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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, Part 2

Yesterday we explored five ways to write more honestly. Here are six more:

1. Listen to your body. If your words are felt in the body – your body mainly, but also the bodies of your readers – well done. That’s what honesty feels like. Pings. Blood flushes. Chills. Spine tingles. Neck hair stand-ups. Jaw drops. Eye wideners. Speechlessness. Laughs. ESPECIALLY laughs.

The point is: Emotion is the final arbiter of truth. And your body never lies to you. As my favorite fiction writer Tom Robbins advised, “You should always write with an erection. Even if you're a woman.” How else will you know if your work is honest?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Parker Palmer.

2. Write early in the morning. I do most of my writing between four and ten in the morning. Not because I’m a morning person. But because when the world is cold, dark and quiet, there’s nothing left to listen to but your truth.

Not your dogs. Not your phone. Not your email. Not your self-constructed crazybusy schedule. Not the voice of perfection. Not the echoes of people you’re trying to please. Not the endless demands of your readership. Not the scars of your past desperately trying to prevent your truth from surfacing. And non your ego scrambling to remind you that you’re not good enough to publish this thought.

Just quiet. Which means all you can hear is yourself. Which means there’s nothing or no one to stop you from bleeding your truth all over the page. Ultimately, when the sun isn’t up yet, you ALWAYS extract truth from the deepest parts of yourself. Superficiality not included. You unveil the truth that doesn’t require thinking. The truth that doesn’t require editing. You can’t edit blood anyway.

Remember: The darker it is outside, the more honest your thoughts are inside. As Henry Miller once wrote, “Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.” What time did you start writing today?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Dan Brown.

3. Go there. Good lord. Did he really just say that? Yes. Yes you did. THAT just happened. You went there. You took a chance and told the truth. Good for you. Keep it up. That’s the acid test: If you can picture your readers being moved, getting disturbed and squirming in their Snuggies.

If you can take them somewhere they didn’t want to go (or never thought they’d go) and make them grateful that you did by the time they got there. Remember: No reader will ever put a book down and say, “Screw this book. This author is just WAY too honest. I wonder if Law & Order is on…” Where are you willing to take your readers?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Brad Warner.

4. Ask penetrating questions. If you’ve ever read my work before, you know I ask a lot of questions. Always in italics, usually in the past tense, mainly at the end of paragraphs. That’s my writing style. And I do it for two reasons. First, I love questions. It’s not a punctuation mark; it’s a way of life. I have a collection of 7000 of them, to which I add new questions daily. What can I say: I’m incurably curious.

Second, I insert them into my material intentionally to challenge, inspire, penetrate, disturb and confront the reader. I want to toggle their brains. Ideally to the point of being pissed off. Not at ME, but pissed off at what the material elicited. I call this Strategic Urination. More on that later. How many questions did your last blog post ask?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Jeffrey Gitomer.

5. Commit to self-disclosure. My mentor once told me that good writing is like walking across a stage naked. Vulnerable. Open. Honest. Would YOUR readers use those adjectives to describe your work? If not, maybe it’s time to ditch your skivvies and show the world your giblets.

Take it from someone who wears a nametag 24-7: Self-disclosure is a healthy, beautiful and approachable thing. As long as you’re doing so to make a point – not just to get a laugh, or to use your readers as group therapy. TMI only applies if you don’t stick the landing and make your material actionable.

Remember: The more personal your writing is, the more your readers relate to it. How are you leveraging your vulnerabilities to earn readers’ trust?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: William Jenkins (my mentor).

6. Speak from experience. As hard as it is for me to admit it, reading thousands of books is (still) not experience. Knowledge, yes. Wisdom, no. Experience comes from doing. Your challenge is to speak from practice, not from pretension. Readers can tell the difference.

A writer who does nothing but quote a bunch of dead white guys isn’t an honest writer. A writer who interviews a bunch of successful people and then adds a few sentences of marginally insightful clichés at the end of each chapter isn’t a very honest writer.

And a writer who goes out of his way to use clumsy, twenty-five cent words to compensate for his sub-par creativity is not a very honest writer. Honesty is writing a book about the lessons you learned from the stupid mistakes you made and the actionable steps attached to them. Are you delivering knowledge or wisdom?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Larry Winget.

REMEMBER: Honest writing scares people.

Good. That’s your job. The Boogie Man’s got nothing on you.

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the advice of Tennessee Williams, who said, “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a bloody writer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day," 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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, Part 1

My definition of writing is as follows:

“Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.”

KEY WORDS: Vein, blood and truth.

As opposed to “brain, ink and bullshit.”

Let’s explore eleven ways to write more honestly – five today and six tomorrow.

1. First, honor yourself. All the techniques in the world won’t make you an honest writer if your attitude and intentions are misguided. So, before reading on, ask yourself this question: What is your compelling reason for wanting to write more honestly?

Because you want to make a difference? Because you want to disturb people? Because your boss told you that every time he reads one of your reports, his office morphs into a house of lies?

Why. Is. Honesty. Important.

Figure that out first. Then, try this: Be genuinely committed to honoring reality. Feel the existence of what you’ve been evading. Allow yourself to experience what you feel. Then write it down. Are you courageous enough to extend honor TO yourself so you can make a name FOR yourself?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Alan Weiss.

2. Morning Pages. First thing in the morning. Three pages. Non-stop. No editing. No deleting. Every single day. I absolutely guarantee that after two weeks, this exercise will transform your life in numerous ways.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way series, says it best:

“Morning Pages help you develop honesty in your relationship with your words. They free yourself from the tendency to edit, which pays off in REAL writing. They help you listen to yourself. They are gateways to inner and higher selves. They galvanize your days and make you acutely attuned to your personal feelings. They help you get down on the page whatever it is you are. And finally, they risk honesty on page, which make it easier to be honest elsewhere.”

Start them tomorrow. Never stop. Your writing will become increasingly bloody every day. Are you puking?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Julia Cameron.

3. Assess the risk. There’s an inverse relationship between risk and honesty. If what you’ve written isn’t very risky, odds are it isn’t very honesty either. Your willingness to be unpopular, make wave, rock boats – and, in general, piss people off – makes your writing bloodier.

Hey. You’re nobody until somebody hates you anyway. From now on, ask these three questions of everything you compose: “What do I risk in writing this material?” “Who would this piss off? and “On a scale of 1-10, how much is this material drenched in my own blood?” Are you assessing the risk of your material?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Curious George Carlin.

4. Be specific or don’t use it. Unspecified attribution is the hallmark of dishonest communication. It’s also my biggest pet peeve. Seriously, next time I read a book that says, “Studies show…” I’m going to tear the page out and slowly paper cut each of my nostrils until the living room rug is completely stained in red.

If your writing contains any of the following phrases, you are lying to your readers: Research proves. Scientists say. Psychologists report. Experts believe. They say. There’s an old story that says. I’ve heard. Most people agree. It is said that. Critics say. Statistics show. Somebody once said. The reviews say.

No, they don’t. They never did, never have and never will. Honesty comes from specificity. If you can’t back it up, shut up. Is your attribution specified?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Orvel Ray Wilson.

5. Trash the stats. Conversely, don’t go overboard on the specifics. Namely, statistics. It’s fine if you say, “In a March 2009 issue of FastCompany, Mark Vamos wrote…” But don’t overload people’s brains with numbers you’ve intentionally manipulated to satisfy your own agenda.

