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 Vince Mayfield

Vince Mayfield’s FWB May Chamber Letter

Thriving in Uncertain Times with Grit and Mindset

Want to know the secret formula to your business surviving and thriving in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak?

These are unprecedented times! Up until the second week of March 2020, we have arguably had the best economy since our country’s founding.  Right now, I know that things are uncertain, and many of you fear for the well-being of your business. The stress, uncertainty, and fear do not have to consume you.  It is not Rocket Science. It is deliberately practicing Grit and the practiced discipline of Mindset!

Get some Grit

So, what is Grit, and how do you get some? A little background first.
One of my favorite books is “Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by noted Psychologist Angela Duckworth. It has been a book that has generated much discussion within my family. Including my wife Kimberly (5th Grade Liza Jackson Teacher Extraordinaire), my daughter Molly ( My soon to be 11-year-old future Softball Catcher for Notre Dame and CEO), and my son Wes (My soon to be 9-year-old future Engineer). The entire 9 hour and 22-minute audiobook version Grit was listened to by my family on a 16-hour trip to South Bend, Indiana, last year in November.

If you have not read the book, I highly recommend a condensed version in Angela’s Book in her famed Ted Talk with over 19 Million Views. Grit, according to Angela and her fellow researchers, defined Grit as a personality trait that is characterized by a “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Grit is a personality trait that is the main factor in individuals who can hunker down and “stay the course” when faced with challenges, adversity, and setbacks. People with Grit can maintain high levels of motivation and determination to succeed. Through sheer force of will, failure and difficulty are powered through and tapped as a source of learning and growth. In her studies, she helped the Army study the drop out rate for cadets at West Point, Army Ranger School, and Special Forces School. Her findings showed that Grit is a better predictor of success than innate talent or IQ.

In my opinion, successful entrepreneurs and business owners are quintessential paragons of Grit. Right now is a time for exercising that Grit.  Business leaders that focus on servicing their customers, monitor the fundamentals, capitalize on opportunities, and continue sales and marketing will come out on top.  The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity for growth and change. Don’t practice resignation or embrace negativity.

Instead, you can become a Grit practitioner and exercise perseverance while being relentlessly persistent. Right now is crunch mode. Stay focused, stay positive, and take action. Ted always says in response to any problem or issue: “What are You (We) Going to do About it?”. I am of the same philosophy.

If I believe something is essential and needs action, I am inclined to make a decision and do something rather than nothing. I am biased to make decisions on imperfect information and make mid-course corrections rather than do nothing at all. I am not saying; you don’t need to do your due diligence. You are never going to have all the information, and you never will be able to control all the variables.

Things are going to happen; you can’t predict. What you can do is control is how you respond. Make a mid-course correction. Always base your actions on the concrete information you have and make the best decisions you can.  The choices you make won’t always be right, but you will get smarter with each decision, but most importantly, you will be moving forward.  This is the right thing to do, and it works.

Mindset  & Positivity Rule!

Tough times never last, but tough people do.  It is that glass is half full and positive people that persevere. Generally, there are two types of people. Those that have an  “Internal Locus of Control” and those that have an “External Local of Control.” 
People that have an internal locus of control believe they make things happen and that the situations and environment are just conditions. Ultimately they believe they control their future and ultimately their success or failures.
People that have an external locus of control believe that things happen to them and that the situations and environment shape what happens to them. Ultimately they believe they have little control over their future and ultimately their success or failures.
One of my other favorite books is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol S. Dweck. In Mindset, Dr. Deweck defines the two categories of people differently. Dr. Dweck asserts that there are people who have a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset think their abilities are fixed.  Conversely, she argues the other type are people who have a growth mindset. They believe their abilities can be developed.  She concludes based on the analysis of the data; if you have a growth mindset, you are more likely to flourish. The book concludes that Mindset can dramatically impact your success in any endeavor.
Ultimately it is your Mindset and your Positivity that dictate what you can achieve. Like Captain Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru Training Exercise, I do not believe in the “No Win Scenario.” If you can’t win, then redefine what a win is and change the parameters that define success.  You control your outcomes.

Snowball Effect

So what are you going to do? I urge you to Get Gritty, Keep a Positive Mindset, and Take Action. Each action you take will breed small successes you can build on, like a snowball rolling down a hill.  With Grit, a positive Mindset and Action, your business can come out of this crisis like a Phoneix Rising out of the Fire! Remember, we are here to market and support your business! You are Chamber Strong!

Read this article in the May FWB Chamber Coastlines Newspaper


Vincent W. Mayfield, Chief Executive Officer
Vincent W. Mayfield