ONE of my colleagues was known for having “infectious enthusiasm”. This is a great compliment — it means not only is the person full of beans, but also that their enthusiasm is catching. Just being around such a person is a privilege.

Infectious enthusiasm will likely make you friends, although alone, it will not get you ahead in your career. For this you need “Gusto”, which combines enthusiasm with guts, energy, drive and sheer bloody-mindedness.

For those who are not sure what sheer bloody-mindedness is, just think about a toddler demanding attention. In other words, “Gusto” is grit and some more.

Here are ways to integrate Gusto with your work.


G is for genuine care

First, you must genuinely care about your work. This involves caring beyond getting your bonus or achieving KPIs (though your boss will say these are important too). Your work success depends on many things, including service quality, the customers’ experience, personal ethics and the list goes on. 

Caring genuinely is easy when your interests are aligned with the organisation, for example, if you are a business owner who benefits from additional profits. However, for the majority of employees who get bogged down by the daily grind, genuinely caring becomes a challenge.

How can you care passionately? One way is to ask yourself every evening, “What have I done today to show how much I care about someone else, about the quality of my work, about looking after the planet and about making the best of life with what I have been given?”

Do the same in the morning for the coming day. Make these two short reviews of yourself a discipline and you will start to care deeply.  


U is for unstinting generosity

The saying “you get out what you put in” is not always true. When you put in a little, it often results in nothing. Only when you put in a lot do you get out much more than you put in. Those who are successful typically have generosity of spirit, an ability to give of themselves.

A man who worked for me was street-wise and clever. Unfortunately, he got into trouble for falsifying records to make his operations look better than they were. I fired him, of course. Then, despite this, I became friends with him and asked him to do the exercises I mentioned above. It took time and perseverance but he stuck to it and is now one of the most caring and successful people I know.


S is for standards

Maintaining your standards and beliefs is important. However, while it is dangerous to be vacillating, it is equally dangerous to be closed-minded or unaccommodating to others’ beliefs. Only you will know when you need to resolutely pursue a purpose, and when you should be more flexible.

You were taught beliefs when you were young, which helped form your character. As you grow up, you need to form your own views about these beliefs. What you were taught were other people’s views. You now need to set — and live up to — your own standards.


T is for thoughtfulness

While having energy and enthusiasm for work is wonderful, you must also be thoughtful of others’ feelings or the situation.

Do not fixate only on your end goal, try to see the situation from different points of view. Sometimes it may just be a matter of waiting for the right time, or taking extra care in communicating your thoughts.


O is for other peoples’ help

No man is an island. We need help from others in the form of expertise, advice, guidance, practical work and support. Enthusiastic, generous managers call for help when they need it.

A good example of someone who works with Gusto is James Dyson, the inventor of Dyson’s bagless vacuum cleaners. He was frustrated with his vacuum cleaner, which lost suction power as dust clogged the dust bag. He spent some five years (supported by his wife’s salary) to develop a new vacuum using cyclonic separation technology.

However, no manufacturer would accept this, as it would disrupt the lucrative market for replacement dust bags. Undaunted, James set up his own manufacturing company, Dyson Ltd.

The Dyson Dual Cyclone soon became a top-selling vacuum, outselling those companies that had initially rejected James’ idea.

So here’s to you finding the Gusto you need in your career!


Article by John Bittleston, the chairman, CEO and founder mentor of Terrific Mentors International, a group of skilled mentors, trainers and coaches with significant management experience, who share a passion for reviving balance sheets by helping people find purpose and meaning in their lives. For more information, visit