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The Art of Before

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When you put the cart before the horse, it’s impossible to make progress.

People make this mistake.
Brands make this mistake
Companies make this mistake.
Governments make this mistake.

THE PROBLEM IS: They haven’t mastered the art of before.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of examples to make sure your horse stays in front:

  1. Ache comes before achievement. Anxiety is a right of passage. It’s a sign that you’re on the right path. And it’s a healthy form of discomfort that disturbs you into executing what matters. What are you converting your anxiety into
  2. Commitment comes before compulsion. Motivation is born out of commitment. It doesn’t happen to – it happens because of you. Only then will you take action on what truly matters. How will your commitment fuel you?
  3. Constitution comes before connection. Love is a song that reminds people of what they most value. And if they can’t hear it while talking to you, you’re finished. Do you have a written list of your personal non-negotiables?
  4. Contribution comes before contentment. Happiness isn’t intentional – it’s incidental. It’s what happens when you’re mattering. It’s the byproduct of fulfilling your whole capacity for living. What trail are you leaving behind?
  5. Conversation comes before conversion. Evangelism is a contact sport. No contact, no impact. Whomever you’re trying to share your gospel with, recruit or enlist in your dream, talk to them with your mouth first. Are you trying to force-feed truth?
  6. Definition comes before domination. You can’t own the space until you know who you are, what you do, how you do it, why you do it – and – how people’s lives are better because of it. Are you committed to your personal reflection needs.
  7. Disruption comes before distinction. It all starts with an intentionally unreasonable statement. Like Bill Gates deciding to start Microsoft in a recession. And we all know how that story played out. How are you refining your disruptive sensibility?
  8. Initiative comes before innovation. You can’t do something that changes everything if you’re still waiting for a map. Stop waiting to be picked. Just go. Once you kick your addiction to permission, what will that make possible?
  9. Intention comes before influence. When I started wearing a nametag, I wasn’t trying to make money – I was trying to make friends. And I ended up making history. All because the intention was pure. Why do you do what you do?
  10. Invocation comes before inspiration. If you don’t honor, respect and invite that which is truly at work – namely, not you – you’ll never have any ideas that matter. How are you ritualizing your creative practice?
  11. Patience comes before profit. When the fruit of your sustained artist effort tastes like feet, you start to wonder if all the effort is worthwhile. And it is. In ten years. How long are you willing to do the work before the right people notice?
  12. Permission comes before promotion. Instead of yelling at people, earn the right to whisper to them. Then you’ll be speaking to them with a voice that’s anticipated, personal and relevant. Who is waiting for you to market to them?
  13. Picking comes before plucking. I never went to the career fair. I just hired myself and got to work. This approach was less stressful and more profitable than waiting to be plucked from obscurity. Are you still operating out of a lotto mentality?
  14. Playful comes before practical. Tickle the eye. Wink at the heart. And create a smile in the mind. That way, people exist in a state where they are willing to receive your message. Are you asking the viewer to take part in the communication of the idea.
  15. Practice comes before principle. People aren’t listening to your mouth talk, they’re listening to your life speak. And if there’s too big a gap between your onstage performance and backstage reality, they’ll walk. Do you smoke what you sell?
  16. Surrender comes before spontaneity. You have to trust yourself, trust the process, trust the world and trust the people who populate it. Otherwise you’ll never be vulnerable enough to welcome the beauty of impulse. What do you need to let go of?

REMEMBER: The horse loves being in front.

Let him lead. Master the art of before.

Otherwise you’ll never make any progress.

Image Source: SXC

Scott Ginsberg is the World Record Holder of Wearing Nametags. He's the author of twelve books, an award-winning blogger, professional speaker and creator of NametagTV.com. He specializes in approachability, identity and execution, and for more info about books, speaking engagements, customized online training programs or to rent Scott's brain for a one-on-one session, email scott@hellomynameisscott.com or connect with him on Twitter @nametagscott.


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