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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11 Ways to Become Brilliant

1. Allow everything to mentor you. Everyone you meet. Everything you do. Everywhere you go. Find a way to learn from them. Mentoring opportunities are endless. All you have to do is pay attention. Who (or what) teaches you?

2. Become an expert at learning from your experiences. As my mentor says, “We learn not from our experiences but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.” So, after you experience something – anything – be sure you’re taking adequate time to freeze and extract the lessons. What did you learn yesterday?

3. Catch yourself growing. Achieving a level of awareness where you can monitor your own growth. Maybe that means spying on yourself. Maybe that means journaling your progress. Maybe that means soliciting regular feedback from people you trust. Whatever practices you employ, remember that awareness is key. How have you grown the most this year?

4. Certifications are overrated. A Master degree doesn’t mean you’ve mastered anything. You want to master something? Try DOING it. You want to master something? Try READING five hundred books about it. You want to master something? Try INTERVIEWING people who’ve already done it. You want to master something? Try FAILING at it a few times first. You want to master something? Try PRACTICING it every single day. Do you really need to go back to school?

5. Crystallizing experience. Certain moments stand out. They change you forever. They take you to a place far, far away that you never quite return from. Your challenge is being able to look back – say, months or years later – and say, “Wow. So THAT’S why that happened to me…” What was your biggest wake-up call in the past five years?

6. Everything is a plus. The more cool/unique experiences you have ... The more cool/unique people you meet … The more cool/unique things you see, watch, hear, read, taste … The more cool/unique places you go ... the more cool/unique you will become. In the words of Glen Phillips, “There is nothing that doesn’t matter. Every word is a seed that scatters. Everything matters.” How many seeds did you scatter this month?

7. I’m so stupid that I’ve become a genius. The more frequently you admit your ignorance, the smarter you will become. In the words of Warren Buffet, “If we have a strength, it is in recognizing when we are operating well within our circle of competence and when we are approaching the perimeter.” What are you willing to admit you don’t know?

8. No mistakes, only lessons. How long something stays a mistake depends on how quickly you begin to learn from it. There are no mistakes. Show me a mistake you made and I’ll show you TEN lessons you could learn form that mistake, thereby eliminating it as a mistake. Are you screwing up enough?

9. Pay Attention. Simple as that. It makes your world grow bigger. It enables you see wider and fuller each day. Are you more concerned with the song the bird is singing or what type of bird is singing the song?

10. Remember that every experience is a qualification. Use everything to your advantage. The more you’ve done, the more you can do. After all, the word “expert” comes from the Latin experiri, which means, “experience.” Have you left the house today?

11. Study the anatomy of other people’s talent. Then, find out what makes those people successful. Find out what the commonalities are. And then ask: How many of those commonalities do YOU possess?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you doing today to become brilliant?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to profit from listening to idiots

Idiots are invaluable.

Next time you encounter one, don’t be so quick to write them off.

Instead, find a way to profit from them.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Track what makes you tick, then do the opposite. I used to have a colleague, Jordan, who was without a doubt, the worst listener in the history of the world. Total conversational narcissist. Major monopolizer. Big time know-it-all.

So, my justification for continuing to hang out with him was, “Well, look at the bright side, Scott. Whenever Jordan’s poor listening ability makes you want to regurgitate your breakfast, just use that as reminder of what NOT to do in your own listening practice.” Plus, Jordan provided me with a wealth of material for my programs on listening. Hooray!

2. “Is there anyone else in my life that I treat this way? By asking yourself this question, you transform an idiot into a vehicle for realization. A bell of awareness. An alarm clock.

Next time you see a customer lash out at a poor cashier who did nothing wrong, before thinking about how stupid that person is, reflect back upon yourself. Observe if you’re practicing that same behavior in your own life.

As it reads in Matthew 7:3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Or, as Eric Clapton sang, “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.”

3. Look in the mirror. Admit it: Sometimes YOU'RE the idiot. It’s cool. Don’t feel bad. I do it a few times daily. The secret is (1) being aware of when you ARE and idiot, and (2) transforming that mistake into a teachable moment by learning from it. A few questions to ask yourself are:

a. What could I do better next time?
b. What did I JUST learn from that experience?
c. What was it – in ME – that caused this situation?
d. What would I have to learn about this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

ONE FINAL NOTE: Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, has a simple philosophy that underscores all of his work:

"People are idiots."

Now, I’m not saying I agree with him.

At least, not ALL the time ☺

But considering that Scott Adams writes the most widely-read syndicated comic strip in the world, has written dozens of bestselling books and gets paid $50,000+ for a keynote speech, I’d say listening to idiots worked out pretty well for him.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are YOU profiting from listening idiots?

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It's the Holiday Season! For the list called, "8 Ways to Out GIVE Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

13 Ways to Network without Being a Nuisance

Holiday Season also means Networking Season.

This is a good thing - as long as you're prepared.

In the next six weeks, you will no doubt run into old friends, colleagues and perhaps ex-spouses.

So, when you're giving them the update on your world, remember these thirteen ways to network without being a nuisance:

1. Stop asking people, “Do you remember me?” This question immediately makes them feel defensive, embarrassed and on the spot. Plus, you’re setting yourself up to be insulted when they tell you they DON’T remember you. Don’t challenge people’s memories. Odds, are – they don’t remember you. Just tell them who you are. Are your questions making people feel defensive?

2. Speak with passion and people will listen. Find a way to get on the topic of passion. Yours AND the other person’s. Excavate it, then embed people’s passion into the pavement and you will lead the way to meaningful, engaging conversation. Ask Passion Finding Questions (PFQ’s) like, “What keeps you busy when you’re not working?” or “How do you incorporate your passion into your work?” Do you really care what people “do,” or who they ARE?

3. Capitalize on every encounter. That doesn’t mean money. It means identifying what your “currency” is at this particular networking event. Maybe it’s leads. Maybe it’s visibility. Maybe it’s sharing referrals. Maybe it’s capturing emails to build your permission asset. Maybe it’s having fun. Maybe it’s practicing your new elevator speech. Whatever your currency is, there’s always a way to leverage every conversation. What’s your #1 goal at this networking event?

4. Identify why you’re there. Is this an opportunity for you to meet people, or is it an opportunity for them to meet YOU? This simple attitudinal change will alter your business forever. Are you framing your networking brain positively?

5. Be The Observed, not The Observer. Put yourself in a position of value. Lead the conversation. Invite new people to join your table or conversation. Better yet, be the guest speaker or sponsor of the event. You might also consider being a volunteer, people-mover or association leader. All positions of value. All Observable. How could you position yourself in way that people have NO CHOICE but to meet you?

6. Remove the threat of rejection. If you’re afraid of starting conversations with strangers for fear of looking stupid or being rejected, approach people who HAVE to be nice to you. Leaders, volunteers, hosts, bartenders … these encounters are perfect opportunities to achieve small victories that will build your networking confidence. Whom could you speak to without the threat of rejection?

7. Gently introduce, don’t unnecessarily sneak. Get to know people on a personal level FIRST. Lead with your person; follow with your profession. Values before vocation. Individuality before industry. Personality before position. Realness before roles. Then, when the time is right, find a way to gently introduce how you deliver value. Don’t force it. People can tell. What are you leading with?

