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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Watch (another) Scott Ginsberg 50-Min Speech on Hireability!



This is the breakout session that followed my keynote on hireability. We talked about simplicity, marketing messages and how to answer the dreaded "what do you do?" question. Enjoy!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How hireable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the ebook called, "40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask," send an email to me, and you win the ebook for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

6 Reasons to Add a Little Crazy to Your Entrepreneurial Arsenal

1. Crazy is a compliment. If everybody says you’re nuts, you just might be onto something. Therefore: The only valid response to someone who uses that word to describe you is, “Thanks!”

As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations, “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”

Your mission is to (not only) be nuts, but to BE PROUD of being nuts. No entrepreneur ever looked back on her career and thought, “You know, looking back, I should have been more sane.” How do you respond when people tell you that you’re out of your mind?

2. There’s always somebody crazier. In 2005 I was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Ripley’s Believe Or Not because I made a career out of wearing a nametag 24-7. Now, as crazy as that sounds, my accomplishments are (bordering on) normal when compared to some of the other inductees.

For example, Leo Kongee. He’s known as “The Human Pin Cushion,” as his claim to fame is hammering nails into his face. And you think I’m crazy for wearing a nametag everyday?

Lesson learned: You’re not the only crazy one. As Jimmy Buffet sang in Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, “If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane.” Are you?

3. Practice being (positively) crazy. In Tim Burton’s 2010 remake of Alice in Wonderland, there’s a common theme of craziness throughout the film. Distraught about her impending battle against the dangerous Jabberwocky, Alice says, “There is no use trying; one can't believe impossible things.”

The White Queen responds with, “I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Lesson learned: Practice doesn’t make perfect – it makes profit. If you want to turn crazy into money, you’ve got to do a little every day. I’d suggest doing so in the morning to stretch your brain and activate your attitude. How many crazy ideas did you have before breakfast today?

4. Love the haters. Nietzsche once remarked, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.” Next time people give you flack for being crazy, dust ‘em off. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Especially if they’re the type of people whose imagination can’t encompass what it is that you want to do. Instead, be grateful for their challenge to your commitment to craziness. How will you use the haters to fuel your fire of insanity?

5. Craziness keeps you sane. Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But it’s true. It’s like that U2 song, “I Might Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy tonight.” Ever feel that way? Like you just need to think or say or do something crazy before your head explodes? Good. Next time that happens, go with it. The secret is to compose a craziness practice that you can default to when you need your fix. Whatever active, creative outlet scratches your itch.

For example, when I’m in a crazy mood, I go to a concert or sing karaoke. Two perfect venues where it’s completely acceptable (and strenuously encouraged) to be as crazy as possible. Works every time. Except when security escorts me out. Lesson learned: Never underestimate the power of (occasional) manifestations of reckless insanity. Have you taken your dose of Vitamin-C today?

6. Be (positively) crazy. “He’s crazy in the best way possible.” That’s how the UFC 107 announcer introduced fighter B.J. Penn on December 12, 2009. I remember watching the fight in Vegas – it was astounding. Penn defeated Sanchez in round five to retain the UFC Lightweight Championship.

More importantly, this victory became one of only two fights in UFC’s sixteen-year history to end in the fifth round. Why? I’d say it was largely due to the fighter’s (positive) craziness. That’s the secret. And there IS a fine line I would be remiss if I didn’t define.

Therefore: Being crazy – notwithstanding the benefits I’ve outlined today – won’t be profitable if you’re not doing it for the right reasons. Don’t be crazy just for the sake of being crazy. It won’t sustain you, it won’t nourish you, and it won’t make you money. In fact, it might even get you hurt. What’s your motivation for being crazy?

To conclude our discussion on crazy, let’s turn to Gnarls Barkley.

You may be familiar with their 2006 hit single from the album St. Elsewhere called "Crazy."

I love this song.
I’ve heard it on the radio hundreds of times.
I even saw Gnarls Barkley play this very song live in concert.

But it wasn’t until I carefully read the lyrics that I discovered just how poignant this song really is.

Think of it as a reminder of the profitability of (healthy) craziness:

- - -

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space

And when you're out there, without care,
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough, I just knew too much

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Possibly

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that's my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are, Hahaha bless your soul – you really think you're in control?

Well, I think you're crazy.
I think you're crazy.
I think you're crazy.
Just like me

My heroes had the heart to lose their lives out on a limb.
And all I remember is thinking: I want to be like them.
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun.
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done

Maybe I'm crazy.
Maybe you're crazy.
Maybe we're crazy.
Probably.

REMEMBER: If you’re not at least (a little) nuts, you’re a putz.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you profiting from insanity?

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

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

The world's FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott's comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Watch Scott Write -- 3.10.10



This is the fifth video in a series of writing sessions (4-hour time lapse down to 8 minutes!) of my unparalleled content generation, content management and content deployment systems.

Episode 5 -- 3.10.10
Soundtrack -- "Forever Begins" by Common from Finding Forever.

Watch other episodes on the playlist @ www.WatchScottWrite.com!

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

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "10 Ways to Out Write the Competition," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

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

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A List of Things Will Not Bring You Closer to Your Dreams

1. Accepting. Don’t accept anyone else’s version of the truth. Don’t accept payment in politeness. Don’t accept the verdict that you’re not enough. Don’t accept that everyone you encounter has your best interests at heart. Don’t accept that life is out to get you. What have you mindlessly accepted?

2. Allowing. Don’t allow others’ neuroses to color your perceptions. Don’t allow the genius to be drummed out of you. Don’t allow the innovation of others to intimidate and inhibit you. Don’t allow the situation to be responsible for how you feel. Don’t allow the world to superimpose its prefabricated definition of who you should be. Don’t allow yourself to exist in an inhibited condition. Are you making unprofitable allowances?

3. Expecting. Don’t expect success to come for three years. Don’t expect people to hand you a corn beef sandwich, wash your socks and unzip your fly for you. Don’t expect the universe to cut you any slack. Don’t expect the resistance to take it easy on you. Don’t expect discipline to be something you have rather than something you continually pursue. What are your catastrophic expectations?

4. Letting. Don’t let the pursuit for perfection stop you from trying. Don’t let things derail you. Don’t let anything pull you toward littleness. Don’t let your agenda collapse too easily. Don’t let your desires stay sobbing, awaiting your hand to take action upon them. Don’t let your mind sink into a state of passivity. Don’t let yourself become entangled in other people’s wars. Don’t let yourself choose what feels wrong just because you want clarity now. What will you gain from letting this happen?

5. Listening. Don’t listen to people who think they know what you need. Don’t listen to people whose imagination can’t encompass what it is that you’re trying to do. Don’t listen to people who put a damper on your natural versatility. Don’t listen to people who haven’t been right about shit in years. Don’t listen to people who criticize you no matter what you do. Don’t listen to people who seek to silence your conscience. Don’t listen to people what have a deluded view of their competence. How well do you minimize chaos by listening inwardly?

6. Talking. Don’t talk about what you plan to do when conditions are perfect. Don’t talk about what you hope to do when the planets are aligned. Don’t talk about what you’d love to do if you had the time. Don’t talk about how you’re going to finish your book as soon as things slow down at work. Don’t talk about how much you have changed and how great it will be if they take you back. Don’t talk about how the credit card company screwed you and their fault you’re in debt up to your ears. Don’t talk about how your life is one goddamn catastrophe after another. Don’t talk about how you’re going to update your website as soon as you get a free night. Are you giving people lip service or foot service?

