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Thursday, December 31, 2009

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

7 Ways to be Worthy of Your Customer’s Checkbook

I was eating sushi when it happened.

My friend Gil Wagner was expressing frustration about a colleague of his.

Finally, his rant came to an end with the following comment:

“I love her to death,” Gil said, “but I just can’t see anybody writing her a check.”

I almost choked on my Spicy Tuna Roll.

I can’t see anybody writing her a check.

Ouch. THAT’S not good for business.

HERE’S MY QUESTION: What if someone described YOU that way? Think that might have an impact on your sales?

Absolutely.

Now, that incident happened a few months ago. And since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gil’s comment, wondering what the characteristics are of businesspeople who ARE worthy of their customer’s checkbooks.

Today we’re going to explore seven practices to help you become more “checkbookable," which is (yet another) word I made up this year:

1. Say yes to yourself. Before anyone writes you a check, two things have to happen. First, you have to sell yourself on yourself. Next, you have to sell THEM on yourself. As Jeffrey Gitomer reminds us in The Sales Bible, “The deeper your belief, the deeper your pockets.”

My suggestion: Every morning before work, have a daily appointment with yourself. Recite affirmations, re-read goals, meditate, whatever it takes to activate the appropriate mental state. I’ve been practicing this daily since 2002 and I credit it as the single most important thing I do, every day.

Here's a helpful guide on how to do this. Try it for a week. I promise it makes it easy to create the right inner condition to say yes TO yourself, then act on the trust you feel FOR yourself. What do you say to yourself every day?

2. Become a peer of the buyer. First, by discovering the CPI, or Common Point of Interest. Second, by asking PFQ’s, or Passion Finding Questions. Third, ask yourself: What are you willing to LOSE on the first sale in order to guarantee a relationship? Time? Lunch? Money? Free samples? A few hundred bucks? It might be worth it if you become their friend. Are perceived as a friend by people who write checks?

3. Look for every possibly opportunity to reduce uncertainty. You’re starting with a negative balance with your customers. Most of your them have been screwed over, sold to, marketed to, argued against, targeted, annoyed, persuaded, dishonored, pitched, pressured, bothered, interrupted, threatened and manipulated by too many companies too many times. And their tired of it.

Trust and loyalty are at an all time low; fear and skepticism are at an all time high. What’s more, other professionals in your industry have set a precedent of mistrust. And the default posture of the average person is to NOT believe you. You need to disarm that preoccupation whenever possible. What strategy will you use?

4. Defend your value proposition. The more people know about you and what you do, the easier it is (and more likely it is) that they can and will defend you. This is known as the massive evidence concept. And like a good trial attorney, you need to introduce as much evidence of value as possible. Just remember: Don’t confuse the value you deliver with the delivery mechanism OF that value. Are you selling the right thing?

5. Charge fees commensurate with your contribution. “How are you improving the client’s condition?” That’s the mantra of legendary consultant, Alan Weiss. Your goal is to answer that question, state your fee confidently – then shut up. Own the thing you’re trying to tell people. Speak with uncompromising language. Be unapologetic. Don’t feel guilty for demanding compensation for your value.

And, remember that confidence opens checkbooks. Ask yourself, “I wonder how much I can help?” and stop thinking, “I hope I don’t blow this!” The stink of desperation will be unavoidable. Have you ever practiced quoting your fee to yourself in the mirror for twenty minutes straight?

6. Keep your posture. My friend and the owner of goBRANDgo, Derek Weber, tells his staff that a salesperson is similar to a free safety in football. “On defense, you need to have your weight centered and balanced. Up on the balls of your feet ready to react quickly in whatever direction you need to go. Similarly, when speaking to your prospect in a sales environment, if your weight is too far forward and you’re overly aggressive, you cause the prospect to feel pressured. This instantly puts them on the defensive, lowers comfort and tarnishes trust.”

Derek tells his salespeople that strong posture comes from confidence in your sales approach, which comes from practice and preparation. That means go into the call knowing what questions you need to ask in order to discover the information you will need to assess the prospect’s viability as a potential customer. And that helps you control the direction of the sales call without being pushy or domineering.

“Keep yourself centered, your weight balanced, and up on the balls of your feet ready to ask,” Weber said. “It makes the difference between making the sale and being run over for a game-losing touchdown.” What type of posture do you maintain in your sales calls?

7. Leave people with a positive emotional impression. Finally, let’s revisit Gil’s example from earlier. He also told me, “By chosen profession, Marcie is a coach. But upon first impression, Marcie is timid. Mild-mannered. Even tongue-tied. In other words, her outward self seems much more suited to following than leading. That's why I can't see anyone writing her a check. How do you hire a coach who visibly seems more comfortable following than leading?”

Therefore, the challenge is simple: Make sure the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life. Other the disharmony between your onstage performance and backstage reality will be too loud. How do you leave people?

REMEMBER: If you want to become worthy of your customer’s checkbook, you’ve got to make yourself checkbookable.

Execute these seven practices, and soon you’ll start receiving more checks than Jerry Lewis on Telethon Weekend.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How checkbookable are you?

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

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

7 Ways to become Your Own Authority Figure Without Using Pepper Spray

Cops. Judges. Parents. Teachers. Clergy. Chiefs. Experts. Administrators. Gurus. Leaders. Presidents. Politicians. Soldiers. Scientists. Robert DeNiro.

These are the authority figures we’ve been taught to show respect TO and take advice FROM.

Now, for the most part, I don’t disagree.

The only stipulation I’d suggest is that you add one more person to your list of authority figures:

Yourself.

HERE’S WHY: The word authority derives from the Latin word auctoritas, which means, “Advice, opinion, influence or commands from a master, leader or author.”

What’s more, an authority figure is defined as, “a person whose real or apparent authority inspires or demands obedience and emulation.”

What if you did that for yourself? What if the advice and opinions and inspiration you acted upon … came from within?

Let’s look at a collection of practices for becoming your OWN authority figure:

1. Believe in the availability of your own answers. Expectation determines outcome. So, expect your intuition to be there for you. I learned this a few years ago when I started reciting the following incantation several times daily, “I am richly supported. I trust my resources.”

Since I started meditating on that, my ability to become my own authority figure has skyrocketed. I wonder what would happen if you regularly reminded yourself that every answer you needed lay within. What do you say when you talk to yourself?

2. Unintimidate yourself. When you see a cop car in your rearview mirror, you tense up. Or slow down. Or hide your drugs. The point is: Authority figures are intimidating. And if you plan to become your own authority figure, you can’t be. I read an excellent article from Students Helping Students on this very topic:

“Don’t intimidate yourself, however intimidating the situation might be. You didn't get there by luck – but because you’re smart and good enough to be there. Feeling intimidated often translates into acting intimidated, and acting intimidated is not what you want to do. Believe in yourself. Understand your strengths. Focus on them. And learn to talk about them well. This won’t always lead to success, but you’ll be maximizing your chances rather than sabotaging them."

Remember: If you intimidate yourself, you can’t put your best face on and won’t show up strongly. Are you beating yourself with your own inner billy club?

3. Try some vitamin Z. In Eric Maisel’s book, Sleep Thinking, he walks you through a system for uncovering answers while you sleep. One of the techniques I use regularly goes like this: Get into bed. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Then, repeat the following mantra silently until you fall asleep: “I wonder what I don’t want to know about myself.”

When you wake up, write down your thoughts immediately. You’ll be amazed – and potentially terrified – at what you learn about yourself. Remember: When you let your heart ask the questions, your life will provide the answers. How are you using sleep as your problem solver?

4. Formulate and memorialize your own decision-making system. If you truly want to convey a thorough understanding of yourself, if you honesty desire to create a good working model of your own identity, and if you sincerely want to maintain consistency and alignment of your actions, you need to consider how you decide.