8. Stop asking people, “So, what do YOU do?” Again, nobody cares. Not to mention, not everyone has a job. Nor are all people defined by their work. Instead, ask questions that enable the person to take the conversation in whatever direction makes them feel comfortable, i.e., “What keeps you busy all week?” “What’s your role here?” “What’s been the best part about your week so far?” What are you assuming about people that might cause Foot In Mouth Disease?

9. Beware of compartmentalization. As much as I love nametags, beware of unconsciously using someone’s nametag to size that person up. Whether they’re a board member, first-timer, president or guest speaker, treat everyone the same. If possible, use hand-written nametags with first names only. That levels the networking playing field. Wait: You ARE wearing a nametag, right?

10. Typing is dangerous. Throw out everything you learned about personality types, learning styles, Meyers Briggs or any of those other ridiculous assessments. They’re worthless. Stop typing people. Typing blocks listening. Instead, harmonize with people. Stop calling them “INTJ’S” or “Extroverts.” They’re just people. That’s it. “Human Being” is the only label that means anything. What mental labels are preventing you from networking effectively?

11. “Identifying” with people is overrated. It’s one thing to discover the common point of interest. It’s another thing to pretend you’re just like the person you just met. SO: Tell the truth. Tell it all. And tell it now. Tell them you’re NOT one of them. Tell them you don’t know the first THING about BEING one of them. Tell them that you know NOTHING about who they are and what they do – but would like to learn. Does your candor and authenticity shine?

12. Friendliness is underrated. I know it sounds dumb, but just be friendly. That doesn’t mean, “be everybody’s friend,” it just means BE FRIENDLY. Friendliness is so rare; it’s become remarkable. Use it. Do it. BE it. In the end, it’s just easier. It actually takes more mental energy to avoid people than to just say hi. How many people did you go out of your way to ignore yesterday?

13. Be The Only. Attend events where you’re the only one of your kind. If you’re a man, go to women’s events. If you’re a salesperson, go to management events. If you’re a doctor, go to accounting events. Not only will people notice you; they’ll also seek you out. After all, you’re an Outsider. Everyone will be interested in hearing your fresh perspective. Sure beats having the same old conversations with the same old people. What out-of-place networking event could you attend to guarantee your memorability?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you networking without being a nuisance?

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For the list called, “26 Ways to Out BRAND Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Friday, November 21, 2008

13 Practices to Parlay Passion into Profit

“When passion is involved, the rules change.”

That sentence is NOT a scientifically proven fact.
That sentence is NOT a Wikipedia entry.
That sentence is NOT a statistic.

Good.

I don’t believe in statistics. Statistics prove NOTHING. Statistics are fabricated pieces of bullshite that people manipulate to make themselves look better.

I believe in EXPERIENCE … because it is founded upon TRUTH.

And truth is currency.

When passion is involved, the rules change.

That’s what’s been on my mind a lot lately: Passion.

So, I wanted to share a few ideas on the topic of passion.

In no particular order, here's a list called 13 Ways to Parlay Passion into Profit:

1. Channel your passion. Into your job. Into your family. Into your life. Into everything. Think of yourself as a conduit. A catalyst. Find a way to embed passion into the pavement that leads the way to wherever you’re going. You’ll arrive there faster, better, with more fun and by your own design. Where are you channeling YOUR passion?

2. Convert your passions. Into a job, a cause, a mission, a movement or a purpose that gets you out of bed thirty minutes before your alarm goes off. Transform that which lights your heart and soul on fire and leverage it in the service of others, of the world, and of God. What gets you so excited that you can’t WAIT to get out of bed in the morning?

3. Express unqualified passion. You don’t need a degree. You don’t need a certification. You need to have love and longing and LIGHTNING in your heart. Because the world cannot resist a man on a mission. And there is nothing more attractive, more approachable and more beautiful than a person exploding with passion. What comes OOZING out of you that inspires others?

4. Have secondary passions. It’s OK to have more than one passion. Maybe one is your job, one is your solace and one is your service to your community. It doesn’t matter. Have as many passions as you want. It doesn’t matter WHAT you’re passionate about; it only matter THAT your passionate about something. What three things do you HAVE to do every day?

5. Have sweeping passion. Don’t be afraid to say, “My passion is PEOPLE,” or “My passion is helping others,” or “My passion is humor.” Cool. It doesn’t have to be something specific. Make it broad. Make it bold. Make it huge. Allow sub-passions to formulate on their own. What generalities get YOUR blood flowing?

6. Let passion prioritize. Passion makes decision making easier. Use it as your barometer, your compass, your map and your walking stick. Let passion lead the way. Organize your life around your passions. Ask yourself what your top three passions are. Then ask yourself what your top three activities during your week are. See if they’re aligned. If not, no worries. That just means it’s time to re-prioritize. How are YOU using your passion in your decision making process?

7. Make passion palpable. So obvious that you don’t even need to tell people what you passion is. So unarguable that it’s assumed you’re completed obsessed and driven by it. There’s no question in people’s mind about what flavor of Kool-Aid you’ve been chugging all day. What is it about you that you can’t help but NOT do?

8. Mobilize your passion. Use it in the service of others. Give it wheels and legs. Think of it as the coal powering the locomotive of your life. Stop watching TV. (Except for this channel.) Get off your ass and get off to the races, whatever races are needed to move closer to the validation of your existence. What is it about you that you can’t help but not BE?

9. Passion creates fire. In your heart. In your eyes. In your body. In your soul. What’s more, the fire created by passion is SO contagious, it unflinchingly burns and chars and smokes everything it its path – yet in a good way. The type of fire you never want to douse. The type of fire you gladly watch with joy as the light and heat soaks your being. What types of flames are YOU emitting?

10. Practice with passion. How you play is how you practice. Period. Not just for sports, but also for any action you’re preparing for. Whether you’re in a hotel room in Columbus the night before a HUGE speech; sitting in your rental care in the parking lot of a BIG customer, ready to close that sale; or whether you’re sitting in the bathroom stall going over your vows before you tie the knot … practice with passion. It’ll make your final performance a cakewalk. How are you inserting passion into YOUR preparation process?

11. Reawaken your passion. Maybe it was overshadowed, blocked or buried somewhere along the way. Maybe your inner choir of vicious voices – comprised of parents, teachers, religious leaders and siblings – put your passion to bed. Fine. Get over it. Wake that sumbich up and announce to the world, “Guess who’s back…!” Whom are YOU ready to make look like an idiot?

12. Remain passionate despite. Despite the haters. Despite constant failure. Despite having no idea what hell you’re doing. Despite ANYTHING. Suck it up. Keep the flame of passion burning voraciously for as long as you’re still breathing. Do that, and the spirit of your passion will remain alive forever, even when you’re six feet under. What will YOU be buried with?

13. Suffering breeds passion. From great suffering comes great awakening. So, next time you go through something really terrible, really big or really ugly, remember that the suffering you’re experiencing is the gateway to something awesome, something enlightening. You may not know it at the time, and it may take a few months or even years until you realize it, but never forget that beautiful flowers can still grow in a pile of manure. What is this atrocity teaching YOU?

