Watch Scott's TEDx talk!

A brand, a business and a career. From a nametag.

The Nametag Manifesto

Why everybody should wear nametags.

Steal Scott's Books!

Download every book Scott has ever written for free.

Rent Scott's Brain!

Mentoring isn't a relationship, it's an inheritance.

Brandtag Strategic Planning Crusades!

Make your mission more than a statement.

Interview Scott for Your Publication

Featured on every news network in the country.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HELLO, my name is Search!



Thanks to Sandra for sending me this video!

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Who's searching for you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "72 Ways to Take Your Blog from Anonymous to Award-Winning," send an email to me, and yo win the list 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!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Recruit Anybody for Anything Without Resorting to Hypnosis or Hairy Guys Named Vinny

Everybody recruits.

New members to join your organization.
New volunteers to donate their time to your cause.
New customers to do business with your company.
New employees to offer their loyalty to your enterprise.
New congregants to share their faith with your community.
New friends to join your cult, drink the cyanide punch and commit mass suicide.

What’s more, whomever you’re recruiting – and whatever you’re recruiting for – there are certain approaches that work, and certain approaches that don’t work. For example:

Holding people up at gunpoint?
Very effective recruiting strategy.

Chasing people down in the parking lot of Safeway until they finally make eye contact with you so you can waste the next seven minutes of their life vomiting the benefits of joining your organization?
Not very effective.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of universal recruiting practices that can be applied to anybody, any organization, any time – without resorting to hypnosis or hairy guys named Vinny.

1. The onus to initiate is on you. In an article from The New York Times called To Hire Sharp People, Recruit in Sharp Ways the first rule of recruiting is that the best people already have positions they like. Which means: You have to find them – they’re not going to find you.

Think about it. It’s highly unlikely you’ll receive random email tomorrow morning from a complete stranger saying, “Scott, I have the singe most fulfilling job in the history of the planet. But do you by any chance have any openings in the mailroom at your company?”

It’s like my mentor Reverend Bill Jenkins reminds me: “You can’t be a Christian in a corner.” Even if you’re not a Christian. It’s not about religion – it’s about reaching out. Be willing to take that first step. Approachability is a two-way street. How many people did you go out of your way to avoid yesterday?

2. Disarm the immediate preoccupation. Instead of trying to convince people to join your organization, understand and neutralize their resistance. For example, let’s say you have lunch with a few people who used to be affiliated with your organization, but have since dissociated. Remind yourself of three key words: Alienated people remember.

People rarely forget how you treated them the last time. And if you know you’re starting with a negative balance with people, address that issue immediately. Ask them what would bring them back.

Another elephant in the room is explaining, specifically, why your organization is worthy of someone’s time. People are ruthless about their time, and are slow forgive if you waste it on a consistent basis.

The challenge is learning what makes each individual person’s time value, and then positioning the value of your organization as worthwhile investments of that time. And you can only do that by hooking moments to personal meaning. How are you preparing yourself to overcome people’s existing concerns about the value of joining you?

3. Come out swinging and you will be perceived as a threat. Why are pitchers terrified of Albert Pujols? Is it because his average is .350? Or that his on base percentage is 83%? Or that he’s the most dominant hitter the MLB has seen in years?

Nope. Pitchers are scared of Pujols because of one foundational attribute of his ability: He comes out swinging.

He’s not looking for a walk. He’s not trying to force a balk or a wild pitch. He’s not hoping to lean into an inside curve, take one for the team and load the bases. Instead, he’s focusing that laser vision of his. That way, if a pitch comes anywhere near his wheelhouse, he’ll be ready to knock the cover off the ball.

As such: These things make Albert a threat. Which is great for the Cardinals.

But it’s just the opposite when you’re trying to recruit someone.

Think about it: When you sit down with people, do you threaten them by coming out swinging? Or do you ease into the recruitment-heavy part of the conversation only after you’ve gauged receptivity?

As much as it pains me to say it: Don’t be like Albert. Don’t get right down to business. How long are you willing to wait before launching into your recruitment pitch?

4. Hold an information session that’s actually worth attending. First, deliver value that can’t simply be found by spending five minutes on your website. Exclusive information prevents people from feeling their time was wasted.

Second, don’t make people sit through a bunch of job descriptions. Nobody cares what it feels like to be a president. Tell them what it’s like, specifically, on a daily basis, to be part of your organization.

Third, during your pitch or presentation, if you’re not getting some kind of laugh every sixty seconds – you lose. Laughter is the lubricator of communication.

These things make your message more relaxing to experience, more enjoyable to hear, more digestible to consume and spreadable to people who weren’t there. Are you offering information meetings or unforgettable emotional experiences?

