I encourage each organization to develop a mindset that envisions success. Does your small business have a vision that looks beyond the current challenges to overcome the challenges?

While buying extra inventory, updating websites and boosting e-commerce are necessary, they are passive.

An important part of having the mindset to overcome challenges is to be creative, to be willing to be an active participant in finding new ways to get customers “in the door,” and to share that vision with every member of your organization. This is called resilience.

Whether you have a dog grooming business with three employees or 300 grooming businesses with 500 employees, there must be a shared vision. To be truly resilient means that everyone in the organization must be determined to pull together to encourage opinions and to believe in your mission.

My heart aches for those small businesses barely holding their own, but I would feel even worse if the only thing standing between success and failure of a small business in the coming months was a lack of resilience to meet the challenges.

Let’s all be determined to have the daily grit to make the vision work and the resilience to do what we need to do to get through this time together.

 

Scott Burrows, Small Business Resilience Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

In Sales, Some Things Change; Resilience Doesn’t

 

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I know that of the many qualities a salesperson needs, resilience – and the daily grit to remain resilient – are never mentioned enough. Perhaps it’s because resilience, the skill of being flexible, isn’t thought of as being cool. It is, and in fact, business resilience yields huge benefits.

Get Tough

I’d like to open these thoughts on resilience and grit by quoting Gary Galvin, CEO of Galvin Technologies:

“While salespeople will find success when they lead with empathy, they’ll find greater success when they respond with resilience.”

He is on the money. When I was in the insurance and financial services industry, I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table through the resilient pursuit of my sales goals. Of course, I was sympathetic to situations involving my clients, but it was far more important to be flexible to their needs, and to put in the effort to immediately respond to questions and changes.

If I was going to be successful as a salesperson, I had no choice but to develop a flexible mindset.

Michael F. Kay, wrote an article for Forbes magazine (11/7/17) entitled: “Resilience Is A Mindset Of Awareness And Practice.” Kay listed several ways in which this mindset can be nurtured. Among the top methods for cultivation of resiliency are increasing our sense of control: you are not powerless when your sales plans change, you can change with it; it is important to maintain perspective in a changing situation; and you must develop a positive self-concept.

I would also add that if you are part of a sales team, associate with those who also have a flexible mindset. It is easy to be surrounded by negative or inflexible people. They cannot help you. The winners on your team will see opportunity even in adversity.

Get Gritty

However, to be resilient also requires the grit to keep going and to see the big picture rather than the immediate problem. Kori Miller, writing for Positive Psychology, presented a wonderful summary of grit as a component of resiliency:

“Grit is about sustained, consistent effort toward a goal even when we struggle, falter, or temporarily fail.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back after we have struggled, faltered, or failed. It is being able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, take a moment or two to collect ourselves, and then get back to the business of pursuing our goal. It involves optimism.”

We cannot be resilient without grit nor can we possess a “gritty mindset” without resilience. As any successful salesperson knows, in real life we may misquote an important benefit, miss an appointment or inadvertently park in the CEO’s parking space. Those things unfortunately happen. It is how we respond to those struggles that count, whether it amounts to making a detailed correction, profusely apologizing (without fabrication) or sending a dozen roses.

In the end, resiliency and grit are about the courage to stand up after you have been knocked down and to keep smiling.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Resilience and Grit for your next industry meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169