In the history of literature, no reader has ever thought to herself, “Wow, this writer sure speaks the truth, what with all those statistics and such.” Be careful. Statistics are usually lies. Of course, that’s only true 57% of the time. Are your percentages causing readers to puke?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Gay Hendricks.

REMEMBER: Honest writing scares people.

Good. That’s your job. The Boogie Man’s got nothing on you.

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the advice of Tennessee Williams, who said, “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.

That’s honest writing.

Stay tuned for the next six ways tomorrow.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a bloody writer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day," 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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

10 Ways to Make Your Organization More Joinable than a Megan Fox Fan Club

“Why isn’t anybody joining our organization?!”

That’s a frustrating question for any leader to ask.

Especially when meeting attendance is down, new membership is non-existent and the attitude of the board is bordering on apathetic.

Yikes.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. And to the dismay of your diabetic members, it doesn’t involve a bake sale.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Whether you’re an association, non-profit, church, club – or even a company – you can’t make anybody join you.

All you can do is increase the probability of new people joining your organization by making yourself, your members and your group more JOINABLE.

Let find out how:

1. Start with yourself. Think of the last three organizations, clubs or groups you joined. How easy were they to join? What was the deciding factor? What reservations did you have about joining? Sit down with your board.

Make a chart. Write the answers out. Look for commonalities. Then brainstorm three action items for each attribute of joinable organizations. Begin executing them today. Why do YOU join?

2. Take the first step. My friend Jim Henderson, author of Jim And Casper Go to Church, takes a counterintuitive stance on joining. “Are you getting people to join you, or are you trying to join them first?” In this instance, proactivity is the secret. Sticking yourself out there is the way.

After all, approachability is a two-way street. Your mission is to give people permission. I wonder if Megan Fox ever does that for her fan club. Who is just waiting to be asked to join what you’re doing?

3. Establish a bullshit-free atmosphere. Of course, you can’t completely accomplish this. A little bullshit always seeps through. The first secret is expectational clarity. Alerting prospective members upfront that honesty isn’t a value thrown around like a Nerf ball.

It’s a way of life. A practice. Honoring the truth, YOUR truth, and other people’s truths. The second secret is the willingness to call each other on – and open yourself to being called on – bullshit. It’s painful but profitable. Is the prerequisite for attending your organization’s meetings “roll your pant legs up”?

4. Help people feel a sense of self-achievement. In the book Leadership & Nursing Management, author Diane Huber explains, “Remember people’s psychological drive and primary need to accomplish things.” Next, make a list called, “Top Ten Things My Members Want to Accomplish.”

Then, match group behaviors to desires. Think about what, specifically, your group is providing to help your people accomplish those things. How are you helping your members put checkmarks next to their goals?

5. Sit people down. Shockingly enough, the best way to find out what people want is to ASK THEM. As the president of my local chapter of National Speakers Association, I’ve spent the last year doing just that: Collecting data. Asking questions. Having lunches. Kissing babies. Whatever it takes.

Then, during one-on-one meeting with members, past members or potential members, I’ve been asking the following questions: “What would bring you back?” and “When you used to come to meetings, what, specifically, were we providing you?”

You might also ask people to complete the following sentence three times: “As a member, I would come if (x).” Whichever approach you choose, here’s the reality: Regardless of current attendance or membership, there WAS a moment when people DID care, and DID come. As their leader, you have the power to create that again.

It’s simple: Pick up the phone, set up a lunch, sit down with someone, honestly ask for their help, staple your tongue to the roof of your mouth and take copious notes. Remember: People want to be in the mix with something meaningful. That’s how you drive faces back. How many lunches have you had this month with current, past or prospective members?

6. The speed of the response IS the response. Be actively responsive to inquiries about membership. Respond to member impatience with Phrases That Payses like “Right away,” “The best way to help you right now” and “How can I help you the most?”

This demonstrates urgency through your language and reinforces emotional reliability. Especially when people want answers NOW, or, in many cases, last Tuesday. Remember: When your words to promote insistence – but aren’t hurried – people become relaxed and ready to join. How quickly do you return calls?

7. Nourish their interests. Gil Wagner, founder of Yellow Tie International, had this to say on joinability:

“Emotionally, the association's philosophies must fit mine. I suggest an open-circle environment (both in welcoming new people and in welcoming their ideas), a giving spirit and a mission that feels right. Logically, the math must work out. The expected ROI must fit with my needs at the time.”

Remember: Belonging is a strong emotion – appeal to it. How are you speaking to the self-interest of future members?

8. Create opportunities to dive and dig deep. Superficiality works for about twenty minutes. After that, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter. The meat and potatoes. The tofu and veggies. Your mission is to make sure your meetings; websites and materials provide sustainable, practical and actionable value.

For example, as a board member of NSA/XY, I help facilitate discussions with challenging thought starters. At our recent meetup in Chicago, I took the lead on a conversation about content management/deployment by answering the question, “How do you direct your creative thinking to create value?”

That one question helped the group dive and dig deep into the heart of a key challenge. How does your group give its members conversational shovels?

9. Make it easy to contribute. People derive psychological satisfaction from doing so. Your goal is to (not only) make contribution easy – but to continually recognize people’s contributions as they come in. This cycle of affirmation encourages people to return with more keepers each time.

Be sure to create a question-friendly environment. Give new people space to share. Work on boosting your askability. And never forget to acknowledge the newbies. They might have a contribution the likes of which your organization has never seen. Whose voice are you unintentionally silencing?

10. Make it easy to withdraw. In my AIIM Leadership Council, one of the coolest benefits of joining is THV: Take Home Value. Here’s how it works: At the end of every meeting, each member fills out a one-page summary with her best “keepers” of the day. Then, our director emails a composite of ALL the keepers to us the following week. It’s invaluable for several reasons.

First, you get a chance to see how twelve people interpret the same ideas in different ways. Secondly, you don’t have to remember anything. Finally, when you see your own THV on the final composite, your sense of contribution is reaffirmed. I challenge you to incorporate this process of into your organization. Use a blog, ezine, Facebook group or Twitter account.

When you deliver take-home value, you win. Your members win. Your group wins. How are you making it easy for your members to make positive withdrawals from your organization?

REMEMBER: You can’t make anybody join you.

All you can do is increase the probability of new people joining your organization by making yourself, your members and your group more JOINABLE.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for my meeting at the Megan Fox Fan Club. Maybe tonight she'll muster the courage to approach me and say hi.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How joinable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Ask," 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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here! >

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

13 Ways to Find the Silver Lining in Just About Anything

“Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

John Milton wrote that line in his 1634 play, Comus.

Since then, the phrase “silver lining” has become the go-to cliché for any hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty.

Even though the meteorologically inclined would tell you that (actual) silver linings on storm clouds grow from atmospheric lead and sulfate contamination.

EITHER WAY, THE CHALLENGE IS: How can you train yourself to become an expert at finding the silver lining in every experience?

ANSWER: Just ask.

It’s not about positivity – it’s about leveragability.

Here’s a list of thirteen Silver Lining Questions you can ask yourself, your team or your customers on a daily basis to leverage EVERY experience in a positive light.

And, just for fun, I’ve paired each question with a song lyric by a different musician or band that wrote a song called “Silver Lining.” Apparently it’s a popular topic in the songwriting world too. Take this, Al Roker:

1. How can I use this situation as a gateway to learning something about myself, and then change for the better? Everyone, everything and every experience are your mentors. This too will shape you. But only if you give it permission to do so.