5. Breathe life into the hopes and dreams of others. I recruit people to yoga all the time. But not intentionally – incidentally. See, yoga is my religion. It’s not a big part of my life – it is my life. And interestingly, the reason I started practicing yoga was because of my best friend Drew recruited me.

He once told me that the first time he walked out of Bikram class, he felt more alive and more healthful than ever in his life.

I was sold. That’s all it took for me.

And Drew was right, too. I walk out of class now and I literally feel my health as if it were a tangible thing. And that’s what I breathe and infect into other people with when I recruit them: The hope and dream of feeling alive.

What are the hopes and dreams of the people you’re recruiting?

That’s the cool part about this approach. If you concentrate on breathing and infecting intentionally, you will recruit and retain incidentally. Are you vomiting hot garbage onto people or breathing healthful life into people?

6. Your organization isn’t a catchall. Unfortunately, yoga is not for everybody. Take my friend Rhonda, for example. She took my advice and came to practice one day. And at the end of class when I asked her how she felt, her exact words were, “I hate you.”

Lesson learned: Health benefits notwithstanding, recognize that what you’re recruiting people for isn’t necessarily for all people. Learn to walk away. Have enough self-control to discontinue your recruiting efforts when it’s clear that someone is not going to become part of your organization.

Yes, be persistent. Yes, ask for the sale. But don’t be pushy. Preaching to atheists is a nice challenge – but it tends to be a waste of time. Plus, the frustration that results only reinforces and strengthens the non-believers position.

Look: Some people aren’t just going to change. You need to be okay with that. And you need to remember that the first word that comes after “no” is “next.”

Remember: Fulfilling a compelling need for your target market isn’t the same thing projecting onto that market what you think they should want. Are you blinded by the illusion that everyone in the world needs what your organization offers?

7. Demonstrate interest in the person, not the potential. While recruiting, speak to someone as a person. Not as a position. Not as a prospect. Not as a butt in the seat. Not as a possible board member. Not as a statistic. And not as a number on your recruiting quota so you can attend next year’s national conference for half price.

Successful recruitment is a natural byproduct of speaking to people with an abundance of compassion and an absence of compartmentalization. Remember: People buy people first. Is that what you’re selling first?

8. Face time never fails. I’m not a futurist, but here’s my prediction: Face-to-face is making a comeback. We’ve been held hostage by instant, electronic communication for the past ten years. People miss people. It’s time to get back to basics. Never underestimate the power of having lunch with someone.

The secret is laying a foundation of comfort and honesty at the onset. Consider reaching out to people and saying something like, “Hey Brian: You’re cool. I’m cool. We should hang out. Would you be interested in having a zero agenda conversation sometime?”

That’s it. That’s all you have to say. No technique. No system. No hidden plan. Just two people talking. Like we used to do. Kind of hard to resist. I’ve been having those conversations for years and never once been rejected. The only caveat is: During lunch, you’re not allowed to say single word about recruiting unless they ask.

That means no unnatural, unnecessary sneaking of your organization’s name into the conversation.

That means no wearing of your company logo shirt in the hopes that they’ll notice the emblem and ask a question about it.

That means no handing them a brochure you conveniently had in your pocket the whole time right as the waiter brings the check.

Just be cool. Have a conversation with another human being. Zero agenda. I know it’s a lot to ask. But people rarely forget such gestures. What would happen if you tripled your amount of face time?

9. Communicate the need. All love wants - is to be believed in. (Counting Crows!) In the same vain, all people need – is to feel needed. I experienced this truth firsthand several years ago. Two conversations. Two different people. Both of whom I was recruiting for my professional organization; and both to whom I made the exact same remark:

“Look, we need you. Our current membership is filled with too many people who don’t matter and don’t belong – but you do.”

It just sort of came out. With all the sincerity and honesty I could muster, that’s what I said. And it must have struck a nerve, because both people were speechless. My organization’s need was communicated, and their human need to feel needed was confronted.

Lesson learned: When you acknowledge people’s unique contribution and show them that you’re conscious of their capability, you inspire them with of a vision of what they can contribute. And it all starts by speaking to their need to be acknowledged, need to feel heard, need to share, need for answers and their need to be included.

That’s what drives people’s decisions. When you speak straight to the heart of human experience. Are you paying careful attention to the things people care about?

10. Solicit commitment actively but carefully. People work best when they know that others are depending on them. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific, small participation. Even if you think you’re being too pushy when you ask people to join or participate. Consider the fact that some people are just waiting for you to invite them.

On the other hand, keep time demands reasonable. Assure people that exploring options isn’t committing to them. Commitment-phobes are a dime a dozen. Are you asking for too much too quickly from someone who isn’t too interested in being too committed?