A life-changing exercise to do is to create a governing document for your daily decision-making. I just stumbled upon this process about six months ago myself. And I assure you it’s one of – if not thee – most powerful exercises I’ve ever executed for creating becoming my own authority figure.

Remember: The only thing in this world you have ANY control over … is your choice. Map out how and why you make those choices. Doesn’t it make sense to start asking yourself, “W.W.I.D?” or “What would I do?”

5. Establish a daily internal dialogue with yourself. Ideally, by writing Morning Pages, the trademark technique of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s simple: You sit down, first thing in the morning, and just PUKE. For three pages. No edits. No deleting. No thinking. Just writing.

I promise if you try this for a month, the following things will happen: You’ll develop honesty in your relationship with your words on the page, which will fuel you with the courage to stand up for yourself in the world. You’ll create mini gripe sessions where you work out your grudges. You’ll feel a greater sense of stability and intimacy with your own opinions.

What’s more, you’ll learn how to take accurate stock of your life, examine all aspects of your experiences and gain newfound inner strength and agility. You’ll learn to approach your challenges from an emotionally neutral or positive stance. You’ll teach yourself what you like and don’t like and move your closer to your authentic selves. You’ll get current, catch up on yourself and pinpoint precisely what you are feeling and thinking.

And finally, you’ll miniaturize irrational worries and underscore legitimate concerns in a sorting process. That sounds like someone who acts as her own authority figure to me. What did you write today?

6. Be open to ideas from everyone, but deliver the ultimate verdict yourself. You have to, as my friend Chrissy Scivicque says, “Eschew the judgments of others and do what makes YOU happy.” My suggestion is to fully become your own partner. To employ only the approval of your heart. To learn to rely on your own counsel and to take resourceful refuge in your inner teacher.

And, to muster the courage to abandon external instructors and find out things for yourself. Do you have the courage to follow your inner guide even if you look like an idiot and risk alienating those who don’t understand?

7. Get out of your head and into your heart. First, identify the angry voice of your ego that is making it difficult to hear the subtle voice intuition. Second, dive down inward, lower the veil and await the truth. Third, listen up. Consider yourself data. See, it’s not that your intuition doesn’t exist – it’s that you’re not listening to what it’s whispering you. Finally, decide in the solitude of your own consciousness. Whose opinion are you bowing to?

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the wise words of the great philosopher, Eric Cartman, who often remarked, “Respect my authoritah!”

I challenge you to modify that to, “Respect YOUR authoritah!”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you your own authority figure?

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For the list called, "26 Ways to OUT Brand the Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

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Monday, December 28, 2009

13 (more) Things That Don’t Really Exist, No Matter How Many Lies You’ve Been Conditioned to Believe

Last time you read a list of things that don’t (really) exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

Today, I have more: Thirteen additional items that don’t (really) exist.

Read them at your own peril…

1. “Must see” doesn’t exist. That’s just fancy, coma-inducing marketing language for, “Please addict yourself to our crappy programming so our advertisers don’t come to their senses and stop wasting their money on a dead medium like television.”

Here’s the naked truth: You’re not their little target anymore. You are in charge of how much attention you choose to give. How much money did you make last month by watching television?

2. “Off the record” doesn’t exist. Everything matters, everybody’s watching and everything’s a performance. You’re on the record, all the time, whether you like or not. I sure hope your integrity is tact.

Or else you’ll end up like one of those moronic athletes who chooses to throw away his entire reputation and legacy on one night’s stupidity. Or, in Tiger Woods’ case, thirteen nights. But who’s counting? Would you want to become known for what you’re about to do?

3. Overnight successes don’t exist. Instead, you work your ass off for about twenty years when nobody notices, nobody cares and nobody remembers. And then one day you take a deep breath, look in the mirror and say, “It’s about time.” How patient are you willing to be?

4. Quick fixes don’t exist. I guarantee: When you get your fix, you will not be fixed. You will want more very soon. That’s the nature of addiction.

That’s why the quick fix industry makes so much money: Never-ending repeat business is guaranteed because of infinitely unsatisfied customers. I wonder what would happen if you made the decision to be satisfied right now. What are you currently addicted to?

5. Recession-Proof doesn’t exist. Everyone is affected by a recession. Everyone. Maybe not financially. But we all feel it. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t be so arrogant as to assume the recession wants nothing to do with you.

I got news for you: The recession doesn’t care if you sell an inelastic, “recession-proof” product. It’s still coming after you. And if you leave your guard down, it’s going to deliver the death stroke when you least expect. How are you preparing for the devastation?

6. Shortcuts don’t exist. Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea. Ultimately, shortcuts don’t lead anywhere but the Exit Door. Longcuts, on the other hand, lead to the finish line.

So, here’s my suggestion: Learn the chords. Take the long cut. Work your face off. Develop bottomless patience. You will win, win BIG, and win alone. How much money is impatience costing you?

7. Stupid questions don’t exist. As the great philosopher Homer Simpson once said, “There are no stupid questions – only stupid people.” In this case, the stupid people who don’t ask questions.

“That the problem with our educational system,” complained George Carlin, “kids shouldn’t be taught to read, they should be taught to question what they read.” What questions are you afraid to ask?

8. The Real World doesn’t exist. As John Mayer sang in the song No Such Thing, “I wanna run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs, ‘There’s no such thing as The Real World – it’s just a lie you’ve got to rise above.’” What lies are you afraid to call people out on?

9. Time doesn’t exist. If you don’t compartmentalize your life, you, become the SOURCE of time. And that’s when you realize that you always have heaps of time to do anything and everything you’ve ever wanted. Also, it depends on how you define your activities.

For example, people complain they don’t have time to meditate. But if you learn to approach every experience as a meditation, you’re never (not) meditating. I think if people sat down and actually mapped out their energy investments, they’d be astonished at how out of whack their priorities were. How would your daily life be different if you accepted yourself as the source of time?

10. Warm calls don’t exist. Stop kidding yourself. If the prospect doesn’t know you and isn’t expecting you, it’s cold. Even if she DOES know you and IS expecting you, if she’s not your friend, it’s cold.

People buy people first. Grasp this distinction and you will make more sales. When was the last time you were excited to answer a phone call from a caller ID you didn’t recognize?

11. Waste doesn’t exist. Everything is valuable. Everything is a contribution. Everything is productive to something. Everyone you encounter is your mentor. Think this way and you’ll never feel wasteful again. What's your recycling plan?

12. Work/Life Balance doesn’t exist. Balance is for ballerinas. You need to focus on alignment. That means gathering all the components of your life and asking them to join hands in a circle around your cherished values, singing and dancing and rejoicing for eternity.

Once that’s accomplished, an occasional break in the balance isn’t won’t be able to hurt you. As long as you maintain a well-diversified portfolio of happiness, you’ll be fine. What is out of alignment?

13. Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. Writing is an extension of thinking. You don’t have Writer’s Block; you have Thinker’s Block. Stop blaming your lack of creativity and productivity on some evil, external force of resistance over which you have zero control.

It’s you. It’s always you. When was the last time you took time to just think?

REMEMBER: No matter how many lies you’ve been conditioned to believe, certain things don’t (really) exist.

Perhaps you should make a list of your own.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s on your list of things that don’t exist?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are You Wasting Your Hard Earned Money Chasing After These 13 Things That Don’t Really Exist?

Have you ever found yourself arguing about whether or not something (really) existed?

I don’t mean existential ideas like God or space or reality.

I’m talking about simple, basic things we encounter every day. Do they (really) exist, or has the steady stream of illusions veiled the truth from us?

GOOD NEWS: I’m here to set the record straight.