7. Waiting. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for instructions. Don’t wait for overwhelming evidence before you trust yourself. Don’t wait to be rewarded to do what you love. Don’t wait until you’re old enough. Don’t wait until you’re experienced enough. Don’t wait until you know what you’re doing. Don’t wait until you’re given the go ahead by people you don’t even like. Don’t wait until you’ve satisfied people’s lackluster expectations. What is waiting getting in the way of?

8. Wasting. Don’t waste energy protesting. Don’t waste power trying to impress someone you don’t even like. Don’t waste time on relationships you’ve outgrown. Don’t waste your brilliant mental effort on negativity. Don’t waste money on marketing materials that don’t influence customer decisions anyway. Don’t waste valuable hours of your day doing things that don’t make you any money and aren’t consistent with your #1 goal. How inefficient have you become?

9. Whining. Don’t whine about the cosmic injustice of the world. Don’t whine about how there are only so many hours in the day and that’s why you haven’t gotten around to making any art lately. Don’t whine about it's not fair because you work just as hard as they do and you don't have it. Don’t whine about how if you didn’t have three kids and a job that you hated, you could finally finish your book. Do you whine about the wind, hope the wind will stop or adjust your sails?

10. Wishing. Don’t wish for fewer problems. Don’t wish for more time. Don’t wish for easier tasks. Don’t wish for someone to come back into your life who doesn't love and honor you. Don’t wish for a perfect life free of pain and heartache. Don’t wish that what’s currently driving your heart batshit never would have happened. Don’t wish that when you wake up tomorrow morning, everything will turn out perfect, shiny and new. Ten years from now, what will you wish you had spent more time doing today?

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What is bringing you closer to your dreams?

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

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to Have a Crazy Idea That Changes the World

“If everybody says you’re nuts – you just might be onto something.”

That mantra guides my daily life.

Which makes sense, considering I made an entire career out of wearing a nametag everyday.

I know. Just another crazy idea, right?

Damn right. That’s the whole point. That crazy people who have crazy ideas make crazy change in a crazy world.

What about you? How many crazy ideas did you ignore yesterday?

ANSWER: Too many.

Today we’re going to talk about how to have a crazy idea that changes the world:

1. Give yourself permission to be crazy. To have a crazy idea, you must become physically, mentally and spiritually crazy yourself. Nothing illegal. Nothing dangerous. Just the willingness to stick yourself out there, make yourself uncomfortable and violate the status quo aggressively and creatively – all the while, being made fun of by most of the world.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Naturally, this is the biggest barrier for most people. Mostly because it involves massive uncertainty. Venturing down a less-defined path. And accepting the reality that along the journey, people are going to look at you like you’ve got green antennas growing out of your skull. Are you ok with that? Remember: Crazy ideas rarely come from sane people. Is your straightjacket securely fastened?

2. Be less intentional. Most of the crazy ideas that changed the world started out as mistakes, accidents, coincidences, serendipity, jokes or experiments. For that reason, my first suggestion is simple: Don’t try so hard. As the Tao De Ching reminds us, “Any over-determined action produces its exact opposite.”

Learn to relax your ears, soften your gaze and poke about the world in a playful, relaxed and curious way. By virtue of your receptive, open and flexible posture, you’ll be able to snag crazy ideas as they cross your path. Otherwise, your overly goal-oriented attitude will scare them into hiding.

It’s like Thoreau said: “Happiness is like a butterfly – the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” Will you apply that same principle to your creative search?

3. Think less. Audience members and readers alike often ask me, “What were you thinking when you decided to wear a nametag every day for the rest of your life?” Well, that’s just the thing – I wasn’t thinking. I was feeling. I was listening. I was trusting. I was testing. I was risking. I was reacting. But I definitely wasn’t thinking.

And, interestingly enough, that crazy idea turned out to be the single most important decision of my life. As David Mack, writer, illustrator and creator of Daredevil, once told me on an airplane to Cincinnati, “An idea is not any good unless it’s on the verge of being stupid.”

Lesson learned: Think less. Instead, focus on noticing the things that resonate with your soul. Those are the crazy ideas waiting to stand naked in front of the world. Are you a slave to the wrong body part?

4. Become a student of crazy. First, read these books: Ideas That Became Big Business, Inventors At Work, Accidents May Happen and Selling The Scream.

Next, visit my friend Andy Sernovitz’s blog, Damn I Wish I Thought of That! He’ll keep you up to speed on unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Finally, think of five people you know who had a crazy idea, saw it through, and used it to change the world. Buy them lunch. Probe their brains. And keep your eyes open for the commonalities in their thinking.

These resources combined will increase the probability of replicating the same attributes with your own idea. Are you willing to dedicate yourself to studying the anatomy of crazy?

5. Opportunity never stops knocking. Instead, you stop answering the door. Anyone who says there’s a shortage of great ideas is either stupid or deaf. It’s simple: All you have to do is listen. As Frank Warren said during a PostSecret event in St. Louis, “Great ideas are waiting for that one inspired person to take hold of them.”

Your challenge, whenever you come across these ideas, is to ask yourself, “Did this idea select me?” If so, great. If not, keep listening. There will be more. Are you letting your closed ears commit idea homicide?

6. Absurdities become antidotes. Every day when I slap a new nametag on my shirt, I remind myself of what Einstein once said: “If at first your idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.” Interestingly, Einstein’s greatest scientific discovery sparked from a mental picture he had when he was sixteen years old.

One day, while taking a walk, Albert envisioned himself riding atop of beam of light into outer space, traveling at 299,792,458 meters per second. That ridiculous image helped him better understand accelerated motion. Which helped him create the Theory of Relativity. Which changed the world of science forever. Which earned him the Noble Prize. Which secured his spot in history as the greatest genius of all time.

Why? Because of a totally ridiculous, totally humorous image. In the book How to Think Like Einstein, author Scott Thorpe explains how this principle of melon motivating works:

“Brains have a mechanism that is the mental equivalent of an immune system – it rejects ideas that are foreign to it. But humor suppresses your mental immune system. So, if you treat a new idea humorously, you will be able to explore it more thoroughly because you want immediately reject it. And your mind will be free to make other absurd connections with the seed idea, generating more concepts for solutions.”

Revolutionary ideas come from ridiculous questions. What are you converting your absurdities into?

7. Play the numbers. The best way to have a great idea is to have lots of ideas. The second best way to have a great idea is to have lots of bad ideas. And the third best way to have a great idea is to hang around people who practice the first two.

Do that, and by sheer probability, your crazy idea that (could) change the world will naturally come along. It’s an eventually of probability by transforming yourself into a human lightning rod of creativity. The question is whether or not you will: (a) take notice of the strike, and (b) take massive action when the smoke clears.

Most people fail at both. How will you increase the probability of creative inspiration AND execution?

8. Keep a Crazy Log. Every time you have a crazy idea, write it down in a journal. And as you do, remember to treat each idea with deep democracy. Release the habitual need to appraise or assign value to everything that comes out of your brain. That’s not your decision.

Instead, think of yourself as a journalist. Stay objective. For now, just take the ideas down. Order and evaluation comes later. I promise that over time, you’ll begin to see patterns amidst the craziness. This makes it easier to discern keepers from rubbish when the time comes to stop creating and start judging. Is everything you know written down somewhere?

