May 2014  

Happy (always resilient) Spring!

I will be speaking at a conference in Nebraska this summer on the connection between GRIT and resiliency. Both words are often used together these days, and "grit" has become the new focus for educators and other helpers.

I think grit fits within the umbrella of Fostering Resiliency but the research of Dr. Angela Duckworth and others is highlighting that it may be a more important aspect than we previously knew.

Below, I review the findings on grit and connect them to The Resiliency Wheel and the list of Individual Resiliency Factors. I also offer more resources on the topic of the importance of "grit" and how to build it!

MORE DETAILS ON MY NEW WEBINAR "Resiliency In Action: How Families, Schools and Communities Build 'Bounce Back Kids'" are also below, including staff development activities and a quiz for offering C.E.U. credit in your district or organization.

I also hope you can join us in warm, sunny Los Angeles Sept. 4 & 5 for the Resiliency Training Program Training of Trainers, which has attracted attendees from all over the world during the past 15 years. This one-of-a-kind training provides the most comprehensive resiliency training available...and this is the last chance to attend during this school year. (Scroll down for more information or to register.)

Grit Defined, Explained, and Connected to Resiliency
Researcher Angela Duckworth defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals." She says that a gritty person of any age sees that any human achievement is "a marathon" and that grit is actually more important for high achievement than raw talent.

According to Duckworth, "grittier" adults complete more years of education and "grittier college undergraduates earned higher GPAs than their peers, despite having slightly lower SAT scores."

Additionally, she says, "we do not find that the most able individuals are always the ones who stick with their commitments over the long haul. This implies that talent and grit are not tightly yoked--it is possible to be talented and not gritty enough to succeed."

Achievement she says is the product of both talent and effort. And effort "is not just intensity, but also consistency and duration."

She cites studies of "world-class" achievers in the arts, sciences, and sports that show "only a few of these" individuals were regarded as prodigies as they matured. Rather, the most accomplished individuals "worked day after day." And she concludes that individuals who work with intensity and stamina should be seen as just as worthy as those who have raw terms of receiving incentives and supports. Finally, she advises: "We should prepare young people to anticipate failures, misfortunes, and even occasional boredom...and point out that excellence in any discipline requires years and years of time on task. There is simply no substitute."



"Teaching Life Skills" is one of the six most potent environmental resiliency builders as shown on The Resiliency Wheel (above). Life skills include assertiveness training, conflict resolution, communication skills, and goal-setting. The literature on GRIT is showing us that perseverance as a life skill (or "grit") is extremely important, perhaps more than we knew. And the research also informs us that an important part of teaching life skills is to emphasize the "marathon-nature of undertaking any major life goal", which typically does involve mistakes, set-backs, failures and misfortune.

Because movies and t.v. programs typically show an easier-than-in-real-life outcome, it is more important than ever to give students, youth, families, and adults we help this life truth: "No matter what, keep on keeping on! That is how the vast majority of people succeed. Success rarely comes easily and the most important ingredient is the grit to stick with the process."

The research on grit also gives us important details on the essential elements of "perseverance" -- which is an Individual Resiliency Builder.

Jennifer Fink writing for lists "10 grit-building techniques to help you prepare your students for success--in the classroom and in life":

  1. Incorporate Kids' Passions into the Classroom.
  2. Tap into Students' Intrinsic Motivations.
  3. Promote Practice.
  4. Grade for Effort, Persistence, and Focus.
  5. Praise efforts, strategies, focus, perseverance.
  6. Model Positive Reactions to Setbacks and Mistakes.
  7. Build on Student Strengths.
  8. Challenge to Create Excellence.
  9. Teach a Growth Mind-Set.
  10. Let Students Know that Learning Involves Struggle.
Click HERE to read the article these points are taken from, "True Grit: 10 Tips for Promoting Strength, Resilience, and Perseverance among Your Students"

Just Published: Alfie Kohn writes about "The Downside of 'Grit'"
Alfie Kohn, a prolific American author and speaker on education, parenting, and human endeavor wrote an article on "The Downside of Grit" in the April 6, 2014 Washington Post.

While his criticisms of the current focus on "grit" are disjointed and some seem to leave out the context of the arguments for grit, he makes some valid points. For example:
  1. Persistence can be counterproductive and even unhealthy.
  2. There are important benefits to knowing when *not* to persist.
  3. Motives for displaying grit need to be examined: Is a kid doing something he or she truly wants to do or doing it out of "a desperate need to prove competence"?
  4. What are the benefits of one-pointed grit vs. "enjoying a complex mental life"?
  5. Children should be able to explore lots of things rather than spending all their time "trying to improve one thing."
  6. Fostering grit and resilience are not substitutes for providing other types of physical assistance to those who are struggling.
  7. Hard things are not worth doing *just because* they are hard.

Kohn's points are reminders that there can be "a downside" to grit that is not promoted in a balanced, whole person-centered way. That being said, I must admit, there would be *no* Resiliency In Action, Inc. without the grit of many who founded it and continued it for two decades!