Below is a list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place. Read them at your own peril…

1. “A quick question” doesn’t exist. An example of a quick question is, “Are you gonna finish that rocky mountain oyster omelet?” Other than that, this phrase is a disguise used by people who want to pick you brain, suck your blood and steal your time. Charge them or walk away. What is this person REALLY asking you?

2. Accidents don’t exist. Everything that’s ever happened, everything that’s currently happening and everything that will happen, is exactly what’s supposed to happen. Even if it wasn’t part of your nice little plan. Accept what is and move on. Is this something that might happen whether you worry about it or not?

3. Behavior modification doesn’t exist. You can’t make anybody change. No matter how many books you read. No matter how hard you try, the other person has to WANT to change. And even then, you can only do so much. Whom are you trying to make just like you?

4. Business Ethics doesn’t exist. In John Maxwell’s There’s No Such Thing As Business Ethics, he explains that there’s only one rule when making decisions. The singular idea agreed upon by every major religion in the world. “Do unto others as you’d have them to do you.” I agree with John. Ethics of life and ethics of business are the same. How will you translate your personal values into your professional world?

5. Cinderella doesn’t exist. There’s no Prince Charming. There’s no Glass Slipper. Unjust oppression doesn’t always receive triumphant rewards. That’s not the way it works in real life. That’s why they call it a fairy tale. Are you willing to work harder than ever before and watch 90% of that work go unnoticed and underappreciated?

6. Competition doesn’t exist. It’s merely a projection of your scarcity mentality. The pie is enormous. You just need the right fork. Change your silverware or change your career. Are you making war on the competition or making love to the customer?

7. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no. And without approaching failure this way, you’ll get swept away in the undertow of personal drama. Which accomplishes nothing but granting your emotions an all-day pass for disturbing your ability to execute. Will you fail like you mean it?

8. Good or bad days exist. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Everything is neutral until painted with the meaning you ascribe to it. Are you having a bad day or a bad attitude?

9. Gurus don’t exist. If you meet a guru who calls himself a guru, run back down the mountain. He’s not a guru. If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t. Who’s teaching you?

10. "It just happened" doesn’t exist. No, it didn’t. Nothing just happens. Things happen because a series of decisions were made by somebody, and that’s what caused things to happen. Do you take responsibility for the consequences of your choices?

11. Limits don’t exist. For example, when people complain that they’re “not creative.” I don't buy that. Everyone is creative. The difference is, not everyone knows how to explode the barriers set in place by a lifetime of conditioning to express that creativity. Here’s the reality: As long as you don’t violate the scientific laws of thermodynamics, pretty much anything is possible. Probable, maybe not. But possible, absolutely. Are you bound and limited by the thoughts that other have formulated for you?

12. Luck doesn’t exist. Serendipity is, in fact, a strategy. It’s not an accident. It’s not luck. It’s working your ass off. It’s putting yourself in the way of success. It’s making the world say yes to you by engaging your Yes Muscle and becoming a more yessable person. It’s increasing the probability of success by making yourself more successable. It’s creating an ongoing, market-wide hunger for you. It’s victory through unwavering vigilance to your vision. It’s being at the right place at the right time by being in a lot of place. How could you become the luckiest person you know?

13. Mistakes don’t exist. In Steven Mitchell’s Second Book of the Tao, he explains, “There are no mistakes in the universe. What happened is what should have happened; there’s no other possibility. And anyone who understands that everything happens as exactly the right time will be untouched by sorrow and joy.” How would you career be different if you viewed nothing as a mistake?

FINAL NOTE: This is only half of the list. Stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation of things that don’t exist.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s on your list of things that don’t exist?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Are You Sculpting These Four Muscles of Approachable Leaders?

1. Energy is the best attractor. People might not remember what you said – but they’ll never forget how your energy made them feel.

That’s what brings them back for more of you. That’s what causes them to tell everyone they know about you. Whether or not your forcefield of aliveness helped them fall in love with themselves. How do you make people feel essential?

2. Execution is the great qualifier. If you’re not sure whether or not to trust someone, just ask one question: “What measurable success has this person achieved?” That should weed out the talkers from the doers. At the same time, remember that your prospects are probably asking the same question about you.

Your challenge is to reinforce a positive pattern of execution. To present a timeline of credibility. Otherwise you’ll appear about as qualified as George W. Bush. What have you executed this week?

3. Inauthenticity is the great deal-breaker. Because it taints everything else you do. I don’t care how smart, good-looking or successful you are. If you’re bullshitting the world, eventually they’re going to smell it. Especially if you “try” to be authentic.

Doesn’t work that way. Authenticity is like pregnancy: You either are or you aren’t. Sure, it’s not as obvious to onlookers as carrying a child. But time has this funny way of either exposing you or extolling you. May as well go with the real version. What do you rationalize as authenticity?

4. Trust is the great closer. Failure to achieve believability is a widespread challenge. Which is understandable. People are afraid of everything, so they trust nothing. The goal is to teach people to trust and believe in you again so they’re not afraid of you anymore.

After all: The more people trust IN you, the more they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you. And if you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t people don’t trust me?” perhaps it’s time to ask the bigger question, “Am I trustable?”

Here’s a helpful guide to become more trustable than Oprah without resorting to brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks. What are the signs that you haven’t earned someone’s trust yet?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What makes you an approachable leader?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," 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.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Do You Embody These 12 Attributes of Utterly Unequalable People?

Every Thanksgiving, I take a Gratitude Walk.

Usually through Forest Park in St. Louis. It’s spectacularly crunchy and colorful in the fall.

This past year, I took a break about halfway through my walk for a brief sitting meditation on a nearby park bench. As I sat down, I noticed a gold plate fastened to the top. It read the following:

“In memory of Benjamin Harris Wells. The world will not see his equal.”

Don’t you just want to meet that guy? Just to see what he was like?

I even googled him, but couldn’t track anyone down. Oh well.

STILL, HERE’S THE QUESTION: Will the world ever see YOUR equal?

While you’re alive, after you’re dead? Will another person come along that does what you do?

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea. And after a great deal of reflection upon the people I’ve encounterd in my life that I’d consider to be “unequalable individuals,” I’ve written a collection of practices to help you become utterly unequalable yourself.

1. Allow yourself to be known. To become unequalable, you absolutely CANNOT be afraid of bigness. Otherwise the selfhood on which you stand will not support the platform that being known requires. What are three places in your life that you are playing small instead of playing big?

2. Be circumferenceless in your compassionate with yourself. Give yourself a fighting chance. Remember: You are an ongoing do-it-yourself project. Are you listening to the way you speak to yourself when you make mistakes?

3. Be enough now. Because nothing will ever make you happy in the future. As I learned from Anthony DeMello, “There is not a single moment in your life when you do not have everything you need to be happy.” Try this: Once a day, recite the following mantra as you breathe deeply, “I am enough, I have enough and I do enough.”

Sound cheesy? You’re right – it is. And the reason I’ve been reciting that meditation every morning for five years is simple: Because it works. After all, you can’t be unequalable if you’re not “enough.” What do you say to yourself every day?

4. Be not become perpendicular of your Personal Constitution. The word “constitution” derives from the Latin constitutio, or, “ordinance.” Therefore: Your constitution is the composition and condition of your character. Your constitution is the established arrangement of your non-negotiables. Your constitution is the system of fundamental values governing your behavior.

And, your constitution is the aggregate of personal characteristics comprising your foundation. The best part is: It’s a living document. It’s amenable. And as you grow and develop personally and professionally, various elements of your Personal Constitution reserve the right to modify. Have you found a good place to practice your values?

5. Being honest isn’t enough. The other half of the equation is being courageous and vulnerable enough to admit when you’re full of shit. Remember: Being true rarely means being comfortable. Take your pick. Comfort is rarely a constant in the equation for success. How many times you step out of your comfort zone this week?

