No One Ever Drowned in Sweat: G.R.I.T. - The Stuff of Leaders and Champions

May 02, 2017


Scott Petinga wants to help you develop the qualities needed to slay giants—to overcome obstacles in both your own life and out in the wider world.

Scott Petinga is not going to be for everyone. He's a bit brash, doesn't suffer fools gladly, and swears like a sailor. (In fact, if swearing offends you, I'd advise you to not read on.) He's hard nosed, advises you to be equally so if you want to succeed, and doesn't pull punches on how hard it is going to be. 

But, he'll tell you, it's worth it. You'll need to develop a bit of G.R.I.T., which he uses as an acronym for four specific traits, or components: 


G.R.I.T. is:

“G” — Guts – the internal super power which allows us to overcome adversity and steer a course over, under, around, or straight through life’s many obstacles and challenges.

“R” — Resilience – the rebounding energy which allows us to bounce back from life’s many defeats to enjoy the fruits of our labor and eventual success.

“I” — Initiative – the entrepreneurial spirit which inspires us to act on our biggest ideas and build a life—and career—for ourselves and by ourselves if need be.

“T” — Tenacity – the staying power which ultimately determines how hard we fight for our dreams.

G.R.I.T. — Real simple to remember, real hard to live


His new book, No One Ever Drowned in Sweat, is his vehicle for helping you develop it. For those he resonates with, he wants to help you slay giants, to overcome obstacles in both your own life and out in the wider world. All you have to do is take…


The First Step

Before you strike out to slay giants, you have to do something.

The first step in obtaining G.R.I.T. is to honestly assess yourself and discover where you’re the most comfortable, most skilled and most proficient. Then step right past that to a place where you feel the most uncomfortable, the most ill at ease and the most unsure of yourself.

Why? Because you might fucking fail and that’s exactly where the learning and growth happens. 

The majority of people are defeated before they even get out there to face the fight. In their minds, they make mountains out of mole hills and giants out of shadows. They refuse to leave the security of their comfort zones and take the risk of failing that comes with doing so.

Hell, even if your situation really is a nasty giant, there are multiple stories throughout history of people overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds just because they got out there, kept pressing forward and eventually won the day… they had G.R.I.T.!

So, you have to be willing to get your ass up and step into the unknown towards your dreams and goals. That is the ONLY way to obtain what you want for your life.

Failure is not the end of everything, but the beginning of something greater!
— Brenda Coffman – founder and CEO of Blondie’s Cookies Inc.

I guarantee that if you choose to stay in your comfortable, little “happy place” then you will not reach your goals or realize your dream.

However, I believe that you at least have a desire to achieve success, if not a burning bosom of fire just itching to find some direction and get the ball rolling. My G.R.I.T. mindset is the answer to fulfilling both.


The Takeaway

The hallways in my home and office are lined with quotes, sayings, musings, proverbs and adages. Some are fancy and framed, like artwork. Some are tiles, mortarboards, printouts, or posters. Some are merely scraps of paper, sticky notes, or cutouts from magazines.

I absolutely fucking love word porn. The wisdom of others—writers, thinkers, doers, inventors, CEOs, priests, rabbis, missionaries, coaches, actors, directors and just generally smart, wise and funny people—is what inspires me to try new things, take new risks, follow new directions, or simply get off my ass and get going.

The quote I’d like to share that covers the theme of this section is a simple one by Neale Donald Walsch:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I live by that quote. Not because I don’t enjoy comfort, but because I know complacency kills.

I get tired like everybody else. I work long hours and often, at the end of what feels like a neverending day battling inadequacy in the corporate world, I think, “Why the fuck am I doing this? Why don’t I just cash in all my chips, retire early and go sit on a beach somewhere… no worries in the world.”

Beyond the obvious, where’s the fun in that? I don’t do this for the money. Success is a challenge and challenge always requires change. And change is the single most uncomfortable thing in the human condition. 

Change is also the fire that forges greatness. Without change, I’d still be the broken down, in both body and spirit, and flatbroke failure I was years ago. Without change, I never would have met my first wife, started a company, attained success, had three beautiful daughters or met wonderful, vibrant, confident colleagues and coworkers. I never would have started a handful of foundations raising millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes, or written a single word of this book. 

My challenging, frustrating, wonderful, unique, confusing and complicated life is beautiful because of change and yours can be too. You just have to find comfort in the uncomfortable.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it fucking isn’t, not at first anyway, but it gets easier. In fact, it’s quite addictive. Once you discover the joys of discomfort and the ROI of risk taking, you will become as addicted to change as you once were to conformity, simplicity, boredom and the status quo.

And your first step toward change is turning the page, because that is where your journey to greatness begins.



Scott Petinga has risen through such oppositions as failure, rejection, divorce and even cancer to accomplish impressive and respectable goals, and now has this insatiable drive, this compulsion to create change. To be change. Everything he pursues must have meaning and purpose beyond the norm. Petinga is currently the Chief Troublemaker of The Scott Petinga Group where he is a pioneer in the development of businesses that make a lasting impact on society. When he's not busy saving the planet he uses his acquired wisdom, knowledge and experience to help others make their mark in the world. After serving in the military and in roles as varied as Vice President of Segmentation Management at Santander Bank and Adjunct Professor at several regional colleges, Petinga put his brilliant marketing skills to work. He served in several senior executive roles at advertising agencies, including Accountability Director at Carmichael Lynch and Strategic Planning Director at RMG Connect - JWT, before leaving Madison Avenue in 2007 to launch his flagship company, the data-driven communications agency AKQURACY. Founded on the strength of a single client relationship, Petinga has since grown the company into a multi-million-dollar marketing endeavor. Within 5 years, AKQURACY earned a spot on Inc. Magazine's prestigious List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies and then Petinga went on to be selected to join the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)—an invite only organization comprised of the world's most successful young entrepreneurs—plus was a semi-finalist for Entrepreneur magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award. Petinga is also extremely passionate about serving the community: he is the founder of the TH!NK DIFFERENT Foundation, the Fairy Foundation, the Center of Advocacy for Cancer of the Testes International (CACTI), and a volunteer mentor with Imerman Angels of Chicago.

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