11. Offer yourself as a resource of accessibility and candor. Make sure your actions silent say, “I’m here if you need me. And if you don’t, cool. But if you do, I promise not to bullshit you.” I attribute my seven-year membership (and current presidency) to National Speaker’s Association to this very principle.

I was fortunate enough have several board members who offered themselves as available resources. That way, if I ever needed honest answers to questions I wasn’t normally getting straight answers for, they were there. And through their example of accessibility and candor, I eventually felt comfortable enough to join.

Thanks guys. Are you willing to be somebody’s first friend – who also tells him the naked truth about your organization?

REMEMBER: Everybody recruits.

Whether you’re looking for employees, members, donors, congregants – or just some random sucker to man the punch bowl – I challenge you to mesh these practices into your recruiting efforts.

However, if none of the above suggestions work, you can always contact my friend Vinny at yougotaproblemwiththat@gmail.com.

But please don’t tell him I sent you. I can’t swim.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When you were first recruited, why did you say yes?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "62 Pieces of Advice Busy Leaders Need to Know, But Don’t Have Time to Learn on Their Own," 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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Help Your Personal Evolution Pick Up Speed

Public schools should teach evolution.

NOTE: I’m not referring to all that reptilian brain, vestigial organ, monkey-into-man stuff.

I’m talking about personal evolution.

Much more valuable subject.

THINK ABOUT IT: The word “evolution” comes from the Latin evolvere, meaning, “to unfold, open out, expand.”

Can you think of anything more important to your growth as a species than that?

Me neither.

Let’s explore a collection of practices for helping your personal evolution pick up speed:

1. Abandon the lifeless. When I turned thirty, I made a conscious decision: Surrender to the next chapter of my development as a person. Instead of turning thirty years old, I viewed my birthday as an upgrade to the 3.0 version of myself. I even memorialized the evolution by ordering orange silicon bracelets to commemorate this life change.

The cool part is, wearing that bracelet every day keeps me accountable to the best, highest version of myself – which I’m becoming. It also keeps me away from the lesser, former version of myself – which I’ve abandoned.

In fact, the bracelet is so effective that I’ve decided to order a new one each December to symbolize the growth theme for following year. Have you made a public commitment to relevant action?

2. Activate an aggressive growth campaign. Regularly ask yourself three penetrating questions:

(a) Which behaviors are preventing you from making progress towards becoming the next best version of yourself?
(b) Are you actually changing yourself or just changing the mask?
(c) Are you actually changing or just becoming more of what you were?

You might consider writing them on sticky notes and posting them around the house. By keeping the questions in front of your face, you help lay the groundwork for your next initiative. That’s the awareness-based secret to helping your personal evolution pick up speed. What reminders will you use to keep yourself growing?

3. Don’t assume you’re in charge. Instead, deal with whatever life presents itself to you. Because whether or not you want to admit it, whatever happens next is exactly what is supposed to happen. Accidents are not. As I learned in Shakti Gawain’s Reflections in the Light, “Life always confronts you with whatever you’re hoping you don’t have to deal with.”

The good news is, everything that shows up in your life can be used. All you have to do is ask the ultimately leverage question. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?

4. Accept the prescriptions of nature. Certain things are going to be inevitable features of the landscape. Whether it’s your age, geography, health or personal disposition, evolution is learning to accept the unchangeable.

For example, I can’t play team sports the way I used to. In my twenties, I’d regularly participate in volleyball, basketball and kickball intramurals after work. Not anymore. I’ve come to terms with my own vulnerability.

And I recognize that, as fun as they are to play, it’s not worth hurting my (apparently) fragile body during a Sunday game of kickball to feel my knees ache during a four-hour workshop on Monday, thus letting my audience down with a less-than-best performance. Bummer. I had a cannon from third base. Are you a practitioner of unconditional self-acceptance?

5. Gradually release the old. Determine what you would like to have room for. Then, create the space you need by heeding one or more of the following pieces of advice: Avoid outdated frameworks. Conquer obsolete fears. Discard old scripts. Dismantle outmoded assumptions. Dispose irrelevant presuppositions. Eliminate useless answers. Reject aged procedures.

In the same way that productivity is about what you avoid, personal evolution is about what you discard. Sure, it’s hard to let go of a part of yourself – especially something that’s working. But sometimes you have to destroy yourself to reinvent yourself. What are you holding onto that no longer serves you?

6. Learn to love what’s good for you. One of the saddest days of my life was January 11th, 2010. That’s when my dentist gave me (and my teeth) an ultimatum: Stop eating sweets and start flossing – or endure an extremely painful surgical procedure.

