Grit and Mental Strength
Watching the Serena debacle caused me to reflect on my own experiences as a coach. It brought to mind this quote, by Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I felt sincere empathy for Serena, watching her unravel and struggle to regain her focus on what mattered most in those moments… focusing on the game at hand and not defending her character and integrity. Those overwhelming feelings that the situation was unjust, clouded her focus and appear to have cost her the 2018 US open.
With ITC and APC coaching interventions, one of the primary focus areas is mental strength. We desire focus and calm on the day and grit to get you to the day. Simple breathing exercises can help focus your attention and calm you down. Angela Lee Duckworth defines grit as passion and perseverance for long term goals. She says “Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”
To get to the point, where you’re eligible to write the board exams – you have undoubtedly demonstrated that you have grit. You have set a goal to qualify as a CA(SA). You have demonstrated your technical knowledge by passing your undergrad examinations and by completing CTA. You are completing/ have completed your training contract. You have been building up your knowledge base and practicing techniques that you will use during the exams for years.
In preparation for the exams you have been identifying what works well and where you need to improve. You have invested time and energy in your development. Constantly refining. Correcting. Building technical understanding. Practicing writing with breadth and depth. Concluding. Improving time management. Building stamina. If the thought of exams causes you to unravel, consider making a concerted effort to improve your mental strength, rather than just leaving it to chance. During the board exams, there is no time for distractions. Your purpose must be clear: earn every mark in your grasp.
We are here to support you in your quest to qualify as CA(SA)s. From the side-lines we cheer and coach, but ultimately – it’s up to you, the ones in the arena. It’s up to each prospective CA(SA) to complete this journey. Concentrate on what’s in your control; refocus your efforts and finish at the top of your game.