When passion is involved, the rules change.

That’s what my experience (not Wikipedia) has taught me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you parlaying passion into profit?

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For the list called, "6 Ways to Out Position Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

What’s YOUR alarm clock?

The other day, one of my coaching clients emailed me an article from Reader’s Digest called, "What If You Said Hello to Everyone In Your Path for a Month?"

Journalist Joe Kita attempted this 30-day experiment and found great success.

“Reaching out focuses you,” Kita said. “The simple act of saying hello continually pulled me back from wherever my mind had wandered and forced me to be more aware. It's social Zen.”

So, that got me thinking.

About speed. About mindfulness. About being present.
About how we’ve become so goal-oriented in our daily actions.
About how we’ve become obsessed with achieving, getting, adding and striving.

And then I asked myself, “How has wearing a nametag pointed the way to greater awareness?”

Reflecting back upon the past eight years, these are the four things I came up with:

1. Nametagging slows me down. If I’m in a rush and someone says, “Hey Scott!” or “Dude, you’re still wearing your nametag…” I have no choice but to stop (or at least S-L-O-W down) to acknowledge that person. Their greeting – in jest or not – has acknowledged my existence, and the proper, HUMAN thing to do is to reciprocate.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you slow yourself down throughout the day?

2. Nametagging brings me back to the present moment. When standing in line or waiting for something, I often find myself daydreaming. Or brainstorming. Or thinking. Or writing something in my jotter. Or playing on my iPhone. Either way, when the cashier or person behind me says something like, “Scott, you’re next in line!” it’s a gentle nudge away from La-La Land and back into the present moment. Get out of your mind and into the now.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you find your center of gravity at the moment?

3. Nametagging trains my intuition. Remember the creepy kid from The Sixth Sense who famously said, “I see dead people”? Well, the spookiest thing about wearing a nametag 24-7 is that I’ve developed sort of a sixth sense of my own. See, every day I encounter approximately three to five new people.

The weird thing is, about a half-second before someone says, “Your name must be Scott!” or “Do you know you’re still wearing your nametag?” I can feel it. I can sense it. Like, in my gut, RIGHT before it actually happens. It’s almost scary. But, I guess after 100,000 hellos, my intuition has finally caught on.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How are you training the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation?

4. Nametagging paints me into a present corner. The other function of a nametag is its ability to keep me accountable for my behavior. Interestingly, after eight years, my likelihood to do things like: litter, tell little white lies to strangers, or, in general, be a jerk to people, has significantly decreased. Not that I don’t mess up here and there. And not that I don’t sometimes feel the desire to want to punch certain people in the throat.

The point is, when I feel the urge to impatiently snipe at someone, I always notice that little red and blue sticker in my peripheral vision. “Easy, Scott. Just breathe,” it whispers to me. Like The Incredible Hulk’s heart monitor, the nametag calms me down.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: What personal bell of awareness keeps YOU on point?

IN SHORT: Nametags are alarm clocks.

My aforementioned coaching client, Aaron McNaught, is a perfect example. He’s known as The Wakeup Guy. In his books and programs called “Waking up to Life,” he says:

“Much of humanity spends its waking hours with eyes open, yet in a state of greatly diminished awareness as the natural beauty and magic of life goes by unnoticed and unlived.”

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: Finding a tool, a technique, or a practice, that slows you down, brings you back and keeps you present.

It might not be wearing a nametag.

It might not be saying hello to everyone in your path.

It just needs to keep you here … NOW … in this moment.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s YOUR alarm clock?

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For the list called, "12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What if you practiced EVERYTHING?

Halfway through the movie The Peaceful Warrior, Nick Nolte’s character, Socrates, makes a profound point about practicing:

“That’s the difference between me and you, Danny,” he explains to his young apprentice, “You practice gymnastics. I practice EVERYTHING.”

SO, MY QUESTION IS: What are YOU practicing?

Now, I bet if you asked a hundred people, their answers might include activities like: musical scales, free-throws or magic tricks; listening, patience or question-asking; and mediation, mindfulness or yoga.

And I would say, “Good.”

Because all of those things are important to practice.

BUT, I CHALLENGE YOU: Rethink your definition of the word “practice.”

Because it’s not just a word. It’s not just some action you do repeatedly for twenty minutes a day.

It’s a religion. And by that I don’t mean “The Divine” or “Your Personal Faith,” but rather whatever your life is dedicated most to.

So, the follow-up question to, “What are you practicing?” is...

How could you approach everything you do as practice?

Wow. What a concept.

This goes WAY beyond practicing musical scales or magic tricks.

We’re talking about practicing LIFE.
We’re talking about practicing BEING YOURSELF.
We’re talking about practicing YOUR CHERISHED VALUES.

Yes, all of these things can be practiced.

But only if your definition of the word, “practice” evolves.

If you’re focused on the process, not the product.
If you’re focused on the journey, not the destination.
If you’re focused deepening and enhancing, not achieving and bettering.

Because you’re not striving for perfection.

You’re not striving at all.

You’re just DOING. Just BEING.

You’re not waiting for The Main Event, The Big Competition or Game Day.

EVERY day is game day. Every moment is game moment. And NOW, this present experience, IS practice. For its own sake. For the love of practice.

My education in the religion of practice has evolved from three key periods in my life:

ONE: MUSIC
I first understood the value of practice when I began playing, composing, recording and performing music at the age of 12. My dad, who taught me music – both the art of appreciating AND playing it – said it best: “You just have to play everyday.”

That’s it. You don’t need lessons. You don’t need Mel Bay Book 2. Just play every day. Whether it’s for five minutes or five hours.

Practicing music is just what musicians DO.

As BB King once said, “If I forget to practice one day, only I will be able to tell. But if I forget practice two days in a row, my audience will be able to tell.”

TWO: WRITING
I further understood the value of practice when I started my company in 2002. As a writer, all my mentors’ advice all pointed to the same thing: “A writer writes. Always.” http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

So, you practice writing. Every single day, without exception. It doesn’t matter if you create one line, one page or one chapter on that day.

Practicing writing is just what writers DO.

As my favorite author, Steven Pressfield once said, “All that matters is having the courage to sit down a try, every day.”

THREE: YOGA
Then, in 2008, my philosophy evolved to a new level. Once I started practicing yoga, THAT act became the vehicle for awakening to the TRUE value of practice.

Yoga rocked my world. It shook my soul. It changed me forever. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And the cool part was, as a student of yoga, I learned that you don’t “go to yoga class.”

You go to practice.

It’s a noun AND a verb.

Pretty cool, huh?

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: You never “get better” at anything.

You only ENHANCE your practice.
You only DEEPEN your practice.

Every day. Even if you can’t make it into the studio every day. After all, your yoga “practice” is isn’t something that’s limited to the studio.

Practicing is just what yogis DO.

As Hatha Yoga guru Bikram Choudhry says, “It's never too late, it's never too bad, and you're never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again.”

So, as my philosophy of practice has evolved, I’ve started to ask myself a few NEW questions. For example:

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice LIFE?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice LIVING?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice BEING?

Not to achieve anything. Not to prepare for anything. Just for the practice.