As you can guess, my answer didn’t require much thought. Sometimes all it takes for a guy like me to evolve is the threat of excruciating pain.

Lesson learned: Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. Although I secretly miss Twizzlers like a long distance girlfriend. God damn it. What do you need to learn to love?

7. Risk looking at what’s not working. First, give yourself permission to have difficult conversations with yourself. Summon the self-confrontational courage to look at your life squarely and candidly. Try asking yourself the key question: “If my life were perfect, how would it be different from how it is today?”

Next, notice what answers, feelings and bodily responses arise. Write them down. Then, consciously commit to narrowing that gap.

Remember: Don’t let the pursuit for perfection stop you from trying. Become skilled at dropping the rocks that are slowing you down. Are you stuck doing what’s not working?

REMEMBER: The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

If evolution follows involution, start on the inside and watch what happen on the outside.

Who knows? You might even like the new version of you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you surrendered to the next chapter of your personal evolution?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "14 Things You Don't Have to Do Anymore,” send an email to me, and you win the list 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!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Cowardly Lion's Guide to Cultivating a Courageous Creative Spirit

Creativity isn’t about what you create – it’s about how you create it.

It’s about the mindset. The process. The posture.

Those are the non-negotiable elements comprise your courageous creative spirit.

Which fuels your creative process.
Which accelerates your creative output.
Which solidifies your creative success.

Here’s a list of ideas to cultivate that spirit, even if you're not a lion:

1. Live in an atmosphere of encouragement. Where people don’t ask you to edit yourself. Where support flows uninhibited. And where you’re enabled to be the best, highest version of yourself. That’s the foundation – the support system – from which courageous creativity grows.

Personally, I was cut from the cloth of artists. From painters to musicians to dancers to writers to wood carvers – everyone in my family creates something. As such, there’s never been a shortage of artistic encouragement in my life. And I give thanks for that every day.

Your challenge (even if you don’t come from a creative bloodline) is to figure out which people your support structure can best contribute to your foundation. How many creative people are you having lunch with this month?

2. Testicles for everybody! A courageous creative spirit is someone who has balls. Cujones. Moxie. Whatever. The willingness to stick himself out there and risk looking like an idiot on the road to immortality.

Because it’s not about gender – it’s about guts. Creating from the core. And sustaining that level of risk indefinitely.

My suggestion is to constantly ask yourself the following two questions as you create each day: “What do I risk in presenting this material?” and “What would courage do in this situation?” Think of them as litmus tests to hold your work accountable to a minimum level of artistic risk. Are you a model of intellectual bravery?

3. Follow your unintentionals. Don’t overlook fringe thoughts. And don’t be afraid to take a mental detour and find yourself in a different place from where you started. That’s the fun part about creativity: The detour is the path. And it’s those offhand, unintentional suggestions that mature into ideas that end up putting a dent the world.

The cool part is, once you learn to go where your unintentionals take you – and learn to celebrate once you get there – fresh new music starts to make its way into your life regularly. All because you affirmed it.

After all, gratitude is the great gravitator. Courageous artists are the ones who let ideas happen to them. Are you creating what you feel like creating, or listening to what wants to be created?

4. Practice cognitive diversity. It takes a courageous person to observe an idea, word, phrase or premise – that scares the hell out of him – then use that piece to make his art better. It’s all depends on your level of internal agility, or mental flexibility.

Personally, practicing yoga has been a huge help in cultivating my courageous sprit. Not just because I can touch my head to my knees – but also because I’ve deepened my capacity to respond flexibly to what the world hurls at me. For example, during class we occasionally hear car alarms from the adjacent parking lot.

However, instead of tensing up and contracting our muscles at the sound of the horn, we just breathe deeper. And that annoying noise becomes a meditation. The unlikely impetus for reaching a fuller expression of the posture. Lesson learned: You can breathe through – and use – everything that happens to you.

But only if you treat what you observe with deep democracy. Are you brave enough to keep your creative gears in neutral?

5. Risk being unpopular. If you don’t risk turning some people off, you’ll never turn anybody on. That’s the secret of courageous creativity: Foregoing popularity for the sake of the work that matters.

The question is: Will you marshal the willingness to be booed? Are you an equal opportunity pisser offer that polarizes people purposely? I hope so. Because although it’s tough at the beginning of your career – especially when you really need money and don’t want to risk missing the rent (again!) – taking this risk pays off.

Remember: Audiences gladly get behind the artists who gladly go beyond what is comfortable. Where in your work are you playing it too safe?

6. Enlarge your courage to fail. Let’s go back to testicles for a minute. Because the irony of the whole thing is: You need balls to strike out. Interesting. My suggestion is to find a place where you can fail safely.