As Amanda Ghost sang, “Silver lining I bathe in your light, I'll always believe in your place in my life, silver lining I know that I'm right, I'll always believe in your right to shine.”

2. How could this positively affect me? This is a tough question to ask when the shit hits the fan. The challenge is partnering with your pain. Greeting discomfort with a welcoming heart. Saying yes to what is and inviting every experience to teach you.

As Beula sang, “You want it, silver lining shining for you, you got it, the dark cloud always waiting for you.”

3. How will this make me stronger and better? Than you used to be, that is. Not stronger and better than anyone else. The only person worth competing with is the earlier version of yourself. It’s not about being better than anyone – it’s about being better than you used to be.

As Cheryl Wheeler sang, “I'm gonna be your certain silver lining, I'm gonna be your lullaby at night, I'm gonna be your baby all right.”

4. How does this relate to my life purpose? Success is a function of your ability to be at peace with the following truth: Everything that happens to you is exactly what is supposed to happen to you. Even the detours are part of your path. May as well get used to it.

As Chet Baker sang, “Look for the silver lining, whenever a cloud appears in the blue remember somewhere the sun is shining, and so the right thing to do, is make it shine for you.”

5. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? This is the third most important question I ask myself on a daily basis. Incorporate it into your daily lexicon and you’ll become a master leverage artist. You’ll kill two stones with one bird every time.

As David Gray sang: “Take this silver lining, keep it in your own sweet head, shine it when the night is burning red, shine it in the twilight, shine it on the cold, cold ground, shine it till these walls come tumbling down.”

6. What can I learn from this? Something. Anything. Everything. As long as you're dedicated to lifelong learning. As long as you remain teachable. As long as you remind yourself that you’ve never figured it all out. What finish line?

As Jeff Beck sang, “And it's hi-ho silver lining, anywhere you go now, baby I see your sun is shining but I will make a fuss, though it's obvious.”

7. What idea does this give me? Ask this question five times a day and you will never cease to be inspired. Innovation will become your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lightning will strike the same place over and over again.

As Kate Voegele sang, “But so many people are looking to me, to be strong and to fight, but I'm just surviving, I may be weak but I'm never defeated, and I'll keep believing in clouds with that sweet silver lining.”

8. What is the hidden treasure inside this person that maybe others don’t see? It all depends on what you see when you see people. Plus, how long you’re willing to dig before unearthing the diamonds that lie beneath. Plus, how hard you’re willing to ignore other people’s misguided assumptions about this person.

As Reliant K sang, “Isn’t it nice? Isn't it nice to know that the lining is silver? Isn't it nice to know that we're golden?”

9. What is this an opportunity for? Growth? Connection? Service? Adventure? Instant reeducation? Reframe your problems. Reassess your situations. Convert them into something more productive.

As Rilo Kiley sang: “And I was your silver lining, as the story goes, I was your silver lining, but now I'm gold.”

10. What makes this person special? It’s your job to find it, affirm it, share it and reinforce it. And NOT because you want to make people feel “special” or “important” or “valued.” But because you want to make them feel essential. You want to honor their essence.

As The Bled sang, “This is what I found in the wake, the message was scratched on the face of his grave, it goes we will find the silver lining and make this our own.”

11. What potential, ability and wisdom do I see in this person? If you can’t learn at least one thing from everyone you meet, you’re not trying very hard. Everyone is your teacher. Everyone knows at least one thing you don’t. You just have to be willing to staple your tongue to your mouth to receive it.

As Upstanding Youth sang, “These are my lines to memorize, and make sure you believe them, cause things are bad and at the edge of every cloud's a black lining, but wait, she said, as she stood by my side, and how her face glows, the black lining's gone, it's silver.”

12. Where else can I use this? Attribute transferring. Morphological synthesizing. Metaphorical thinking. Analogical transmitting. It’s all the same. It’s all about learning to bring ideas from one field of knowledge into another. From Domain A to Domain Z.

As We Shot the Moon sang, “We can be found, we can be found, it's never too late to change, you came around, and you came around, a silver lining, found me again.”

13. Where is the gift in this? Abundance is a function of receptivity. For many people, this is hard. Because when you receive, you’re out of control. And people love to preserve their sense of control.

As Wino sang, “As I ride through life, I’m gonna keep on trying to keep the love and bring the hopes and dreams alive, on every dark cloud there is a silver lining, the gleaming fortress of spirit, it will shine!”

REMEMBER: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not very creative.

Every side is the bright side. Train yourself to treat every experience with deep democracy. I challenge you to ask yourself, your team and your customers these questions to find the silver lining in every experience.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s starting to rain outside.

I need to go out and play before it stops.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What color are your clouds?

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
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!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Watch Scott Write -- 1.18.10



People often ask me about my writing process.

So, instead of trying to explain it, I thought I'd just show it.

This is the first in a series of writing sessions (4-hour time lapse down to 9 minutes!) of my unparalleled content generation, content management and content deployment systems.

Episode 1 -- 1.18.10
Soundtrack -- "After" by dZihan & Kamien from "Freaks & Icons."

Watch the playlist @ www.WatchScottWrite.com!

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

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "29 Pieces of Simple, Easy Advice That Will Change Your Business Forever," 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

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Have You Had these Seven Small Business Epiphanies Yet?

1. People are classrooms. They contain volumes. And as such, deserve to be treated with deep democracy. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you have the urge to “accidentally” push them out of the fourteenth story window of your office.

Go out of your way to experience everybody as your mentor. As Emerson reminds us, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.” As Ginsberg reminds us, “You don’t have to like them to learn from them.” How could you morph this person into a professor?

2. Problems are messages. The word “problem” derives from the Greek term, proballein, which means, “to throw forward.” Interesting. Sounds like the challenge is keeping your receptive capabilities open enough to see what the problem points to.

Three helpful questions to ask are: Is this particular problem part of a larger problem? What does this problem tell me about the larger picture? And what am I pretending not to know about my role in the problem? Understand: This problem is a message, and it’s your job to reply in a timely fashion.

Like a first date with a girl, you don’t want to keep it waiting. What if, overnight, a miracle occurred, and you woke up tomorrow morning and the problem was solved – what would be the first thing you would notice?

3. Questions are catapults. Lord of the Rings style. Launching your curious butt over the wall of uncertainty, plunging straight into the heart of understanding. And the cool part is: Once a question has been asked, it’s neurologically impossible for a human brain (not) to begin answering it.

This fact is especially powerful during a meeting, for those of you unfortunate enough to attend them regularly. Ultimately, people sitting around the table can pretend they didn’t just hear you. But their efforts are futile. A question asked is a brain toggled. And like a bell that can’t be unrung – once you send your question out there, there’s no turning back. Truth or bust. Where do you want to take people with your questions?

4. Rants are goldmines. In moments of unbridled emotion, unexpected anger and unimpeded passion, truth surfaces like a fart in a bubble bath. So, next time you feel a rant coming on, let ‘er rip. Try not to avert your ears. (Or your nose, for that matter.) Instead, spy on yourself as you rant.

And like the spontaneous bedtime story you continue to tell to your kids after they fall asleep just to see how it turns out, keep ranting. Then write everything down. Then organize your rants in an easily accessible way. You never know: You might say something good. Even better, you might say something bad. When was the last time went on a good rant?

5. Shortcuts are mirages. We just think they’re real because they’re everywhere. Stupid instant gratification culture. Like I tell my audience members: Learn to love and leverage the longcut. Shortcuts are stressful, expensive and time intensive. Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea.

