Monday, May 10, 2010

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.

Cool.

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.

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

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