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Friday, March 30, 2007

Don't say you don't know

What three words do your customers NEVER want to hear?

"I don't know."

If you're a front line employee, you are the face of your company.

If you're a call center operator, you are the voice of your company.

As such, you must project an aura of competence, confidence and resourcefulness. That’s what approachable service is all about!

So, even if you don't really know the answer to a customer question, never let ‘em see (or hear) you sweat.

Instead, try saying the following Phrases That Payses:

“Great question! I’m not exactly sure, so let me ask someone who DOES know.”

This response works for several reasons:

IT REFRAMES. The customer is upset. Frustrated. Looking for answers. So, by immediately countering with a positive, even complimentary response, you reframe the context of the dialogue. He or she starts to feel reassured right away! All because you’ve laid a foundation of positivity and approachability.

IT LOOSENS THE BLOW. By stating that you’re “not exactly” sure, you come off as more competent and confident. Much better than, “I have no idea!” After all, your credibility is on the line. The front line!

IT VOCALIZES COMMITMENT. It’s OK to not know everything. But it’s also OK to tell a customer that his question is important enough that you will go out of your way to find the answer. See, without this display of commitment, you’re toast. Because customers only give you (and your company) credit for that which they SEE and HEAR you do consistently. And consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

Ultimately, your job as a front line employee; call center operator or PDX rep is not only to provide approachable service, but to CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS.

About their problem.
About your company.
About your level of service.
About YOU as an individual!

So, next time you get stumped by a tricky customer question, just remember: customers want answers. Solutions. First call resolutions! And even if you’re not exactly sure what those are, that doesn’t mean you can’t respond in a confident, competent and approachable manner.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do you say when you don't know?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Post your Phrases That Payses here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Everyone is a...

Everyone is a writer. Writing is the basis of all wealth, as my mentor says. You need to be writing (something) every single day. You can’t keep all that stuff bottled up inside. It’s not good for you. Write, write, write.

Everyone is in marketing. Your words, actions, emails and conversations are either supporting or refuting your brand. Everyone in your company is responsible for marketing your company.

Everyone is in sales. Because people buy people first. Because people aren’t loyal to companies, they’re loyal to people. Because it doesn’t matter what product or service you sell, customers buy YOU before anything.

Everyone is the CEO (of You, Inc.). Tom Peters was the first to coin this phrase. It’s been around for a good 10 years now. There are books written about it, articles explaining it, even experts who can show you how to do it. It’s no longer a fad. It’s just the way it is.

Everyone has a voice. God bless the Internet! With the advent of blogs, social networking and other virtual soapboxes, there’s no excuse for not having a forum to voice your opinion. If you want to say something, say it. Odds are, with the potential audience of billions of people, somebody’s gonna hear it.

Everyone has customers. Sure, you can call ‘em whatever you want. Clients. Members. Congregants. Children. Students. Employees. Audience members. Readers. Subscribers. Either way, everyone has customers. And customers are two things: 1) People that BUY (your products, your ideas, you as a person) and 2) People that YOU SERVE.

Everyone is a leader. I don’t know much about being a leader. But I get the feeling that just about anybody within a company or organization can be one. I once heard leadership defined by author Meg Wheatley as, “Anyone who is willing to help.” That’s you!

Everyone is a manager. Even if you’re not the manager of a team, group, staff, etc., you’re still the manager of your time, life, family, priorities, choices, health, blah blah blah. (Thanks Covey.)

Everyone is an artist. OK, so you don’t paint. Or sing. Or create any other type of artsy fartsy stuff. Big deal! You’re still creating some kind of art every day. Hell, your life is one big work of art! And similar to the word “love,” art is pretty much impossible to define. So, whatever art means to you, just remember that everyone is an artist, and let the definition of art be decided by those who make it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Everyone's something, aren't they?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Finish the following sentence: "Everyone is a..." and post your explanations here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Keep it Alive, Part 3


















(Read part one and part deux of this series here!)

1. Every time you travel out of town, ask yourself, “Who do I know that lives in that city?” Call ahead of time and make plans to get together. Heck, you’re there anyway.

2. Every few months, sit down with your cell phone and call every single person in your phone book. When they ask why you’re calling, tell them because you’re sitting down with your cell phone calling every single person in your phone book. No motive. No big deal. Just saying hey.

3. Take about 15 minutes one day and go back through your inbox. Quickly scan through your last 500 emails. Odds are, you’ll be reminded of people you completely forgot about and/or haven’t talked to in a while. Drop ‘em a line and see what’s up.

4. Do you have a big stack of business cards on your desk collecting dust? If so, take a few minutes to flip through them. Jar your memory as to who you’ve met over the last few months. You never know whom you might find!

5. Go to Borders and read through every magazine on the rack. Even Oprah and Rachel Ray (rolls eyes). See if you can find an article, sidebar or picture relevant to your job, industry or area of expertise. Pick 50 customers/prospects to hand-send that picture to, along with a note saying, “This made me think of you!”

6. Open your appointment book. Are you having lunch or coffee with at least one person every week? If not, fill that baby up! Make a list called “20 People I Haven’t Talked to In, Like, Forever.” Pen (don’t pencil) them in.

7. Start an ezine. Even if you don’t think that you’re a good writer. Even if you don’t think anyone cares. Begin by sending it out to everyone in your network. Offer quick tips and ideas to help them, plus a brief summary of what’s new with your business. Invite people to write back and share the same.

8. If you’re a blogger (and if you’re not, you need to be), keep a blogroll. Every week or so, revisit all the entries written by the people in your Internetwork. Post comments, share link love and help support each other!

