Got Gumption? It’s More Powerful Than Confidence!

I love people. I’m blessed to work in groups full of heartful entrepreneurs who bring their amazing brilliance from different walks of life to the task of building their business. Interestingly, as different as they are, they have the same “garden variety” fears and their beliefs are always the only thing that gets in the way of success.

That’s about being human.

Getting stuck, breaking through, taking a leap of faith, and then… ah… evolving. That’s the dynamic cycle of human life.

For some, it’s like a game and they become facile at the quick leap. So what is it that those people have going for them? Is it super intelligence, advanced degrees, the best connections or being set up financially that results in success?

Smiling Woman Balancing Earth on Finger

No, it’s gumption! It’s having the guts, the spunk, the chutzpah — to accomplish something against all odds.

My mom had good ol’ fashioned southern gumption. It got her through the Great Depression, navigated her through business school, moved her away from dustbowl poverty to a place she thrived near the Rocky Mountains that she loved. She put four kids through college against all odds and gave us all the advantages she never had – all by gumption.

And now I realize that it’s not my degree, certifications, knowledge or confidence that got me to where I am now. It’s gumption. (Thanks mom!) And that’s a relief because I can reach inside myself to draw on that strength over and over.

So… how about you… got gumption?

My guess is you’ve got scads of it but maybe you didn’t realize it was something you could rely on. In fact it’s likely to be the #1 factor in your success.

6 Ways to Raise Your Gumption to Get What You Want

  • When you find yourself feeling like you’re not enough as you are, try these five tips:
  • Summon your courage rather than looking for confidence.
  • Be solution oriented and use common sense along with possibility thinking.
  • Give yourself over to the hero’s journey and don’t look back.
  • Let go of looking good, being right and having it all together.
  • Know that you are thriving because of the challenges, not despite them.

Forest Gump is the perfect model of gumption. (Could it be why his name is Gump?) In his indomitably cheerful way, he gave himself fully to whatever came his way. He didn’t KNOW anything special. And he didn’t let fear get in the way of being a beginner and eventually mastering everything he did.

Share your stories of gumption below in the comments. How do you summon courage and determination for what you want, and keep going?

  • Keynoncoaching

    My mother also has great gumption and has been the number one champion for my gumption over the years!  Things that have taken gumption in my life?  Returning to school and changing careers in my 30s, learning to ski in my 40s (I’m not a life-long athlete) and walking away from a good job at 50 to begin my journey as a coach!  The list could go on and on, but thanks for reminding me to reflect on all the things that I have accomplished through pure gumption!  Kathy 

    • Yeah! I bow to you, Kathy. Those are great stories of gumption. I know you’re well rewarded for your courage!

    • Monica

      Sounds something like my story.  Turning the big 5-oh next monht and am also walking away from a good job.

  • Well said!! Gumption is like the umami ingredient that makes all the other strengths work together! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Oooo umami… that’s savory flavor for those that didn’t know. (I had to look it up!) Great word, Cyndi and thank YOU for chiming in!

  • Thank you for sharing this great article. What we believe in is evidenced by how we live, not just by what we say. It takes character and confidence to continue to accomplish something against all odds. 

  • Monica

    Love this Rhonda.  Great words to live by when facing change in our lives which is neverending.  If I had a Master’s degree in anything that I wanted…. I would pick Gumption!

    • You DO have a MA in gumption, Monica! It a advanced degree we’re born with.

  • Srothkirch

    Dear Rhonda ! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring perception with us.                   For me the word gumption is directly connected to the concept of faith. It is owning the gift of faith in ourselves and to be aware that we are sufficient of who we are in our human “whole-iness” and imperfection –
    weather we gained that faith from our parents, relatives, friends, mentors or from experience –
    We can act despite the norm and average thinking, the measurements and judgements of every day life, school notes and test results. The freedom to use our common senses, our awareness of contents between others and our environment is using the gift of gumption in the best way.

    • Thanks Bine! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  • mrudmann

    Rhonda,
    Great article!  I recently did some research on a similar topic (grit).  I was searching for what causes high achievers to do just that – achieve.  What I found in my research was that one of the common threads running through the lives of high achievers is that their “grit” is what set them apart and made possible their accomplishments.  What I found most interesting in this research was the conclusion that good old fashioned “grit”, that rolling up your sleeves and sticking to the task, contributed more heavily than intelligence (as measured by standard testing), to goal attainment.  I guess this really does go back to that line Edison used “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.!”

    So grit, much like gumption, seems to be key to achievement!

    (you can find out more on the grit discussion by googling “grit test”)

    • Exactly – grit, gumption, determination — it really is the vehicle to get where you want to go (along with inspiration, perspiration, joy and possibility thinking!) Thanks Matt!

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    I have lacked gumption all my life, so thank you for some amazing tips! #HUGSSS

    My fears and self-limiting beliefs prevented me from fashioning my desired lifestyle as a writer for thirty years. I wish I had started sooner, but wishes are useless anyway 😉

    It took a near-fatal brush with an eating disorder for me to open my eyes and finally acquire some courage to follow the whispers of my soul.

    Thank you so much

    Kitto

    • I’m touched by your story and I know all my other readers appreciate it too, Krithika. Blessings as you follow the whispers of your soul!

    • Kitto, doesn’t sharing your story show gumption? <3

  • Rhonda, I found you via my friend Krithika R., who posted a link to this article. what a powerful article and discussion! I’ll be thinking about this topic for some time! It’s definitely my stubborn determination/grit/gumption that helped me beat a horrible crippling condition in my twenties, create a whole new career as an author and stress management trainer, find my perfect marriage, and so many other things. My gumption is founded on my faith and my belief that I’m meant to be doing/being certain things in the world. You should do a book on this gumption thing. Seriously. Thanks and blessings!

    • Hi Kebba! Wow, you’ve lead a life of gumption for sure. I find that health issues can often be a doorway into passionately going after what you want as well as finding a spiritual path. That was certainly true for me as well.
      Thanks for joining the discussion.