Stop taking them just to impress yourself. Instead, learn the chords. Take the long cut. Work your face off. Develop bottomless patience. That’s where the true oasis awaits. Will this choice bring your long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?

6. Transitions are teachers. My friend Ria from My Mommy Manual recently reminded me that when you undergo periods of personal transformation, it’s crucial to examine the new and different types of things you attract into your life. People. Ideas. Situations. Thoughts. Attitudes. Experiences. Whatever shows up in your life is your fault. Outer represents inner. You are the result of yourself.

And the trick is twofold: (1) Practicing enough self-awareness to recognize that these new things are supposed to be teaching you; and (2) Maintaining a teachable, coachable attitude to convert those new things into lifelong lessons. If the current phase of your life were a how-to book, what would it be called?

7. Values are navigators. Maps and compasses are for sailors and boy scouts. As long as you have enough self-awareness to ask, “If I were me, what would I do in this situation?” you’ll get where you’re supposed to go. That’s how you chart your course. That’s how you traverse turbulent waters.

By knowing yourself SO well that you could memorialize your non-negotiable decision making patterns to the point of repeatability. Do that, and I promise you’ll discover land. What if you started wearing a bracelet that read, “WWID?”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What epiphany will you have this week?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "23 Ways to Bring More of Yourself to Any Situation," 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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NametagTV: Executing Exquisitely

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

6 Ways to Remember Who the Heck You Are

Today is day 3,367 of wearing a nametag 24-7.

That’s going on ten years, just in case you were doing the math.

Anyway, while drinking tea at Starbucks yesterday afternoon when I should have been working, something occurred to me.

One of the most common reactions to my nametag is, and has always been, the following joke:

“Hey Scott, do you wear that nametag to remember who you are?”

I know. Everyone’s a comedian, right?

And the best part is, everybody thinks that’s, like, the funniest joke on the planet.

Now, admittedly, that is kind of funny. It still makes me chuckle, even after ten years.

But what’s fascinating is that it wasn’t until recently – 3,367 days later – that I finally realized the poignancy of that comment.

“Hey Scott, do you wear that nametag to remember who you are?”

Well, YEAH.

In fact, now that I think about it, that’s exactly why I wear a nametag every day.

Because sometimes it’s easy to forget who you are.

Sometimes you get SO wrapped in:

Who you think you are…
Who other people think you are…
Who other people want you to be…
Who you want other people to think you are….

…That you overlook your own truth.

This is not good for business. This is not good for anything.

What I’d like to share today is a series of practices to help you remember who you are.

The cool part is, you don’t need a nametag.

Only your willingness to get very honest with yourself paired with the knowledge that taking this step toward your truth will ultimately make your – and the lives of the people you touch and service – better.

1. Never miss your daily appointment with yourself. I attribute 83% of my overall life success to the following practice: Since the day I graduated college, I discipline myself to spend thirty to forty-fives minutes a day … just on me.

No matter how busy I get. No matter how tired I am. No matter whom I’m traveling with. Never miss it. My daily appointment combines breathing exercises, self-hypnosis/guided imagery, goal setting, journaling, affirmations and other personal development components.

It’s a ritual revisitation of my values, personal constitution, theory of the universe and belief system. Your challenge is to design a practice that suits your preferences, passions and schedule.

Remember: Don’t use your situation as an excuse to NOT do it. Doesn’t matter how you do it – only THAT you do it. When was the last time you took time, every day, just for you?

2. Act expressively, not instrumentally. On of my favorite writers, Parker Palmer, defines the distinction between these two modalities in his book The Active Life:

“Acting instrumentally means taking action as a means to an end or to achieve an outside goal. This diminishes your capacity to take the risks that yield growth. Acting expressively means taking action to express a conviction or inner truth. This produces outcomes that are true to the field of action.”

Your mission is to allow expression to flow unhindered and unencumbered. In whatever capacities work best for you. For example, I constantly ask myself, “What did you write today?” as helpful self-reminder. Do you have the discipline to act with unrelenting single-mindedness?

3. Remember who you AREN’T. Deciding what you want by the process of elimination is less threatening and intimidating. I call this “Defining the Whitespace.” In the same way that an illustrator examines the area around his drawing, your mission is to explore your boundaries. Where you end.

The red line that, if crossed, means that you are no longer you. Ultimately, by becoming aware of all the places in your life in which you’re NOT present – and by becoming aware of how you inhibit and resist your natural state – you’ll come into greater truth about your identity. Who (aren’t) you?

4. Rely on your intuitive faculties. Sometimes remembering who you are means opening yourself to bring forth inner guidance that will help you understand yourself with greater clarity. This is easier said than done, of course. And in my experience, the best practice for doing so is to put yourself in situations that demand total presence.

Personally, I use yoga, writing, meditation and guitar playing. Find what works for you. The point is: Total presence allows you to stop and listen to the voice of your true self. Even if you don’t like what it has to say. You listen anyway.

After all, listening is a form loving. And as George Washington Carver once said, “There is nothing that will not reveal its secrets if you love it enough.” Who murdered your intuition?

5. Travel back in time. Kids rarely forget who they are because they don’t have a “backstage” yet. Somewhere around adolescence, however, most people develop two separate selves: Their onstage performance (based on what their ego thinks they should be) and their backstage reality (based on what their core already IS and has always been).

In order to be the person on the outside that you are on the inside, think back to when you were a kid. Ask yourself:

*What have you (historically) done when you noticed stress in your life?
*What did you used to do for hours with absolutely concentration and enthusiasm that your mom had to drag you away from to come to dinner?

Assemble a preponderance of data. You’ll remind yourself who you are in no time at all. Where is your territory?

6. Stick yourself out there. George Carlin once said, “You’ve got to get up in front of people every day of your life or you’ll never learn who you are.” Also, as Sidney Jourard explained in The Transparent Self:

“No man can come to know himself except as a outcome of disclosing himself to another person. When a person has been able to disclose himself utterly to another person, he learns how to increase his contact with his real self, and he may then be better able to direct his destiny on the basis of knowledge.”

So, what you are shows up in everything you do. Your mission is to look for it AND be proud of it when you find it. Like Jeff Buckley sang in Mojo Pin, “Be not ashamed of what you are.” When you stick yourself out there, do you spy on yourself as you do so?

REMEMBER: It's easy to forget who you are.

Apply these ideas into your world and start remembering today!

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

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 Unconventional Insights Your Dumbass Boss Desperately Needs to Read

1. Do as I say AND as I do. Life your life of zero distinction between the two. Where the message you’re preaching is the dominant reality of your life. Where your footsteps are in line with your mouthsteps. And where your onstage performance is congruent with your backstage reality. In what areas of your life are you forgetting to partner with integrity?

2. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, but make sure that’s not the ONLY step you take. Otherwise it’s not a journey – it’s a game of hopscotch. The world doesn’t need another one-stepper. We need people who step, step daily and step firmly. Are you one of those people?

3. Don’t play it by ear – play it by BODY. Through the filter of your ego, your ears might betray you. But your body will never lie to. It is the final arbiter of truth. What’s more, if your body is your temple – and a temple is a house of God – doesn’t that mean listening to your body is listening to God? Just a thought. Are you listening where you need to be feeling?

4. Don’t march to the beat of a different drummer – BE the drum. Your music. Your tempo. Your rhythm. Your instrument. Your life. Accept nothing less. Be not cajoled into conformity. Be not conformed to some external template. Be not limited by the rules of a game you don’t even need to play. And be not oppressed by those who try to silence your individuality. How loud are you willing to let your Truth sing?