6. Choose wisely whom you allow to influence you. There are certain people whose energies you DO NOT want to infiltrate your reality. My mind will not be invaded, you say to yourself. Keep your distance from people whose sole function is to bring noise to your head.

Release those who impede you, drag you downward or take away from what you could have been. Instead, make room for the relationships that matter. Remember: Saying no strengthens character. Are you being fair to yourself by continuing this relationship?

7. Don’t become locked in your posture. Rigidity is the great ruiner. Instead, exert flexibility when the unexpected enters and focus on the fulcrum of the possible. That’s what my yoga instructor constantly reminds us, “Focus on your best effort for today – whatever that feels and looks like to you.” How flexible are you?

8. Make sense of the world in ways others cannot. This was a key ingredient to achieving success, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Putting orderliness to the chaos that surrounds you. Refining your ability to see on subtler levels, then translate what you’ve absorbed.

And, jolting people out of their assumptions, thus becoming the alarm clock they don’t realize they desperately need. That’s how you turn ordinary encounters into moments of instant reeducation. Do you refuse to lead an unexamined life?

9. Televise the indestructible fidelity of your character. Channel surfing will become non-existent. People won’t be able to take their eyes off you. You will become the example that penetrates the whole world. Are you spending time increasing your talent or increasing your character?

10. Find out what doesn’t look good on you so you know what NOT to wear. After all, success is just as much about knowing who you AREN’T and what you DON’T want. How are you defining the whitespace around yourself?

11. Use every challenge as a growth spurt. As long as you ask yourself questions like: “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” “What is the opportunity for growth in this loss?” and “What universal principles of growth or change can you distill from this experience that can be passed on to others?”

Remember: Use every situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve, not to beat yourself up. Ultimately, the goal is create the best possible circumstance in which your growth will be supported, enhanced and fulfilled. Regardless of the challenge. Now that you’ve experienced this challenge, what else does this make possible?

12. Commit yourself to a path you believe in. Especially the path that chose YOU, not the other way around. That’s how it works: Paths choose walkers. The next step is to create a mental picture of the life you want to live while navigating that path. Literally. Become a master of creative visualization. (I suggest you read everything ever written by Shakti Gawain.)

Also, to reinforce your commitment to that path, consider making a vision board. Post images of the people, experiences, things and realities you would like to experience along this path. Look at it everyday. You’ll discover that like a camera, your life develops that which is focused upon. What path has your soul chosen for your learning process?

REMEMBER: You are the agent of your own future.

Within reason, ability and the laws of thermodynamics, you can achieve (pretty much) anything you’re willing to pay the price for.

So, if you’re wondering how long it will take to become an unequalable person, it’s hard to tell.

If I had to guess, I’d say, approximately, the rest of your life.

But who knows?

Maybe someday a park will dedicate a bench to you.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

6 Ways Make Yourself into Human Lightning Rod of Creativity – Without Scorching Your Skull or Frying Your Fro

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime are 1 in 6,250.

I like those odds.

In fact, I believe that’s the BIGGEST secret to a successful creative practice.

Making yourself more strikeable.

I first learned about this concept from my pal, Don The Idea Guy. Possessing creative powers beyond those of mere mortals, Don rescues those in need of innovative ideas through his brainstorming sessions, articles, websites, books and presentation. He’s been interviewed by the New York Times, quoted in FastCompany, and served as the first president of the International Idea Trade Association.

When asked about how to become more strikeable, he wrote:

“Waiting for inspiration? Puh-leeeze. You may as well wait for lightning to strike. As a matter of fact, you've probably heard a flash of brilliance described that way – as a lightning strike. And the worst offenders of this ‘wait-and-see’ approach to inspiration are the people who've experienced a flash of insight in the past.”

“And I'm not saying the occasional lightning strike doesn't happen,” said Don, “I'm just saying the odds are against it.”

The secret, then, of making yourself more strikeable, is to make yourself into a human lightning rod.

“Lightning rods provide an easy path for creativity to find its way to your brain, but you gotta be holding them – using them – in order for the creative lightning to strike YOU instead of dissipating harmlessly into the ground,” explained Don.

Here is a collection of practices for making yourself more strikeable:

1. Make room. Often times the problem of a creative mind is not the lack of ideas, but an over abundance, says Don. “There are so many ideas swimming around in your noggin that you don't know which one to act upon first. It can get congested up there, and if you don't find a release valve your brain can get more clogged than a summer sinus infection.”

Your challenge is simple: Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. You memory is a moron. Don’t depend on it. Get every idea down as soon as it comes to you. Don’t judge whether or not it’s good. Just get it down. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. And you can’t use what you can’t find.

2. Position yourself to be struck. The U.S. National Weather Service also reported that out of the thousand people that are injured by lightning each year (oddly enough, most of whom live in Florida, aka, “The Lightning Capital of the World”), one third of all injuries occur during work, another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities, and the last third occurs in diverse situations, including injuries to those inside buildings.

Therefore: The secret is putting yourself in the best possible position for lightning to strike. After all, you can’t expect to be zapped while sitting on your couch every day. Now, I’m not suggesting you relocate to Florida. But getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your work.

You GET ideas, as the raw materials for your work are everywhere. You SHARE ideas, as you bounce them off other for feedback. You ROUND OUT ideas, as new experiences add new dimensions to existing thoughts. Remember: Real art can’t be created in a vacuum.

3. Become idea safe. www.StruckByLightning.org is a Massachusetts-based non-profit corporation that promotes lightning safety. Their mascot, Leo the Lightning Lion, says that prevention is key. “No place outside is safe in a thunderstorm,” he said. Now, he reminds kids and adults alike of this truth with a variety of memorable slogans. So, what I’ve done is flipped each one with a challenge question as it pertains to becoming more strikeable:

• “When thunder roars, go indoors!” What are the signs of a brewing creative storm, and how do you respond to them?

• “Don’t be lame, end the game!” Are you quitting too early during your creative sessions, thus preventing the best ideas from surfacing?

• “Don’t be a fool, get out of the pool!” How often are you swimming in your pool of ideas?

• “Use your brain, don’t wait for the rain!” Are you waiting on inspiration or depending on discipline?

4. Creativity is a function of awareness. In the Wikipedia entry about lightning,, I also discovered this piece of trivia: “Pine trees usually stand taller than other species, which also makes them a likely target for lightning strikes. Additionally, factors that lead to its being targeted include: High resin content, loftiness, and its needles that lend themselves to a high electrical discharge during a thunderstorm.”

Pine trees know what they’re doing. They have all the characteristics of a strikeable plant. The question is: What attributes do YOU embody that make you a likely target? Don suggests awareness as the essential element:

“I used to believe my primary source for attracting creative ideas was curiosity. It turns out that attribute most of my idea generation to awareness – simply being attuned to what's happening around me and absorbing these influences and seeds of ideas into my mind.”

Therefore: Think of your brain as a magnet. Invite innovative influences as metal shavings, collect enough metal and you can create a helluva lightning rod.

5. Discard evaluative tendencies. Treat every idea, every experience and every thought with deep democracy. I learned this practice from one of the coolest books ever written on creativity, Unintentional Music. Author Layne Arye suggests we value everything whether it was intended or not. “Let all the different parts of the idea express themselves and influence your creative decisions. Be deeply democratic by listening to – and valuing – all parts.”

Therefore: Stop telling yourself, “Well, if I don’t remember it when I get home, it couldn’t have been that important.” That, right there, is the fatal flaw. That, right there, is where most people go wrong. If you make an appraisal of your idea before it’s even written down, you’re assuming and operating on the assumption that how good or bad an idea is, (especially in the early stages of that idea’s development), actually matters.