9. Don’t keep secrets. The aforementioned Frank Warren also mentioned during his talk, “First you keep secrets – then secrets keep you.” I agree. More specifically, secrets keep you FROM: (a) sharing your idea WITH the world, (b) executing your idea IN the world, and (3) leveraging your idea to create change AROUND the world.

Don’t be shy. Don’t bottle up your crazy ideas inside your body. Put your name on it and shout it from the rooftops. You never know who might be listening. Otherwise, you’re only as sick as your secrets. Is your silence halting the momentum of your crazy idea?

10. But you didn’t. If your crazy idea is really that good, odds are, you won’t be the first person who’s ever thought of it before. So, I beg you: Don’t let that discourage you from seeing it to fruition. Most ideas have already been thought of before.

The difference maker is: With enormous amounts of discipline, patience, stick-to-it-ive-ness – and the courage to hang your balls out there – you could be the first person in history to (actually) execute that crazy, world-changing idea. And then, ten years later, when bitter, jealous onlookers start whining, “I could have thought of that!” your only response will be, “Yeah, but you didn’t.”

As Nietzsche once remarked, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music.” Are you an idea person or an execution person?

11. Crazy ideas require crazy faith. Consider one final quotation from Post Secret’s Frank Warren: “Trust your crazy idea – it might be your destiny.” That’s where faith comes in. That’s when crunch time ensues. When it’s 3 AM and the rest of the world is cold and tired and quiet; and there’s nobody around but you and your crazy idea.

Will you choose to believe? Will you continue plugging away? And will you willingly dissolve your sanity and be considered crazy too? Or, will you cave into an uncourageous corner like another one of the millions of would-be world-changers whose crazy ideas never saw the light of day? If you picked the former, you’re on the right track.

It’s like Einstein once said, “I’m not smarter than anybody else – I just stick with it longer.” How will you strengthen your self-belief to support your crazy idea?

REMEMBER: If it’s not crazy, it’s not going to change the world.

There has never been a better time in the history of the world to have (and execute) your crazy idea.

Strap on your straightjacket. Stand up proud and firm. And declare to the world that you (and your crazy idea) are ready to change it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your crazy idea?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the ebook called, "101 Lessons Learned from Wearing a Nametag 24-7," 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!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NametagTV: Raise Your Referability

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are your enemies?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "12 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Email FIRST," 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

The world's FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott's comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to be a Sponge

A sponge is a loosely connected fibrous material primarily filled with empty space.

Woops. Wrong kind of sponge.

What I meant was: A sponge is an individual whose openness, curiosity, creativity and intellectual absorbance significantly enhances his personal and professional life.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Sponges learn more.

Which means sponges grow more.
Which means sponges create more.
Which means sponges profit more.

How squishy!

What about you? Are you a sponge? Is your kindergartner more creative than you?

Either way, consider these ten strategies for swelling your sponginess:

1. Never stop absorbing. Being a sponge isn’t just a cute little metaphor assigned to curious, innocent children. It’s actually quite scientific, according to author Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D. “Cognitive receptivity is a state of mental preparedness. It is a combination of cognitive readiness – the learner’s levels of development – and of psychological openness – the learner views the environment.”

Three lessons learned. First, be consumed by overpowering curiosity. Initiate a love affair with the things that never cease to make your head tilt. Second, stay devoted to your thought life. Make a conscious effort to remain intellectually captivated and productively preoccupied as often as possible. Third, seek out the inherent novelty in all you perceive. Execute new awareness plans frequently. How receptive is your brain?

2. Be flexible in the way you view the world. Don’t think everything to death. Treat every experience with deep democracy. Relax. Consider nothing useless. Trust your spongy faculties to absorb something from everything. Explore ideas first. Then consider whether or not they’re relevant to your world.

Like the sponge-like kindergartner who absorbs everything she encounters – good and bad – your mission is to maintain creative flexibility with all that you experience. People. Ideas. Situations. Everything. Are you willing to learn from people – even if you don’t like them?

3. Confusion is a sign of intelligence. The many holes of a sponge hold water because of a scientific concept known as surface tension, which is the slight amount of elasticity that exists between the molecules of water. That parallels to the world of creatively, as being confused (tension) isn’t always a bad thing.

It’s a stimulator of productivity. Especially when you “dare to be dumb” and follow up on your perplexities. That’s the best way to absorb new material. So, a sponge holds water, not in spite of its holes – but because of them. Maybe you need a few more holes in your creative process. How much tension are you willing to maintain?

4. Treat your environment as your mentor. Kids are notoriously spongy. They soak it all in. Even the things you don’t say. Especially the things you don’t say. Rather, kids soak up what you do and who you are.

In the same vein, I challenge you to absorb what surrounds you and incorporate the relevant material into your life. Even if not a word is spoken. Remember: Values aren’t taught – they’re caught. What did you catch today?

5. Redefine your role. I’m a writer. That’s my occupation. That’s what I do. But I’ve also expanded my job title to include additional spongy roles: Synthesizer. Collector. Broker. Organizer. Democratizer. Translator. Interpreter. Recognizer. Explorer. Receiver. Inventor. Philosopher.

It’s all part of being a sponge. Does your role need an updated definition?

6. Forensically examine ideas. Don’t act like you haven’t seen every episode of Law & Order six times. To justify your television addiction, consider applying some of your criminal knowledge. Let’s say you’re working on a new idea. Ask yourself: What would Stabler do? What would Bobby do? What would Ice-T do?

First of all, they’d seek out the people closest to the idea – then ask the hard questions. Secondly, they’d walk around the idea to view it from as many angles as possible. Thirdly, they’d engage every sense and fully take in the idea with their whole being. Are you absorbing truths with a detective-like curiosity?

7. If you don’t write it down – it never happened. Your mind is a moron. Absorbing is one thing, but retaining is another. If you want to pamper your memory and relax your brain, three words of advice: Write everything down. Immediately.

Every idea that enters into your consciousness. Don’t judge it, don’t evaluate it and don’t think about whether you can use it. Just get it down. Order comes later. Sponges don’t discriminate. Is everything you know written down somewhere?

8. Read omnivorously. Eat words. Chew sentences. Blow bubbles with ideas. Whether it’s a book, magazine or blog post, think of it as an all-you-can-eat creative buffet. Personally, I read five books a week. Have for many years. But I don’t just read them – I devour them.

I take notes, rip out pages, rewrite sentences and make them better, and fill the margins up until there’s no white space left – all of which are absorbed by the sponge known as my life. What did you read today?

9. Make ideas sit up straight. Call bullshit on the world. Use your questions as weapons. But not just (any) questions: Dumb questions, dangerous questions, disturbing questions, unexpected questions, probing questions and confrontational questions.

Ask them early, often, curiously and confidently. I promise, answers will come. And if they don’t, that’s your answer. How many questions did you ask yesterday that your competitors didn’t?

10. Don’t forget to squeeze. People tell me I’m a sponge all the time. What they don’t know is that I’m also a blender and a casserole dish. Why? Because sponges have limits. If you don’t periodically squeeze the liquid out, you might lose it. Or it will start to smell like feet.