9. Whatever social networking program you use (MySpace, Facebook, Squidoo, YouTube, whatever) take some time every so often to peruse all the personal pages of each of your “friends” or “contacts.” See what people are up to. Drop them a message to say hey.

10. Go back through your old planners (or past PDA entries). Look at all the people you had lunch, coffee or connected with last year. BE HONEST: how many of them do you still keep in touch with? If your numbers aren’t as high as you’d like, drop a line to those people and say, “I was browsing my old calendar the other day, and I realize we haven’t hung out since May of 2005! It’s time for us to get together again…”

11. Schedule a specific time, i.e., every Thursday afternoon at 3:00, as “Keep it Alive Time.” Set 30 minutes aside each week to do any of the activities listed above.

12. Start a “Keep it Alive Journal.” Make notes about whom you connected with, what you learned, how you helped each other and other related ideas. Review and update it every week.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How do you Keep it Alive?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Post your best Keep it Alive tip right here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When you care the least, you do the best

Let’s say you’re on a sales call.

And in the back of your mind, you don’t care.

Which is not to say you’re apathetic. It’s just that you’re relaxed.

With yourself. With your product. With your prospect. So, you “don’t care” insofar as you’re not negatively affected by the thought of failure.

If I don’t make the sale, no biggie, you think. You do the best you can, be yourself, and if you close the deal, great. If not, it’s cool. Onto the next prospect!

So, what often happens?

That’s right. You make the sale.

Because when you care the least, you do the best.

Now let’s say you walk into a bar.

And in the back of your mind, you don’t care.

Which is not to say you’re being cold. You’re just looking to have a good time, laugh, hang out with your friends; maybe throw back a few pints of Guinness. You’re not actively looking for a date. But if someone cute DOES approach you, that would be great.

If I don’t get her number, no biggie, you think. You act friendly, be yourself, and if you secure the digits, great. If not, it’s cool. Plenty other fish in the sea!

So, what often happens?

That’s right. You meet someone.

Because when you care the least, you do the best.

Lastly, let’s say you attend an industry-wide conference.

And in the back of your mind, you don’t care.

Which is not to say you’re slacking off. After all, your goals are to learn, network with fellow professionals, even have a little fun at the after hours parties. NOT to pound the pavement while dishing out 100’s of business cards trying gain new customers. But you approach that conference with a prepared, positive, (yet peaceful) attitude.

If I find myself a new customer, awesome! you say. If not, that’s ok too. There’s plenty other benefits of attending the event.

So, what often happens?

That’s right. You attract “lucky” people and situations.

Because when you care the least, you do the best.

“Alright, hold on for a sec,” you think. “Scott, are you telling me NOT to care?!”

Of course not! Caring is KING. In fact, the world could use a little more caring if you ask me.

BUT THAT'S THE THING: it’s not about NOT caring.

It’s about relaxing.

Relaxing your mind.
Relaxing your body.
Relaxing your expectations.

Because when you’re relaxed, you become more approachable. To the world. To other people. To ideas and powerful thoughts.

(Thomas Edison said: “When you become quiet, it just dawns on you.”)

AND REMEMBER THIS: It’s not about selling.

It’s about enabling people to buy.

Giving value.
Being yourself.
Positioning (er, broadcasting) your uniqueness.

Because when you enable people to buy, you become more approachable. To customers. To prospects. Even to the competition.

OH, AND DON’T FORGET: it’s not about having a target or a mark.

It’s about becoming less goal-oriented.

Just having fun.
Enjoying yourself.
Focusing on the umbrella.

Because when people discover that you’re not trying to sell them, but rather develop mutually valuable relationships WITH them, you become more approachable.

So whether you’re on a sales call, looking for a date or attending a conference, follow these steps:

1. Slow down.
2. Relax.
3. Open your body and mind to the world around you.
4. Let intuition take over.
5. Be nobody but yourself.
6. Give value.
7. Have fun.
8. Watch success come your way.

Because when you care the least, you do the best.

That’s what I think.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Have you ever achieved something great because you "didn't care"?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Share your story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Monday, March 26, 2007

33 random thoughts I jotted down at the Phoenix airport

1. There are two kinds of publicity: 1) Getting featured on TV, print and radio as a GUEST, 2) Getting featured on TV, print and radio as an EXPERT. Do both. Especially the latter.

2. State your fee confidently and shut up. Seriously. I actually put my hand over my mouth until the prospect responds. Sometimes 10 seconds later. You have to be sure of yourself and your fee. Don’t defend it. Don’t negotiate it. Just say, “That will be $50,000.” Then be quiet. You deserve it.

3. Two words: Mastermind Group. Get in one now. Keep it small, meet monthly. Top five best things I’ve ever done for my career.

4. Oh yeah, speaking of fees. There are advantages and disadvantages of posting your fee on your website. I say go for it. It shows transparency and honesty. Plus, it qualifies your leads, cuts out the no-money prospects and doesn’t waste yours or their time.

5. DON’T EVER APOLOGIZE FOR WHO YOU ARE.

6. People who get noticed get ahead. People who get remembered get business.

7. God help your soul if you ever, ever, ever use some version of the horribly overused “Got milk?” tagline as part of your marketing. Absolutely terrible. You’d be amazed how many speeches, programs and taglines are STILL called “Got Leadership?” “Got Marketing?” “Got Publicity?” and the like. Unbelievable. It’s the absolute antithesis to creativity and uniqueness. This isn’t 1995. If you’re going to rip off “Got milk?” in your marketing, you may as well use “Show me the money!” while you’re at it.