It doesn’t. Good or bad means NOTHING. Assigning value to your ideas before they’ve been brainstormed, explored and expanded is a creative block. This causes you to fall victim to premature cognitive commitment, which prevents your idea from blossoming into its truest and strongest potential.

The idea isn’t “good.” The idea isn’t “bad.” The idea simply IS. That’s it. No adjectives allowed. Stop judging. Stop evaluating. Stop appraising. Write everything down, as soon as it enters into your brain. Don’t worry how amazing, how ridiculous or how insane the idea sounds, just get it down.

6. Learn to strike out. In my research on lightning, the most fascinating story was that of Roy Cleveland Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983). He was a U.S. Park Ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Between 1942 and 1977, Sullivan was hit by lightning on SEVEN different occasions – and survived all of them.

Naturally, he earned the nickname “Human Lightning Conductor” and “Human Lightning Rod.” Sullivan is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the person being struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being. Interestingly, each of Sullivan’s lightning strikes is documented.

As you read these, consider the implications in terms of strikeabilty and how you might repeat parallel circumstances in your own creative practice. Again, each item is flipped with a challenge question:

• April 1942. He was hiding from a thunderstorm in a fire lookout tower. Are you standing at the highest point of visibility to expose yourself to the best creative light?

• July 1969. The lightning first hit nearby trees and was deflected into the open window. Whose creativity could you deflect into your atmosphere just by being around them more often?

• September 1970. While in his front yard, the lightning hit a nearby power transformer and then jumped to his left shoulder, searing it. What three “hot spots” – coffee shops, art museums, strip clubs – could you stand in proximity of to maximize strikeabilty?

• March 1972. Struck while working inside a ranger station in Shenandoah National Park. It set his hair on fire. When was the last time you set your creativity on fire? What kindling steps led to that? How could you repeat them?

• August 1973. While he was out on patrol in the park, Sullivan saw a storm cloud forming and drove away quickly, even though the cloud, he said later, seemed to be following him. Soon after, a lightning bolt struck him. What affirmations could you recite each morning that would attract lightning into your atmosphere?

• June 1976. He saw a cloud, thought that it was following him, tried to run away, but was struck anyway. What if, instead of running from the lightning, you partnered with it?

• June 25, 1977. Sullivan was fishing in a freshwater pool when he was struck the seventh time. The lightning hit the top of his head, singeing his hair, and traveled down burning his chest and stomach. What conductor could you immerse yourself in for an extended period of time to increase the chances of being struck?

Sadly, Roy Sullivan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the stomach at the age of 71.

Upon hearing the sad news, his friends and family members were “shocked."

REMEMBER: Lightning strikes twice, three times and ALL the time if you learn how to turn yourself into a lightning rod.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

7 Unavoidable Conclusions that Will Change the Face of Your Career Forever – Or at Least Disturb the Hell out of You

1. Coincidence is the wailing whisper of truth. Because there is no coincidence. The Universe just packaged it that way to grab your attention. Otherwise you never would have noticed it.

What’s more, coincidence is NOT “God’s way of remaining anonymous.” We all know who did it. We all know who’s at work. And it isn’t us. Coincidence is God’s nametag. Is it sticking to you?

2. Complacency is the constant capsizer of relationships. Too comfortable. Too happy. Too perfect. This is not good. As my aunt Vicki likes to remind me, “When everything’s perfect, someone isn’t being honest.”

Now, I’m not saying you should fight all the time. But if nothing’s ever wrong, something’s wrong. Do you really need to watch another episode of Law & Order, or do you need to sit down a have a conversation with the person you love more than anything and spill your heavy heart?

3. Deafness is the ultimate betrayal of self. Your body will never lie to you. TRUTH is the only language it knows. And a like a car, it’s always speaking to you. The question is: Will you listen? Sadly, most people don’t. At least, not until they end up in the hospital or at the pharmacy counter.

And the reality is, they don’t need another pill – they need a hearing aid. Remember: If you’re not listening to your body, you’re a putz. What are you turning a dangerously deaf ear to?

4. Discomfort is the ultimate activator of action. If you’re comfortable, I doubt you’re moving. And if you’re not moving, I doubt you’re making money. The hard part is, sometimes it takes a swift kick to the crotch to get your off your butt.

That’s why it’s invaluable to surround yourself with people who will consistency challenge, inspire and poke you. People that will call you out. People that you can’t hide in the presence of. And people that will tell you when you’re full of crap.

Remember: The more uncomfortable you’re willing to make yourself, the easier it becomes to make a name FOR yourself. Where in your life are you too comfortable?

5. Emotion is the unbreakable dam of reason. Now, that doesn’t mean ZERO emotion. We’re not Vulcans. But an awareness of the power of emotions is necessary to successful navigate the turbulent waters of communication.

Remember: The word “emotion” comes from the same Latin derivative as “disturb.” When you are emotionally involved in conversation, how well do you communicate?

6. Forgiveness is the real fundraiser of freedom. Here’s a fun and effective way to practice forgiveness on a micro level: Respond positively to unnecessary apologies from strangers. Especially when there’s absolutely no need to apologize.

For example, if the woman in front of you in line is waiting for her debit card to go through and she looks back at you with a rushed posture and says, “Sorry…” (as if she just committed the most heinous of all retail atrocities) just smile back, look her straight in the eyes and say, “I forgive you.”

Upon absorbing the ridiculousness of such a statement, she’ll realize that there was no need to apologize in the first place. And who knows? Maybe she’ll start to forgive herself too. I practice this all the time, and it’s one of the great joys in my life – waking people up.

Remember: When you learn to forgive yourself first – then forgive others in advance – freedom will have no choice but to invite itself into your life. Whom do you need to forgive?

7. Rebirth is the inevitable outgrowth of heartbreak. With the requisite amount of awareness and a solid support structure, you can easily convert your current heartbreak into a heartbreathrough. Put an end to the pity party and take the reins on your resurrection opportunity by asking the crucial question:

“Now that I’ve experienced this, what else does this make possible?”

Shift your attitude to a mindset of leverage and you will come out alive stronger and better. How could you leverage your frustration in this situation as motivation to grow into more of the person you’ve always wanted to be?

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

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

7 Effective Approaches for Handling The Office Criticizer without Using the Fire Extinguisher

Depending on the situation, you might try any of the following Phrases that Payses to diffuse their negative energy:

1. “You may be correct.” This phrase diffuses the energy behind someone’s attack and avoids threatening the attacker. And by giving an impression of active agreement – not passive acquiescence – you avoid adding fuel to the fire. What’s more, “You may be right” validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you TOTALLY agree with her. But, it does make it easier for the other person to hear your side of the story by way of reciprocation.

2. “I agree with you.” Similarly, this phrase “agrees with thy adversary quickly,” as the scripture suggests. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement and aligns you with the other person. That way, you’re both on the same side. Which is how resistance dissipates. Which makes moving toward a solution flow a LOT smoother.

3. “What makes this so important to you?” This gem is especially effective when someone shoots down EVERY idea you suggest. It identifies a person's motives and challenges them to honesty examine their emotions, which, if they’ve lashed out at you, probably isn’t something they’ve done yet.

4. “I respect your opinion of my work.” My all-time favorite. Perfect for artists and creative professionals. Remember: If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not polarizing or pissing of at least SOME people, you’re doing something wrong. Likewise, if everybody loves your idea, it’s probably not that good of an idea. So, next time someone expresses a dislike for your work – especially in an attempt to fluster, insult or embarrass you – try saying this phrase.

5. “How exactly do you mean?” This responds directly to the attack instead of letting it pass unchallenged. Another variation is, “Can you give me a specific example?” Either way, have a paper and pen ready to take notes to demonstrate a willingness to listen and openness to feedback.