Take the Actor’s Studio in New York City, for example. For over fifty years, this venue has invited actors, directors and writers to work together to develop their skills in a private environment. And the best part: It’s a space where they can take risks as performers without the pressure of commercial roles. Whew.

What about you? Is there a local venue in which you can safely try out your latest work? If not, maybe you could start one. Have you made losing a regular part of your experience?

7. Let craziness be the inspiration – not the brakes – behind your ideas. I call this profitable insanity: The most underrated weapon in your creative 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. But the reality of creativity is: Success requires crazy. You don’t have to pull a Van Gough and resort to self-mutilation. But the courage to keep your work singular, unexpected and expeditiously non-conforming will always serve you well.

Remember: If you’re not at least (a little) nuts, you’re a putz. How do you respond when people tell you that you’re out of your mind?

REMEMBER: As a creative professional, the art you make isn’t as important as the approach with which you make it.

I challenge you to cultivate a courageous creative spirit. To assume a bolder posture and invent with abandon.

Do so, and your work will be remembered as fearless.

Either that, or people will think you’re just plain crazy.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you afraid to express?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "13 Things Losers Do," send an email to me, and you win the list 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!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

9 Ways to Turn Your Pipe Dream into a Dream Come True

To execute is to put to death.

THAT’S THE KILLER QUESTION: What do you need to murder in your life that’s preventing you from taking action?



Excuses?
Illusions?
Assumptions?
Procrastination?
That annoying neighbor whose home cooking smells like hot trash?

Regardless of your situation, everyone can benefit from a few execution lessons.

Here: Your first session is on the house.

1. Finished is the new perfect. Perfect is boring anyway. As Mary Poppins taught us, “Enough is as good as a feast.” That’s your first execution lesson: To declare it done, throw your arms up in the air and say, “The hay is in the barn.”

Kind of like that night senior year when you were cramming for your calculus exam – somewhere around midnight while all your friends were getting smashed at Skipper’s – and you reached the point of diminishing returns. “If I don’t know it now, I’ll never know it,” you said.

So you packed up, walked home and got a good night’s sleep. Then you went to class the next day and made those derivatives your bitch. Way to go.

Remember: You’re the only one waiting for you to get everything right. Eighty percent is enough. Trust your resources. Nobody is going to notice the final twenty anyway. Did you postpone (again!) because you’re sweating something irrelevant?

2. Declare a stern deadline of no more. The hardest part about being an author is cutting. Deleting chapters that are brilliant but unnecessary. After twelve books in eight years, I still feel physical pain in my stomach every time I do it.

But that’s the secret: I wouldn’t even have this many books published at the age of thirty if I trapped myself in the eternal loop of pointless editing like every other author. Instead, I give myself “no more deadlines.” For example, “After the date of June 1, I will not add or subtract anything from this book.”

That’s the only way to get it done. That’s the only way to ship.

And yes, I find one or two typos in every book I write. But, in the words of Larry Winget, bestselling author of more than thirty books, “My crap is better than your nothing.” Are you stalling a product that, by the time it’s perfect and ready, some other chump company will have already finished, sold and shipped their version of it?

3. Exorcise falsehoods. End the barrage of lies. Be honest with yourself about these three questions: Are you making something useful or just making something? Are you creating problems you don’t have yet just to feel in control? Are you wasting your money solving an imaginary problem beautifully?

If so, you may be foreclosing on your own good efforts. Truth is: Execution is priceless; but when you’re miles away from meaningful work, it’s about as valuable as a used MC Hammer album. Does what you’re doing – right now – matter?

4. Establish real-world momentum. In physics class, you learned that momentum (mass times velocity) means moving without deliberate acceleration. In short: Moving, but only by using what you already have. Alex J. Mann, who blogged a series of articles on execution had this to say:

“Momentum doesn’t hit when you first edge off the starting line. But it begins to creep in when you start moving against the wind towards the unknown horizon. This is why momentum is so vital to a solid execution strategy. It proves one thing: that you are capable of getting things done with very little.”

My suggestion is to constantly ask the ultimately movement value question: Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?

5. Ship now, fix later, perfect never and bleed always. That’s the execution process for my creative practice. What’s yours? While you’re thinking about that, let’s turn to Derek Sivers of CD Baby for executional insight:

“Make it. Even if you don’t have the massive programming skill available, make a super lo-fi or no-fi version. Just get started with a couple friends and volunteers. It’s so much more impressive to hear someone say, ‘There’s this thing that I’ve started doing that a lot of people seem to like.’”

What can you do in the first half of the day to demonstrate focus and unstoppable action?