5. Fake it till you make it, but be sure you eventually get around to making it. Otherwise you’re still a faker. An amateur. A minor leaguer. A greenhorn. A wannabe. A never-GONNA-be. And that’s the problem: Some people spend so much time and money and energy faking it that they have no time left to (actually) make it. Are you (actually) successful, or just successful at looking like you’re successful?

6. If your hand sucks, don’t resign to playing the cards you're dealt. Be bold: Fold. Get up and go play another game. Quitting is winning in disguise. Quitting is the constant companion of winners. Especially if you do so at the right time. Are you being fair to yourself by continuing this relationship?

7. Off the top of your head usually means from the bottom of your heart. First thoughts, best thoughts. Don’t edit yourself. Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page. And if you find yourself saying, “Oh, but I couldn’t publish THAT!” then that’s exactly why you do it. What do you risk in presenting this material?

8. EVERY side is the bright side. Silver linings are for pessimists. Train yourself to treat every experience with deep democracy. Maintain an attitude of is quoque mos vultus mihi, which means, “This too will shape me.” Remember: Whatever you’re going through, the whole damn thing is shiny and brighter than you could ever imagine. What are you converting your problems into?

9. The early bird doesn’t get the worm – she gets the IDEAS. That’s why getting up early is critical to creativity: It’s quiet, it’s dark and most of the world is still asleep. That way, you have nothing to listen to but yourself. And it’s amazing what you hear. What time did you get up today?

10. You’re only as good as your last delivery. Disagree. You’re only as good as your ability to respond quickly and effectively to your last WRONG delivery. As such, part of your job is to calculate the cost of the customer having to process your mistake. Then, use that number as branding component of your service philosophy. And guarantee it. Customers won’t switch. How swiftly and economically do you recover?

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Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Supercharge Your Self-Esteem - Even When Most of the World Thinks You’re Nuttier Than a Bag of Trail Mix

According to www.HumanForSale.com, I am worth $2,693,430.

Sweet. That’s a nice self-esteem booster.

Still, while I took the online assessment, I started thinking: What IS self-esteem, really?

My handy etymology dictionary informed me that the term “esteem” comes from the Latin aestimare, or “to estimate.”

THEREFORE: Self-esteem is how you estimate yourself.

The overall appraisal of your personal value.

Today we’re going to talk about how to supercharge your self-esteem, even when most of the world thinks you’re nuttier than a bag of trail mix.

1. Listen closely to the way you talk to yourself. Hearing voices isn’t just for the insane – it’s for the in-touch. That’s where it self-esteem is activated: The inner dialogue you have with yourself. I credit Shad Helmstetter for teaching me this. He’s the world’s leading specialist in the field of self-talk.

The first time I read What You Say When You Talk to Yourself, the architecture of my heart changed forever. “You are everything you choose to be,” says Shad. “How successful you will be at anything is inexorably tied to the words and beliefs about yourself that you have stored in your subconscious mind. Your self-talk is the new blueprint of you.”

His books will challenge you (through affirmations) to activate and utilize the best aspects of yourself. And the cool part is: It works. All of it. I use what Shad taught me every day of life. Go read Shad's stuff. Your self-esteem will thank me. Are you ready to change the conversation you’re having with yourself?

2. Adjust your measurement horizon. I think competition is overrated. There. I said it. Competition is overrated. And there’s no way I’m the only person who feels this way. Ever meet someone who converted every interaction into a contest? Doesn’t it just make you want to crawl into a downtown dumpster with an open sore on your big toe?

I say: Relax your posture. Life’s too short to morph every element of your existence into a competition. Sure, the competitive spirit is healthy and natural and has historically motivated many great things. But it’s a beautiful moment when you realize that you’re no longer anxious to prove your value.

And the best part is, the less you have to prove, the less other people feel threatened around you. So, the secret to self-esteem isn’t removing competition, but redefining the subject with whom you’re competing.

My theory: The only person worth competing with is the earlier version of yourself. Because it’s not about being better than anyone – it’s about being better than you used to be. Are you competing with unbeatable opponents?

3. If you don’t like yourself, maybe you just don’t know yourself. Picture this: You meet a woman named Patty. You decide you don’t like her. Then you share this opinion with your mutual friend, Rick. And he responds with, “You just have to get to know her a little better.”

So, being the compassionate, patient person you are, you decide to get to know her. And over time, you realize that Rick was right – Patty turns out to be pretty cool. (She even shows horses and crochets dog sweaters on the weekends.)

My question is: Could you apply that same process to yourself? If your self-esteem is lacking, is it fair to say that the reason you don’t like yourself is because you don’t KNOW yourself?

And if so, is it logical to think that if really took the time to get to know yourself, you might like yourself more? Just a thought. When was the last time you took yourself out on a date?

4. Record and celebrate small victories. Never forget to notice that you’ve succeeded. A victory is a victory. Maybe you sign a new customer. Or touch your toes in yoga class. Or sack up and tell that cute girl from Atlanta that you’re totally retarded for her.

Good for you. A victory is still a victory. Write it down. Start a Victory Log. I’ve been doing this every morning since 2002. Great self-esteem booster. Look: You don’t need to demand excessive external reassurances. Learn to affirm yourself by applauding internally.

Then, you’ll have no choice but to produce external evidence of your internal state. And people will notice. Especially that girl from Atlanta. Where did you win yesterday?

REMEMBER: Self-esteem is how you estimate yourself. The overall appraisal of your personal value.

And as we approach to the end of today’s module, I’m reminded of what Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wrote:

“The greatest evil that can befall a man is that he should come to think ill of himself.”

Look. The only person you’re with forever is yourself.

May as well learn to love that person.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

4 Compelling Reasons to Write Early in the Morning – Even If You’re Not a Morning Person

I write early.

Usually four or five in the morning.

I don’t do this because I’m a morning person.

Just ask my family: You don’t want to KNOW me before about nine.

THE POINT IS: Writing (or any creative activity) early in the morning has nothing to do with preference. Discipline always trumps desire.

It’s all about positioning yourself in the best possible environment to leverage your creativity.

I am now going to make my case about the value of writing early:

1. It’s quiet in the most beautiful way possible. First, no external distractions. Not your kids. Not your dogs. Not your phone. Not your email. Not your self-constructed crazybusy schedule. And not the fear-mongering news anchors whose lifelong vocation is to scare the creativity and love out of you.

Second, no internal distractions. Not the voice of perfection. Not the echoes of people you’re trying to please. Not the endless demands of your readership. Not the incessant outreach from bloodsucking strangers who think they’re entitled to a free piece of you.

Not the scars of your past desperately trying to prevent your truth from surfacing. Not your ego scrambling to remind you that you’re not good enough to publish this thought.

Just quiet. Which means all you can hear is yourself. Which means there’s nothing or no one to stop you from bleeding your truth all over the page.

2. There’s no thinking. At 4am, it’s too early to think. Your brain hasn’t had its coffee yet. This is actually good, because your brain is a moron. Thinking is highly overrated. It’s more important that you write with your pen dipped in blood. (It’s infinitely more readable than grey matter anyway).

Here’s the deal: When it’s cold, dark and quiet – when the rest of world hasn’t rolled out of bed yet – you have no choice but to write from the gut. Or the heart. Or the chest. Or the diaphragm. Or the scrotum. Whatever. I don’t care. Pick a body part. Anything below the neckline will suffice.