6. “You’re right.” Two of the most powerful words in the world. Also, two of the most beautiful words anyone will hear. This Safety Phrase surprises the attacker, short circuits their verbal violence loop and communicates the message that you’re not going to play by their rules. What’s more, it forces the other person to make a new move. Additionally, saying, “You’re right,” contains the following attributes:

a. It’s positively framed. Which redirects the conversation into a productive direction. And that can ONLY help achieve greater resolve.
b. It enters into someone else’s reality. Which demonstrates empathy. Which shows you’ve listened. Which advances the conversation into safer, more productive territory.
c. It increases someone’s pride. Which speaks to their self-esteem. Which makes them more confident about themselves. Which makes YOU feel better about YOUR self.
d. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement. Which reduces emotional distance and increases trust. And especially if someone’s really upset, getting her to trust you is your key goal.
e. It validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you’re TOTALLY agreeing with them. But, it makes them easier for them to (then) hear your side of the story.

7. Silence. Lastly, sometimes the best way to reverse the momentum of an overly aggressive or hostile person is to say nothing at all. To just shut up and let them vent. See, in many cases, that’s all they wanted: Someone to listen to them. To honor them. Or, in some cases, that’s all they needed: Someone to serve as a sounding board so they could hear how absurd their words actually were.

Of course, if none of these practices work, you can always grab the fire extinguisher, either for beatings or sprayings. It all depends on how tall the criticizer is.

Good luck.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Are You Making These Five Mistakes of Piss-Poor Execution?

My favorite scene in Steven King’s The Green Mile is when prisoner Eduard Delacroix and the Death Row guards rehearse their upcoming execution:

“Walking the Mile, walking the Green Mile ... I'm getting to my knees … I'm praying, praying … Lord is my shepherd and so forth and so on … I'm sorry for all the bad stuff I've done and people I've tramped on and I hope they forgive me ... and I'll never do it again, that's for sure …Walking the Mile … Walking the Green Mile … Still praying, still praying … Getting right with Jesus … Final requests … I want fried chicken with gravy on the taters, I want to take a dump in the warden’s hat … and I got to have Mae West sit on my lap because I'm one horny bastard! … Walking the Mile, Walking the Green Mile…

Classic.

But today we’re going to talk about a different kind of execution.

Entrepreneurial Execution.

No electricity required.

Wait. I take that back. Electricity is exactly what is required.

I’ve identified the five most prominent purveyors of piss-poor execution. As you explore this list, consider what’s standing in your way of turning thoughts into things and things into money.

1. Hesitation hinders execution. He who hesitates isn’t just lost – he’s COST. As in, opportunity cost. My suggestion is simple: Be more impatient. Now, this is a challenging paradigm shift for most of us because we’ve been conditioned to believe that patience is a virtue. Which it is. Just keep in mind: Impatience, when applied consciously, creatively and cautiously, isn’t just a virtue – it’s a victory.

Just go. Just DO stuff. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t wait until you’re old or smart enough. Don’t wait until you know HOW. If you wait too long, when the time comes to move, there will be no momentum left to execute. Ultimately, being impatient is about the willingness to look bad on the road to immortality. The courage to plunge forward planless. And the vulnerability to be an imperfectionist. How much money are you losing by being too patient?

2. Ambiguity assassinates execution. While a high tolerance for ambiguity IS necessary for entrepreneurial success, SOME clarity is helpful. Especially when you begin soliciting support and communicating your ideas to others. They won’t be able to help making your dream a reality if your ideas are ill thought out and scatterbrained.

Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” So, my next suggestion is to become an expert at entertaining your ideas. I’ve published a handy guide on how to entertain ideas for your reference. Remember: Ideas are your major source of income. Become a MASTER of entertaining those ideas.

Finally, remember this: All talkie and no walkie makes Jack a broke boy. That’s the epitome of piss-poor execution: Flappin’ them gums. And too many entrepreneurs use their mouths to murder their ability to execute. Be sure you balance your entertaining time with your DOING time. What is your conduit for creative clarity?

3. Inertia injures execution. The first step is to figure out what areas of your life are suffering from inertia. A crystal-clear window into this reality is to grab your list of New Years Resolutions … from two years ago. Honestly assess which ones have come to fruition, and which ones have fallen by the wayside.

Then, alter your trajectory by planting the seeds of movement. Here’s the easiest way how: Wake up one hour earlier. That’s it. ONE hour. Single greatest piece of advice I ever got. And I promise, you’ll be amazed at how much momentum that one hour activates for the rest of the day.

Next, figure out how you can you arrange your day so you become unstoppable. Continually ask yourself questions like, “Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?” and “Is this a highly valuable activity?” Finally, keep the momentum going by constantly asking, “What one step can I take (right now) to start moving forward to the execution of this idea?” These steps are surefire strategies for resisting injury by inertia. How will inertia emancipate your ability to execute?

4. Flub fights execution. Flub is one of my favorite words. It means, “to perform poorly or blunder.” Now, as fun as flub is to say, it’s also the purveyor of piss-poor execution. Here’s why: People assume flawlessness is possible. It’s not. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no.

And the problem is, once people fail, they freeze. Once people see a ghost, they’re always afraid of the dark. Little do they know that execution is like a motion-activated floodlight – the more you move, the clearer you see. Remember: Mistakes can be tranquilizers. Don’t become a prisoner of yesterday’s errors. Do you listen to the way you talk to yourself when you make mistakes?

5. Time tramples execution. You didn’t execute because you didn’t have enough time, right? Wrong. You didn’t execute because you didn’t have the right relationship WITH time. Check this out. In Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap, he shares a profound insight about developing a healthier relationship with time:

“Get yourself in harmony with the reality that YOU are the source of time. Put yourself on a diet of complete abstinence of complaining about time. This takes you out of the victim position. Then, when you stop complaining about time, you cease perpetrating the destructive myth that time is the persecutor and you are its victim.”

Hendricks’ philosophy changed my life. Forever. Based on the truth that expectation determines outcome, it challenged me to stop thinking time was “out there.” To take ownership and acknowledge that I was where time came from. His book also taught me this:

“Time will stop owning you if you claim time as yours and it will release its claim on you. Stop using time (or the lack thereof) as an excuse. Stop engaging in an ongoing wrestling match with time. And stop viewing time as some big, threatening pressure that is always about to overwhelm you. Once you understand that YOU are where time comes from, you have the power to make as much of it as you want.”

Time is your friend because you ARE time. How much time do you REALLY have, and how much will you execute because of that?

REMEMBER: Ideas are free; execution is priceless.

Whether you’re walking the Green Mile, or looking to make the green million, be on the lookout for these warning signs.

And I promise you won’t become a purveyor of piss-poor execution.

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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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Friday, December 11, 2009

6 Ways to Transform Your Next Interview into a Marketing Presentation for Yourself – Without Coming Off Like Tony Robbins

When you walk in the door for your next interview, just remember:

You’re not there to answer their questions.

You’re there to articulate your fabulousness.

You’re there to tell people what they need to hear to fall in love with you.

You’re there to make it impossible for the interviewer to escape your awesomeness.

IN SHORT: You’re there to deliver a marketing presentation for yourself.

Not literally, of course. Breaking out the flip chart might be a little heavy handed. Not to mention, those smelly markers might get you accidentally buzzed.

Instead, here’s a collection of practices for becoming more presentable:

1. Don’t over prepare. Study the organization. Review your notes. Google your interviewer. Eat breakfast. Do breathing exercises. Maybe listen to The Rocky Soundtrack in the car. Other than that, you don’t want to prepare TOO much. As my public speaking mentor William Jenkins always reminds me, “Your life is your preparation.”