Here’s the science behind: The act of wringing or squeezing a sponge contracts the pockets so that new surface tension can NOT be formed; thus, the water has nowhere to go but out. Similarly, in the world of creative absorption, the same principle applies: You can’t add new ideas if you don’t wring out your current capacity.

Therefore: Develop a system for emptying your brain on a regular basis. This serves dual purposes: (1) Freeing up surface area to invite future material, and (2) Restocking your creative inventory before ideas get stale. What’s your content management system?

REMEMBER: Being a sponge isn’t just about expanding your creativity.

It’s about raising your receptivity to the beauty that surrounds you.

As Nietzsche once remarked, “But one must know how to be a sponge, if one would be loved by overflowing hearts.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a sponge?

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

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Watch Scott Ginsberg's Entire 70-Min Keynote on Hireability!



LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How hireable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the ebook called, "40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask," send an email to me, and you win the ebook for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brandtag Identity Collages:
Make Your Mission More Than a Statement



TO PURCHASE: Individual limited edition prints, explore the gallery.

TO VIEW: Pictures of engaged clients and partners, view the slide show.

TO LEARN: About Brandtag's hand-made production process, meet Firecracker Press.

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

The Profitability of Insanity

“Of course you’re crazy – that’s why we hired you!”

When the president of a multimillion-dollar staffing company made that exact remark to me five minutes before I walked on stage to conduct a three-hour workshop with two hundred of her salespeople, I almost tripped and fell over the podium.

Finally, I thought.

My insanity was affirmed.
My craziness was commended.

Take that, every teacher who gave me failing grades on standardized tests because my responses were “not in the answer key.”

Ah, craziness. The most underrated weapon in your professional arsenal.

Sadly, the world is lightning-quick to confuse crazy with dangerous. Or stupid. Or unprofitable. Or mentally unstable. Almost like a reverse halo effect. As if being called crazy was a dangerous thing.

Which, in many cases, it can be. And I say that with the utmost respect and consideration for those who have suffered, are suffering or know someone suffering from mental illness.

Today, however, we’re talking about positive craziness.

For example, read the following list. Each person on it has two commonalities. See if you can figure them out:

Aurelius. Bezos. Buddha. Buffet. Carlin. Christ. Churchill. Clinton. Confucius. Darwin. Drucker. Dylan. Edison. Einstein. Franklin. Gandhi. Gates. Gorbachev. Hemingway. Jefferson. Jobs. Krishna. Kroc. Lennon. Lincoln. Mandela. Marx. Mozart. Newton. Obama. Orwell. Presley. Shakespeare. Teresa. Tolkien. Tolstoy. Trump. Tutu. Voltaire. Wilde. Winfrey. Woods. Yeltsin. Zuckerberg.

Did you spot the two commonalities?

ONE: They were all featured on Biography’s list of 100 People Who Changed the World.

Would you disagree?

Me neither.

TWO: They were all – at some point in their lives – considered to be “crazy.”

Would you disagree?

Me neither.

LESSON LEARNED: Success requires crazy.

Heaps of it.

Put your teaspoons away. If you really want to change the world – break out the shovels and start stockpiling your (positive) craziness.

Here are six reasons why:

Crazy means singular. Nobody notices normal, nobody buys boring and nobody pays for average. You know this. And being a needle in a stack of needles is an extremely costly position. The good news is, being crazy sets you apart. Being crazy puts an end to all those broke-ass, running-in-place, winking-in-the-dark days of entrepreneurial anonymity. Are you The Only?

Crazy means impatient. Nike was wrong. Technically, “Just do it” could mean, “just sit on your butt.” Because technically, you’d still be doing something: Sitting there. Yikes. Impatience, on the other hand, has a better slogan: Just go. That means (actual) movement toward your goal. Impatience isn’t just a virtue – it’s a victory. How much money are you losing by being too patient?

Crazy means risk taking. Sticking yourself out there. Pitching a tent in the campground of discomfort and devastating the landscape to the point of unrecognizability. Next time someone condescends you by saying, “This is crazy!” you respond with, “Yes! And that’s exactly why we should do it.” Is the strategy for sticking yourself out there equally as crazy as the subject itself?

Crazy means unexpected. If people think you’re crazy, they immediately discount you as a threat. Which means they let their guard down. Which means you have an opening. Lesson learned: The strongest player is the one nobody sees coming. As Donald Trump wrote in Trump 101, “It will always be to your advantage to be underestimated.” How do you sneak up on people?

Crazy means moving with great speed. Crazy invites momentum, and money has a crush on velocity. Think about it: Were any of the people on the aforementioned Biography 100 the type to live life in slow motion? No way. They moved, they made imperfect progress, and they left a muddy trail of urgency and desire. What gear is your craziness shifting your business into?

Crazy means nonconforming. That means nobody can predict you. Which means nobody can stop you. Which means you win. This, of course, is a choice. Pick one: Change the rules so you can win at your own game, become the exception to every rule in the game, or change the game entirely so there are no rules. How will you upset the status quo?

I’m sorry: Did I miss the part about crazy being bad?

LESSON LEARNED: Crazy is the new sane. Be out of your mind or be into the red.

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How are you profiting from insanity?

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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, March 18, 2010

How to Matter

The human need to feel needed by (and valuable to) the world is about as deep as they come.

Here are some ideas to help you (and/or) your organization matter:

1. Make soaring unpreventable. The first time I heard Dave Matthews play the song he wrote for his wife called Loving Wings, I was brought to tears. The chorus goes: “I give to you my everything. You’ve given me these loving wings. And angels have all gathered round to hear me sing my love out loud.”

That’s your job: With your customers, your employees, your kids, your friends – to help them paint a picture of what they know they can achieve. In short: To give them wings. People don’t need Red Bull – they need you look them in the eye and say, “I believe in you.” How are you empowering people to become the person they were created to be?

2. Be fresh air. Unless you live in Tasmania (which, according to Weather.com, has the cleanest measured air on Earth) most of the oxygen surrounding us is stale, recycled and tastes like the Sunday morning redeye from Vegas. So, just imagine how much of an impact you could have on the environment around you if your ideas, words and actions brought even the slightest amount of freshness.

Are you saying the same thing as everyone else? Hope not. Because freshness doesn’t just matter – it makes money. However, as you tip toe along the lunatic fringe, remember what Jim Flowers says, “Carefully and deliberately consider the raves, rants, fashion, science, and art of the avant garde. Explore the world of ‘too much.’ There is a very, very fine line between goofy and prophetic.” Are your ideas stale?

3. Bring solid value. Not just talk. Not just shtick. The word “matter” comes from the Latin materia, which means, “substance.” And you owe it to the world to let it ooze out of you. If you were charged with the crime of adding value, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

4. You must teach. Teachers are heroes. And anyone can be one. The two questions are: What is the teaching you are called to do? And what’s your teaching style? Couple of choices. Through your beliefs would be good. Through your words would be great. Through your actions would be awesome. But through your personal being – now that would be positively devastating.

Not to mention remarkable, since 90% of the world teaches through the first three approaches. My best suggestion for doing so is to write, memorialize, revisit and embody the living document known as your Personal Constitution. Email me if you want to learn more. How many new students have you enrolled this week?

5. Pry your life out of the jaws of average. There’s pervasive pressure to embrace mediocrity. For the love of God, don’t give in. Wage a war against boringness. Violently refuse to become a follower of the common ways of the mediocre masses. Instead, joyfully and loudly occupy the margins.

