It takes a lot to run a small business during a pandemic. More often than not, entrepreneurs have certain traits to thank that allow them to experience success. The list tends to vary and often expands to include more qualities on a regular basis. Words and phrases like determined, confident, problem solving, calculated risk taking, and positivity should all be part of an entrepreneur’s vernacular.

Businesswoman focused at work

What else shows small business owners may experience success? I could go on about other characteristics that allow entrepreneurs to be successful, but there is one word in particular that outweighs them all.

It’s grit.

What’s Grit?

Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, defines grit as being a combination of passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

Not too long ago, the measures of success looked a bit different than they are now. We used to think individuals that were attractive or possessed a high IQ were poised for success over individuals that lacked these qualities.

This is no longer the case. Now, we view both aspects of life in a different light. Instead of a high IQ, we seek out individuals that possess “EQ” or emotional intelligence. This is the belief that if you have the four core skills of emotional intelligence — including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management — your work performance will top that over someone with a high IQ. The same can be said about grit. Having grit teaches us to treat entrepreneurship, and life, as a marathon, not a sprint. It’s not a race to the finish line. It’s the understanding that the finish line is usually quite far out and will require a great deal of hard work and stamina to reach it.

Do I Have Grit?

Some entrepreneurs have grit and some do not. However, universally everyone wants to figure out if they are gritty on their own. According to Duckworth, there are five common characteristics of grit.

  • This refers to bravery over fear as well as other circumstances, like speaking your opinion or asking for help, where it is necessary to display courage.
  • When you are conscientious, you are able to complete a task thoroughly and ensure it has been completed to the best of your ability.
  • As mentioned above, perseverance is one of two traits that make up grit. Those that persevere are those that are able to keep going in spite of the struggles and challenges along the way.
  • Entrepreneurs zig and zag along their journey to success. It’s tough, but they are determined to see their dreams to fruition. Further, they’re able to find little ways to laugh about mistakes made in hindsight. Resilience also means the ability to cultivate self-awareness, one of the four core skills in emotional intelligence. Not only does this put you on the map for grit, but it allows for developing EQ!
  • Where would we be if we didn’t love what we do? The answer is not an entrepreneur. You’d likely be holding down a different job that allows you to coast along without making ripples. Instead, you chose to make waves and follow your passion.

Focused entrepreneur working on his startup

How Do I Develop Grit?

Many entrepreneurs may look back at 2020 as the year of grit. It was the year where everything that could possibly go wrong did go wrong. What happens when this many people fall off their horses all at once? Some do not get back on. Others, and I think this is true for the majority of entrepreneurs, do get back on the horse.

This is because grit gifts individuals with passion and persistence. You’ve been knocked down and got back up again. Persistence will allow you to keep going and remain focused with your eyes on the prize. Passion, meanwhile, reminds you of your goals. When you show grit in your personality, you show that you won’t give up until you reach, and exceed, your goals. It’s the willingness to keep going no matter what and to do your best, no matter what the world you’re in may look like at the present moment.