8. TIGER WOODS TAKES GOLF LESSONS. Just think about that for a minute.

9. If you aren’t making dust, you’re eating dust. (Thanks, Russell White.)

10. If someone ever comes up to you and says, “Man! I see your name everywhere!” congrats.

11. If you’re the only one who does what you do, there IS no competition.

12. “You participate in your online image but you don’t control it,” said the former VP of Monster.com. He also said, “The internet is forever.” Careful what you post.

13. Just because you know how to use a hammer doesn’t mean you can build a house. LESSON LEARNED: hire a professional designer to do your marketing materials.

14. 90% of new restaurants fail within their first year because some guy out there once said, “You know, I like to cook. And people enjoy my food. Maybe I should start a restaurant!” LESSON LEARNED: just because you know the trade, doesn’t mean you can run the business.

15. If they don’t like you as a person, they won’t hire you.

16. Have you Googled yourself this week?

17. LET GO OF trying to please everybody who comes to your website. If they’re not perfect customers, who cares if they don’t love your graphics? Don’t lust for pleasing everyone who logs on. Take it from someone who struggled with this for years: let it go and focus your efforts on pleasing the people who PAY.

18. When it comes to media, the key word is: leverage. Slap a sticker on the cover of your product/website that says, “Seen on CNN.” That’s leverage. Record the TV interview and make it available to watch as a clip on the media page of your website, YouTube and your blog. That’s leverage.

19. “Dress to impress” is bullshit. I say, dress to make other people feel comfortable when engaging with you.

20. It’s a heck of a lot easier to make a book a bestseller than it used to be. (Especially on Amazon.) In fact, I think it’s almost a joke when you see the words “bestseller,” because a lot of authors know how to manipulate the system. In fact, I just bought a “bestselling” book the other day and it was so terrible I couldn’t even finish it. LESSON LEARNED: best selling doesn’t necessarily mean best reading.

21. Share link love to others FIRST.

22. On your blog, post stuff that takes a side. Don’t be scared. Controversial = comments. Pick a lane. If you aren’t being criticized, you’re doing something wrong.

23. Every single day, do five things that promote you, your company and your product. That’s 25 a week. 1,250 a year. Man. That adds up.

24. Does a lower fee make you more affordable, or less attractive?

25. Your clients can get knowledge anywhere. They look to you for WISDOM.

26. People want to hear FROM success, not ABOUT it.

27. Refuse to go away. Persistence is attractive. Still, don’t be annoying. Or desperate. It’s tough to sell with your tongue hanging out.

28. You need to build a following. Even if you’re not running for office, recording an album or writing a best seller. Every ONE and every COMPANY needs to build a following.

29. There is nothing more convincing than a working example.

30. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt; it breeds business.

31. People aren’t loyal to companies, they’re loyal to people.

32. Deliver small promises first.

33. If people buy people first; and if people do business with their friends; and if the only reason people will buy from you is if they’ve heard you, heard OF you, or if someone they trust has heard of you; doesn’t it just make sense to, like, make friends with everybody?

33. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt; it breeds business.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Ever wanted to post a bunch of random stuff for no reason?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
This week, write a "random thoughts" post on your blog. Copy your link here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Friday, March 23, 2007

How to become the Luckiest Person You Know, Part 2

Since my recent post about The Secret reached so many people...

And since I (think) I've figured out how to become the luckiest person you know, I now firmly believe:

IT AIN'T ABOUT LUCK!

Here's a fun, easy exercise you can do to prove that to yourself:

1. Think about the "luckiest" things that ever happened to you.
2. Write what great stuff happened as a result.
3. Think about what you will now do differently as a result.

A few examples from Nametagland:

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Attended every cocktail hour, dinner, event, break out session and after-hours hot tub celebration instead of sleeping or relaxing in my hotel room during last year’s WOMMA conference.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
I made connections with hundreds of people, dozens of which became friends and/or colleagues; 13 of which became clients, all of which contributed to over $100,000 of revenue during the next year.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Get out of your hotel room.
2. Save sleep for the plane ride home.
3. Maximize your conference time: go to everything!

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Starting writing content-rich, easy to read articles and posting a new one on my website every week.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, FastCompany and COSMOPOLITAN contacted me for expert opinions on approachability, the printed quotes of which I leveraged to command a higher fee level and a dramatic increase in book sales.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Get up one hour earlier and write for 60 minutes every single day.
2. Write at least two articles every month.
3. Publish those articles online and in your ezine and share your expertise with the world.

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Graduated from college, had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and moved across the country to a strange city where I’d never been, didn’t know anybody and didn’t have a job.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
I made a group of lifelong friends, suffered just enough to realize what I DIDN’T want, discovered my true calling, started my career and came to realize the validation for my existence.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Create intentional discomfort by displacing yourself.
2. Don’t be afraid to figure out what you DON’T want first.
3. Listen, listen, listen to the clues life gives you.

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Spent 14 straight hours addressing 112 hand-written notes to every Hyatt GM in the country to introduce myself (and my training programs).

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
I began working with several properties around the country over the next three years, which led to a new niche market, a new book idea and over $10,000 of new business.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Make it handwritten.
2. Be willing to pay the price.
3. Go straight to the top and show ‘em what you got.

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Spent three full days (about 20 hours) on the phone calling every single person from my audience who gave me their business card and thanked them for being there.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
More than a dozen of them decided at some point within the following year, to hire me.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Exponentially increase your activity level.
2. Get your butt on the phone!
3. Make it personal.

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Started blogging every single day.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
I accumulated over 500 posts, the contents of which skyrocketed my web presence, created a easily accessible online knowledge management system, boosted my email list, introduced me to hundreds of cool new people, expanded my platform, tripled my web traffic and helped create (and eventually get published) my next five books.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Stop thinking blogs are only for geeks.
2. Start blogging tomorrow.
3. Post something on your blog every single day for the next 6 months.