As Seth Godin explained in an interview with Selling Power, “Mediocrity is for losers. The big win is when you refuse to settle for average and you say I’m going to give up 90% of the opportunities.” Are you vanilla?

6. Be a person of consequence. This reminds me of a gorgeous song by Jose Gonzalez called Cycling Trivialities: “Don't know which way to turn, every trifle becoming big concerns. All this time you were chasing dreams, without knowing what you wanted them to mean.”

Do you know someone like that? A person with no apparent goals or dreams? I bet you do. And I bet they don’t matter. Ouch. Your challenge is to continually ask yourself this question: Are the ideas, issues and problems I’m dedicating my time to trivialities or substantialities?

7. Be of duty and destiny. You’ve been given a divine assignment. A mandate. A job to do. And your mission is to find the small corner of the universe that is yours to transform – touch it – and then set it free. It’s like Paulo Coelho said in The Alchemist: “Follow your personal legend and the world will conspire to help you attain it.” People who do that matter. Why are you?

8. Be a relevant, noticeable shaper. I recently read a 2006 article from Business 2.0 Magazine called, “50 People That Matter Right Now.” What I find telling, however, isn’t the people on the list – but the people who wrote the list. In a sidebar, the editors reported the following:

“The names presented here weren't selected on the basis of fame, net worth, or the accomplishments of yesteryear. Instead, our goal was to identify people whose ideas, products, and business insights are changing the world we live in today. Those who are reshaping our future by inventing important new technologies, exploiting emerging opportunities, or throwing their weight around in ways that are sure to make everyone else take notice. In assembling this list, we emphasized one key question: What have you done for us lately? We also considered its important corollary: What will you do for us tomorrow?”

What are you shaping?

9. Success isn’t the end. I learned this lesson from Um Hong-Gil. By the time he was forty, Um was the first South Korean to reach the summit of all fourteen eight thousand meter peaks in the world. In March of 2010, I had the honor of sharing the stage with Um during last week's MDRT Conference in Seoul.

“Success isn’t the end,” he said in front of four thousand people. Wow. Coming from a guy who lost dozens of climbing colleagues – not to mention three frostbitten toes – that message certainly struck a nerve. It reminds of what Seth Godin (also) mentioned in the aforementioned interview:

“Life is like skiing: The goal is not to get to the bottom of the hill, the goal is to have a lot of great runs before sunset.” When it comes to success, are you a repeat offender?

REMEMBER: Nobody said mattering would be easy.

That’s probably why not everybody does it. Like Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everybody would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you matter?

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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!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

12 Ways to Lead a Potent, Productive and Profitable Thought Life

If you want the marketplace to recognize you as a Smokin’ Hot Piece of Brain Candy, “thinking” is not your main responsibility.

Thinking is merely the residue of leading a potent, productive and profitable thought life.

Want to learn how to have one of those?

I thought you might ask.

1. Take intellectual initiative. Most people’s thoughts are somebody else’s. Don’t let this happen to you. Mindless acceptance is the yellow brick road to the Wonderful Wizard of Chaos. Before taking action on your brainstuff, ask yourself three questions:

Is this thought really mine?
Am I living someone else’s mechanical thoughts?
Am I bound and limited by the thoughts others have formulated for me?

Remember: Your thoughts need to be yours. If you don’t take control of your cognitive faculties, someone will gladly do it for you. How diligently and proactively are you taking ownership of your thought life?

2. You get exactly what you’re willing to receive. Let’s take creative inspiration, for example. If you want to become a relentlessly open container in which the world can place its ideas, you’ve got to: (1) invoke the muse to come, (2) honor the muse when it arrives, and (3) thank the muse when it departs.

That way she will gladly return tomorrow. And who knows? Maybe she’ll stay longer next time. But only if you’re more receptive to her whispers. What is your ritual for summoning the higher creative forces?

3. Book blank time. In 2006, PBS ran a special called, Warren Buffett & Bill Gates Go Back to School. Recorded on college campuses nationwide, unedited in front of live audiences, Buffet and Gates simply sat on a stage and answered questions. That’s it. Coolest program ever.

One of the lessons I remember both billionaires sharing was their daily dedication to booking blank time. No meetings. No calls. No nothing. Just space to think. Every day. Based on their combined net worth, I’d say profitable would be an understatement. How much time each day do you sit uninterrupted and quiet with just your thoughts?

4. Be determined to spread the truth you discover. Doesn’t matter if it’s thee truth – just your truth. The point is: Thoughts are useless if kept captive inside your head. Learn to release them in – one pebble at a time – into the pond of life. The ripples will come back tenfold.

As long as you resist the Whoami Syndrome: Who am I to share this thought? Who am I to publish my opinion? Well, just ask Technorati: The web’s leading cataloguer and researcher of blogs. According to their annual report, there’s a new blog created every second. Every second. That’s 86,000 new blogs a day. What’s your excuse?

5. Conversations are laboratories. I have lunch with Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy at least once a week. It’s like balm to my soul. Fuel for my brain. And here’s why: Talking makes you think. Thinking makes you write. Writing makes you create. Creating makes you ship. Shipping makes you money. Q.E.D.

If you’re looking for a creative boost to attract more ideas into that big juicy brain of yours, start using conversations as tools. Here are four lab rules to remember when cooking up something new in your conversational laboratory: (1) Increase your frequency, (2) Take more notes, (3) Ask better questions, and (4) Become a plucker of good ideas. Whom did you have lunch with this week?

6. Solvitas perambulatorum. This is the Latin term for solving problems in the process of physical exercise. It’s the perfect way to tranquilize the mind without using pills or powders. Here’s why: Exercise clears your mind, stabilizes your emotions and levels your perspective. It contributes to an increased production and release of endorphins. That results in a sense of euphoria that has been popularly labeled as the “runner's high.”

What’s more, pumping rhythmically and repetitively also pumps the well of your creativity. That’s why walking, swimming, running and cycling work so well. Hell, I’ve written entire books in my head on eight-mile runs. Even Thomas Jefferson, who was known for taking two-hour walks every day, implemented this practice religiously:

“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and a strong body makes a strong mind.” Do it daily. Do it rhythmically. Do it intentionally. Stretch your legs and you will stretch your brain. Did you work out today?

7. Think about your thoughts. All Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy know how to spy on themselves. If you haven’t already implemented a system for doing so, consider asking yourself (or posting on sticky notes around your office) the following self-evaluation questions:

(1) Do these thoughts serve me or hurt me? (2) Will these thoughts bring me peace of mind? (3) Am I thinking a thought that will stress me out? (4) Do all the thoughts in my head get along with each other? That way you can keep a watchful eye on what you allow to enter into your headspace. Are you mindfully monitoring your thoughts or allowing them to dictate how you behave?

8. Transform your interior landscape. I will now summarize every self-help book ever written: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” That’s from The Bible. You may have heard of it. Now, I think it’s fair to say that the concept is common knowledge. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it common practice.

Your challenge is to customize a daily practice of saturating your mind with successful thoughts and keeping your internal conversations in alignment with success and fulfillment. What seem to be your most productive thought patterns?

