I’ve made an entire career out of wearing a nametag.
(Yeah I know. Sometimes I still don’t believe it myself!)
Still, many of my readers and audience members continue to ask the obvious question: “How?”
I wish I had a short answer for them. I really do.
But alas, it’s not that simple. Heck, it's been 2,385 days.
So, bear with me here as I take you through my (absurdly) long answer. I'll do part 1 today and part 2 tomorrow.
How to Make an Entire Career Out of Wearing a Nametag, Part 1
ATTITUDE. Stay positive. Stay friendly. Stay fun. Especially because 10% of the people you meet will think you’re out of your damn mind. And remember: it’s not about the nametag; it’s the person wearing it, and the attitude OF that person. Turn hate mail into great mail. If at first your idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it. If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong.
BOLDNESS. Stick yourself out there: physically, emotionally and psychologically. Be willing to be humiliated, embarrassed and stared at. And keep in mind: the more often you throw yourself into the sea, the less likely the waves are to bother you. Grow thicker skin. Find out where you suck, but don’t let someone who has no right to criticize you to upset you for more than five minutes. And if you turn off someone who’s not in your target market, who cares. Can’t please everybody.
CREATIVITY. Study it. Practice it. Enhance it. Hang with other creative people, business or otherwise. Practice regular moments of solvitas perambulatorum. Never think “outside of the box,” because “outside of the box” is a very “inside the box” saying. There is no box. Interestingly, the word “creativity” literally means, “to make something out of nothing.”
DISCIPLINE. Always carry extra nametags, prewritten and blank, with you at all times. Wear one nametag on every layer. (See above picture) Even at weddings, funerals, strip clubs (cringe) and while playing pickup basketball. Write for two hours every single day. Work hard. Work long. Work smart. Read everything. Rehearse all night so it looks like you didn’t rehearse all night. Practice discipline in ONE area of your life and let it transfer over to other areas.
EARS. Listen closely to the world. It will give you countless ideas, tips, lessons learned and inspirational moments/people. Write everything down when you hear it. Grow bigger ears daily. Read books about listening. Take furious notes. Shut up when people are talking. Listen to lots of music every single day from various genres. Pump beautiful music through your veins for at least two hours every single day. Don’t you dare watch or listen to local news. Listen to every audio tape known to man. Best when done before you go to bed.
FUN. The day my job stops being fun is the day it stops. Period.
GO. To every networking event, conference, seminar, book signing, self-development seminar, association meeting and cocktail hour. Don’t throw your business cards to everybody, but make yourself known. BE THAT GUY, aka, be known FOR something and be known AS something. Come early; stay late. Find the people who clearly don’t know anybody, walk up and say, “Hi, I don’t know anybody here!” Get your ass out of the house every single day for at least one meal, coffee or event. Remember: small business isn’t a category; it’s a lifestyle.
HANG. Out with other super successful businesspeople, that is. Success leaves clues. Ask lots of questions, find out what they did right AND wrong and emulate the good stuff. Glean whenever, wherever and from whomever, notwithstanding age, level of experience or personality type. Look for people who are 30 years ahead of you and decide if that’s where you want to be in 30 years. Also, DON’T hang out with the following types of people: bloodsuckers, piggybackers, negatives, complainers, time abusers, drug abusers, emotional vampires, people who aren’t doing jack with their lives, people who don’t listen and talk WAY too much, people who are just trying to use your time, money, resources and brain power.
IDENTITY. Figure out who you are, both personally and professionally, how you roll, what you’ll stand for, what you won’t stand for you and what your personal philosophies and policies are. And remember: your identity is your most valuable possession. Read every book ever written on branding. Ask yourself lots of questions over and over. Make a Personal Mission Statement and read it to yourself every single morning. Know your values and beliefs. Make a Philosophy Card and pass it out to everyone you meet. Be the world’s expert on yourself. And never surround yourself with anyone who makes you second-guess yourself. Validate your existence, do something cool and be yourself – every single day.
JOKES. Especially about yourself. Self-deprecating humor disarms people, beats them to the punch and lays a foundation of approachability. Only take a few key things seriously. Never stop laughing. Find something funny every day.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Say one thing. One word. One idea. Don’t make people have to remember more than that. That’s how stuff spreads. When people come to your website, make sure they know THE ONE THING you want them to do. Make your book, your idea and your business about one thing. One word. Make sure people can go onto Google and type in ONE WORD and get your website as the first five hits.
LOVE. Poured out into every blog post, speech, chapter, article, video, client meeting, conversation and webpage. Authenticity. Consistency. Commitment. All tied together with love. Love what you do, what you don’t do, what you write, what you sell, whom you sell it to and why you sell it. If you love the product and yourself first and then transfer that love to someone else, they will buy.
MAKE THE MUNDANE MEMORABLE. Phone greetings, introductions, business cards, company names, website domains, email signatures, email “from” lines, personal greetings and blog posts. Do that, and people will not only remember it, they’ll spread the word, in addition to coming back themselves.
(Still with me? Cool. Part 2 coming up tomorrow...)
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