The Daily Grind vs. The Grind: Who will win?

‘Grind’ has become a popular term in the personal development space – for good reason.  It speaks to putting in the time – the blood, sweat, and tears to achieve a higher purpose or goal.

It highlights the reality that achieving your goals and purpose is not easy work and not for those who lack the WILL to continually put in the time and effort.

With that said, we want to make sure we don’t get lost in the shuffle and find ourselves in the trap of the ‘daily grind’.

It sneaks up on you.

But what exactly is the daily grind?

  • Going through the motions each and every day with no clear purpose or goal
  • Working for a paycheck
  • Punching the time clock
  • Battling Monday through Friday only to reach the weekend
  • Getting home at the end of the day not knowing what you accomplished
  • Waking up in the morning with a sense of dread due to the rinse and repeat of the day before



Growing up I always heard about the ‘daily grind’.  Usually it was paired with a defeated look on a person’s face – slumped shoulders, no energy.  The words ‘daily grind’ often felt wrapped with a smirk and a foregone conclusion – it just was what it was.  It was part of being an adult.  It was INEVITABLE.

So, of course, I assumed it was an eventual reality for me too.  The years up through college would be the ‘best years of my life’ and then it would be time to enter the daily grind until retirement… CRAP!

I’ve found myself in the daily grind – I’ve felt it – it’s the trap you don’t see coming.

Here are some of the ways the daily grind showed up for me: 

  • Checking the boxes and being ‘productive’ without understanding the end goal – writing up meeting minutes, daily, weekly, monthly reports, scheduling meetings, etc. but no closer to making a difference or impact
  • Getting sucked into the mindless commutes and forgetting how I got to my destination
  • Arriving home at the end of the day, thinking back on what was accomplished (if anything), and questioning if I left things better today than they were yesterday
  • Shrugging my shoulders at the end of a long day before laying down in bed and saying, ‘well, I guess I’ll do it all again tomorrow

Anything sound familiar?

We all have the choice to accept the above examples as our reality, or we can CHOOSE to aspire for something more – I choose the latter, and want that for all of you too.

Don’t get me wrong – there are daily responsibilities that we all must honor and fulfill…

We have full-time day jobs (or specific job responsibilities) that may or may not be what fires us up but need to be executed.  We are parents, husbands, wives, children and have the demands of family, school, etc. to tend to, and we cannot let those things fall by the wayside.

The key here is that while these roles and responsibilities are a required part of the day they should not prevent us from grinding towards our higher purpose or dreams. They should support, inspire or structure our days to meet our goals.

During my maturation in my personal development journey I started with an intense focus on getting things done.  I would cruise through checklists – crushing each task and moving onto the next.  My day would end without any items remaining and an ‘inbox zero’.

However, while I thought I was grinding towards something I realized that I was stuck in the daily grind.  Once I finished my checklist I was faced with the reality that I had no idea what changed.

Sure, these tasks were done and my e-mail was actioned, but was I any closer to making an impact or creating something bigger? Was my organization better off? Was I better off? (Shocker – the answers were ‘NO’)

This harsh reality opened my eyes to the stark difference between getting things done and getting the right things done.  It was time to wake up and battle the grind.

Check out these 5 approaches to rise above the daily grind and begin making true progress towards your higher purpose.

Battle the daily grind… and WIN

  • Define your ‘WHY’ – Dig deep and define what you want to achieve and write it down with pen and paper – carry it with you and review often (mine is in my wallet) – GET CLEAR! If what you are doing on a daily basis isn’t inching you closer, then stop doing those things or delegate.
  • Schedule time to get after it – Get up early, stay up late, repurpose your lunch hour.  Put time on your calendar to put in the hard work and HONOR that time!  If you don’t make the time, you won’t progress forward.
  • Create accountability – Find someone you trust, tell them your goals and plans, and make a commitment to them – the who, what, where, why, and when of achieving those goals. Follow up with them, ask them to follow up with you – be accountable.
  • Create a trigger –  get your mind in the game and get after it.  Now that your time to grind is scheduled, build in that trigger to dial in your mind – leverage music, meditation or mantras – anything that consistently helps you zone in on the work at hand.  Commit to this practice and after some reps you will dial in fast to what needs to be done.
  • Reflect to build momentum – look at the work you did, appreciate how you are one step, one inch, one day closer to your vision – acknowledge that what you did today will propel you forward into your next scheduled grind session –  you didn’t just check an arbitrary box – you’ve moved the ball forward and down the field. 

The ‘daily grind’ is dangerous. It is a natural predecessor to one of your worst enemies (more on that next time). But we WILL rise above. We WILL be clear and get after our dreams. We WILL make our world a better place.

Discussion Question

What prevents you from grinding towards your higher purpose or dream and knocks you back into the ‘daily grind’?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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