6. Find a way to start small. If it’s gathering dust, it’s bleeding money. Try this: Even if you can’t go the whole hog immediately, execute a small component of your idea early. Use social media platforms as testing ground. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that nobody even notices the minor flaws you’re losing sleep over. And know that the smaller and earlier you do it, the quicker and easier it is to hide your mistakes.

Besides, what’s worse: Hitting bumps in the road that project you forward, or go along sailing smoothly without realizing you’re actually standing still or worse, going backward?

Remember: Screwing up quietly beats sitting around loudly. As I learned in The Cult of Done Manifesto, “Failure counts as done, and so do mistakes.” Just admit it: You’re never really ready. Start small and win big. Will you let action eclipse excuse?

7. You don’t need more ideas. As a writer, public speaker and consultant, this is a huge problem for me. Especially since my idea inventory is slowly approaching 75,000 strong. I know. I’m like a chocoholic, but for creativity. Sometimes I get so entrenched in the joy of collecting and organizing ideas that I forget to do anything with them.

Whoops. Too bad I didn’t learn the secret until a few years ago. It simple: While ideas set the wheel in motion, execution is where the rubber meets the road. Your challenge is to regularly ask the question: When is it time to stop creating and start judging?

8. Action isn’t an afterthought. Engineer action into every idea you have. Otherwise they’re going to remain nouns in a marketplace where customers only buy verbs.

Incidentally, did you know the word “execution” has the same Latin derivative as the word “sequel”? Interesting. Maybe that’s what it means to execute – to make a sequel. After all, each experience contains the value of helping us decide what to do next. How are you entering into each endeavor with an attitude of action?

9. Jealousy is a waste of time. If someone else executes faster than you, it’s not because you’re incompetent or complacent – it’s because they have more resources at their disposal. Relax. Stop projecting. Stop resenting. Instead, focus on what’s standing in the way of accomplishing similar results.

For example: Creating busywork to avoid the important isn’t execution – that’s procrastination. Are you guilt of that? What about this: Remaining dangerously committed to not losing money is the enemy of execution. How are you in that department?

Remember: Be very careful about the expectations you set for yourself. Are you using your abilities constructively, or is your drive and ambition directed to unproductive and purely self-seeking channels?

REMEMBER: Your ability is only as good as its execution.

Ideas aren’t meant to stay ideas.

Don’t leave them that way.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will your idea stay a pipe dream or become a dream come true?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How to Roll with the Punches without Getting a Bloody Nose

“Your attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”

That’s the mantra of my friend Rusty, lifelong native of Gulfport, Mississippi.

He has that quotation framed in the entryway of his houseboat.

Which, by now, is probably filled with oil.

“It sure helped me get through Katrina,” he said as he prepared our shrimp dinner a few weeks back. “And it’s sure as hell going to help me when the oil spill makes its way to Mississippi.”

Is your attitude that good? Could your mindspace compete with Mississippi Rusty?

If not, here’s how roll with the punches without getting a bloody nose:

1. Remain unreasonably peaceful. Especially when the shit hits the fan. People who provide an unblinking stare instead of becoming preoccupied with the chattering noise of reactive thinking are inspiring.

My suggestion: Learn to stay in a state non-resistance. You’ll discover that inviting the challenges of life with a consciousness of calm is the smartest thing you could do.

The only repercussion is, you might upset the people around you who are pissed off that you’re not more pissed off. Remember: You can try to control life, or allow it to flow abundantly through you. Which will you choose?

2. Release your attachment to the need to control your environment. Everyone is silently controlled by something. And if you don’t think you are, then that’s what is silently controlling you. I know. Denial hurts.

But when life starts to suck, your attitude needs to revolve around questions like:

*Do you actually think you can go on controlling life indefinitely?
*In a pinch, am I willing to say almost anything to maintain control?
*What in this situation is within your control, which you can realistically change?
*How much time and energy are you wasting on things over which you have absolutely zero control?

Remember: Assuming you can’t go on controlling life indefinitely is a game you won’t win. What are your control tendencies?

3. Preserve your sense of response. In the psychology manual, The Handbook of Competence and Motivation, the authors’ research proved on several occasions that human beings operate out of a model to feel autonomous and in control of their environment and actions.

Thus: The feeling of being in control is a basic human need. And while you can’t control the world – you can control your response to it. I’m reminded of what Cardinal Hall of Famer Stan Musial is famous for saying: “When a pitcher's throwing a spitball, don't worry and don't complain – just hit the dry side.”

Lesson learned: If this circumstance is hard to get rid of or is beyond your control, choose to experience it differently. Or, another approach is to pinpoint the things in your situation that are within your control – that you can realistically change – and change them.

It all stems from your willingness to be a catalyst, not a controller. How much time and energy are you wasting on things over which you have absolutely zero control?