Wouldn’t it be cool to shift your attitude in a way that, at ANY POINT during the day, if someone called your cell phone and asked, “So, what are you up to right now?” you could ALWAYS respond with, “Just practicing”?

Because, simply out of curiosity, your friend on the other end of the phone would HAVE to ask, “Oh yeah? What are you practicing?”

“Life.”

Whoa.

You’d blow people’s minds.

Simply because you made the conscious decision to practice EVERYTHING.

The world is your studio.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are you practicing?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "31 Uncommon Practices that Lead to Wealth and Wisdom," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?


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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Start with Silly: 5 Ways to Let Playfulness Pave the Way

So, I like to bite my dog.

She asks for it. And I figure, if she’s always (playfully) biting me, there’s no reason I can’t return the favor.

I usually go for the ears. It drives Paisley crazy.

Now, you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m telling you this.

SIMPLE: I always start with silly.

In emails. In writings. In speeches. In conversations. In phone calls. In conference calls. In sales pitches. In meetings. In customer encounters. In coaching sessions.

I start with silly.

What about you?

How early are you expressing YOUR playfulness?
How early are YOU being silly, funny and childlike?


ANSWER: Not early enough.

In my experience as a Professional Dork/Nerd/Geek/Putz/Goofball, when you start with silly, six things happen:

You diffuse defensiveness. Letting go of having a purpose = Letting your guard down. Instant comfort. Instant relaxation. Instant vulnerability. How are YOU uncrossing people’s arms?

You return to your core. Childlikeness takes you back to a purer, more authentic, more creative and less judgmental place. Wouldn’t it be great if ALL communications existed in that kind of environment?

You relax the situation. Humor, silliness and lightness relax people; and relaxed people think and learn better. How are YOU making it easy to listen to you?

You break down barriers. If someone is laughing with you, that person is also agreeing with you. This reduces psychological distance between parties, thus increasing approachability for all. How are YOU coming nearer to others?

You soften the ground. Relieve tension early and you will set a foundation of comfort that lasts for the entire email/conversation/call/article/speech. How quickly are YOUR elephants addressed?

You stimulate memory. Famed cartoonist Alfred Mercier once said, “What people learn with pleasure they never forget.” What percentage of the information YOU give people is forgotten by time they’re done?

OK! Ready to become seriously playful? The following five practices will help you start with silly:

1. Begin small. Do something unnecessary and superfluous. Sure, it may start out little, but it also may become big. For example, if someone asks you, “So, what do YOU do?” before you give your REAL answer – just for the sake of starting with silly – try responding with one of these answers first:

o “I do windows!”
o “As little as possible…”
o “I do whatever my wife tells me to do…”

It’s unlikely you’ll get a standing ovation, but the other person will (at the LEAST) smile, chuckle, or, better yet, start playing along with you. Great way to kick of a conversation with someone you’ve just met. How playful are your answers to mundane questions?

2. Leverage brand moments. Next time the secretary or gatekeeper says, “May I ask who’s calling?” use this as an opportunity to start with silly. Insert your That Guy. For example, I always say, “Yeah, tell Karen it’s The Nametag Guy.” Nine times out of ten, when the other person picks up the phone, they’re already laughing! You challenge is to leverage similar brand moments. For example:

o The subject line of your emails.
o The “FROM” line on your email account.
o The “FROM” message on your cell phone.

3. Get over your boringness. Don’t throw me that, “But I’m not funny,” lie. Everybody is funny. Everyone has funny stories. Everyone possesses inherent hilarity. The challenge is learning how to discover and then deliver it. That doesn’t mean tell jokes. That doesn’t mean, “Use humor.” That means BE funny. It’s not something you DO; it’s something you ARE. Regularly as yourself questions like these:

o What’s funny about what just happened?
o Who would think this is absolutely hilarious?
o What other funny example is exactly like this?

4. Be funny early. Take a lesson from comedians, writers and professional speakers. They’re funny within the first seven seconds of opening their mouths. If they’re not, they’re no good. Now, that doesn’t mean evoking sidesplitting humor right away. But it DOES mean a playfulness, excitement and lightness that INFECTS the audience right away. After all, humor is the only universal language. So, consider these examples:

o Re-read the introduction of this article. It’s not exactly Humor Hall of Fame Material, but it’s fun. It’s playful. It’s light. That’s how you start a piece of writing.
o Watch ANY video of George Carlin doing stand up. He has the audience laughing within seven seconds every time. Classic.
o Google Dave Barry Article. The first sentence in every column he’s every written is hilarious. Typical Dave.

REMEMBER: Starting with silly has a cumulative effect.

When people become silly, they become less defensive.
When people become less defensive, they become more relaxed.
When people become more relaxed, they become more engaged.
When people become more engaged, they become more likely to listen to you.
When people become more likely to listen to you, anything is possible.

NOTE: This practice of silliness doesn’t mean being a big goofball ALL the time.

Just some of the time.

ALSO NOTE: Starting with silly can backfire.

Your job is to discern the situations in which silliness is or isn't appropriate.

And sometimes, if you start with silly - and truly feel that it WAS appropriate at the time - and someone simply DOESN'T get it (or looks at you like you're nuts), let it go. Maybe it was you, maybe it was them. Move on.

Ultimately, whether you’re giving a speech, writing an article, making a sales call or leading a teleconference, the sooner you “lay tile” of comfort and playfulness, the smoother the message will be digested.

Maybe Mary Poppins was right. Maybe a spoonful of sugar really DOES help the medicine go down.

So, wouldn’t it make sense to give people that spoonful as soon as possible?

I challenge you to start with silly. Learn it, practice it, BE it, today.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bite my dog.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How early are you expressing your playfulness?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Out ATTRACT Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

11 Patterns Every Entrepreneur MUST Recognize

Awareness is the first step toward mastery.

Whether you’re strategically planning for the new year, engaged in a sales call with a customer or patiently listening to one of your employees complain about how much they HATE their coworkers, awareness always comes first.

Awareness is power. It creates options. It enlarges mental space. And it converts your internal posture from a state of reactivity to a state of objectivity.

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: Once you’ve created new awareness – of yourself, of others, of the situation – you have the necessary fuel to move forward effectively.

Here’s a list of 11 Recognition Rules that will help entrepreneurs transform awareness into mastery:

1. Recognize fertile opportunities. Always go with growth. Always go where the soil is abundant and rich. Keep your eye open and your ear to the ground. There WILL be more.

ASK YOURSELF: How can you use this situation as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and then change for the better?



2. Recognize income potential. Look for cash everyone. Ask yourself how you can turn this (whatever “this” is) into an income stream. Ask yourself how you can make money with this. Ask yourself what else is possible now that you have this. There’s a LOT of money to be made out there. Donald Trump has the same number of hours in a day that you do. He’s just better at recognizing stuff than you are.

ASK YOURSELF: Who do you have to become in order to contribute differently to your business so that it generates more income?

3. Recognize key moments. Crystallizing experiences. Life-changing situations. Awakenings. Epiphanies. Mistakes. All of these are key moments that you need to (1) recognize, and (2) intelligently reflect upon.

ASK YOURSELF: What are you learning from this suffering?