9. Save the smarties for Jeopardy. No disrespect to Alex Trebeck, but the world has too many smart people and not enough intellectuals. You don’t need to accumulate facts – you need to explore ideas, extract universal truths from your experiences and apply them to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

My mentor, Bill Jenkins, is one of the great intellectuals I know. He explained the difference between the two as follows: “Smart people study content for the purposes of memorization. Intellectuals entertain ideas for the purpose of democratization.” True Smokin’ Hot Pieces of Brain Candy accomplish the latter. Are you an intellectual or just really smart?

10. Release your thoughts. Even if you never publish a single thought in your life, relocating them from your brain to the page is paramount to the potency of your thought life. First, writing is the great clarifier. You don’t know what you know until you physically write it out.

Secondly, writing is the great organizer. Until you see your words on a page, flipchart, dry erase board or sticky note, you will never realize the inherent geometry of your thoughts. The brain is a self-organizing system, and most of the logistical work has already been done. You just need to experience it visually.

Finally, writing down your thoughts makes them public in your mind. By virtue of relocation, your brain instantly relaxes because it doesn’t have to remember anything. Whew. What did you write today?

11. Stay incessantly commitment to observation. There never ceases to be an inexhaustible source of living water. All that’s requires is that you poke about the world, stay quietly fascinated and look with the right pair of eyes.

You also need to ask questions like: How do these ideas relate to my life? Is there a method of thinking or a metaphor implied that I could adapt to my own world? How does this fit into my theory of the universe?

Remember: Creativity is nothing but active listening. If you find yourself blocked, perhaps you should have your hearing checked. Are you a great noticer?

12. Never neglect your non-thought life. As profitable and beautiful and essential it is to be a thinker, don’t forget to balance your thoughts with non-thoughts. Incorporate regular time each to go perpendicular. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Play music. Meditate. Practice yoga. Work in the garden. Whatever.

Return to your sanctuary of non-thought to refresh, rejuvenate and air out your brain. You will return with strength. Remember: If there’s not enough whitespace around your grey matter, your head might explode. How much time do you spend each day doing the opposite of thinking?

REMEMBER: Thinking is not your main responsibility.

Leading a potent, productive and profitable thought life is.

I think.

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How much of a thinker are you?

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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.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How to be a Human Being

Your humanity is not a liability.

Being a robot, however, might lose your company money.

Today we’re going to talk about being a human being.

Which, after extensive research, is something I’ve discovered can be surprisingly difficult for many people – myself included.

Einstein once said, “Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison of self-delusion by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Well, that sounds easy. Thanks a lot, Big Al.

Perhaps these suggestions will help:

1. Resist compartmentalizing people. Especially into convenient little personality boxes or oversimplified categories. Personality tests and “type” assessments frustrate me. Sure, it’s helpful in office situations and team projects. As long as you’re not reducing a human being named Randy to a label named ENFJ.

People want to be called by their name – not their score. People want to be treated as human beings – not statistics, not acronyms and not categories. Of course, this all depends on what you see when you see people. Do you see people as individuals to be cared for and enjoyed or objects to be manipulated and controlled?

2. Love your limits, liabilities, trespasses and shadows. Assess, take ownership of, and exert your vulnerabilities. You’ll find that endorsing your own weakness establishes your acceptance of the imperfect humanness of others. What’s more, when you let previously disregarded aspects of yourself come to the surface and acknowledge and embrace all aspects of who you are – people relax.

Plus, you give them permission to reciprocate. For example: I have no sense of direction, I used to litter constantly, I recently had six cavities filled, I’m useless when it comes to details, and I couldn’t change a tire if Al Qaeda was jamming an oozy against my temple. Just a few of my liabilities. How willing are you to share yours?

3. Crying demonstrates alignment. Bodies are barometers. And emotion is the final arbiter of truth. If tears are flowing, so is honesty. Lesson learned: Turning on the water works isn’t a crime. (Unless you’re trying to cry your way out of a speedy ticket, in which case, I hate you.)

Look, don’t hold the tears back. More importantly, never, EVER apologize for starting to cry. That’s what most people do instinctively: They say they’re sorry.

For what? Being honest? Being open? Being a human? Dude, it’s cool. Let it out, brother. All we’re going to do is respect you more. Unless you start dribbling snot on people. Then we have a sanitary problem. When was the last time you cried in the presence of other people?

4. Respond to the human need first. “Front desk – may I help you?” “Help! There’s an aggressive cobra in my bathtub!” “I’m sorry sir, but our hotel policy is not to negotiate with reptiles. Have a nice day.”

Ouch. Wrong need. Lesson learned: Before policies, before protocols, before anything, isolate the universal human need – in this case, death – and use that as your baseline point of response. Everything else can wait. Cobras are serious. Are you treating the problem or the person?

5. Understand, sympathize and empathize for the complexities of the human condition. Your humanity is marked (not) by your elevation above people, but your identification with them. Now, that doesn’t mean you pretend to be one of them. That actually works in reverse.

People can smell contrived connection like a wet dog. Instead, to express sympathy and empathy through the following formula: “Kathy, I have no idea what it takes to (x). What I DO know is how it feels to (y).” Are you trying to hard to relate to people?

6. If you see people bleeding, don’t pretend they aren’t really hurting. Like the homeless veteran with the cardboard sign: You don’t have to give him your life savings – but at least acknowledge the guy. I’m reminded of a 2005 article from Law Enforcement News called, “Approaching Invisible People.”

“You know who they are. They are the homeless wandering the alleyways mumbling. They are the preachers on the street corners declaring they are Jesus Christ. They are the ‘invisible’ people the public ignores, but as law enforcement officers you must see them. You are their guardians. You are their protectors. And being able to talk to the invisible man means being able to communicate with every man.”

Lesson learned: Practice a little namaste. The spirit in me honors the spirit in you. That doesn’t mean you have to save everybody. That doesn’t mean you have to bandage the blood of all who hurt. But don’t pretend they’re not there. They know you see them. And you know that they know you see them. How many people did you go out of your way to ignore last week?

7. Instead of answering questions, answer unspoken needs. My mentor was great at this. Whenever you’d ask a question, he’d start his response by saying, “Scott, I think what you’re really asking about is (x) – is that fair?” Naturally, he was spot-on every time.

Because he could listen to what I was trying to communicate – but was unable or afraid to articulate. That’s the unspoken need. And as you listen to the people who are important to you, I challenge you to keep your third ear open for the message communicated – not just the words spoken.

The cool part is: When you practice noticing what people are afraid of revealing, you’ll quickly learn what it is they long for. But only if you penetrate the mask, get beneath the surface of people’s lives and take a swim in their sea of unspoken emotional needs. How can you give people permission to share what they’re afraid of revealing?

8. See people beyond their emotional baggage and into their hearts. I once wrote a love song to a girl with whom I was incurably smitten that said, “I want to learn what your flaws are just so I can tell you that I love you anyway … I want to learn what all your little quirks are just so I can say I don’t care.”

Lesson learned: Love is a package deal. Everybody’s got baggage. The question is whether or not you’re human enough to let the people you love carry their bags onto your plane and fly with you anyway. Do you love people along with all the baggage they check?

In conclusion, we turn to Alan Weber, cofounding editor of FastCompany and author of Rules of Thumb:

“We’re drawn to people who know who they are, who are comfortable in their own skins. Their sense of themselves makes it easier for us to know and trust them. It cuts down on the wasted energy and head games that too often accompany people in power who are at war with themselves – and take it out on us.”

REMEMBER: Your humanity isn’t a liability.

