I couldn’t ever remember being more excited about finding myself stuffed into the rear section of an airplane that was filled to capacity, and the destination of that flight had nothing to do with my level of enthusiasm. This was a business trip, and—dutiful as ever—I had brought my “to-do list” along. Yet, after I fulfilled my obligatory work, I quickly exchanged that content for a book I had bought just the day before.
Two years earlier, I read a book called Grit by Angela Duckworth, and it quickly became one of my favorites. The basic concept of Grit is that a special blend of passion and persistence constitutes “grit.” Duckworth asserts that grit is the greatest element in success and that grit can be learned. I read Duckworth’s book cover-to-cover and often recommended it to people who I felt could benefit from its messages on character and perseverance.
On this aforementioned day, I had in my possession a book written by a local college professor and high-performance coach to professional athletes, executives and championship teams from around the nation. Just the title of the book, Beyond Grit, had me excited, but what I encountered, quite frankly, was more than I was hoping for.
In Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to gain the High-Performance Edge, Cindra Kamphoff has put together something that I found to be closer to a tool kit than to a memoir or a manual. Within the ten powerful practices are 52 practical strategies that you can use to apply the book’s content to your life on a daily basis. As the founder and director at the Center of Sport and Performance Psychology, a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a former Division-1 athlete herself, Cindra Kamphoff has put almost 20 years of research into Beyond Grit, creating a guide to peak performance by providing practical strategies that work.
At the end of the book’s introduction, Cindra asks you to consider the three ways you could read the book. The first way is “Read and Learn,” meaning you can read the book and apply the strategies and tools provided to improve your life and your performance. This, Kamphoff pointed out, would be the lowest level of impact. The second way is“Apply and Do.” In this stage, you take the strategies and tools presented and implement them in your life. To improve your performance and your life, you must apply and do, not just read and learn. Then, there’s level 3: “Live and Teach.” This constituted living the principles of a “High-Performance Life” and then teaching others how to adopt the “High-Performance Mindset” to make the greatest impact.
As you might have guessed, I chose level 3. With that, I am proud to announce that I am teaming up with Professor Kamphoff to produce brand new content on the Beyond Grit Podcast. We are seeking to create and foster a community of athletes and people who want to learn, develop, and employ the ten powerful practices to gain the “High-Performance” edge in this game called life. The podcast will follow the book, giving listeners the opportunity to work along with the Beyond Grit manual, as each weekly podcast will discuss homework and insight given to help you and those you love attain your peak potential.
Each week, you’ll get insight into a book chapter from Cindra Kamphoff. We’ll each share our “Gritty Person of the Week,” profiling someone who we feel personifies grit. Finally, we’ll address questions and comments from those of you seeking clarity for that week’s assignment or success stories from the application of Beyond Grit that you’d like to share.
The Beyond Grit Podcast is being produced in conjunction with the National Sports Center, Cindra Kamphoff and additional material located on Beyond the Bench, the official blog of the NSC.
I am honored and excited to work with Professor Kamphoff and the NSC on the Beyond Grit Podcast because we’re offering something that not only seeks to be entertaining but has the opportunity to inform and help you achieve a better performing version of yourself, whatever that version of yourself might be.
So, join us as we set sail with the Beyond Grit Podcast and see what getting gritty can do for you. As Cindra writes on page 8 of her book, “Imagine the impact you could make on your team, within your family, and in this world.”