The point is, when the sun isn’t up yet, you ALWAYS extract truth from the deepest parts of yourself. Superficiality not included. You unveil the truth that doesn’t require thinking. The truth that doesn’t require editing. You can’t edit blood anyway.

Remember: The darker it is outside, the brighter and clearer your thoughts are inside.

3. You initiate the launch sequence. It’s simple physics. The Law of Momentum. When you start writing early, you alter your creative trajectory by planting the seeds of movement. You’ll be amazed at how much momentum that one hour activates for the rest of the day.

Otherwise inertia destroys idea generation and cripples the execution thereof. After eight years as a professional writer, I’ve certainly had my share of off days. Occasionally, I won’t start writing until nine or ten. Not surprisingly, my creativity –m and the rest of my workday – suffers as a result. Happened to me on Monday, in fact. PIssed me off.

4. You ritualize your day. I’m a firm practitioner of rituals. Best way to honor the creative process. Two examples: First, I begin every day – EVERY day – with Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. If you’ve never experienced this journaling exercise before, prepare to have your face rocked off. There is no better way – especially early in the morning – to clear away the crap that’s blocking your best ideas.

Secondly, I invoke The Muse with a beautiful set of incantations I learned from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds. This is another form of spiritual preparation. I don’t know what I’d do without it. (And if you don’t think writing is a spiritual practice, email me immediately.)

Even if you’re not a writer, ritualizing the beginning of your day is essential for living a creative life.

REMEMBER: Successful writers start early.

Your day is waiting.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Have So Many Creative Ideas That You’re Forced to Hire a College Intern

As the evil killer lunges towards Watson’s neck, Sherlock Holmes grabs the arm of his attacker, stopping the invisible dagger millimeters before slicing the jugular of his faithful companion.

“How did you see that?” Watson gasps.

“Because I was looking for it,” Holmes replies.

LESSON LEARNED: Awareness is power.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: Creativity isn’t as hard as people convince themselves it is.

Let’s explore seven ways for getting so many creative ideas that you’re forced to hire a college intern:

1. Call dibs. Learn to recognize, nurture and capture inspiration when it arises. Open your receptors to the subtleties around you. Trigger your receptive capacities and respond spontaneously. Then, the moment you think to yourself, “Hmm … no one else seems to have noticed that…”

Take it. It’s yours. Get it down on paper. Writers keepers, losers weepers, sucka! Remember: If you don’t write it down – it never happened. When creative ideas are up for grabs, are you calling dibs?

2. Be a ceaseless, shameless thief of good ideas. I steal material from everybody. All the time. Wherever I go. There’s nothing that isn’t fair game. When an idea crosses my path, I am ruthless. My sixth sense will pick up on ideas before they even hit the ground.

And I will seize them with the devastating swiftness of creative ninja who’s so fast and efficient, that by the time his opponent realizes he’s just been decapitated, the ninja is already down the street drinking green tea. That’s how I roll. You’ll never see me coming, you’ll never see me leave.

That’s what good ninjas practice: The art of invisibility. And that’s the difference maker. Unlike that population of plagiarists, hacks and bullshit artists disguised as writers, I actually know how to steal properly.

That’s the second half of the equation. See, once a ninja has come through town, he leaves without a trace. He burns himself completely. Almost like he’s stolen your car, and within 24 hours, it has a new paint job, new rims, new tires, chopped up into a convertible and ultimately unrecognizable to the previous owner.

That’s how you steal ideas properly. It doesn’t matter IF you steal it – it matters WHAT you do with it WHEN you steal it. How toned is your creative thievery muscle?

3. Allow inspiration to clarify. Your job is simple: Listen and capture. That’s it. The rest of the time is waiting. Letting ideas simmer and breathe. Allowing multiple dimensions to arise. Alchemizing and coalescing related fragments. Concocting potions.

Crafting mosaics of words, phrases and sentences. Trusting your resources, believing that you’re richly support and having faith that other ideas will attach themselves. How many of your million-dollar ideas squander under the weight of creative impatience?

4. Be open to ideas from everyone and everywhere. In his album, On Comedy, George Carlin said, “Be actively interested and observant, but absorb things in spite of your attention. You need a wide range of things so you can make contrast.”

Lesson learned: Get the creative radar sweeping faster. Always be on the lookout for underlying value. Remember: Abundance is a function of receptivity. What unexpected ideas did you reel in today?

5. Become conscious of your own thought process. That way, you can build a repeatable success process for finding new material. Let’s look at two ways to do so. First, keep a running list of all the questions you ask yourself during the creative process. On my list of 7000, a few of my faves are, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?” and “Is everything you know written down somewhere?"

Second, map out your personal approach to entertaining ideas. (Personally, I undergo a process of thirteen steps). This exercise is fun, interesting and educational. And the secret behind both of these examples is twofold: (1) They help you become intimate with your creative experience, and (2) They help people see how your brain works.

These are invaluable assets as a thought leader. Because people don’t care what you know – only how you think. How could you become more conscious of your own thought process?

6. Put things under a microscope. The closer and deeper you probe, the more ideas you get. It’s magical. For example, wordsmithing is an amazing technique for uncovering native meaning to ideas we take for granted. Personally, I do a little wordsmithing every day.

Another approach is making lists. I use this technique daily, if not hourly. And there IS a science behind it. Read this article called 43 Reasons to Make a List for Everything. You’ll never write the same way again. How microscopic is your thinking?

7. Approach everything with the spirit of adventure. Here’s a rapid fire list for getting idea, as inspired by Herbert Leff’s amazing (but obscure) book, Playful Perception: Contemplate special contributions each thing makes to life. Dream up a variety of alternative interpretations for the events you notice. Envision going on inside each thing you notice. Figure out people’s probable relations with each other.

Learn improvements in already pleasant things around you. Make predictions about what is going to happen around you in the next few seconds or minutes. Pick ordinary things or situation and brainstorm all the reasons you can of for their perfection. Pretend you always have a camera. Regard whatever you’re doing as a game. Search for boring things and then look for something interesting about them.

See things as events and not objects frozen in a moment of time. And finally, view things as if they were art exhibits. Ultimately, this sense of adventure is about viewing every moment as a new positive opportunity to exercise your choice about how to experience life. Are you adventurous enough to commit to an uncertain outcome with an open heart and mind?

REMEMBER: You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see what nobody else sees.

You just have to be aware.

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

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

8 (More) Ways to Discipline Yourself to Write Every Single Day – Even When You’re Not in the Mood

Probably the most frequently asked question I get about writing and creativity is the issue of discipline.

How do you become disciplined? How do you STAY disciplined?

Since it comes up so often, I've be addressing this topic in a variety of posts lately.

For now, this should get you started:

1. Shift your attitude toward writing. Your discipline will begin to kick in the moment you embrace the following truism: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Please go back and read that last sentence again.

It’s the single most important idea every write needs to embrace. It’s not an activity. It’s a practice. A way of life. A mode of creative transportation. What value do you place on writing?

2. Rearrange your definition of “writing.” Writing isn’t what you think. It’s a process I define as, “Sitting down, slicing open a vein and bleeding your truth all over the page.”

This approach changes the way you write because it preventing you from self-editing and writing “for” anyone or anything other than yourself. You just tell the truth. Simple, but not easy. What’s your definition of writing?

3. Pick your best medium. I write on the floor with colored note cards. One idea per card. I also spend a lot of time in my customized Content Management System, evaluating and stringing together old ideas from various categories.

