Welcome to The Gritty Guru!

The Gritty Guru is a Personal and Professional Development site for those who strive to put in the work and learn what’s necessary to succeed. It’s an unusual mix of “Get off your butt and get on with it” and “I know it’s hard and that’s why I’m here to cheer you.”

Life is challenging. And it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

My life purpose has always been about helping others to succeed. Accordingly, I’ve made a life and career out of learning as much as I possibly can and helping others do the same. And since I’m an experiential learner, a lot of that was through trial and error.

There’s no reason for you to have to struggle. Therefore, my hope is to provide tips and tools you can implement right away to help you navigate life, excel in your career, and/or be a better leader.

If you want to develop personally or professionally, you’ve come to the right place.


You might be wondering what qualifies me to write this blog, other than my passion for the topic. From an educational perspective, I have a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Development and an extensive education in Adult Learning and Organizational Psychology & Process Improvement. Additionally, when not working, I am either listening to or reading every self-help/personal development, or business/industry book I could get my hands on, for the past 30 years.

My career has ranged from leading various functions within HR, coaching leaders in Fortune 100 companies, and implementing broad-scale change management initiatives, to leading the design and delivery of all professional and technical training for companies ranging in size from 15K-50K employees.

The grit and determination (i.e. the “gritty” in the web address name) generally come from my personal life. Consequently, I’ll sometimes share personal and professional stories for the purpose of relevant analogies.

Navigating the Site

There are four main categories to this site, as follows:

  • Personal Development: Info to help you navigate life and the pursuit of happiness and success.
  • Professional Development: From interviewing for your first job to leading teams, or even starting your own business, you’ll find it all here.
  • Products: I’ve custom designed a broad range of educational materials, notebooks, journals, and even activity books. They are available on Amazon and you’ll find links to those products throughout. Here’s my Amazon Author Page if you’re interested.

And now for some of life experiences that made me “gritty.” I’m only providing this as context so you know anything I’ve written about here, I’ve also personally had to figure out.

Life Experiences

  • Born with a speech impediment, a lisp. Consequently, this resulted in lots of teasing and abuse. Fortunately, I was able to work with a speech therapist and you wouldn’t know I had a lisp today. Ironically, I ended up having a career that included a ton of public speaking.
  • Father was both physically and emotionally abusive. Physically to my mom and brother, emotionally to me.
  • Mother married 7 times, Father 5 times.
  • Moved every year until I was a Junior in high school. I attended schools everywhere from Arizona to Alaska and much of the Midwest.
  • While I was the middle child of 6, we never all lived at home at the same time. We were born in pairs about 7 years apart.
  • Mom was passionate about learning. We missed a lot of school (moving) but we read encyclopedias for fun.
  • I played sports in high school – it probably saved my life.
  • I also did some drugs in high school. We lived in Oregon so yeah, you can’t really blame me. Never had a desire outside of high school.
  • Moved out and supported myself through Senior year of high school.
  • Mother died in accident when I was 18.
  • Father died of health related issues 10 months later.
  • Started my personal development journey in my 20’s.
  • Alcoholic stepfather and husband who struggled with substance abuse.
  • Had some really great teachers in high school that looked out for me and helped me through.
  • Personal development books changed the trajectory of my life. I’m forever grateful.


I’ve had an amazing career in multiple industries helping others learn how to learn. I’ve worked for fortune 100 companies leading large teams and consulted for companies in need of a more positive and productive culture. While my formal learning is in organizational development, my experiences have included a focus on lean manufacturing, six sigma, machine learning, AI, process improvement, general HR, leading others, and leveraging technology for learning. I’ve worked in blue collar environments and professional environments and the only thing that has remained constant is my love for learning, the application of that knowledge, and the belief others can learn too.

I’m not special.

You can change your life too.

You can change it today if you want.

It’s important to me to have an interesting and fulfilling life and to show others there is absolutely nothing they can’t do. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that life may not always be easy. But it’s only as interesting as you are.

Mari Peck

Hey, if you like what I’m putting out, let me know. Seriously, it’s lonely out here in internet land. Leave me a comment! And if you want to stay connected, find my on social media @thegrittyguru


Affiliate Links: By the way, we all have to earn money in some way. You might find ads on the site. It’s one way I earn $ and I’m obligated to tell you I’m an Amazon affiliate. That means if you click on one of the ads or links that takes you to Amazon, it doesn’t cost you any more or less to purchase, and I may receive a small percentage of the sale. Rest assured, if there is an Amazon link on my website, I have either used or created the product and am willing to recommend it to others.

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