The Official Nametagscott Guide to Stick-to-itiveness, Part 1

Aka, “Stick to it”
Aka, “Stick with it
Aka, “Stick in there.”

As a Gen-Xer, I come from a commitment-averse generation.

Four examples:

1. Because of our instant gratification culture, we’re impatient.
2. Because of our privileged upbringing, we developed a mediocre work ethic.
3. Because of our self-reliant, entrepreneurial bent, we don’t offer loyalty easily.
4. Because of our abundance of choices, we’re quick to quit and pursue something better.

No wonder we can’t stick with anything for very long.

From college majors to new jobs to romantic relationships, stick-to-itiveness isn’t exactly our forte.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Stick-to-itiveness can be learned.

All you have to do is shift your attitude completely – work hard, smart and long while nobody notices – and design a daily practice of self-determination and commitment.

Hey. I said it could be learned – not that it was easy.

Up to the challenge?

Cool. Consider these ideas as stick-to-itiveness training from someone who, literally, makes a living “sticking to it” every day:

1. Engage your why. Then work like hell to keep it alive. Otherwise you’ll collapse in existential agony. Good luck executing from that position. Truth is: Failure to communicate why is a diamond-studded path to self-doubt.

On the other hand, people tend to cultivate their capabilities in activities that give them a sense of self-worth, according to Bandura’s book, Self-Efficacy. Remember: The thrust of your ultimate endeavors predicts the threshold of your eventual success. When will mattering trump money?

2. The road to mastery is marked by periods of minimal progress. The world is not arranging itself for your convenience. Nor is the world is waiting breathlessly to hear what you have to say. So, enjoy your plateaus. Celebrate small gains.

Run in place today to cross the finish line tomorrow. That’s the level of patience required to make a name for yourself. How long are you willing to do it before the right people notice?

3. Zero out your board. Have recovery strategies ready. This suggestion comes from The Power of Full Engagement, in which author Jim Loehr suggested:

“The rhythmic movement between energy expenditure and energy recovery is called oscillation. This is the optimal cycle for sustaining high performance consistently.”

How are you making recovery part of your regiment?

4. Resistance either creates or compresses stamina. Against the backdrop of seeming hopelessness, stamina is hard. Especially the stamina to recover rapidly from disappointment. A helpful question I ask myself is, “Is this being done to me or for me?”

With an attitude of leverage, positivity and growth, the answer is always “for me.” Just learn the lesson, let go of the emotion and get your ass out of there. See this as a workout for becoming wiser. What could make this experience easier?

5. Commit to a long-term process of education. My friend @ChadMoves is a movement educator. He once told me, “You only age if you choose not to use your body.” In the same vein, you only fade away if you choose not to use, develop and preserve your brain.

Here’s a simple exercise: Each day, do and document one concrete activity that made you a better thinker. Every month, review your log with a friend who’s doing the same. You’ll become a smokin’ hot piece of brain candy in no time. How are you creating an environment where lifelong learning stressed?

6. Curb your craving for certainty. Sure, it would be nice to have firm footing. But the sooner you learn to live without (always) knowing how, the longer you ultimately last. As I learned in The Having of Wonderful Ideas:

“We all need adequate time for our confusion if we are to build the breadth and depth that give significance to our knowledge.”

Are much money is your intolerance of ambiguity costing you?

7. Create a sustainable circle of support. It’s called the long haul for a reason. Whether it’s a long-distance relationship, a new career, or an outside-of-work creative pursuit, sticking with anything is never a one-man show. More like a chorus line.

Here are the people you need to keep: Family (because they aren’t going away), Friends (the ones you can call at 2am), Mentors (who will gladly slap you on the back of the head) and Spouses/Partners (since they’re riding shotgun). Who (aren’t) you currently surrounding yourself with that can help sustain you?

8. It’s not about avoiding ruts. Instead, it’s about developing the self-awareness to know when you’re in a rut, understanding the thinking patterns that got you into it, and then strategizing how to get yourself out of that rut quickly.

It all depends on how you explain the rut to yourself. And while this process requires a tremendous amount of emotional effort, your willingness to expend it will help you bounce back impressively. How are you sharpening your rut-fighting skills?

9. Persevere through the low. Yes, peaks follow valleys. But recessions renew resourcefulness. As Nicholas Cage taught me in Bangkok Dangerous, “The best way to defend yourself is to know when something is about to happen.” If you spot a valley on the horizon, write an action plan for how to leverage it.

That’s exactly how I thrived (and how my company thrived) during the Great Recession. If you want to do the same, remember these ideas: Accept what is. Leverage your downtime. Keep support flowing. Stir the pot. Befriend the current. Use every crisis. Foster a pervasive tone of gratitude. Double your dosage of daily inspiration. And keep pulling your triggers for joy.

