8 Habits for Winning Grants and Staying Sane

The life of an Innovator can be tough.


Grants and other sources of support can provide the funds and validation necessary to sane. But, in the search for approval and resources, challenges and disappointments are frequent.

Knowing this, I asked Engineer and Innovator John Sninsky about the habits which help him stay sane as he struggles to be noticed in busy innovation space:


    1. Don’t kill yourself. You can’t eat an elephant in a day. You can’t meet all the people you need to meet in a week. Most things worth doing take years.

  2. Be Persistent.

    1. Being patient does not mean “do nothing”. Understand that to win over time, you’ll need to be persistent and consistent. As John says: You can’t really lose. The only way you lose is by quitting*.

  3. Surrender

    1. Paradox? Yeah. Be patient. Be persistent. Surrender. 95% of your life is governed by forces beyond your control--namely weather and other people. Quit wasting energy to struggle with things you cannot control. Set your goal. Do your work. Flow within the path life provides for you.

  4. Curate and explore the wonderful open source resources which change our world!

    1. More resources become available each day. KEEP LEARNING!

  5. Tap into PEER MOTIVATION.

    1. Do you have a peer mentor network? If not, create a peer mentor network! Find someone who can mentor you and someone who you might mentor.


    1. Many people struggle with a problem and the refuse to reach out for help. Why? Are they scared of judgement? Is it arrogance? Whatever the case may be… have the humility to ask for help.


    1. Another paradox. It takes humility to ask for help… but it also takes confidence. You may be reaching out to someone with more resources, or maybe you believe they are superior to you… but don’t depreciate yourself. Speak clearly and confidently, reach out to people who intimidate you. You’d be surprised how many people in high places are happy to help if you simply ask.

  8. Curate the people and activities which drive you.

    1. “I spend about 3 hours researching at a time” John says, “Then I go for a bike ride and let all those ideas digest… I’ll go and visit some friends, or sit in a park. I let the world around me inspire me… it creates connections and thoughts that I wouldn’t have if I spent 8 hours a day looking over material. Then, by the time I return to the work I’m full of ideas and energy and I’m ready to write and draft for as many hours as it takes to make use of the new information and the thoughts from my bikeride.”

These techniques have payed off.

John has traveled the world and won some significant grants.

But, he’s not set for life. He still has to compete with others in his field for support. Sometimes he wins, but just as often… he’s not chosen. And that’s ok.

John knows that his work is important, and one way or another… his ideas will continue to employ him. And that’s what life is all about.