4. Recognize larger implications. There’s always something bigger at stake. Not everybody SEES it, but it’s there. And only those who are perceptive enough to identify and extract the larger lessons will reap the benefits.

ASK YOURSELF: What does this tell me about the world?

5. Recognize recurrent patterns. This is hard. Especially when you’re on the inside. When you’re too close to yourself. Learn to detach and observe (NOT evaluate) your behavior from an objective viewpoint. Don’t beat yourself up. No worries, no judgments. Just say, “Oh, so I noticed that…” It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just IS. These mental patterns are the keys to unlocking the doors of improvement.

ASK YOURSELF: How well do you know your own patterns and habits?

6. Recognize silent realities. But you have to really LISTEN to the silence. Packed underneath the layers of nothingness is a LOT of truth. Waiting for you to discover it. Listen, listen, listen.

ASK YOURSELF: What does this suggest you need to change?

7. Recognize situations quickly. The ability to immediately size up, appraise and determine the value of things is an invaluable skill. Now, obviously, you don’t want to be TOO judgmental. You don’t want to expend all your mental energy evaluating EVERYTHING. But first impressions tend to be right. So, make ‘em count. Train your third eye.

ASK YOURSELF: Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?

8. Recognize teachable moments. First, for yourself. Because everyone – and every THING, for that matter – is your mentor. And there are ALWAYS lessons to be learned. Secondly, for others. Notice those moments in which you have the PERFET opportunity to either (1) teach someone something, or better yet, (2) enable somebody to teach THEMSELVES something.

ASK YOURSELF: Whom are you teaching?

9. Recognize the resistance. It’s there, and that’s OK. Don’t be alarmed. The primary goal of resistance is to scare you into believing there’s nothing you can do to handle resistance. Don't buy into it. Your response to resistance will determine your success. Recognize it, deal with it and overcome it.

ASK YOURSELF: What is resisting you?

10. Recognize unspoken fears. Especially those of your clients, customers and employees. Odds are, there’s heaps of debris under the surface they’re not sharing. So, be on the lookout for words like “always,” “never” and “should.” Take note of what topics they seem to be evading in the conversation. Observe their timing, language, affect responses and non-verbals. Each one is a “tell” of their unspoken fears.

ASK YOURSELF: What message was sent but not spoken?

11. Recognize your blindness. Sometimes you’re just too close. Standing on a whale fishing for minnows, as Joseph Campbell once said. Be mature and realistic enough to spot that blindness and then get some much needed assistance with your vision.

ASK YOURSELF: What ideas are you in love with that might prevent you from seeing clearly?

REMEMBER: Recognizing isn’t seeing.

These past eleven pieces of advice, as powerful as they might be, don’t solve the entire puzzle. Recognition – awareness, noticing, discovering, identification – is only the beginning. The next step is to go from recognizing to seeing, from seeing to doing, and from doing to BEING.

Awareness is the first step toward mastery.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What have you been recognizing lately?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "24 Ways to Out GROW Your Competition" send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, November 14, 2008

You can't listen to others until you've listened to yourself first

My yoga teacher made a powerful comment in class yesterday.

She said, “As you listen to my instructions, BE SURE that you’re also listening to what your body is telling you as you get into the postures.”

Pretty cool, huh?

And now that I think about it, during yoga yesterday’s class I DO remember what my body was telling me:

“Scott, I can’t believe how many egg rolls you ate for lunch, you putz.”

Dee-licious.

LESSON LEARNED: Listening to others requires listening to yourself first.

That means observing. Becoming aware of the feelings and emotions that surface, but not adding evaluation or appraisal of the moment. Simply remaining alert to your own thoughts, acknowledging rising feelings. What are your listening triggers?



That means embracing. Calmly and objectively attending to your own internal experiences in a loving way. Holding these observations about yourself in unconditional positive regard. What is your body telling you right now?

That means responding. Not reacting, but responding to your own internal cues. Then, once you’ve listened to your body’s voice, you take responsibility for your thoughts, holding them in silent awareness and then gently returning to the moment. Are you able to acknowledge and return to the conversation?

Ah, your inner voice. The loudest sign in the world.

So, now that you understand the philosophy, the following four practices will equip you to effectively, empathetically and patiently listen to another person while simultaneously listen to yourself:

1. Assess your receptiveness. Before you get started with a conversation, honestly assess your ability and willingness to listen in that moment. Pay exquisite attention to yourself and ask:

(1) Is this a good time for me to listen?
(2) How much of my energy am I willing and able to give this person right now?
(3) What are my fears about communicating with this person?

Then, during the conversation, before interjecting, interrupting or blurting, consider questions like:

o Is this comment truthful?
o Is this comment necessary?
o Is this comment worthwhile?
o What can I say that will contribute?
o Is this comment a thought or an impulse?
o Is this comment improving on the silence?
o What can I say that will make a difference?
o Is this comment relevant to the other person’s experience?
o What, specifically will the other person gain from your contribution?

2. Know Your Triggers. Certain words offend you. Certain topics scare you. Certain issues make you feel sick to your stomach. That’s cool. Next time you have a few spare minutes, try this...

Make a list of your Top Five Listening Triggers are AND how you feel when you hear them. This self-knowledge exercise subconsciously prepares you to handle future reactions.

REMEMBER: Awareness is the first step towards mastery.

3. Note the distraction. As Yoda often said, “I feel a disturbance in the force…” That’s the attitude you most have. That you’re simply observing what’s going on. And that’s IT, for now. Anything beyond that becomes a distraction, as internal emotional activity often short-circuits the listening process.

So, should one of your inner triggers get set off, here’s what you do:

a. Breathe.
b. Be aware of what IS.
c. No judgments, no worries, no reactions.
d. No appraisals, no evaluations, no assigning value.
e. Make a note – physically or mentally – about your observation.
f. Quickly, yet gently return to the conversation.

.4 Articulate What’s Occurring. At the appropriate time, verbalize your observations. Say what you see. Share what you feel. Objectively offer non-threatening statements like:

a. Just now I felt…
b. I have a hunch that…
c. Now I am aware that…
d. As I listen to you, I feel…
e. My intuition tells me that…
f. In my gut, I’m asking the question…
g. When you said the word (x), the first thought that came to my mind was….

So, that’s the secret – listening to yourself first.

THAT MEANS: Assessing your receptiveness. Knowing your triggers. Noting the distractions. Articulating what’s occurring.

I challenge you to learn, know, live and BE these practices TODAY.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wolf down a few egg rolls before yoga class.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you listening to yourself first?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For my list called, "101 People (not) to Listen to," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What is NOT writing costing you?

At a recent writing workshop, we got on the topic of excuses.

Discipline. Hard work. And how too many writers talk themselves out of writing for weak reasons.

Then, one of my students named Darlene posed a powerful question:

“What does it COST you to write?”

We all gasped in unison. The room fell silent. It was one of those moments where the inner monologue of every participant probably whispered, Holy crap…!

Don’t you just LOVE questions like that?

I paused for a few additional moments to allow her words to profoundly penetrate the group. Then I came to a realization:

What does it cost you to write? Not much.

Most people would say “time.”

Which actually makes sense...