Just for today, trying being a human being.

You might like it.

If not, I’m sure the robots would love to have you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What makes you human?

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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, March 11, 2010

9 Ways to Set Yourself on Fire without Becoming a Burn Victim

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

These famous words have been attributed to the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Richard Pryor and Canadian Hockey legend Reggie Leach.

Sadly, we may never know who deserves the original credit.

IN REALITY: It doesn’t matter who said it.

All that matters is that YOU do it.

Now, I’ve done some preliminary research. And as far as I can tell, very few (if any) resources have been published on the topic of “How to Set Yourself on Fire.”

With the exception of Richard Pryor’s Wikipedia page, which reports that on June 9th, 1980, during the making of the film Bustin’ Loose, Pryor set himself on fire by freebasing cocaine and covering his body in 151-proof rum in a narcotic-induced psychosis, resulting in third degree burns of over half his body requiring a six-week recovery at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.

I assume you’re not going to go that route.

So, whether you’re rehearsing for a presentation, preparing for a sales call, gearing up for a pitch meeting – or just getting dressed for work – consider these nine ways to set yourself on fire without becoming a burn victim.

1. Saturate your consciousness with victory. During my daily appointment with myself, I ritually revisit the following reminders: (1) Action-based victories from the previous day’s accomplishments. This helps build momentum and self-confidence. (2) Personal victories in the form of affirmations of my highest talents and skills.

This is the oxygen – the fuel – that my fire requires to grow stronger. By doing this every morning for the past eight years, I’ve found my inner kindling to be perfectly prepared for ignition. I wonder what your consciousness is saturated with. How much time – each day – do you spend selling yourself to yourself?

2. Get in the zone – YOUR zone. Before every sales call, Dwight Schrute has a ritual: He sits in his vintage Trans Am the parking lot of the company he’s about to sell to, then blasts “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue as loud as possible. So, is it any surprise he consistently wins Dunder Mifflin Salesperson of the Year?

Of course not. Because Dwight knows how to get in the zone. His zone. He knows how to set himself on fire. Personally, before every speech, I listen to the Rocky IV soundtrack in the bathroom stall while doing breathing exercises, creative visualization and positive affirmations. Works every time. Unless somebody walk in on me. Then it’s just plain awkward.

The point is, you can create whatever type of pre-game ritual you want. Anything that enables you to ride the wave. How do you get into the zone?

3. Dump the damp wood. Ever tried to make a campfire the morning after a thunderstorm? Good luck. Soggy wood never burns. (Looks like cold breakfast again!) In the same respect, you can’t set yourself on fire if the people in your life are dampening your flame.

That’s why you’ve GOT to make conscious choices about the individuals you allow to participate in your life. Learn to ask yourself questions like: Does this person add wood to my internal fire or sprinkle water on it? Is this person helping me become the best version of myself? Which people in my life don’t respect my time? Is this person a chronic abuser of my time and attention? Does this person enrich my life in any way?

Sure, it hurts to personally amputate people who don’t believe or support you. But living a non-flammable life hurts even more. Lesson learned: encircle yourself with kindlers. Life is too short to hang with people who don’t set you on fire. What damp wood do you need to throw back into the forest?

4. Sweep your fire radar. Have you ever gone through a “non-flammable” period in your life? Where you felt stuck, uninspired and stalemated? I know I have. And I remember when I sought counsel from my friend Dixie Dynamite. (With a name like that, I figured she could help.) Predictably, her response gave me chills: “Scott, if your soul was truly ignited, you would have noticed the flame.”

Damn it. Guess my fire is out, I thought. Fortunately, Dixie gave me the antidote. “If your flame is out, think back to the last time it burned brightly. What was happening? Who was around? How did you feel?” This exercise raises your awareness and makes you more available to future flames. Try it. How sharp is your fire awareness?

5. Surpass your personal threshold level. In Sam Parker’s book, 212° The Extra Degree, he explains, “At 211°, water is hot. At 212°, water boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. The one extra degree makes the difference.”

Maybe that’s all you need. Maybe the bridge between flammable and incombustible is shorter than you think. Either way: The rest of the world is doing everything they can to prevent you from reaching that tipping point because they’re scared shitless that your success will eclipse their averageness.

I guess it depends how much you’re willing to give up to get what you want. What’s the one extra degree that will propel you beyond your threshold level?

6. Practice impossible patience. According to UL 94 Flammability Testing, one of the primary ignition characteristics is “long-term exposure to elevated temperature.” That’s interesting. Maybe the fuel for your the fire isn’t oxygen – it’s patience.

Of course, there’s only one problem with that: You won’t find patience anywhere on the periodic table of elements – only within. The hard part is having faith that the heat provided by your eventual flame will outweigh the wait it took to ignite it. Are you letting the internal movement of patience flavor your fire?

7. Firefighters are busy people. These guys work 24-hour shifts. Naturally, on their days off, the only thing they want to do is sleep. Which isn’t a bad thing if you’re an actual firefighter. However, if, as a leader, you spend most of your days putting out other people’s fires, you won’t have any energy left to start a one of your own.

Yikes. Maybe it’s time to start asking yourself: Who creates fires you waste time putting out? Think of it as a process of elimination. That way, setting yourself on fire becomes a mathematical certainty. You become gloriously unimpeded. That is, once all the crap has been laid aside. What’s preventing you from becoming the best, highest version of yourself?

8. You will need an ignition source. “A heat supply having sufficient energy to initiate combustion of a material.” That’s the official definition of ignition source, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fortunately, the supply is endless. As long as your receptors are tuned into the frequency of inspiration, you’ll never be short of an ignition source.

The tricky part is figuring out how to fire inspiration into yourself. For example, during a 1998 interview between George Carlin and Jon Stewart, Carlin explained, “I don't use drugs anymore, but I always have a joint nearby.” Now, I’m suggesting you partake in anything illegal. Rather, I challenge you think about the components of your ideal creative environment where ignition is pervasive. What’s your system for initiating creative combustion?

9. Balance energy expenditure with energy renewal. As I learned from The Power of Full Engagement, “The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal.”

Lesson learned: The more time you spend “doing,” the more time you need to invest “being.” Suggestion: Create a ratio that fits your lifestyle – and stick to it. Be vigilant about protecting your non-negotiables. Personally, I’ve found great success with Mini Vacations.

Here’s how they work: Each day, spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours. Then, go perpendicular to the task at hand. Engage different parts of your mind, body and spirit. Whether you meditate, go for a walk, watch an episode of Southpark or go play the ukulele – you will renew and expand your energy reserves, guaranteed. When was the last time you took a vacation?

REMEMBER: Spontaneous combustion isn’t enough.

Learn to set yourself on fire.

And soon, people will come back just to watch you burn.

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

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

6 Ways to be More Referable than a Edward Scissorhands at Lawn & Garden Convention

This post is working in conjunction with Duct Tape Marketing's annual Make a Referral Week!

1. Circumvent people’s suspicions. Recognize that you’re beginning with negative balance with most people. Sad but true. It’s just the posture of the masses. People have been sold, scammed and screwed; conned, played and hustled; manipulated, used and marketed to for too long and their TIRED of it.

Your mission is to exert comfortable confidence. To lower the threat level. To prove to people that they aren’t going to be the first person to trust you. Otherwise they’ll show up plagued by an underlying unease. And that’s a brick wall you don’t have the time, energy or equipment to climb. How will you disarm people’s immediate preoccupations before entering your orbit?

