The Smart Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing What You Started

Anybody can start.

Starting cost little money.
Starting involves limited risk.
Starting requires minimal stamina.

But starting isn’t how you win.

You only win when you execute to completion.

And that’s the big problem: Execution is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Today you’re going to learn how to finish.

Whatever project you’re working on, whatever endeavor you’re committed to and whatever idea you’re drumming up, here’s how to lean into the tape. Here’s how to finish:

1. Develop a relentless bias toward action. This requires a major attitudinal shift. Consider these ideas for initiating the change. First, surround yourself with reminders of the beauty of action. Post sticky notes, messages or signs that read, “Action is eloquence,” or “Those who ship, win.”

Second, surround yourself with people whose bias toward action inspires you. Build edit-ability (not just accountability, but edit-ability) into your relationships. Ask each other what you’ve finished recently. You could even each other every Friday at five with a list of the things you’ve finished that week.

Finally, surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. Post your goals where you can see them every day. Then, once you finish, grab a Sharpie and write, “I did it!” atop each one. How will you develop an attitude of action?

2. Flex the muscle of why. Customers buy why – not what or how. The final product merely gives life to your cause, your mission and your currency. Sadly, too many entrepreneurs begin with a flawed assumption. They don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Or, they know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and it’s the wrong why.

Either way, starting with the wrong questions means even the right answers will still steer you in the wrong direction. Without flexing your why muscle, you set the whole process in motion into the wrong direction. And with ever step you take, the finish line fades farther and farther away. What’s your strategy for keeping your why alive?

3. Silence the voice of no. People and companies with a history of not finishing need to lower the volume on the voices inside their heads. In a recent presentation, Seth Godin illustrated this point perfectly, “People don’t ship because their lizard brain says, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!’”

Your challenge is to recognize those voices and devise a strategy for overcoming their primal powers. My suggestion is to smile every time your lizard brain takes the stage. Nothing will piss it off more. Except maybe when you finish. What voice are you listening to that’s causing you to swiftly abandon things?

4. Breathe through the pain. During some of the longer postures in Bikram Yoga, I frequently find myself struggling to finish. It’s amazing how long sixty seconds feels when you’re doing a full backbend in 110° heat.

Fortunately, I discovered the secret to finishing. And you can apply this principle on the yoga mat, in your life struggles or to your business ventures. Let your body do the one thing it naturally does best: Breathe. There’s no better way to recenter yourself.

Plus, breathing helps you reignite momentum from a relaxed, non-destructive space. Most people lose touch with their breathe. Then they clumsily plunge forward from a place of contraction and fear. No wonder they never finish. How’s your breathing?

5. Adopt agile development. I read an enlightening blog post on How to Finish Big Projects. They used the software industry as the quintessential example:

“All software developers use a method they crazily call Agile Software Development, aka, ASD. They build a releasable product within weeks. Then, they build outward to create successively bigger product releases. The first releasable product has the most important stuff done. They’ll term it Version 0.1. Next, they’ll expand that version outward with additional features and term it Version 0.2. Gradually, the successive small releases ultimately form one juicy-good completed software item. Completo.”

Lesson learned: Focus on the most important component of your project first. You can fill in the holes later. Is enough as good as a feast for your company?

6. Limitation is the springboard to completion. The word “finish” comes from the Latin finire, which means, “To set boundaries.” Call it a deadline. Call it a limit. Whatever floats your creative boat. The point is to have a definite moment when you give yourself a swift kick in the ass and declare, “The hay is in the barn.”

Otherwise Parkinson’s Law – that work expands to fill the amount of time given to accomplish it – will eat you (and your idea) alive. Remember: Finished is the new perfect. How much longer are you going to wait before shipping something that’s never going to be perfect anyway?

7. When the finish line is in plain site, look out. Every time I go swimming, I conveniently develop a burning cramp during my 40th lap. Right in the calf muscle. Hurts like hell. But I always laugh it off. I know it’s just resistance coming to get me.

Nice try. Too bad I learned my lesson from The War of Art: “The danger is great when the finish line is in site. At this point, resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”

Don’t get complacent. No high stepping with ten yards to go. Stay focused. Otherwise the resistance will slap that pigskin out of your hand and cause a fumble at the one-yard line. Are you giving up one percent too early?

REMEMBER: Woody Allen was wrong.

80% of life isn’t showing up – it’s following through.

I know it’s inconvenient.
I know it’s uncomfortable.
I know it’s harder than starting.

But those who ship, win.

Go finish something.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you executing to completion?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Make Ideas Happen at an Alarming Rate

Marry Poppins was an entrepreneur.

She summarized business execution in six simple words:

“Enough is as good as a feast.”

What about you? How skilled are you at executing?

