In life we’re blessed with an array of gifts that can pave our path to success.

Brains and talent are two of the obvious ones and will undoubtedly open doors. But there’s another attribute that is just as, if not more, important if you seek success. You need grit.

Someone who needs no convincing is the American academic, psychologist and popular science author Angela Lee Duckworth, because she’s done the research to prove it.

She started out as a maths teacher and was fascinated to notice IQ wasn’t the main differentiator between her best and worst students.

Duckworth watched lower-IQ students outperform those who were smartest on paper, and when she later studied psychology in grad school she decided to dig deeper.

She found the same trend echoed in other walks of life, from teaching to private companies and even the military. Again, IQ wasn’t the biggest indicator of success. Passion and perseverance came out top.

It brings home the importance of recognising and nurturing traits that may not be as easily measurable as IQ.

When it comes to grit, in my view entrepreneurs know the power of it more than most.

This time last year Business Comparison revealed only four in 10 UK start-ups survive, while the Office for National Statistics revealed Glasgow was among the bottom five towns and cities for start-up survival rate.

Yet new businesses continue to keep springing up – even in the current challenging climate – showing entrepreneurs are a hardy and determined bunch.

The fact is that some of our biggest learnings can come from our mistakes or failings. These, coupled with perseverance, can be catalysts for success.

Unfortunately, one of mankind’s greatest fears is failure, and this can be enough to deter people from reaching for their dreams. But sadly, it also means some will lose out on tremendous opportunities.

Ask yourself this question: If you were guaranteed to succeed, what would you do?

Now ask yourself why you haven’t tried. If the bottom line is that you’re scared to fail, maybe it’s time to reassess things and take a leap of faith.

I’m going to let you into a little secret. Did you know I once had a dream of being a professional actress? Years ago – after working in both the legal profession and the business world – I thought “oh no ... what if that was my destiny and I’ve never bothered to try?”.

So while running my business during the day, I enrolled in evening classes with an acting coach, attended auditions, and was an extra in the odd short film and TV show. One day I landed a one-sentence speaking part and I vividly remember shooting the scene, which involved holding a very cute, but very unco-operative, dog. After several retakes I remember asking myself “what on Earth am I doing here?” Because truth be told, I wasn’t particularly good. I realised my skills were better applied to public speaking and coaching than to acting.

But having tried, I could say with certainty that I hadn’t missed my calling.

Here’s a fun fact – sitting next to me at one of my auditions I spotted none other than Janey Godley, and you can bet she has no regrets about pursuing her dreams. She well and truly hit the big time after a comedic voiceover of a House of Commons speech attracted 184,000 views, but not before 25 years of working hard on the stand-up circuit.

Whatever your dream, don’t let fear of failure get in your way – give it a go. After all, you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Laura Gordon is a CEO coach and group chair with Vistage International, a global leadership development network for CEOs