BOY AM I GLAD THAT I…
Sat down on the bus on December 2nd, 2002, and said hello to a complete stranger.

BECAUSE AS A RESULT…
He passed along my business card to his girlfriend, who was the editor of a local paper. She called to do an interview with me and the resulting article got picked up by every major news wire in the country, which resulting in the birth of my entire career, including everything you’ve just read in this article.

SO FROM NOW ON…
1. Realize that it’s OK to talk to strangers.
2. Say hi to everybody.
3. And just remember: it ain’t about luck.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What's the luckiest thing that ever happened to you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
What happened as a result? What will you now do differently as a result?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The World is a Mirror, Part 22

A is for ATTITUDE
B is for BREAK PATTERNS
C is for CONSISTENCY
D is for DISCIPLINE
E is for EVOLUTION
F is for FRIENDLINESS
G is for GOOD WITH NAMES
H is for HAPPINESS
I is for IDEAS
J is for JOY
K is for KNOWLEDGE
L is for LAUGHTER
M is for MUNDANE
N is for NAMETAGS
O is for OFF BUTTON
P is for PAINT YOURSELF INTO A (GOOD) CORNER
Q is for QUICK
R is for RUDE PEOPLE
S is for SERVICE
T is for TIME
U is for UNIQUE
V is for VALUE

Went out to a fancy schmancy dinner the other night. Learned a great sales lesson from John, our excellent waiter.

“Our special this evening is pistachio encrusted red snapper, seared to perfection with a caramelized onion glaze, rice pilaf and two garlic butter crab claws.”

Good god. How could I NOT order that?

“Sold!” I said.

“Very good, Scott.”

As expected, the dish was amazing. Probably one of the best meals I’ve had all year.

Then I got the bill.

“Holy crap!” I exclaimed to my girlfriend. “You know how much that snapper was?”

“Thirty-five dollars.”

“Wow,” she said. “Did the waiter ever mention the price?”

“Hmm. I...I don’t think so. I guess the dish sounded so good when he told me about it that I didn’t even consider the price.”

“Yeah, but here’s the thing: would you have ordered the special if the waiter said how much it was?” she asked.

Interesting.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have. If John would have said, “Well our special tonight is thirty-five dollars. It’s pistachio encrusted…”

Um, no. I’ll just have the chicken sandwich.

By the time we returned home from dinner, I figured out the lesson: always sell value before price.

When you sell value first, price isn’t an issue.
When you sell value first, customers will gladly fork it over.
When you sell value first, you appeal to customers’ emotions, not their wallets.

Once the customer sees that you and your product are the perfect fit, price won’t matter.

It reminds me of what Marc LeBlanc says: Get the fist.

“The fist” means someone hears your pitch, your value proposition; then they slam their fist down on the table and said, “Man, we gotta get THAT!”

Always sell value before price. Get the fist.

Oh, and if you ever make it over to Charlie Gito’s, get the snapper.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How do you "get the fist"?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Share your best "value before price" story here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A chicken ain't nuthin' but a bird

My Grandpa Frank always told me, “A chicken ain’t nuthin’ but a bird.”

For years I struggled with the meaning of that phrase. I even googled it a few times it and had no luck discovering its origin, other than the song by Cab Calloway.

So I asked him one day.

"Scotty, age is nothing but a number,” Grandpa reminded me. “Especially when customers or coworkers don’t take you seriously because you’re young. A chicken ain’t nuthin’ but a bird.”

EXAMPLE: think back to 1997. Tiger Woods shocks the world by winning The Masters by a whopping 12 strokes.

He was 21 years old.

AND PICTURE THIS: After hugging his father, Earl Woods, Tiger stands on the 18th Green with tears in his eyes. A live crowd of thousands (and a TV audience of millions) watch Tiger slip on that coveted green jacket to become the youngest golfer in history to win The Masters.

Do you think Tiger was still worried about his age?

Do you think all those raving fans that witnessed sports history CARED about his age?

Heck no. Because in sports, in business and in life: abilities trump age.

Especially on Sundays.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Ever used used your abilities to trump your age?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Give us an example here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Creativity is magnetic

OK, so, maybe you’re not an extrovert.

Maybe you’re not the life of the party.

And maybe you’re not the type of person to just go up and talk to anybody.

Does that mean you’re headed up Approachability Creek without a paddle? Not at all! Especially when you bring creativity to the table. Because creativity is magnetic.

Let me say that again: CREATIVITY. IS. MAGNETIC.

For example, think about the most creative person you know.

A friend.
A coworker.
A former English professor.
A crazy aunt from your mom’s side.

Are they the type of person others LOVE being around?

Most likely.

See, creative people are magnetic for a few reasons. First of all, consider this equation:

Creativity = Fun = Smiling = Approachability

(Duh!)

Secondly, creativity brings out the inner child. And we all know how approachable children are. Think about it: have you ever met an uncreative five year-old? No way!

Lastly, creative people tend to be challenging. (In a good way, that is.) They make you think - or rethink - differently. They break your patterns. They ask great questions. They make suggestions you never would have considered.

Kind of like my friend Matt Homann. He’s been an idea collector his whole life. He founded LexThink!, a collaborative brain-storming consultancy that brings together cool, big-thinking people to discuss innovative ways to change professional practice.

He’s actually a lawyer by trade, but he tells people not to hold that against him.

But seriously folks…

Anyway, in the last few months, Matt Homann has become one of my favorite go-to guys. Especially when I have a new idea or project. Every time we get together, either for lunch or at a networking event, I’m always bummed out when our time is up.