4. Circumvent the lizard brain. Currently, you’re operating under the illusion that you only have three responses to disaster: Fight, flight or freeze – right?

Wrong. There’s a fourth option: Friend. Whatever unfortunate situation is occurring, you have to learn to ask yourself: How can I make friends with this?

My therapist taught me this approach years ago as it related to stress. “Greet it with a welcoming heart and accept it as a normal part of the life experience,” he told me. “Then, put your arm around it, thank it for stopping by and ask what you’re supposed to be learning from the situation.”

When I embraced this attitude, everything changed. Seriously, it was spooky. Nothing seemed to bother me anymore. Even stress. And yes, it takes about six months to adjust your attitude to this level – but it’s worth it.

Because when you learn to love what sucks, nobody can steal your peace. Except maybe that creepy guy standing outside your bedroom window with a hatchet. But in all fairness, you probably shouldn’t have responded to his Craig’s List ad in the first place. Woops. Are you willing to change your relationship to your discomfort?

5. Flex the muscle of life. Accepting the constant flux of life is a challenge, but learning to ride that flux makes you a champion. As I learned from The Power of Full Engagement, “One should never be too proud to adapt. The person who sees the world as plastic and quite malleable is generally flexible himself.”

Your mission is to breathe through the discomfort. To recognize that the detour is the path. And to relax into the realization that you’re never (not) in alignment.

Remember: Everything happening is exactly what is supposed to happen. Are you flexible enough to touch the toes of life – and do so with an attitude of openness, surrender and faith?

6. Learn to see things dispassionately. “Save the drama for your mama.” That’s how our yoga instructor, Rebecca, reminds us to breathe with a slow, relaxed pace. Unfortunately, many newcomers and first timers miss the mark on this practice. As soon as their muscles start to hurt, or the heat beats down on their skin, enter the cardiovascular drama.

Normally, they’ll default to shallow, rapid and dramatic breathing through their chest. And while they think it will help them move through the posture, it won’t – it only makes it worse.

What you learn in yoga is that the faster your heart beats, the slower your lungs need to fill. And the more that chaos erupts around you, the deeper you need to breathe through your diaphragm.

The cool part is, yoga is a metaphor for life. The principle of dramatic reaction to internal and external turmoil is universal. You need to practice breathing through it. To put your emotions aside and evaluate your situation objectively. Only then can you respond – not react – from a space of peace. Through what lens do you view your situations?

ULTIMATELY: Rolling with the punches is a function of your awareness of attitude, willingness to adapt and ability to respond.

Even if you don’t have thousands of gallons of oil seeping into your houseboat.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How flexible dare you be?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, "61 Things to Stop Doing Before It's Too Late,” send an email to me, and you win the list 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!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are you puking thoughts at people or sharing messages with people?

There’s a reason you’re not getting through to people.

Your members.
Your customers.
Your associates.
Your volunteers.
Your employees.
Your congregants.
Your constituency.

IN SHORT: The people you serve on a daily basis.

Have you been wondering why nothing you say seems to stick?

HERE’S ONE REASON: You’re not packaging your thoughts into messages.

That’s the secret to both listenability and retainability. And the first step is to identify the difference between thoughts and messages. Here’s a helpful comparison:

A thought is local; a message is global.
A thought is a noun; a message is a verb.
A thought is the grist; a message is the gist.
A thought is edible; a message is digestible.
A thought is limited; a message is universal.
A thought is internal; a message is outgoing.

Which one are you delivering to people?

A thought is inaccessible; a message is relatable.
A thought has a limited shelf life; a message lasts forever.
A thought is raw material; a message is a polished product.
A thought is heard by the ears; a message is heeded by the heart.
A thought raises an important point; a message injects an important point.
A thought is a function of cognition; a message is a function of packaging.

Which one are you delivering to people?

A thought is the intellectual activity; a message is the interactional activity.
A thought can be understood eventually; a message can be repeated instantly.
A thought is is an informal inspiration; a message is an official communication.
A thought is something you conjure; a message is something you communicate.
A thought comes from your feelings; a message taps into other people’s feelings.

Which one are you delivering to people?

A thought raises a wall between people; a message builds a bridge connecting people.
A thought is a product of mental activity; a message is a product of spiritual creativity.
A thought drowns in the clutter of cognition; a message thrives in the economy of words.
A thought it a thing you conceive of in the mind; a message is a communication you send via messenger.

Which one are you delivering to people?

REMEMBER: If nothing seems to get through to people, don’t blame them.

Start by looking in the mirror.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you puking thoughts at people or sharing messages with people?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “23 Ways to Turn Thoughts into Message," send an email to me, and you win the list 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!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Approachable Leader’s Handbook of Being Heard, Vol. 1

For those of you human beings out there (and I think you know who you are) here’s a quick list of assumptions.

