I love Brene Brown’s idea of Gritty Faith and Gritty Facts. The gist of it is that we need to approach challenges and obstacles with an unwavering resolve and confidence (Gritty Faith) while also confronting the brutal reality of the situation (Gritty Facts).
In my opinion, the societal movement to avoid conflict and not hurt anyone’s feelings has made the Gritty Facts part … we’ll say elusive.
It’s commonplace to bring up the obvious problem, everyone does that. We’ll have meetings about it, spend an inordinate amount of time discussing and complaining about it, just to propose a simple solution to a simpler problem. Problem solved, boxed checked.
Few teams spend the time to surface the root of the problem, reflect and evaluate their individual role in the issue, then come together to find a solution that doesn’t just solve the problem but moves the team and organization forward all together.
I find the biggest problem not to be finding the solution, but asking the question in the first place. This is especially true when things are going well. If we’re winning, meeting our goals, everything must be going well right? The Gritty Facts are, we’re killing it!
Not necessarily so.
Why Should We Care?
Following football, basketball, and baseball games growing up I would always ride home with my dad. He coached several of the teams I played on, but not all of them. Dad is a man of few words and rarely offers his opinion ... unless you ask.
Now, if you ask, you’re going to get the truth. It’s not going to be filtered or softened. It’s not going to account for how you felt that day or what your ego might want to hear. You’re getting the Gritty Facts.
I figured that out pretty quickly and would save the “How’d you think I played, Dad?” question for games I was confident dad’s feedback would boost my confidence. Afterall, we all want our dad to say how great he thought we played, right?
I miscalculated one game.
After a basketball practice in which I thought I played pretty well, I clearly remember my dad’s assessment being quite different. Following my search for praise, he listed off a myriad of mistakes and lapses in focus and effort that were unacceptable in his mind. Of course, my natural response was to defend them - in my head of course, not outloud.
When we arrived home mom could tell that I was upset. I’m sure the not-so-subtle dropping of my bag and closing of my door tipped her off.
Mom is like the Gritty Faith angel. She thinks we can do anything, and she never hesitates to tell us so. She is the constant dealer of hope.
When she came into my room she did the normal mom stuff like asking me how practice was and expecting an answer of more than a single word. Then, she smiled, patted me on the back and said “Your dad loves you. That’s why he tells you the truth. If you don’t want the truth from him, don’t ask.” And she got up and walked out of the room.
I think we all need to be more willing to ask … AND LISTEN to the Gritty Facts.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
It’s not easy to open yourself up for critical feedback, but nothing good is easy. We need to find ways to establish processes that now only allow the Gritty Facts to surface, but encourage them. Here are a few ideas that might help.
Honesty is love. We need to embrace this fact. Sure it may hurt our feelings at the moment. Sure it may embarrass us or make us angry. The willingness to see the long term benefit and actively embracing the Gritty Facts is one of the trademarks of excellence. Seek it more.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.