Because his creativity is just THAT magnetic.

So here’s the point: if you want to be more approachable, be more creative.

It’s that simple.

And don’t you dare say, “But I’m not the creative type,” or “I’m a left brain person!” or “I wasn’t born creative.”

BIG mistake.

Creativity is a SKILL. Which means you can LEARN how to get more of it. Try these four suggestions:

1. Affirm it. Rid yourself of any negative self-talk related to a lack of creativity. Even if you can draw a straight line, never tell yourself you’re “not creative.” If you do, that’s exactly what you will become.

2. Hang with it. Think about the top ten most creative people you know. Plan to get together with one per week. Listen, watch and learn. Their brilliance WILL rub off. And if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have fun hanging out.

3. Practice it. Write. Journal. Use whiteboards. Draw. Go online and search for “creativity exercises” or “creative prompts.” Attend creativity workshops. All these resources are readily available and perfect practice.

4. Study it. How many books on creativity did you read last year? I suggest exploring the works of Edward DeBono, Michael Michalko and Steven Pressfield. Try one a month.

Oh yeah, one last thing.

The other day (while reading a creativity book), I ran across the following quotation from Maya Angelou.

“You can’t run out of creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.”

Sweet.

Creativity. Is. Magnetic.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who's the most creative person you know?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Tell us why they're magnetic.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What they won't tell you in The Secret

I’m pretty much obsessed with The Secret.

You can’t argue it. It really is a cool movie.

Smart. Poignant. Inspirational.

And of course, deliciously hokey.

Which isn’t to say it’s bad. Just because something is hokey doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. I’ve personally applied several visualization tips from The Secret and seen some incredible results in my personal and professional life.

But, (and this is a BIG butt, here)…

The people in The Secret make it look EASY.

Which is kind of misleading. Because it’s not easy.

You can’t just “think” your way to success.
You can’t just make a vision board and expect stuff to happen.

Honestly, I think if The Secret were true to life, it would be a ten-hour movie.

AND, nine hours and forty-seven minutes of those ten hours would be all those good looking, impossibly positive, super successful people telling the camera about:

o All the grunt work
o All the long hours
o All the insufferable crap
o All the family members and friends who didn’t see them for months at a time because they were working so hard

…COMBINED with their mental and spiritual prowess to create success.

That would be a little more believable.

IN SHORT: 90% of success isn’t seen.

People like Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Jack Canfield, (insert rich and successful person here)…

…work their ASSES off!

But you don’t see that. That’s not what they show on FOX. Or ESPN. Or The Secret.

You see the 10.

You don’t see Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer in the world, when he’s practicing for six hours a day.

You just see his 350-yard drive.

You don’t see Donald Trump, the most successful businessman in the world, when he’s working 18-hour days.

You just see his buildings sell for millions.

And you don’t see Jack Canfield, the most successful author in the world, when he’s secluding himself in a cabin for nine months to write his next book.

You just see his name on the bestseller list.

So, next time you turn on the TV, flip open Golf Digest or hear someone talking about how cool (and how easy) The Secret is, just remember one thing:

Nobody sees the 90.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do you think about The Secret?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Tell us your secret...here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's like being back in college again

Thanks to Ye Olde Google Alerts, I stumbled across an article written by Matt Sussman discussing tomorrow's NCAA showdown between Oregon and Miami of Ohio (my alma matter).

I wont quote the whole article, but I about laughed myself out of my desk chair when I read this section:

For a school stowed away in Southeast Ohio's armpit, Miami sure has a lot of famous graduates: Woody Hayes, Weeb Eubank, Paul Brown, Ara Parseghian, Ben Roethlisberger, Ron Harper and Charlie Liebrandt

Not listed, but should be, is author Scott Ginsberg, known as "The Nametag Guy." He claims to have worn a nametag 24/7 for the last six years. (Most. Awkward. Sex. Ever.) He claims that the nametag not only gives him a profound level of approachability and confidence, but it keeps the evil pirate ghosts from invading his mantra and selling his soul for rum. Ginsberg is clearly a glaring omission on the list of notable MU alum. If only there were some way I could add his name to that Wikipedia list.


Cla-ssic.

But it gets better...

Read the comments on the article and hear a few of my old college friends chime in, a classic bit of hatemail, AND, my comment back to the guy who sent hatemail.

Special thanks to Suss for the link love.

GO MIAMI!!!!!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who's the most famous person from your college?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Tell us all about 'em!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Small Ideas = Big Business, Part 4

Read part 1 here!
Read part 2 here!
Read part 3 here!

Mmm...Chocolate
Frank Mars was a candy salesman. But he needed something new. Something nobody had ever tasted before.

At the time (1923), the chocolate malted milk was the most popular drink in the nation. So he wondered, “Why not put that flavor into a candy bar?”

Then he did something no other candy maker ever attempted: he ran consumer taste tests. “In order to be a national success, it would have to suit public taste everywhere,” claimed Mars.

And it did! After all, who doesn’t love a delicious, creamy Milky Way?

CREATIVITY TRIO
1. Test the market first.
2. Capitalize on popular trends.
3. Everything tastes better as a candy bar.

They Don’t Need to Try Harder
Most 22 year olds don’t revolutionize the automobile industry. But Walter Jacobs had other plans. Pondering the effectiveness of renting horses and buggies, he then thought, “Hmm. If people rented horses, why wouldn’t they rent cars, too?”

At the time he worked as an auto salesman. Eventually he raised enough capital to quit his job, buy 12 used Model T’s and begin renting the cars. After 8 months, he had 20. A few years later his fleet was up to 565 and annual revenues exceeded $1,000,000.

