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Writing a Success Story

Career Relevancy

Self-efficacy, which is developed over time with grit, bleeds into every aspect of life for individuals including within the workplace. In fact, self-efficacy affects job satisfaction and ultimately the success of the individual and company. When employees are confident in their job and abilities, they feel empowered to communicate with supervisors, and the power dynamics of the workplace are balanced.


Self-efficacy is a belief of a person in their own abilities to be successful and/or accomplish specific tasks. Therefore, self-efficacy defines how a person sets and moves to his/her goals and overcomes problem-solving challenges.

Goals require a deep determination to accomplish what you set out to do. This will to achieve is covered in detail by Angela Duckworth in her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She (and the reviewer in the video below) refer to this will and determination as grit. As you watch the video below, pay special attention to the information on grit and the emphasis on stretching goals, or goals that require you to step out of your comfort zone. Consider how you can apply it to your own work ethic and sense of self-efficacy. 

GRIT ANGELA DUCKWORTH | Animated Book Review

GRIT ANGELA DUCKWORTH | Animated Book Review: (6:17 min) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(6:17 min)

Key Takeaways:

  • Successful people are willing to work harder than anyone else to achieve their goals.
  • Gritty people take pleasure in the work and effort required to achieve.
  • Identifying your “Achilles heel,” the obstacle that’s keeping you from achieving a goal, allows you take deliberate steps toward reaching your goal through stretch goals
  • Truly purposeful, gritty people are those who are motivated out of a desire to affect others.

The grit that the video discussed is directly related to your self-efficacy. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (n.d.), grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” Collins online English dictionary defines grit as, “If someone has grit, they have the determination (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and courage to continue (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. doing something even (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. though it is very difficult.” This is important because you will need both self-efficacy and grit to achieve your goals and dreams. Do you believe you can stretch your goals a little bit each day? Your answer reflects your self-efficacy in this area.

One of the most important aspects of grit is our concept of self: who we are, what we are, and how we deserve to be treated. Even if you never allow anyone to speak harshly to you, is anyone giving you negative messages? According to Rodger (n.d.), “…grit, or a person’s passion and perseverance over a long time, is a stronger predictor of success than IQ…”This success can be applied to your cultural intelligence in that you are able to work with people of various backgrounds. 

The idea of visualizing yourself succeeding is not new, but it is powerful. By actually picturing the scene and watching himself pass the interview, he was able to make the interview proceed the way he wanted it to happen. Concert pianists and other performers do this, too. It’s worth trying, and it will help the negative voices stay far, far away. Self-actualization will help build your self-efficacy. In turn, you will develop more grit for the future.

When you have self-efficacy and confidence, you apply that to every aspect of your life including your work. With a high level of confidence, which you developed by reaching for your stretch goal, you are able to handle the power dynamics in the work environment. You have no trouble speaking to those in leadership because you are confident in your skills and abilities.

The study conducted by Rauniyar, Ding, & Rauniyar, N.(2017) demonstrated that, “employee creativity can be enhanced by intensifying the confidence of employees in their capability to succeed in spite of difficulties.” People with high self-efficacy require less guidance and remain more motivated when completing different tasks, even those they do not have previous experience. Therefore, people with high self-efficacy tend to have a shorter power distance preference. 

What is power distance? Why is it important?

Oxford Reference (2018) provides the following definition of power distance:

[Power distance] is one of the attributes of national cultures identified by Geert Hofstede. It refers to the degree to which members of a group or organization accept an uneven distribution of power amongst their members. In some cultures with large power-distance it is regarded as acceptable that power is concentrated in the hands of senior managers, whilst in other cultures there is an expectation that power will be diffused.

Power distance is important to understand because different cultures and people you interact with over your career will have different expectations about what their power status is in relation to you. You will have your own expectations about your power status compared to others. It’s important for all parties concerned to come to an understanding of how power is going to be shared. Remember, as a general rule of thumb, the more self-efficacy one has, the more a short power distance is preferred.

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