Remember: What’s past is prologue. Go give that interviewer everything you’ve got. Use all that you’ve experienced up until this point to blow the doors of this mother. They won’t help but be taken over by your performance. What’s your interview preparation process?

2. Flip the focus. Steve Hughes, owner of Hit Your Stride, is a Presentation Coach and keynote speaker. He suggests that although your interview is (technically) a marketing presentation for yourself, nobody cares about you. The secret is flipping the focus. “The more THEY talk, the more they're going to like you,” Steve said.

“Just like a delivering a speech, make your audience (in this case, the interviewer and the company) the star of the interview. Turn it into a true dialogue, not a monologue. Nobody wants to hear you ramble on about yourself.” Ultimately, it’s about being future oriented.

Whether you’re giving a speech to a thousand people or being interviewed by the HR Director of a potential employer, remember this: Your past is what got you in the door – but THEIR future is what will keep you in the room. How can you flip the focus of this presentation?

3. Be funny early. Humor is the ONLY universal language. And people want to spend their workdays with people who make them smile. So, when you introduce it early in the interview, several advantages stack in your favor: You diffuse defensiveness, you relax the situation, you break down barriers, you soften the ground and you stimulate memory.

What’s more, funny means listening. Funny means approval. Funny means trust. Funny means attention. And funny means engagement. The secret is, everyone is funny. The challenge is tapping into your natural humor. In the book Throwing the Elephant: The Art of Managing Up, Stanley Bing suggests, “You don’t have to be particularly funny. The attempt to provide amusement is more important that the quality or validity of the amusement itself.”

Don’t make jokes – be funny. Huge difference. One is contrived; the other comes from your core. Pinpoint your natural funniness and share it early. How funny do people perceive you as being?

4. Don’t be shy about going on the offensive. My friend Shari Alexander is the owner of Presenting Matters and an Executive Speech Coach and Professional Communications Expert. She suggests you observe (not only) your own body language – but that of your interviewer too.

“Observe what sparks their posture. And don’t be afraid to say, ‘I noticed you reacted to my last statement by sitting back in your chair. Can you share what you’re thinking?’ This brings their truth to the surface AND pinpoints valuable insight about organization.”

For example, if your interviewer instantly crosses her arms at the mere mention of the word “Twitter,” that’s quite telling about her attitude towards social media. “If you don’t ask the follow-up questions after observing posture shifts,” Shari told me, “you won’t know the ugly truth until you’re already hired and in the middle of it.” Are you playing enough offense?

5. Be a mirror. In an interview with American Songwriter, Bruce Springsteen shared his theory on connecting with his fans, “The audience and the artist are valuable to one another as long as you can look out there and see yourself, and they look back and see themselves.”

Therefore: Your goal is to discover the CPI, or, Common Point of Interest between you and the interviewer. Within sixty seconds. After all, people like whom they ARE like. And conversation is about common ground.

In the same vain of getting your butt off the stage to stand on the same level as the audience, discovering the CPI immediately is secret to being a mirror during your interview. What questions will you ask to discover common ground?

6. Let your personal brand shine. “Interviewing is much deeper than showcasing a collection of skills or preparing great answers to questions you may never hear,” says my friend and career coach John Suarez of Referral Ready, LLC.

“It’s about celebrating your authentic self. The one that relates to the world on a human level AND professional level. The one that helped get you where you are now. The one that leaves a nonverbal impression no words can undo.”

Lesson learned: Don’t spend time all your preparing to be someone you’re not. Instead, dedicate yourself to becoming more of who you already are. How will you allow your distinct youness shine?

REMEMBER: It’s not a job interview – it’s a marketing presentation for yourself.

In summary, I’m reminded of one of George Carlin’s final interviews before passing away. He shared a fascinating insight about presentation and performance:

“Growing up in Harlem in the 1940’s, I attended Bishop Dubois Catholic School. And the best part about our academy was that the nuns never give out grades. Ever. And yet, Still, I managed to get all A’s. See, when I was the class clown in school, I got the only A’s that mattered: Their Attention, their Approval, their Admiration and their Applause."

In short: Presenting matters.

After all, to present is to give a gift.

The gift of YOU.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will your advance yourself?

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 Ways to Manufacture Your Own BIG Breaks as an Artist, Entrepreneur or Creative Professional – Even in a Recession

“I’m just waiting for my big break!”

Really? Well, I hope you’ve got a good book to read. Because with a passive attitude like that, you’ll be waiting a looooooooooooong time.

HERE’S THE REALITY: You can’t sit around waiting for your big break.

You’ve got to learn how to manufacture your own big breaks by making yourself more “breakable.”

Here’s how:

1. Define the word. The word break seems (almost) too simple to look up in the dictionary. Which is exactly why I looked it up. And I discovered a few fascinating insights about a word that we use every day. For example, the term “break” derives from the Old English brecan, which means, “to disclose.”

Interesting. Guess you can’t manufacture your own big break if you’re not sticking yourself out there. Secondly, the word break contains over one hundred definitions in the dictionary. I’ve pulled a selection of these to get your brain boiling, along with questions to challenge your thinking:

• To interrupt the regularity. Which of other people’s patterns are you willing to break to be noticed?
• To divide into smaller units or components. How many small breaks are you willing to manufacture so your big break becomes an inescapable likelihood?
• To run or dash toward something. Are you willing and able to move quickly on new opportunities before they pass you by and break someone else?
• To begin uttering a series of sounds. Do you have five difference versions and lengths of your pitch down pat, ready to go at a moment’s notice?
• To change abruptly into something else. What type of person will you need to become to handle the big break once you get it?
• To be admitted into. What price are you willing to pay to be granted admission into your chosen field?

Remember: Five letters notwithstanding, “break” is a BIG word. Learn it. Know it. Live it. What does “break” mean to you?

2. Accept that there ARE no big breaks. Only a progression of small breaks that nobody sees or cares about, the sum of which eventually carries enough weight to be noticed. A big break is nothing but a small break amplified by the right timing.

And that’s hard part: That nobody sees the 90%. The grunt work. The late nights. The extra hours. They only see that crucial 10%. The performance. The final piece. The end product. Which means that your 10% better be damn good, or else that 90% is going to feel like a big waste of time. Are you willing to manufacture a series of small breaks first?

3. Suck it up. In a an article with Wrestling Digest, WWE star Jeff Hardy’s best strategy for becoming more breakable was simple and powerful, “Just take the spectacular bump.” Now, keep in mind that Hardy was specifically referring to getting thrown out of the wrestling ring by his opponent and crashing down on a table in the audience. I’m not suggesting you do that. (Although, that WOULD be kind of cool...)

Rather, I urge you to embrace the metaphorical angle to Hardy’s comment: Take the spectacular bumps. Of rejection. Of failure. Of setbacks. It’s all part of the deal. If your perception of (and response to) failure were changed, what would you attempt to achieve?

4. Prepare to leverage. In January of 2003, CNN Headline News interviewed me about my first book, HELLO, my name is Scott. Unfortunately, I screwed up BIG time: I didn’t have an agenda for the segment. I never strategized how to convert the subsequent web traffic. And I didn’t consider requesting a clip of the interview for my blog.

As a result, that media spot was highly underleveraged. In fact, it pains me to even think about how many opportunities I missed because of that mistake. So, my best advice for you is to have your finger on the leverage button at all times. Because it’s not how big the interview was – it’s how far you can stretch it now. Now that you have this, what else does this make possible?

5. Expertise isn’t enough. In an article on www.ehow.com called, “How to Break into the Video Game Industry,” I learned a valuable lesson about networking as it relates to becoming more breakable.

“Any time you’re speaking with a video game professional, your passion for the industry can be your greatest asset your biggest downfall,” explained the editor.