Writing DOES take time. In fact, that’s the most common reason (er, excuse) people give for their lack of writing. Not enough time.

BUT THEN AGAIN: What else IS there to do with your time?

Seriously. Can you honestly think of a better way to invest your time than to write?

What - television? Really? Are you serious?

How much money did you earn last year by watching television?
How much wisdom did you learn last year by watching television?

ANSWER: Zilch. Zip. Zero. Nada. Niete.

What does it cost you to write? I honestly can’t think of a good answer to that question.

Perhaps a more important question to ask is:

What is NOT writing costing you?

ANSWER: A lot.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not clarifying your ideas.
Which means your ability to articulate those ideas in person will SUCK.

If you’re not writing, that means you’re not listening to yourself.
Which means you’re going get sucked into the vortex of listening to the wrong people.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not learning about yourself.
Which means you’re not going to be able to get any better.

If you’re not writing that means you’re (probably) not blogging.
Which means your competition is (probably) attracting more attention that you.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not releasing your thoughts.
Which means they’re going to find a home somewhere in your body and cause you additional stress.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not going too remember anything.
Which means if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not doing anything with your thinking.
Which means your brain is getting stale.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not cataloging and enhancing your expertise.
Which means other people are becoming smarter than you.

If you’re not writing that means you’re not tapping into and expanding your creativity.
Which means your ability to solve problems is slowly diminishing.

What is NOT writing costing you?

ANSWER: A lot.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What did you write today?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "10 Reasons (Excuses) You're NOT Blogging Yet," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

No time to write?
Can't finish that book?
Dog ate your last article?

Come to the St. Louis Writing Marathon!

No excuses. Just writing. All day.

I promise it will be the best $20 you'll spend on your writing career all year.

Learn more at www.writingmarathon.com!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to be a Smokin’ Hot Piece of Brain Candy

One of Edward DeBono’s most underrated books is called, How to Have a Beautiful Mind.

In the opening he states:

“As you get older, physical beauty tends to fade. But beauty of the mind is independent of age and can actually increase with wisdom and experience.”

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t be eye candy; be brain candy.

Eye candy is an idiom of physical attractiveness that means “someone with high visual appeal, yet little or no substance.”

Think Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in The Fast & The Furious.

Think Cameron Diaz, Lucy Lu and Drew Barrymore in Charlie’s Angels.

Those movies were easy on the eyes. Fun to watch. No brainers. Mindless entertainment.

In other words, they didn’t exactly stimulate your, um, cerebral cortex.

Brain candy, on the other hand, is a less common term. When you google the phrase, about a million hits come up, but few point to an actual definition.

In that case, allow me to define it...



Brain candy is an idiom of psychological attractiveness that means “someone with high mental appeal AND significant substance.”

Here’s how it works:

Brain candy is more ENDURING.
Because when you’re 65, your butt won’t look so hot.

Brain candy is more ATTRACTIVE.
Because it actually takes hard work; not just money, genetics and clothes.

Brain candy is more EQUITABLE.
Because it makes you, your brand and your organization more valuable every day.

Brain candy is more MARKETABLE.
Because customers will pay LOT of money for you to rock their (mental) world.

Brain candy is more APPROACHABLE.
Because when you’re aligned with smart people, you look smart. And that IS sexy.

Brain candy is more MEMORABLE.
Because while physical attractiveness captures someone’s EYE for a few minutes; psychological attractiveness capture someone’s BRAIN and HEART forever.

To see these principles in action, I’ve created a list of some of my favorite people who are, in my opinion, brain candy. (Not that these people aren't pieces of EYE candy, too. But for now...)

NOTE: These people are in no particular order. I’ve sorted them alphabetically. Each of them is just as hot as the other ;)

Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy


1. Adam Kreitman - www.wordsthatclick.net
2. Alan Weiss - www.summitconsulting.com
3. Andy Sernovitz - www.andysernovitz.com
4. Angela Leib - www.angelalieb.com
5. Arthur Scharff - www.presidentscouncil.biz
6. Bob Baker - www.bob-baker.com
7. Don the Idea Guy - www.dontheideaguy.com
8. Eric Maisel - www.ericmaisel.com
9. Harlan Hodge - www.harlanbhodge.com
10. Jane Atkinson - www.speakerlauncher.com
11. Jeffrey Gitomer - www.gitomer.com
12. Joey Reiman - www.thinkbrighthouse.com
13. Karen Hoffman - www.theideacoach.com
14. Kirsten Carey - www.orangetree123.com
15. Lois Creamer - www.bookmorebusiness.com
16. Matt Homann - www.thenonbillablehour.typepad.com
17. Robbin Phillips - www.brainsonfire.com
18. Seth Godin - www.sethgodin.com
19. Viki Diedrich - www.limitedadditionsgallery.com
20. William Jenkins - www.jenkinsedex.com

Mmm … brain candy ... delicious.

REMEMBER: Eye Candy eventually loses its flavor. Brain Candy stays sweet forever.

Take that, Vin Diesel!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you eye candy or brain candy?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "10 Ways to become a Smokin' Hot Piece of Brandy Candy," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

No time to write?
Can't finish that book?
Dog ate your last article?

Come to the St. Louis Writing Marathon!

No excuses. Just writing. All day.

I promise it will be the best $20 you'll spend on your writing career all year.

Learn more at www.writingmarathon.com!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NametagTV: Pushy vs. Persistent

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you being pushy or persistent?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "20 Ways to Make Your Customers More Comfortable," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Satisfaction not enough?
Customers not telling their friends about you?
Want to learn how to deliver unforgettable service?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to get your frontline IN line!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What are you a student of?

So, I took a day off last week to relax, recoup and reenergize.

At about 10:30 AM, I walked up to the patio tables at my favorite Starbucks. The air had a fall crispiness that made me smile. It was sunny and smelled like leaves.

I had a few books with me, along with my Pilot V5 Precise, the greatest writing pen I’ve ever used.

I sat down with my Orange Spice tea next to two guys and a dog.

The dog’s name was Oscar. He was a Boxer/Great Dane mix.

One of the guys looked over to me, noticed my books and asked, “So, Scott, are you a student?”

“Yep,” I said.

“Really? What school do you go to?”



“School...?”

“Yeah. You know, Wash U, UMSL, SLU?”

“Oh. Yeah, I don’t go to school.”

“But you said you were a student, right?”

“Right.”

He looked confused.

“I guess I didn’t realize you had to attend school to be a student," I said.

He smiled.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are you a student of?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "23 Ways to Learn a LOT at a Really Young Age," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Friday, November 07, 2008

11 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Find

You are a Finder.

It’s non-negotiable.
It's ingrained in the territory.
It’s part of the job description.

So, you need to get good at finding things. For example:

1. Find a way. One always exists. Even when you’re tired as hell, broke as a joke or completely out of ideas. How many answers are you willing to accept?

2. Find economic buyers. Everyone else is a waste of your time. And time isn’t something you’ve got a lot of. Figure out who signs the check and give ‘em a pen. Are you playing to the wrong audience?

3. Find everything tasty. Even if you’re uncomfortable. Even if you’ve never had it before. Practice intentional discomfort and give it a try. Cognitively restructure everything you do to find inherent novelty and deliciousness. How can you make this into something awesome?