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you make ideas happen at an alarming rate:

1. Convert your workspace into a progress-rich environment. It’s emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. What’s more, keeping past progress in front of your nose stimulates focus – even if it’s incremental.

As I learned in Making Ideas Happen, “As a human being, you are motivated by progress. When you see concrete evidence of progress, you are more inclined to take further action. Surround yourself with it. Celebrate it.” What’s on your wall?

2. Take massive, rapid and consistent action. That’s how momentum accumulates. Just like Newton said: A body in motion stays in motion. My suggestion is to shoot for five High Valuable Action Steps. Every day.

Even if you take an occasional step backwards – at least you’re still stepping. Movement (backwards or forwards) is necessary to prevent atrophy. Some people just stand there. They’re called nouns. Verbs, on the other hand, move. Which one are you?

3. Increase executional velocity. As a writer, my biggest advantage is that nobody can keep up with me. I am dangerously prolific. Nobody who does what I do can do what I do as fast as I can do it. And, nobody who does what I do can do what I do in the quantity that I can do it.

Lesson learned: Making ideas happen is less about intellectual property and more about executional velocity. Contrary to what your lawyer tells you, there’s very little you need to protect. If somebody wants to steal your ideas, fantastic! Let them.

First of all, that’s a great compliment. Robbery is the sincerest form of flattery. Secondly, by the time they execute your idea – which they probably won’t – you’ll already be ten ideas down the road. Screw ‘em.

Lastly, if people want to hijack your brain, tell them to go right ahead. Just remind them: “You can steal my ideas – but good luck stealing my initiative and execution.” William Wallace never thought of that. Remember: The creations of innovative persisters will always dwarf the accomplishments of the copying and surrendering masses. Who’s faster than you?

4. Structureless environments paralyze. Not that you need to regiment every element of your creative process. But structure allows growth. And the impact of an idea is directly proportionate to how well it is organized.

My suggestion: Preserve the sanctity of your workspace. Not an office – a workspace. Call it an office and slice your creativity in half. Call it a workspace – a factory of creativity – and you make ideas happen. Is your content as brilliant as the system that manages it?

5. It’s not what you do – it’s what you avoid. People frequently ask me how I manage to be so productive. My answer is very logical and simple:

No meetings. No employees. No interns. No busywork. No filing. No copying. No excuses. No hurdles. No bullshit. No asking permission. No begging for forgiveness. No memos. No status reports. No kids. No television. No surfing the web. No mass media. No coworkers. No putting out fires. No gossip. No worrying. No headaches. No managing people.

No walking on eggshells. No task requests. No micromanaging. No useless planning of things that don’t matter. No processes to weigh me down and diminish my energy. No waiting for people. No endless list of people trying to reach me. No distractions. No decision-making hierarchy. No distance between the owner and decisions that matter. No awkward staff lunches. No committees. No socializing. No compromising.

No doing activities that aren’t focused on my #1 goals. No doing activities that don’t leverage my gifts. No doing activities that aren’t income generating. No office politics. No office. No clothes. No shoes. No commute. No traffic. No interruptions. No paperwork.

After deleting all of that noise, what are you left with? Work. That matters. Think about it. If that were your daily environment, you’d make ideas happen at an alarming rate too. Remember: Productivity isn’t about what you do – it’s about what you avoid. How many of your amazing ideas will never see the light of day because they’re gasping for air under the weight of irrelevant time-wasters?

6. Align your action with accomplishment. Bob Parsons, CEO of www.godaddy.com, recently published a helpful productivity module on his video blog. In order to keep productivity at bay, he suggests asking two questions: Is this conversation directly leading to what I need to accomplish? Is this immediately relevant to my success?

If the answer is no, respectfully remove yourself. Focus on finding what matters instead. What questions do you ask yourself to stay on point?

7. Commission you inner doodler. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said in a recent presentation, “Start drawing your idea. Get it out of your head and see it from a completely different perspective.” Even if you suck at drawing. Even if you’re more left-brained than a computer science professor at MIT. Draw it anyway.

Tap into the unused creative faculties collecting cobwebs in the back of your brain. Produce visual understanding by letting the idea hatch before your eyes. My promise is that you’ll get so jazzed about the organic growth of your idea, that the thought of (not) executing it will give you indigestion. What have you drawn today?

8. Attitude is soil. And if it’s saturated with too much fertilizer, anything that grows in it – not matter how big and beautiful and profitable it may be – will always have a stinkshit core. I’m reminded what Seth Godin wrote in a recent blog post:

“No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book. If your attitude at the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.”

Lesson learned: Exquisite execution doesn’t last when underscored by an excremental attitude. When you make ideas happen, how does your breath smell?

REMEMBER: Many of your execution failures are not due to poor planning but to your timidity to proceed.

Mary Poppins was right.

Enough is good enough.

Go make your ideas happen.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you increasing your capacity to execute?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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