Not bad for a kid in the 1920’s!

Jacobs’ thriving rental business attracted the interest of Chicago Yellow Cab owner John Hertz. He eventually bought the young man’s business and created what is now the #1 rental car company in the world.

CREATIVITY TRIO
1. Find a verb that sells, then change the noun.
2. When you’re successful, they come to you.
3. Never buy the rental car insurance. It’s a total scam.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Creativity is cool, huh?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Post your own "Creativity Trio" here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

BEHOLD! The Almighty Philosophy Card

People want to do business with (and be around) other people who have their own philosophy.

Their own unique approach.
To business. To life.

A way to treat customers.
Online and off.

How they roll.
Alone and in front of others.

Your own philosophy = approachable.

For the past seven years, I've been perfecting mine.

If this is your first time here, it goes a little something like this:

HELLO, my name is Philosophy
1. People buy people first.
2. Friendly always wins.
3. Make the mundane memorable.
4. Unique, not different.
5. Interaction, not interruption.
6. Be That Guy,
7. Fans, not customers.
8. Don't sell, enable people to buy.
9. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
10. If you don't make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you.

So, since having your own philosophy is such a great example of approachability, I've been challenging my readers and audience members to take it one step further by creating their own "Philosophy Card." (Pictured above is the Philosophy Card sent in by my new friend Mike Morroco from Bella Railings.)

Ready to create yours?

Here's what it (could) look like:

*Business card size
*Thick, glossy
*Double sided, one side containing your branding, the other containing your philosophy

Here's what you (might) do with it:

*Give it to everybody
*Use IN ADDITION to your business card
*Leave it behind as a handout

All you have to do is ask yourself one question: "If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?"

Your answers = your philosophy.

It's gold Jerry, GOLD!

I submit to you that my Philosophy Card is the single greatest marketing/networking/branding tool I own.

And I know it will work for you too.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What's your philosophy?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
I dare you. I double dare you. No, wait. I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU to create your own Philosophy Card and mail it to my address:

HELLO, my name is Scott!
7563 Oxford Drive #2 South
St. Louis, MO 63105

I'll post it on a future blog entry for all the world to see!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Monday, March 12, 2007

9 ways to journal for joy (and money!)

“Writing is the basis of all wealth.”

Those words were first taught to me by my friend/mentor, Jeffrey Gitomer.

And while you can take that statement into many directions, today our focus will be on journaling.


Journaling is your friend.
Journaling is your resource.
Journaling is your ticket to success.

According to a 2007 report from QuintCareers, journaling possesses near-unlimited power. It can lead to:

o Increased awareness, sharper focus, creative problem-solving, broader perspective, active thinking, brainstorming, deeper levels of analysis, stronger sense of self, generation of new ideas, clearing of the mind…

o Enhanced self-confidence, development of action plans, clarity of thought, greater honesty, self-paced learning, self-expression, integration of ideas, and perspectives, unknown needs/wants…

o Release of fears/tensions, awakening of inner-self, self-growth, improved communications skills and better physical and mental health.

Still think journaling is hokey?

Still think only writers and teenage girls do it?

Wrong. Even Dr. Robert Collins, Psychologist at the Free Thought Association, agrees. “People who journal have fewer physiological illnesses. Recording their experiences causes the patient to become exposed to what's going on and to examine it in a more rational way at a time when the hot thoughts are not overwhelming.”

Sweet.

But it’s not just about illness. It’s about wellness, too.

Journaling has the potential to impact many areas of your personal and professional life. The following list offers nine types of journals you can use to write your way to success.

1. Morning Writings. As soon as you wake up, dump out everything you possibly can possibly for three pages. Clear you mind. Liberate yourself from those (mostly negative) thoughts. Once you’ve cleared your mind of all the crap, let the floodgates open and make way for the good stuff. (I just started doing this every morning, thanks to Julia Cameron.)

2. WOM Journal. Every time you or your company has a Word of Mouth Moment – either in person or online – document it. Look for trends among your actions that caused those moments. Repeat often for best results. (Thank you, Andy Sernovitz.)

3. Thanks Log. Every morning write a list (even if it’s just a few items) of things you’re thankful for. You will smile. You will feel great. You will set the stage for your positive attitude. What’s more, by giving thanks for the great stuff that happens to you, you immediately begin to attract more of that same stuff. Because The Law of Attraction works. Period.

4. HVA Journal. That stands for “Highly Valuable Activities.” This might be one of the best journals you’ll ever keep. What you declare as a HVA is up to you. It could be reading for an hour, working out, going to church, making 20 calls, whatever.

If you practice three HVA’s per day, that’s about 1100 per year. How can you NOT be successful? (Thanks, Marc LeBlanc)

5. Victory Log. Small victories build momentum. Small victories validate self-assurance. They pave the way for later success, enable you to take bolder action and stretch your boundaries one mile at a time.

You MUST write them down. From something as small as saying no to taking on a new project, to winning a charity 5K; write your victories down. Because when keep track, you keep succeeding.

6. Learning Log. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. So, since you’re always learning new stuff every day, I suggest you keep a Learn Journal. You don’t have to fill it out every day. But refer to it a few times a week to document all the cool stuff you learned: lessons, ideas, mistakes made, numbers, answers, epiphanies, books and the like. Anything you didn’t know before. Write it down. After a month you’ll be amazed how much you’ve learned.

7. NO Journal. For many people, saying no is difficult. From small items like whether or not to meet someone for dinner; to big issues like whether or not to make a golf trip to Florida; more no’s can’t hurt.