4. Find inspiring people. Hang with them. Watch them. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Note the things they say and do. Note the type of people they ARE and then emulate away. Whose thinking inspires your own?

5. Find opportunity everywhere. It’s there. You just need to look harder. And when you find it, you need to leverage it. Better, stronger and smarter than anyone else. What is today’s creative opportunity?

6. Find the doors. Wedge your way in. Be smart. Suck in your stomach and squeeze your way through. When was the last time you entered a new market?

7. Find thought bridges. Connect seemingly unrelated ideas. Notice ancillary answers, anomalies and other creative sparks. How are you finding relationships between everything?

8. Find uncontested space. Set up camp, put a stake in the ground, raise a flag and declare to the world, “This is MY house. Come near at your own risk.” And if some punk creeps a little too close, release the hounds. How are you being The Only?

9. Find your cause. Otherwise you’re slaving away for nothing. You need a calling. A cause. A higher purpose. A validation of your existence. The best part is, once you’ve got that tasty carrot dangling down through the depths of your heart, the work you do becomes twice as exciting, yet takes half the time to get done. Have you fulfilled the demands of your calling this week?

10. Find your part. It doesn’t matter if you’re the lead, an extra, singing in the chorus or a tree. Your part is essential. Have you determined your fundamental leadership role?

11. Find your woodshed.. Sneak out there every night. When the dogs are asleep, when your wife is out cold, when your kids are passed out. Fire up the lantern and get to work. Finish as the sun comes up. Then sneak back into bed undetected. What inspires your persistence and determination?

Find. Find. Find. Find.

It’s an entrepreneur’s favorite verb.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What did you find this week?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "15 Ways to Out LEARN Your Competitors," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Running your own business?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

13 Random Thoughts on Passion I Couldn't Hold in Any Longer

“When passion is involved, the rules change.”

That sentence is NOT a scientifically proven fact.
That sentence is NOT a Wikipedia entry.
That sentence is NOT a statistic.

Good.

I don’t believe in statistics. Statistics prove NOTHING. Statistics are fabricated pieces of bullshite that people manipulate to make themselves look better.


I believe in EXPERIENCE … because it is founded upon TRUTH.

And truth is currency.

“When passion is involved, the rules change.”

That’s what’s been on my mind a lot lately: Passion. So, I wanted to share 13 ideas on the topic of passion. In no particular order, with no particular agenda:

1. Channel your passion. Into your job. Into your family. Into your life. Into everything. Think of yourself as a conduit. A catalyst. Find a way to embed passion into the pavement that leads the way to wherever you’re going. You’ll arrive there faster, better, with more fun and by your own design. Where are you channeling YOUR passion?

2. Convert your passions. Into a job, a cause, a mission, a movement or a purpose that gets you out of bed thirty minutes before your alarm goes off. Transform that which lights your heart and soul on fire and leverage it in the service of others, of the world, and of God. What gets you so excited that you can’t WAIT to get out of bed in the morning?



3. Express unqualified passion. You don’t need a degree. You don’t need a certification. You need to have love and longing and LIGHTNING in your heart. Because the world cannot resist a man on a mission. And there is nothing more attractive, more approachable and more beautiful than a person exploding with passion. What comes OOZING out of you that inspires others?

4. Have secondary passions. It’s OK to have more than one passion. Maybe one is your job, one is your solace and one is your service to your community. It doesn’t matter. Have as many passions as you want. It doesn’t matter WHAT you’re passionate about; it only matter THAT your passionate about something. What three things do you HAVE to do every day?

5. Have sweeping passion. Don’t be afraid to say, “My passion is PEOPLE,” or “My passion is helping others,” or “My passion is humor.” Cool. It doesn’t have to be something specific. Make it broad. Make it bold. Make it huge. Allow sub-passions to formulate on their own. What generalities get YOUR blood flowing?

6. Let passion prioritize. Passion makes decision making easier. Use it as your barometer, your compass, your map and your walking stick. Let passion lead the way. Organize your life around your passions. Ask yourself what your top three passions are. Then ask yourself what your top three activities during your week are. See if they’re aligned. If not, no worries. That just means it’s time to re-prioritize. How are YOU using your passion in your decision making process?

7. Make passion palpable. So obvious that you don’t even need to tell people what you passion is. So unarguable that it’s assumed you’re completed obsessed and driven by it. There’s no question in people’s mind about what flavor of Kool-Aid you’ve been chugging all day. What is it about you that you can’t help but NOT do?

8. Mobilize your passion. Use it in the service of others. Give it wheels and legs. Think of it as the coal powering the locomotive of your life. Stop watching TV. Get off your ass and get off to the races, whatever races are needed to move closer to the validation of your existence. What is it about you that you can’t help but not BE?

9. Passion creates fire. In your heart. In your eyes. In your body. In your soul. What’s more, the fire created by passion is SO contagious, it unflinchingly burns and chars and smokes everything it its path – yet in a good way. The type of fire you never want to douse. The type of fire you gladly watch with joy as the light and heat soaks your being. What types of flames are YOU emitting?

10. Practice with passion. How you play is how you practice. Period. Not just for sports, but also for any action you’re preparing for. Whether you’re in a hotel room in Columbus the night before a HUGE speech; sitting in your rental care in the parking lot of a BIG customer, ready to close that sale; or whether you’re sitting in the bathroom stall going over your vows before you tie the knot … practice with passion. It’ll make your final performance a cakewalk. How are you inserting passion into YOUR preparation process?

11. Reawaken your passion. Maybe it was overshadowed, blocked or buried somewhere along the way. Maybe your inner choir of vicious voices – comprised of parents, teachers, religious leaders and siblings – put your passion to bed. Fine. Get over it. Wake that sumbich up and announce to the world, “Guess who’s back…!” Whom are YOU ready to make look like an idiot?

12. Remain passionate despite. Despite the haters. Despite constant failure. Despite having no idea what hell you’re doing. Despite ANYTHING. Suck it up. Keep the flame of passion burning voraciously for as long as you’re still breathing. Do that, and the spirit of your passion will remain alive forever, even when you’re six feet under. What will YOU be buried with?

13. Suffering breeds passion. From great suffering comes great awakening. So, next time you go through something really terrible, really big or really ugly, remember that the suffering you’re experiencing is the gateway to something awesome, something enlightening. You may not know it at the time, and it may take a few months or even years until you realize it, but never forget that beautiful flowers can still grow in a pile of manure. What is this atrocity teaching YOU?

When passion is involved, the rules change.

That’s what my experience has taught me.

Stick yourself (and your passion) out there. TODAY.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does your calendar reflect your passion?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, ""86 Passion-Finding Questions to Discover What You Love," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Hire Scott to speak at your next company meeting and he will show his nametag tattoo on stage! No extra charge.

Book The Nametag Guy here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Two questions that made me laugh OUT LOUD

I collect questions.

At current, my database contains about five thousand of them.

Some I read in books.
Some I overhear in conversations.
Some I just come up with out of thin air.

And, regardless of their origin, the best part about collecting questions is that initial moment when you first come across one that profoundly penetrates you.

Because you’re never the same again.