2. Resort (not) to artificiality. People who do this come off like terminal try-hards. And their gnawing sense of inferiority fills the room like a garlic fart. Not exactly the type of orbit admirers are drawn into.

The secret is making the conscious choice to reassemble your posture. To assume a different pose. And to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. That’s what authenticity is all about: Flirting with the possibility of people not liking who you are, accepting the reality when they don’t.

As I learned from The Velveteen Rabbit, “Once you are real, you can't be ugly – except to people who don't understand." How will you authentically extend yourself this week?

3. Be a source of infinite opportunity. “Become a platform.” Those three words alone were worth paying twenty bucks for Jeff Jarvis’s bestselling What Would Google Do? Here’s how it works: You give customers, users and fans the control to create and improve your online content. You aggregate information and services.

Then, you enable your admirers to build communities, networks – even products and businesses – of their own, under the umbrella of your platform. Think Twitter. Think Facebook. Think Linked In. All platforms. All raking it in. Lesson learned: When you make a platform, you make an indispensible contribution. What are YOU a platform for?

4. Jump at every chance to declare the unspoken truth. Follow the advice of Dilbert creator Scott Adams: “Be completely and radically honest where most people would say nothing.” Simple, yes. Easy, no. The secret is to plant the seeds of love where fear grows.

In my experience, here’s the best practice for doing so: Speak the unspeakables to compel people to think the unthinkables so they’re disturbed into doing the undoables. How are you branding your honesty?

5. Increase your agency. I love this concept. Just learned it myself a few weeks ago. Increase your agency. Now, it’s got nothing to do with the FBI or Leo Burnett. Agency is about the state of being necessary for exerting power. The cool part is, agency is relative. It all depends on where your power generator resides.

HOW to specifically increase your agency is up to you. The only advice I can offer to support your process is: Don’t make despair your default setting. It’s timelessly unattractive and will slowly nibble your power away like a school of baby piranhas. Where are you unintentionally giving your power away?

6. Be willing to be crucified. I think it’s fair to say that Jesus Christ had a knack for being "referable." And, among his long list of approachable attributes, I think it’s also fair to say that his willingness to be crucified – literally – served his purpose well.

Now, the odds of you, as a Thought Leader, being nailed to an actual cross and left for dead are highly unlikely. (Then again, I don’t know you that well.) The point is: Crucifixion isn’t about wood and nails – it’s about criticism and persecution. It’s about passion, which comes from the Latin passio, which means, “to suffer.”

The two-fold question is: What do you do that you are willing to suffer for? And what do you do that – if you did NOT do it – would cause you suffering as a result? Find the answers to those questions and you’ll find admirers drawing into your orbit immediately. No messianic complex needed. Have you taken up your cross today?

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

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Don’t Form a Partnership, Join a Team or Commence Collaboration Until You Read These Six Truths

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”

Thoreau. Walden. 1854.

Does that statement still hold true today?

Absolutely. Especially for entrepreneurs and creative professionals.

MY THEORY: That’s the problem with collaboration. Or teams. Or partnerships. Or committees.

The more people you have, the longer it takes to move.

Not that you should be opposed to working with others.

Sometimes teams help.
Sometimes they hinder.

Sometimes two heads are better than one.
Sometimes two heads are deader than one.

Sometimes together everyone achieves more.
Sometimes together everyone annoys each other beyond belief and nothing gets executed.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t allow your dreams to be realized at a significantly slower pace because you’re too busy looking over your shoulder.

That’s how once-great ideas fizzle.

All I can say is: Wait!

Before you form a partnership, join a team or commence collaboration, consider these six truths:

1. Conditioning murders efficiency. Since day one of preschool, we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that teamwork is the secret. That working together is the answer. As the motivational poster says “Together Everybody Achieves More.”

Not always. In truth, the efficacy of teams is largely a myth. But we’ve been romanced and seduced into believing that teams are so wonderful, when in fact their power works in reverse.

In the June 2009 issue of Inc., James Freedman said it best: “In many cases, individuals do much better on their own. Our bias toward groups is counterproductive.” Are you ready to wake up from the dangerous dreams you’ve been fed?

2. The best way to block a punch is to not be there. Inasmuch as teams, partnerships and collaborations net positive results, imagine the amount of baggage you wouldn’t have to deal with if you did it yourself:

No meetings. No arguing. No awkward silences. No power plays. No excuses. No asking permission. No begging for forgiveness. No memos. No putting out fires. No managing people. No task requests. No waiting for people. No socializing. No compromising. No office politics.

After deleting all of that noise, what are you left with? Work. That matters. That’s it. Think about it: If that were YOUR work environment, you’d be pretty productive too. Remember: Productivity isn’t about what you do – it’s about what you avoid. What punches would you be blocking by going it alone?

.3. Teams are overrated. In Richard Hackman’s book, Leading Teams, he explains that people tend to think that teams are the democratic and efficient way to get things done. “When you have a team, the possibility exists that it will generate magic, producing something extraordinary and a collective creation of previously unimagined quality or beauty,” he says.

“But don’t count on it. Teams underperform, despite all the extra resources they have. Problems with coordination and motivation typically chip away at the benefits of collaboration. And even when you have a strong and cohesive team, it’s often in competition with other teams, and that dynamic can also get in the way of real progress.”

Hackman helps us realize that with teams, you often have two strikes against you right from the start. And that sometimes, having a team is often worse than having no team at all. Is your romantic notion of the value of teams shooting you in the foot?

4. He travels fastest who travels alone. Kipling made that statement in 1888. Over a century later, it still holds true. Imagine:

When you work alone, you always reach a consensus.
When you work alone, you know when you’re not producing.
When you work alone, you take more personal responsibility.
When you work alone, you can’t sit idly by as you contribute nothing.
When you work alone, you spend time (actually) thinking and not listening to others’ irrelevant, inconsequential and counterproductive thoughts.

I wonder how much faster you would move if you moved alone. Who is holding you back from being best, highest version of yourself?

5. More people equal less progress. In a 2009 issue of Machine Design, editorialist Leland E. Teschler explained, “Development teams are often an obstacle to creativity rather than a vehicle for truly elegant solutions. Many team members work at cross-purposes. That's why throwing more people at a project frequently slows it down rather than speeds its completion.”

I agree. Productivity, schmoductivity. As I learned in the hysterical book, I Hate People, even studies from a century ago prove that individual productivity declines as teams expand. It’s an inverse relationship, and it’s devastating to your performance. What is blocking your creativity?

6. Teams degrade decision quality. In his classic 1972 work, Victims of Groupthink, Yale psychology researcher Irving Janis wrote that groups often breed a false confidence that leads to unsound decisions none of the individuals in the group would have made on their own.

As I’ve experienced in my work as a one-man show: When you work alone, you’re forced to believe something because you truly believe – not because the group says it’s so.

When you work alone, you have no choice but to decide with conviction and confidence, as opposed to following the herd. How many poor decisions have you made because you delegated your confidence to the group?

REMEMBER: More often than not, teams, partnerships and collaborations are overrated.

If the man who works alone can start today – and if the world is accelerating faster than ever before in history – it seems to make more sense (and more CENTS) to go it alone.

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Do you really need a team?

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

Who's telling their friends about YOU?

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