Even when thee economy sucks, your economy can still rock. How will you traverse the tough times?

REMEMBER: It takes guts to stick yourself out there – but it takes gusto to keep yourself out there.

Read part two of this piece here!

What’s your secret for sticking with it?

For the list called, “13 Ways to Out Develop Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

How to be More Efficacious

Pharmaceutical companies are well known for having an abundance of three things:

1. Drugs.
2. Money.
3. Chotchkies.

I learned this in 2006 when I delivered the keynote speech at a leadership conference for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Not that I know anything about healthcare. My presentation was on how to make a name for yourself.

Still, I couldn’t help but notice the heavy usage of a word I’d never heard before: Efficacious.

As it pertains to drugs, the term indicates the capacity for beneficial change or therapeutic effect of a given intervention.


MY QUESTION IS: What about people? Can an individual become more efficacious?

Albert Bandura believes so. He wrote a book in 1997 called Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. It’s a monster: Six hundred pages of psycho-speak on everything from cognition to creativity to gender roles in athletics.

Interesting stuff.

He defines self-efficacy as: “Beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action require to produced given attainments.”

IN SHORT: You’re richly supported. You trust your resources. You’re equal to this challenge and ready to act.

Right – but how? How can you become more efficacious?

The good news is: You don’t need drugs.

Instead, try popping a few of these personal and professional development pills:

1. Carry your own standards for judging your artistic talents. Creativity is the highest form of human expression. As such, don’t let the validity of your talent hang in the balance of some critic’s opinion. Or some jealous hater that couldn’t create art if he was dropping acid at a finger-painting convention.

Keep in mind that the more innovative your brain, the more you invite rejection. Your challenge is to override the disbelievers. To start with the why. And to figure out what your currency is. Then, enlist your motivation and go from there. You’ll find that while self-belief doesn’t guarantee success –lack of self-believe does guarantee failure.

Remember: The creations of innovative persisters will always dwarf the accomplishments of the surrendering masses. Which one describes you?

2. Prolonged laborious effort. Endeavors that matter demand the persistent investment of time & toil. That’s the 90%. The hard, long and smart work that most of your customers will never see. And if you want to make the remaining 10% as beautiful as possible, better bust your ass. Because perserverance means greater efficacy, and greater efficacy means higher probability of success.

Ultimately, the road to mastery is marked by periods of minimal progress. You need to learn to be okay with that. Even when progress is discouragingly slow. Just remind yourself that the ongoing process of mastery is your reward. That commanding personal efficacy comes from a resilient sense of self and an amazing reserve of stamina. And that money isn’t target – money is what you get for hitting the target it. What time did you start work today?

3. People who leverage, last. The possession of knowledge rarely guarantees the proficiency of action. Sure, you had a great opportunity – but did you convert? If not, you lose. Because an idea generation without idea execution is idea annihilation.

My suggestion is to constantly ask yourself leverage questions like, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” and “How can I make this last forever?” and “How can I reuse, resurrect or reposition something people threw away or quit on?

Remember: Your ability is only as good as its execution – and the leverage thereof. How will you kill two stones with one bird today?

4. Believe that outcomes are determined by your behavior. As Pablo Neruda once said, “You are the result of yourself.” And as Scott Ginsberg once said, “Most wounds are self-inflicted.” Either way, the secret is developing an efficacious frame of mind through a fundamentally affirmative attitude. Taking ownership of your experience.

Deleting the phrase, “It is what it is,” from your defeatist vocabulary and instead wondering, “What have I done to invite this into my life? Ultimately, you can either be the architect or the victim of your life’s course. As you water-ski in the wake of the choices you’ve already made, ask yourself: How choppy is the lake?

5. Seek meaningful life pursuits. Even when the competing attractions look so good you could taste them. Stay focused on what counts. Don’t get lost in what doesn’t matter. Instead, partake in what Bandura’s textbook referred to as, “Developmentally enriching experiences.” Do things simply because they’re essential to your economic vitality.

Then, intelligently reflecting on those experiences. Extract and document the lessons from those experiences. And mobilizing your knowledge by teaching those lessons to others. If you can do so so with an attitude of nonprescriptiveness, nothing will be more meaningful. How minutes of your last hour were aggressively invested in irrelevant action?

ULTIMATELY: Self-efficacy is a function of self-belief.

Like I remind myself every morning:

I trust my resources…
I am richly supported…
I believe in my capabilities…
I am equal to this challenge…

You don’t have to be a pharmaceutical drug to be more efficacious.

Do you dare to care?

For the list called, “13 Ways to Out Develop Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

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