Lastly, I make lists. Lots of lists. Best way to begin writing anything. I even wrote a list about how to write with lists. But that’s me. You, on the other hand, might be a flip chart person. Or a mindmapper. Or a write-by-hand kind of girl. Awesome.

Whatever works for your creative style – do it. The secret is to find your medium and go with it. Writing is writing, no matter what kind of pen you’re using – as long as the ink is blood. When you write, what does that look like?

4. Eradicate your belief in Writer’s Block. It 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. The problem is you’re not reading enough. You’re not listening enough. You’re not asking enough questions. You’re not taking daily time to think. You’re not maintaining constant curiosity. You’re not viewing the world through her unique lens.

Suggestion: Create a constant stream of ideas and collect them in an organized idea library. Perpetually hunt for insight. Your melon will be motivated from every possible angle. Are you a writer or a thinker?

5. Stop trying to “find” the time. Because you might not find it. After all, people always have time for what’s not important to them. Instead, you need to MAKE the time. I suggest you identify your best writing time, then make a pledge to be “due at the page” at the same time each day.

Even if it’s only fifteen minutes. Even if that means taking on an accountability partner that you call every morning at six just to say, “Hey Sandy, it’s Scott. Just wanted you to know that I’m sitting down to write for the next three hours. I’ll call you at nine.” What other creative professional could help you MAKE the time to write?

6. Avoid creative compartmentalization. I don’t expect you to write seven hours a day like I do. I am a freak of nature. An alien. A cyborg. Don’t you be like me. What I’d like you to consider instead is the concept of writing whenever and wherever you can, in addition to your normal schedule.

For example, I write every morning from four or five to nine or ten. That’s four or five hours. The remaining 180 minutes are accumulated throughout the day from lunches, conversations, random thoughts and small creative windows. The difference is, I write everything down. Everything.

Even if it’s just a random thought I had after yoga class. I write it down. And that’s writing. That contributes to that seven-hour practice. You can do the same as long as you remember, “Easy does it.” Ain’t not thing but a chicken wing. Stop making writing such a big deal. Relax. Are you over-compartmentalizing your writing practice?

7. Begin writing Morning Pages. This is the single greatest writing tool known to man. Sort of an expanded Bathtubbing ritual. Coined by my hero, Julia Cameron, here’s how they work: You sit down, first thing in the morning, and just PUKE … for three pages.

It’s a form of meditation. It’s a check-in with yourself. A psychological holding environment that becomes a gateway to your inner and higher selves, Cameron says. And these “gripe sessions” where you work out your grudges, become moments of free associate and celebration. You get out the shanks and bring forth the silver. I’ve been doing Morning Pages EVERY morning for several years now.

Here’s why they’re so effective: They awaken your intuition. They train your sensor and inner editor to stand aside. They get you current. They help you catch up on yourself and pinpoint precisely what you are feeling and thinking. How often are you partaking in stream-of-consciousness writing?

8. Remember the Circle of Write. At this point, you might think, “Scott, these suggestions are great, but I don’t really LIKE writing.” That’s cool. I still suggest you get started. And here’s why.

The more you write, the more you will like writing. The more you like writing, the more you will want to write. The more you want to write, the more thought, time and effort you will put into your writing. The more thought, time and effort you put into your writing, the better your writing will become. The better your writing becomes, the more confidence you will have. The more confidence you have, the more you will write and want to write.

And then the pattern repeats itself. Forever.

This is called “The Circle of Write.” Creativity guru Mihály Csíkszentmihályi refers to this type of process as a Feedback Loop of Mutual Causation and Reinforcement. This means, as he explains in Finding Flow, “If you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. And if you are interested in something, you will focus on it.”

The effect becomes the cause. And the cause becomes the effect. It’s a circular, self-feeding process. Which means the key to writing is to addict yourself to it. Are you following the Circle of Write?

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

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

10 of Our Culture's Most Cherished Clichés – and Why They’re Total Lies

1. 80% of life isn’t showing up – it’s FOLLOWING THROUGH. That you show up is eclipsed by the importance of HOW you show up. People respond to the sum total of what you present to them. Positively, negatively, or not at all. It all depends on how you show up.

The problem is, people often shrink from showing UP because they’re terrified of being accused of showing OFF. This doesn’t have to be the case. Don’t shrink from doing so for fear of being accused of showing off. Sculpt yourself into the person you want to present to others. How do you show up?

2. A friend in need is a chance to DO A DEED. Your friends want you to call on them. Just like you want your friends to call on you.

That’s what friends are for. To have the opportunity to be a friend. From whom do you need to make a withdrawal?

3. A mind is a terrible thing to CHASE. If you want answers, listen to your body. It will never lie to you. Truth is the only language it knows.

Your mind, on the other hand, speaks with a forked tongue. And it will trick you into believing that it knows what it’s talking about. It doesn’t. How accurate is your personal guidance system?

4. A penny saved is an opportunity BURNED. You can approach situations in one of two ways. First, with a poverty mentality, i.e., “Great. How much is this going to cost me?”

Or, with an abundance mentality, i.e., “Cool! If I had this, what else would become possible?” Remember: If you’re bending over dollars to pick up dimes, you might pull a hammy. Which mentality are you operating from?

5. All the world’s a PAGE. The question is whether or not you write anything worthwhile on it. Now, if you’re not sure whether or not your writing is worthwhile, here’s the acid test.

Ask these two questions of everything you compose: “What do I risk in writing this material?” and “On a scale of 1-10, how much is this material drenched in my own blood?” What did you write today?

6. Bark up the wrong tree. Make mistakes. Get lost. Go in the wrong direction. It’s the best way to figure out what you’re NOT looking for.

Deciding what you want by the process of elimination is less threatening and intimidating. Plus it’s fun. Are you willing to define the whitespace so you can develop the blackspace?

7. Better late than CLEVER. GOD no. Not that. Anything’s better than clever. In fact, if more than three people tell you that something you’ve done is clever, throw it out. Start over.

Clever is not a compliment. Clever means “superficially skillful.” Clever is a diplomatic way of saying, “You’re a smart ass.” Be insulted or be broke. Are you clever or smart?

8. Curiosity might have killed the cat – but it also made me a lot of MONEY. First of all, I hate cats. They make me nervous and make me sneeze. You can kill as many of them as you want. Secondly, show me a person who isn’t curious, and I’ll show you a mindless, lifeless waste of a human being whose soul never grows.

Thirdly, history proves (time and time again) that the most successful people in the history of planet were the ones who asked dangerous questions despite overwhelming efforts to silence their enthusiasm and deflect their curiosity. You need to be one of those people. You need to give yourself permission to be curious in EVERY domain of your life.

Ask questions. Challenge everything. Mind other people’s business. Be nosy. Get yourself involved. Pull back curtains every day. Expose truth whenever possible. You’re doing yourself (and the world) a great service. Remember: The consequence of curiosity is the commencement of creativity. Are you a giant question mark?

9. Don’t build a better mousetrap – build a better YOU. First of all, who the hell still uses mousetraps? What is this, 1946? Call an exterminator and get on with your life. Secondly, mousetraps are overrated.

YOU are the only product that ever matters. That’s what people are buying anyway. What have you done, specifically – in the last 24 hours – to make yourself better?