My new webinar, PERFECT for staff development and/or individual learning is AVAILABLE MAY 12
best from Julie

This is the presentation I have given to hundreds of audiences--educators, counselors, parents, and all helping professionals--over the past 20 years.

Now you can purchase it for yourself and your colleagues for a tiny fraction of what it costs to hear me speak in person.

TITLE: Resiliency In Action: How Families, Schools, and Communities Build "Bounce Back Kids"

* Two parts - a total of 1.5 hours

* Application activities included to equal 2 hours CEUs

* Perfect for staff development or individual learning

* (Optional) quiz available for organizations to verify participation

* Full color, dozens of slides, and embedded video

* Many people have said this presentation (live format) is "One of the best, most useful I've ever attended!"


The research foundation of resiliency
*Where has it comes from?
*How does resiliency happen?
*Can all kids be more resilient?

Applying the research to those you care about by
*Using the "Resiliency Chart"
*Increasing Personal Resiliency Builders
*Creating resiliency-building environments
*Identifying & Teaching about Resiliency
*Using the "Resiliency Wheel"
and "The Four Most Important Steps to Fostering Resiliency" in children, youth, families, schools, and other organizations

The amazing connection between resiliency and ACADEMIC SUCCESS

The power of ONE person to change the course of a person's life

Examples of outstanding resiliency-building best practices


Click HERE to read the webinar extension activities and C.E.U. quiz


Our Resiliency Training Program is located just a few minutes from beautiful Southern California beaches.

Join us Sept. 4 & 5 for the one-of-a-kind Resiliency Training Program Training of Trainers in SUNNY Los Angeles

Many people who take my Resiliency Training of Trainers become RESILIENCY TRAINERS themselves, which I encourage everyone to do!

At the training, I give participants EVERYTHING that I have used as a national and international resiliency trainer for the past 20 years. You get it all! And I HOPE you will go into your community and do resiliency training--to help children, schools, and families and to make additional income, as well!

The Resiliency Training Program will held at a conference center in a beautiful hilltop location in sunny L.A. only two miles from the airport, and near beautiful beaches.


1. how to move children & youth, families, & organizations "from risk to resilient"

2. how to best teach others how to build resiliency and stay resilient (INCLUDING YOURSELF! :-)

3. how to incorporate resiliency strategies that will improve all organizations

4. how to "sell" resiliency-building programs and strategies

5. The research-based amazing connection between building school resiliency and ACADEMIC AND/OR LIFE SUCCESS


"Incredible organization, tremendous expertise! An absolute must. Nan is passionate and inspirational!" --Sergio Pesqueira, Assistant Director of Educational Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, L.A

"One of the best trainings I have ever attended; Nan's passion and knowledge is clear." --Peppy Howard-Willms, Statewide Director of Education for Great Circle, MO

"Outstanding in every aspect. Every person should [attend] starting in elementary school, and reviewed yearly!" --Denise Elbert, Wingman Advocate, Hill Air Force Base, UT

"Perfection! A must-have. a tool of hope." --Linda Liss, Executive Director, Making Ourselves Matter, Prince George, British Columbia

OR.....You can attend THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND TRAINING IN SUNNY L.A. near the beach FREE purchasing 50 copies of "Resiliency In Action: Practical Ideas for Overcoming Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities" OR 100 copies of "The Resiliency Workbook" for your school or organization.


Resiliency Training Promotes Academic and Life Success

...and I can come to your school district or organization. Presentation topics are listed at, as well many rave reviews by educators, social service providers, and administrators.

One of my favorite comments is from Laurel Schmidt, author of Classroom Confidential: The 12 Secrets of Great Teachers and former Director of Pupil Services for Santa Monica, CA schools:

"Your trainings should be packed...Educators [and all helping professionals] should come by the busloads to learn what to do for everything that ails our kids."

Organizations that have contracted me as a presenter/trainer include:

National Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Job Corps, Americorps, Vermont Dept. of Education, California Dept. of Education, Colorado Dept. of Education, Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, New Hampshire Department of Education, Maine Dept. of Education, State of Texas Safe and Drug-Free Schools Initiative, Texas Elementary Principals Association; University of Southern Maine, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), Texas A & M University, University of Hawaii, New Zealand National Federation of Children's Health Camps, New Zealand Ministry of Education, Calgary (Canada) Regional Educational Consortium, Winnipeg (Canada) Schools, BB/ BS Swiftcurrent, Saskatchewan (Canada), Nebraska Association of Prevention Professionals, Ohio Network for Training and Assistance for Schools and Communities, State of New York Dept. of Juvenile Justice, New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified Schools, National School Counselors Association, National Association of Leaders in Student Assistance Programs, National Association of School Social Workers, State of CA School Dropout Prevention Initiative, individual school districts and agencies in 45 U.S. states and Regional Educational Centers in Texas, New York, Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania. In recent years, Ms. Henderson has been contracted by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force.


To Learn More About Resiliency Trainings Click Here

I hope to meet you in L.A. for the Resiliency Training Programs Training of Trainers or when I come to your school or organization!


Nan Henderson
Resiliency In Action

phone: 800-440-5171