Questions make us bigger. They’re bridges. They’re fuel. They contain energy. They invite dialogue; enlist introspection and ensue honest appraisals of our personal Truth.

And SOME questions are so powerful, so confrontational and so thought provoking that they actually cause a physical reaction. You might gasp, drop your jaw, nod your head, or even say, “Wow…”

These physical cues are windows into our worlds. They help us pinpoint and excavate what’s REALLY going on inside our heads.

Me? I tend to laugh when I see great questions. Almost as if to say, “Touche, sir. A fair and noble inquiry indeed!”

This happened to me the other day...



I was compiling some notes from a recent NametagTV module when I came across two questions that literally caused me to laugh – out loud. That’s how moving they were.

The first question was:

What are you doing that makes NO sense at all?

I CRACKED up. Absolutely hysterical.

And not because the question was, like, Ha-Ha Funny; but rather that the question made me realize, “Wow, there is so much stupid crap I’m doing in my life right now that makes NO sense at all.”

You gotta love questions like that.

And then, not five minutes later, another question made me laugh out loud:

What consumes your time that isn’t making you any money?

I chuckled to myself in that shifty-eyed, collar loosening, “yikes,” sort of way.

“Wow,” I laughed, “I wonder what daily activities I could ditch because they’re not producing any income?”

Yeah. That is just HILARIOUS…

So, that’s why questions are – in my experience – the most important things in the world. Here's why:

A question SENDS you off to the races. Stretching your mind into unexpected, unencumbered territory. Challenging your soul to expand and grow and mature. And the BEST part is, once you’ve asked a question, once your mind has danced with that little beauty for a few songs, your mind never quite returns to its original size.

A question FORCES you (and others) to confront yourself. As if to say, “Alright. Cut the shit. Let’s honestly assess what’s going on here. Let’s hold ourselves – and each other – accountable for our actions.

A question FUNCTIONS as that little nudge, push, tipping point or last straw you needed. Helping you to surpass that threshold level of understanding that so desperately tried to hold you back. Helping you meet your own eyes in the mirror and confront yourself.

A question CRACKS open a new world. And all it takes is one. One question – either something you read or hear or write (or even accidentally utter yourself) – that makes you stop dead in your tracks, freeze the moment and say, “Wow. Now THERE’S a good question.”

A question ENLISTS your creativity. It’s impossible to be asked a question and NOT start looking for an answer. The human brain simply can’t resist. The good news is, when your mind is fixated on finding a solution; new ideas and possibilities start coming out of the blue. Almost like the universe KNEW you were looking and granted permission to your unconscious mind to go on a manhunt. Er, question-hunt.

A question can FORGE a path. Asking the right questions is the ONLY way to uproot Truth. Your words are mental machetes that clear the cabbage out of the way. And when I say “cabbage” I mean things like denial and procrastination. Fear and motivation. If you drop the right question at the right time, and you’ll slowly create space to see the entirety of the landscape.

A question VISUALIZES ideal conditions. You inspire people to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future and make meaningful strides toward it. You also empower people to speak FROM the future so they can look back to identify the steps that led there.

A question PREDICTS the future. It lets you imagine the road before you have to travel it, discarding any maps that don't go where you need to go. You enable people to act as if the desired changed already imagine what they need to become in order for their goals to manifest.

A question can CUT deeply, yet therapeutically. These are the best questions in the world. They almost make you smile, nod your head and say, “OK. Fair enough. Good point.” These are my favorite questions to ask coaching clients.

A question EMPOWERS others to turn inward. Instead of having all the answers, instead of “fixing” people, you ask certain questions to encourage people to tap and trust their inner resources and figure out the answer on their own. Because you’re a midwife, assisting others in giving birth to their own understanding.

A question ENABLES learning. At the root of the word question is the word quest, which means to SEEK, DESIRE and ADVENTURE. So, questions forward the action. All it takes is one and everything can change. Forever.

A question EXPLODES people’s brains. Because it’s not about the answer but what the answer POINTS to. Ask ridiculous questions that stretch people because what they say will represent something bigger, better and brighter.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What questions did you ask yourself today?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "8 Ways to Out QUESTION Your Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Nobody talking about your business?

Bummer. Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

Rent Scott's Brain today!




Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NametagTV: When They Want It NOW

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are your words demonstrating a sense of urgency?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "6 Ways to Out ANSWER Your Competitors," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Satisfaction not enough?
Customers not telling their friends about you?
Want to learn how to deliver unforgettable service?

Buy Scott's new book and learn how to get your frontline IN line!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Scott Celebrates 8 YEARS of Nametagging!

This week marks my Eight Year Nametag Anniversary.

So I was thinking.

Wearing a nametag everyday is a great opportunity to force yourself to practice your listening skills.

EXAMPLE: The other day I was sitting on the floor at O’Hare, doing some writing.

I would have sat on a chair, but airport outlets are like currency these days, so I took what I could get.

Around 9:30 AM, a short, older woman with a rolling suitcase rushed passed me.

“Hi Scott!”

“Morning.”

She stopped in her tracks. “Um, do you know you’re still wearing a nametag?”

“Yeah, I always wear it.”

“Really?”

“Yep. Every day!”

“Oh, cool. Well, actually, the reason I stopped is because my son’s name is Scott too.”

“Yeah? Another Scott, huh? It’s a good name.”

“He’s such a good kid, too!” she gushed. “Just graduated from Vanderbilt. Got a degree in engineering! And he has a few job offers from several big firms, but he’s not sure which one to accept. See, Scott’s always been the kind of kid who…”

For ten minutes. That’s how long she went on about her son. And who could blame her? That’s what parents do. They brag about their kids.

But that’s not what amazed me.



What was interesting was that this lady was CLEARLY in a rush. And yet, she still stopped to talk to a complete stranger. For ten minutes.

LESSON LEARNED: Listening is so rarely practiced that most people will jump at even the slightest opportunity for a captive audience.

Ever since I started wearing a nametag every day, this happens to me ALL the time.

People just start talking to me.

And I don’t mean like, saying hello or asking for the time or wondering if I have some sort of memory problem.

But REALLY talking.

Sharing their passions. Telling their stories. Going on and on about whatever is on their mind.

Like last week, when the man sitting next to me in the boarding lounge commented on the book I was reading. One thing led to another and we were talking about our respective travel plans. Then, before we knew it, the guy was telling me about his recently deceased wife who had suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Yep. People just start talking to me. And I don’t even DO anything.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

I mean, sure, I have my nametag on. And I’m an approachable guy. But still, I just think it’s amazing how often this happens.

SO, HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. How often are you painting your ears into GOOD listening corners?
2. What have you done THIS WEEK to reverse the “poor listener” stereotype of your industry?
3. Where could you SPONTANEOUSLY practice your listening skills?

Next time you’re sitting at the airport, riding the bus or taking the train, before you immediately put on your iPod and tune out the person sitting next to you, think about the potential benefits of tuning IN.

Because you never know, you could be the ONLY one that listens to that person all day.

Here's to eight more years!

(Of wearing nametags, that is. Not of the current administration.)

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are you celebrating today?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "57 Lessons My Nametag Taught Me in 2008," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!