Every few days, think back to all the instances in which you said no. Then jot them down. Trust me, it feels great. Liberating. Like you’re in control. Like you call the shots. (NOTE: don’t try to be funny by saying no to keeping a No Journal. That doesn’t count. Nice try, though.)

8. Dream Log. Dreams are powerful windows into the subconscious mind. If you choose to explore the meanings behind them, keeping a Dream Log is essential.

According to the book The Einstein Factor, the three keys to dream logging are: (1) Place the dream log and pen next to your bed before you go to sleep, (2) Start writing the moment you wake up, and (3) Evaluate it regularly.

And if you are afraid to keep a dream log for fear of what you might discover about yourself, then that’s exactly what you need to do it.

9. Luck Journal. Luck isn’t a function of chance, coincidence, serendipity, fate, destiny or divine intervention. It’s science. And it works. You can actually become the luckiest person you know. All it takes is three steps:

First, affirmation. Every morning spend at least 15 minutes preparing yourself mentally for the day. Try saying to yourself, “Today, great things are going to happen to me. I’m going to meet cool, new interesting people. I’m going to have fun and have awesome experiences that will enrich my life.”

Second, documentation. Every time something “lucky” happens to you, write it down in your Luck Journal.

Finally, evaluation. Go back and look for patterns. Figure out what rock caused which ripple. Repeat daily and you will no doubt see an increase in your luck. And if you don’t believe me, ask anyone who considers himself to be “lucky.” You can bet he’s been doing stuff like this for years.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What journals do you keep?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Tell us about them here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Keep It Alive, Part 2

















(Read part one of this series here!)

Sometimes all you need is one good hour.

To get to know someone.
To catch up with someone.
To stay in touch with someone.

A month ago, I got a surprising email from a woman named Lena West.

Lena lives in New York, which explains why I was so surprised.

See, she invited me to have lunch with her.

A VIRTUAL lunch.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Well, I buy you lunch from your favorite delivery place. Then we eat while chatting on the phone for an hour.”

Hmm. Cool idea.


So, last week we did it.

And our Virtual Lunch rocked.

Lena and I had an enlightening, energizing conversation for over an hour! We talked about websites we loved, books we read, places we traveled, you name it. Other than the obvious physical limitations, it was really no different than having lunch in person.

You gotta try it. For three reasons:

1. Eliminate Geographic Barriers. Every industry is a global industry. But that shouldn’t create a barrier between you and your colleagues, clients, prospects and friends. Just because someone lives across the country from you doesn’t mean you can’t spend an hour with her. Pick a time that works for both people. You were going to eat lunch anyway. May as well spice it up!

2. Cost Effectiveness. Because phone minutes are so cheap these days, you can have a worthwhile conversation with someone you rarely see in person for only a few bucks. Especially if you Skype, Virtual Lunches make the most of your networking time. Plus you don’t have to dress up.

3. Mutual Surfing. Pick a few websites and blogs to explore during your Virtual Lunch. Show each other cool stuff you’ve been surfing. Also, while you’re talking on the phone, you might get an idea for another person, idea, book, website, etc., to visit that you otherwise couldn’t view in person. It’s fun to surf together!

So.

Although I’d never been exposed to a Virtual Lunch before, I’m sure plenty of businesspeople around the world are already doing stuff like this.

If you’ve never given it a chance, I highly recommend it. Virtual Lunches are cost effective, fun and engaging tools to Keep It Alive.

(For Lena's complete explanation of a Virtual Lunch, read this!)

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Ever had a Virtual Lunch?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Post your expereince (or best Keep it Alive tip) right here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

The problem of unspecified attribution

Studies show. Research proves. Scientists say. Psychologists report. Experts believe. THEY say. There’s an old story that says. I’ve heard from a lot of people say. Most people agree. It is said that. Critics say. Statistics show. Somebody once said. The reviews say.

No.

No, no, no!

None of that is good enough.

Not in a conversation.
Not in a speech.
Not in an article.
Not in a blog post.
Not in a sales presentation.
Not in an opening statement to a jury.

Unspecified attribution doesn’t cut it.

You need to PROVE your point. With facts. Sources. Numbers. Dates.

Specificity leads to credibility which leads to approachability.

If you can’t back it up, throw it out.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What example of unspecified attribution drives you the craziest?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Post all rants here.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If you have to tell people you are, you aren't

The other day I (thought) I was having an epiphany:

“If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

BRILLIANT! I was all excited to write about it, blog it, and eventually take credit for that statement as my own original thought.


But.

The Google informs me that Margaret Thatcher first uttered that quotation like, 50 years ago.

Damn it.

MINI-LESSON LEARNED: Every time you think you’ve said something witty, brilliant and original, google it first. Odds are, someone’s already said it before you.

Anyway, notwithstanding my apparent unoriginality, I still wanted to expound on Large Marge’s profound statement.

If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.

It’s about humility.
It’s about confidence.
It’s about actions, not words.
It’s about showing, not telling.

First example.

ChefManifesto.com is a project to collect observations from the people on the front lines in the restaurant business. In a recent blog post, one contributor from Colorado shared the following story:

A couple came into our restaurant last night. It was standing room only and an hour waitlist. They heard that and informed the hostess that waiting for a table wasn't going to work for them because they were "V.I.P's" I'm sorry, but if you have to tell someone you are a VIP, you probably aren't.

Thanks, Chef.

Interestingly, this statement can also work when reversed:

“If you have to tell people you AREN’T, you are.”

Second example.

I once had a stalker. Every day for about two months he would leave creepy messages on my voicemail beginning with, “Look Scott, I’m not a stalker or anything, but…”

Yeah.

Seriously. If you have to tell someone you’re NOT a stalker; you’re a stalker!