“So, work hard to disprove that your interests start and stop with video games. Emphasizing your love of games, but also your ability to be social and personable, will help you stand out from the pool of candidates."

"Remember: Not every person who works for a video game company is a die-hard gamer. Be sensitive to that, and try not to freak anyone out with your vast knowledge of Final Fantasy lore, or Dungeons and Dragons trivia.”

Therefore: Even if you’re not a programmer, this is a helpful reminder to combine industry expertise with interpersonal skills. That way you have more to offer than just your brain. What else do you bring to the table besides skill?

6. Work at adjacent positions. Maybe you can’t secure the lead role. Or the opening act. Or top billing. That’s OK. Don’t allow short-term hardship to deflate you. Instead, see if you can secure a part-time spot, entry-level position or internship for a related capacity. Assistant, security guard, customer service, mail room, all of these are acceptable starting points.

The point is, if you’re only going to work part time, you may as well do so where you can be seen. Kind of hard to get your big break as a comedian working at Starbucks. For example, Nike employees, often get their big break at the retail level before ascending into the corporate sphere. And screenwriters often get their big break working as production assistants. Where could you put in your time?

7. Remember that you’re on display. Everything matters, everybody’s watching and everything’s a performance. And you never know who’s in your audience. So you better be good and you better be ready. That’s it. What do people think when they hear your uniqueness speak?

8. Longevity causes breaking. In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, John Mayer explained his philosophy about big breaks. Specifically, the (crucial) first three projects of any artist. “With your first album, you get their attention. With your second album, you earn your stripes. And with your third album, you blow them away.” What’s your “first three” game plan?

9. Find the catapults. Success leaves clues – all you have to do is listen. My suggestion is to ask your mentors, colleagues and other experienced professionals in your industry how their got their big break. Take notes. Look for patterns. Watch for lessons learned and mistakes made.

Caution: Just be sure to inquire with an attitude of curiosity and admiration, not a “can-you-give-me-the-name-of-that-producer-you-worked-with-in-2002-so-I-can-drop-your-name-and-get-my-big-break-too?” attitude. Bad manners. Bad karma. What existing path of success can you follow?

10. Go small first, but shine big when you’re there. If you follow the career trajectories of successful musicians, actors and other creative professionals, you’ll notice a pattern. Many of them took on smaller roles/gigs/markets in the beginning, just for the chance to shine.

And more often than not, if they excelled in their minimal role – and if their performance was so memorable and powerfully THEM – they ended up stealing the show. As a result, new opportunities came their way. So, don’t overlook the opportunity to serve as the opener for a larger act, volunteer contributor or pro-bono worker.

Playing a minor part alongside an already established professional or attaching your name to the periphery of a project is a powerful tool for boosting credibility. In short: Say yes more. Grab the opportunity and do the job impeccably. In what small role could you shine big?

11. Keep a watchful eye on industry information. What do successful people (who do what you want to be doing) read? Listen to? Subscribe to? First, find out by listening, asking or, if need be, sneaking into people’s dressing rooms, stealing their IPods and burning all of their podcasts onto your laptop.

Then, as you accumulate these resources, build in dedicated time each week to study and expand industry knowledge. It’s a perfect broad-based introduction to your chosen field and helpful fodder for showcasing industry expertise during conversations with key people. What’s your learning plan?

12. Never forget where you came from. Especially when you finally DO get your big break. Here’s why: Gratitude is the great gravitator. When you give thanks to the people and organizations responsible for assisting in your big breaks, they’re more likely to support your future efforts. Whom have you thanked TODAY for helping you get where you are?

REMEMBER: You can’t just wait around for your big break.

You’ve got to become breakable by helping success seek YOU out.

It’s about creating a pervasive atmosphere of opportunity so the big fish can jump right into your hands.

Execute these strategies and you’ll start manufacturing your own big breaks TODAY.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you breakable?

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

Nobody seeing YOUR name anywhere?

Bummer. Perhaps my monthly coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

4 Ways to Help People Love Themselves More When They’re With You

The best way to get people to fall love with you is to help them fall in love with themselves first.

After all, it's not about being the life of the party - it's about bringing other people TO life AT the party.

Here are four ways to do so:

1. Be aware of the weight you have on people. A common mistake made by unapproachable leaders is forgetting to regularly share what they’re thinking and feeling. This confusion over where the leader stands causes stress in their followers. After all, when people never know what’s on your mind, it drives them crazy.

And ultimately, the weight you have on them will become so heavy that your unpredictability will create apprehension in their process of approaching you.

Yikes.

What’s more, let’s talk about the peril of passion. Sure, passion is beautiful because it’s enthusiastic and contagious. But be careful. Part of being an approachable leader is cultivating an awareness of how your energy affects others. Take a campfire, for example. Yes, it provides warmth. Yes, it provides inspiration. Yes, it provides heat to cook your s’mores.

But it can also burn you (and others) pretty good. Does your intensity wear others out?

2. Don’t overwhelm people with your knowledge. In Rules of Thumb, Alan Webber identifies two types of leaders: The ones who compliment other people they work with for their ideas, and the one who use their incredible brainpower to point out the flaws in others’ thinking and shoot down their ideas.

Hopefully, you’re the former. Because the secret is to share your knowledge without showcasing it. To present your ideas without hurling them. As Bob Lefton says in Leadership Through People Skills, “Resist the urge to unload advice on people who haven’t asked for it and aren’t ready to listen to it.”

If you have a lot of ideas to convey, chunk them down into small clusters. By spacing ideas effectively, they’re easier to digest. Otherwise people feel intimidated by a barrage of knowledge, which reduces receptivity. How does the way you use your intelligence come across to the people who work with you?

3. Don’t ignore signs of discomfort in others. That means refraining from telling a lot of insignificant, endless stories that have zero relevance to anyone. This is not only uncomfortable, but also annoying. And it leaves a perception of vanity – not value – in the minds of others.

And yet, tons of people practice this without invitation and it drives others up the wall. So consumed with telling their story, they pay little or no attention to people’s irritation, impatience or disgust. Scott Adams said it best in Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook, “Be obliged to stop rambling if your listener shows signs of starvation, coma or rigor mortis.”

Otherwise, people will experience you as being too selfish to acknowledge anyone else’s right to talk. And the problem with his communication pattern is that it (1) Leaves people wondering why they bothered to listen in the first place, and (2) Lowers the likelihood that they’ll come up TO, feel relaxed AROUND, open up WITH, comfortable walk away FROM and confidently return TO you.

The secret is becoming more mindful of declining receptivity in the people around you. In addition to uncomfortable scanning their watch to see how much longer they have to listen to you, remember to watch for these warning signs: Flat assertions. Impatience. Silence. Nervousness. Superficial questioning. Unquestioning agreement. Each of these are grounded in discomfort and declining receptivity. How listenable are you perceived as being?

4. Identify and disarm silent dialogues. Assumptions. Annoyances. Preoccupations. Concerns. Questions. This is just a sampling of the communication barriers floating around in people’s heads. See, the big question people are asking themselves (as they experience you) is, “Is this person the same on the inside, as he seems on the outside?”

For your sake, I hope the answer is yes. And here’s why. In Parker Palmer’s fantastic book, A Hidden Wholeness, he addresses this perception gap:

“When the answer to that question is yes, we relax. We believe that we are in the presence of integrity and feel secure enough to invest ourselves in the relationship. When the answer to that question is no, we go on high alert. Not knowing who or what are dealing with and feeling unsafe, we hunker down into a psychological foxhole and withhold the investment of our energy, commitment and gifts.”

Wow. What existing defensiveness do you need to diffuse?

REMEMBER: We always fall in love with those who help us fall in love with ourselves.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you make this person light up like a Christmas tree?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve," 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.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!