10. Don’t go the extra mile – go the extra MARATHON. You’ve been told to go the extra mile for decades. Unfortunately, the secret is out. Now everyone goes the extra mile. Back in the day, the extra mile was “rarely crowded.” Remember that one? Well, now the extra mile it looks like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The extra mile is what’s universally expected. My suggestion is to go the extra marathon. The full 26.2. Then you’ll (for sure) be the last man standing. How much service stamina do you have?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What cliché do you think is a total lie?

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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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Monday, January 11, 2010

Have You Pierced These Six Veils of Success?

1. Writing is blood in disguise. Sit down, slice open a vein a bleed your truth all over the page. That’s my official definition of writing. And after publishing ten books and a thousand articles, here’s what I’ve discovered: Writing in blood is a huge time saver.

Think about it. If you approach the writing with that mindset, you don’t have to waste valuable hours editing. Because you can’t edit blood. All you can do is stain the page with it. Are you writing with a pen or a scalpel?

2. Positioning is gravity in disguise. Pull baby pull. Save pushing for pooping. Instead, invest your efforts in elevating visibility, earning credibility and enhancing desirability.

Get your smiling face – and shining brand – in front of the people who can say yes TO (and write a check FOR) your unique expertise. Ding! What did you write today?

3. Quitting is winning in disguise. As long as quit at the right time – not the hard time. Nothing wrong with that. Especially if you were playing the wrong game. Or playing a game that reached its point of diminishing returns.

Or playing the game that robbed you of being the best, highest version of yourself. Sounds like three hash marks in the W column to me. How can you make quitting a regular part of your repertoire?

4. Complacency is bankruptcy in disguise. You’ve never arrived. You’ve never “made it.” There is no finish line. Ignore that truth at your own (and your company’s own) peril. Or, try this: Don’t be self-satisfied with past glory. Get your ass out there again and go make your life stronger.

Because when you receive regular injections of divine discontent, the money will come. Either that, or your arm will swell up. In what three areas of your life are you the most overconfident?

5. Creativity is curiosity in disguise. It’s simple: Just transform yourself into a giant walking question mark. Everywhere you go, ask how and why things work. Then ask how they could work differently or better. Study ordinary things intently. Learn to find interesting in almost anything.

Fascinate yourself with the ordinary. Evaluate critically every novelty you encounter. Ideas will be so irresistibly attracted to you; they’ll assume you slipped a Rufie in their drinks. How many questions did you ask today?

6. Past is prologue in disguise. In Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love, she wrote the following: “Our capacity for brilliance is equal to our ability to forget the past. The past is over. It cannot touch me. The only meaning of anything in the past is that it got us here, and it should be honored as such.” What has all the crap you’ve put up with accidentally prepared you for?

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What veils of success do you need to pierce?

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

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Friday, January 08, 2010

8 Marketing Lessons Learned from My Spam Folder

Email spam – while annoying, unethical, sexually graphic and a colossal time waster – IS quite entertaining.

It’s also a consummate example of smart marketing.

Recently, I spent some time perusing the 1,385 messages in my spam folder.

Not surprisingly, patterns began to arise.

So, I extracted a collection of subject lines and headers that either grabbed my attention, made me laugh, or caused my body to react in ANY kind of way. After all, emotion is the final arbiter of truth. And your body never lies to you.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: As you read each of these subject lines, set aside your distaste for spam. Forget about the fact that you (probably) don’t need Viagra. And turn on your marketing brain to learn eight powerful lessons from the masters of capturing attention and piquing curiosity:

1. Answer me. As if someone’s been trying to reach you for weeks. As if there was an important customer waiting for you. As if you were too cool and too busy to respond to this measly person. This speaks to your human need to be liked and appreciated.

What’s more, if one of your core values is approachability (or, in my case, your entire life and business philosophy) the cognitive dissonance of NOT answering someone’s question or request is so strong, ignoring this email becomes an exercise in futility.

SPAM SECRET: People want people to like them. How could you create a deficit position within your customer?

2. Best doping for night monster. Opens with a declaration of superiority to capture attention. I call this repeated articulation of your –est. Next, let me say that I’ve never heard of the term “night monster” before. Well done. Gave me a good laugh. And that’s more than I can say about the other 1,384 messages.

SPAM SECRET: People take action upon hearing vivid language. Are your words boring?

3. Frisking bleating merriment. First, I just HAD to look up the word “bleat” in the dictionary. It means, “to complain annoyingly.” Secondly, merriment is not a word used often, which is exactly why I noticed it.

Lastly, this entire sentence, “Frisking bleating merriment,” is so odd, so clumsy and so dissonant that I can’t tell whether it’s gibberish or a famous line from one of Jack Kerouac’s books. Nice.

SPAM SECRET: People are moved by poetry. Are you allowing your inner poet to shine, or does your marketing spit jargon like a Dilbert comic?

4. Go to the disco and let your love stick glow! First of all, are there still discos? If so, I’m in. Always wanted to go to one of those. Secondly, the term “love stick” is a wonderfully creative alternative to penis. Well done. Third, this headline is a rhyme. And it’s been scientifically proven that rhyming increases the memorability and repeatability of pretty much anything.

The only concern I have about this headline is the “glow” part. I think if your love stick is glowing, you probably need to go the doctor, not the disco. At least that's what my urologist told me.

SPAM SECRET: People love rhymes. Is your message musical enough?

5. Bill Gates got one. Behold the power of the almighty testimonial! And just not ANY testimonial, but Bill Gates. The wealthiest, most successful and widely known businessmen and philanthropist on the planet. Ever. Who wouldn’t want to have what he has?

SPAM SECRET: People take action upon social proof. Are you leveraging testimonials?

6. Check it out now before I start charging for this free info. First, this creates a sense of urgency. Secondly, the effectiveness is compounded by a sense of scarcity.

Third, exclusivity comes into play for those who act NOW. And finally, the word “free” is a surefire way to seal the deal. Brilliant. I might actually steal this one for my own business.

SPAM SECRET: People want what is hard to get and what nobody else has. Are you exclusive enough?

7. Don’t look inside. Right. And while you’re at it, don’t think of a Pink Elephant. Classic NLP. The reader is forced to make an association and think of the very concept that’s linguistically negated, in this case, opening the email.

See, your brain can’t tell the difference yet. “Look inside” is all that it heard. The word “don’t” hasn’t been processed yet. Sneaky but effective.

SPAM SECRET: People’s brains are predictable. Are you leveraging neurology?

8. Have you seen this yet? Good. This piques immediate curiosity. What’s more, you trigger people’s need to feel included.

With the use of the word “yet,” it’s as if everyone else in the world has already seen this amazing “thing,” and you’re the only one left out. And nobody likes to be left out.

SPAM SECRET: People seek inclusion. How are you tapping that nerve?

Now that you’ve been schooled in the ways of spam, here’s your final exercise.

1. Take five minutes to peruse your spam folder. You might want to do this at home so your boss doesn’t look over your shoulder and wonder why you’re reading emails about “meat rockets.”

2. Record your reactions. Any time a subject headline makes you smile, laugh, roll your eyes or become nauseated, write it down.

3. Extract the lessons. Look for commonalities among all the headlines. Democratize and genericize the centrals marketing themes. Then, write out a list of “spam secrets.”

4. Apply. Execute those strategies in your own marketing practices in an ethical, professional manner.

REMEMBER: This is the best doping for your night monster.

Hee hee. Night monster.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you as savvy as the spammers?

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For the list called, "6 Ways to Out Position 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

Who's quoting YOU?

Check out Scott's Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

www.stuffscottsaid.com.