So, here’s the deal:

If you are, people will know.

And if they don’t know yet, they WILL.

Either from their own experience or from someone (they trust) telling them.

No need to shove it down their throats.

“A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

(Whoever said that ☺ )

LET ASK YA THIS...
Why do you think people tell other people that they are?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
What could people say (do) instead?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A sneak peak at The Nametag Guy's 4th book























Soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Two words of advice

Two words ain't much. But sometimes it's just what you need to hear:

1. Next Time. When you (or someone else) messes up, don’t dwell on the mistake for more than a few minutes. Sure, it’s easy to exclaim, “You putz! What the hell were you thinking?” But a better approach would be to say, “Next time, don’t talk on your cell phone while driving.” “Next time” is solution oriented. Patient. Less angry. Less reactive. And most importantly, positive.

2. Until now. In the book University of Success, Og Mandino suggests using these two words to thwart self-limiting beliefs. Instead of thinking, “I suck at public speaking!” or “I’m a terrible writer,” say to yourself, “Until now, I’ve had limited success with public speaking,” or, “Until now, my writing has been sub-par.” The key is to add a resolution phrase afterward. For example, “Until now, my writing has been sub-par. But I’m confident that practicing every day will improve my skills.” Start thinking in the right direction. Forget about how bad you used to be. Imagine how great you’re going to become.

3. What’s next? The first boss I had out of college was the owner of a discount furniture store. She’d write, “What’s next?” on note cards all around the store. See, at Pam’s store, there was always something to do. Always something to improve. Yes sir, no employee would ever go bored while SHE was around! And it worked, too. “What’s next?” kept us on task. Always thinking about the future. The next sale. The next customer. What’s next for you?

4. Not yet. These two words are the perfect substitute for the word NO. Less of a rejection. Less negative. And perfect to use in response to someone who doubts your efforts. What’s more, “Not yet” implies improvement. For example, let’s say you tell a friend you plan to write a book. She says, “Really! Cool. But do you actually know anything about writing books?” And then with a big smile on your face, you reply, “Not yet.” Your friend smiles back. Because she just KNOWS that book will get done.

LET ASK YA THIS...
What are your best two words of advice?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Post 'em here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Friday, March 02, 2007

From greet to great

The first words out of your mouth frame the entire customer experience.

Consider these two facts:

1. According to The Wall Street Journal from February 17th, 2006, you have less than five seconds to make a first impression.

2. According to a 2007 report on www.hotelexecutive.com, your greeting influences the customer’s perception more than any other act of engagement.

That’s how powerful your first words are.

With that in mind, let’s explore three ways to master the welcome so you can go from GREET to GREAT.

Phone Greetings
Aaron Jaslow, editor of the networking/marketing publication RainToday, shares a great example. “A family friend once founded a company called Quack Quack Productions. Needless to say, he picked up the phone every day and said, ‘Quack, Quack!’ I would have paid money to work there and answer the phones like that.”

Is your phone greeting that good?

So unique that complete strangers would call just to hear it?

So unique that people would want to work there just to use it?

GO FROM GREET TO GREAT: be unique and unforgettable in less than eight words.

Voicemail Greetings
So you miss a few calls. Big deal. You can still leverage your voicemail as an effective branding and service tool.

My friend Kenny Golde, filmmaker and owner of Fire Breathing Dragon, Inc., ends his voicemail greeting with, “And don’t forget to tell me your favorite movie!”

Callers love it. What’s more, they engage. Clients and prospects alike will go on for minutes. They share movie-related stories, favorites and preferences on a daily basis. What a great technique to get to know your callers!

Is your voicemail that good?

So good that your callers don’t want to hang up?

So good that it helps you learn customer preferences?

FROM GREET TO GREAT: rerecord your voicemail with a question.

Front Door Greetings
In the retail world, greetings are GOLD. As a former furniture salesman, I can attest to that!

Here’s an exercise: think about your store. Make a list called “Top Ten Most Common Greetings Customers Expect to Hear.”

Then make sure NOBODY uses any of them.

FACT: the most effective way to capture customers’ attention is to break their patterns.

The store at which I sold furniture was nuts. City Liquidators had three floors of couches, coffee and craziness. So, I would approach customers as they walked in the door and say, “Welcome to the circus!”

And they loved it.

Is your greeting unexpected?

So unexpected that customers stop in their tracks?

So unexpected that customers are instantly made comfortable?

FROM GREET TO GREAT: when you break a pattern, you make a sale.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a Master of the Welcome?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Post your best greeting here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Play with people who are better than you

What do Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, Hollywood Hunk Paul Walker and Golf legend Tiger Woods all have in common?

They’ve all done interviews claiming that success is a function of “playing with people who are better than you.”

In music.
In sports.
In business.
In life.

You need to play with people who are better than you.

For five reasons:

1. Learning. It’s the best way to learn, to walk with the wise. To surround yourself with people whose skills and knowledge put you to shame. Merely being in their presence will rub off.

2. Accountability. Your performance won’t improve when you compete with people who suck. Don’t be afraid to be the worst one there. Never challenged = never growing.

3. Inspiration. Not to be like them. But to become a better version of yourself because of them. Plus, as you get better, you will make them proud!

4. Intimidation. It’s good for the soul. To make your nerves dance. Like David Gilmour said: “You have to put yourself in an environment where you get your ass kicked.”

5. Humility. Because you’re still learning. Because you’ve still got a long way to go. Because you can still get better.

Play with people who are better than you.

(This post dedicated to Karen Salmonsohn, a writer who is better than me.)

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How often are you playing with people who are better than you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
List three people who are better than you and what you learned from them!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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