You want to be:

Valued. Needed. Wanted.
Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted.
Respected. Recognized. Remembered.
Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

IN SHORT: You want to be heard.

Because if you’re not – if people can’t hear you – they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

Today we’re going to explore a selection of practices to help you be heard by the people who matter most: Employees, staff, customers, kids, volunteers – whomever you serve.

CAUTION: If you’re hoping to read a bunch of vague platitudes like “just hear people first” or “have integrity” – look elsewhere. This list contains only practical, actionable and specific ideas to help you be heard.

And whether you’re a leader, writer, manager, parent, director, marketer, or fourth grade teacher, you’ll be able to plug these practices into your daily life today:

1. Be a living statement. If the message you’re preaching is the dominant reality of your life, you’ll be heard. If your onstage performance is the mirror image of your backstage reality, you’ll be heard. And if your life enshrines what your lips proclaim, you’ll be heard.

The secret is to be the message you seek to deliver. Otherwise, if what you say doesn’t contain a big enough piece of who you are, nobody will hear you. Your challenge is to navigate from your true center. To practice living your mission in minor moments. My suggestion is to begin by running a consistency audit.

Remember: Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. People would much rather see a sermon than hear one. Instead of flapping your gums, try shuffling your feet. Is your vision framed in your office or lived in your life?

2. Platform amplifies message. You can no longer afford to be invisible. Winking in the dark is not a smart leadership strategy. Your platform – by which I mean your entire visibility engine – is a pre-requisite for being heard. It no longer a novelty, it’s a necessity. And it’s the price of admission for being listened to, much less heard.

Make sure you’re constantly and creatively building it by focusing your daily activities on IMPE’s, or “Intentional Moments of Platform Expansion.” From internal communications to blogs to public presentations to social media outlets, anonymity is your greatest barrier to success. How are you making people aware of you?

3. Don’t be afraid to be bloody. In The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, I defined writing as, “Slicing open a vein and bleeding your truth all over the page.”

Pure, raw expression. Unhindered and unedited. That’s what gets heard. To do so, try these ideas: First, ask penetrating questions. Questions stop people. What’s more, they challenge, inspire, penetrate, disturb and confront the reader and toggle their brains.

Next, commit to self-disclosure. Hold (almost) nothing back. Take full swings. Being vulnerable is a healthy, beautiful and approachable thing. Just as long as you’re doing so to make a point – not just to get a laugh, or to use your audience as group therapy.

Third, assess the risk. Your willingness to be unpopular, make wave, rock boats – and, in general, piss people off – makes your writing bloodier. Ask one question of everything you compose or publish: “What do I risk in writing this material?”

Remember: Ink gets ignored; blood gets heard. What is your pen soaked with?

4. Speak straight to the heart of human experience. Speak the unspokens. Stir up which has long been buried. You’ll find that when you take people’s hiding places away from them and plunge into the depths they need to explore, it’s impossible for them (not) to hear you.

Leonard Cohen is a master of this. Through his poems, books, songs and interviews, he’s been heard for over forty years. In his biography, Everybody Knows, Cohen suggested the following: “Scrap your song from out of your heart. Sit in the very bonfire of distress and sit until it’s burned away and you’re ashes and you’re gone.”

It’s weird: The more personal your material is, the more your audience relates to it; and the more they relate to it, the more they hear it. Are you hitting individual nerves by highlighting universal truths?

5. Timing is everything. Never underestimate the power of being the last to speak. If possible, wait to speak until the perfect psychological moment when the words will have the maximum impact on the audience. Bide your time and veil your light until the perfect instance for expression comes along.

Then, just when everyone thought the meeting was over, drop an H-bomb from left field. Don’t be shy about making your positions known. Conclusions weren’t meant to be kept quiet. And don’t back down from who you are, either. Create a case for your agenda. The right message at the right place at the right time – in the right proportion – can completely destroy the static equilibrium.

But you have to be willing to grab the world by the lapel and aggressively whisper into its ear. And you can’t just make protests – you have to offer propositions. Consider a 3:1 ratio: With every complaint you file, offer three potential solutions. This leaves a larger footprint in people’s mind and achieves a greater probability of being heard. Are you delightfully disturbing or painfully annoying?

6. Consider the roadblocks. In The Psychology of Attention, I learned to beware of introducing new objects of attention into what you’re doing. Human attention span is just too fickle. If you want to arrest the interest of the world, don’t underestimate the cost of complexity.

Make your message simple, focused, clear, meaningful, concrete and immediate. Let your words breathe. Otherwise the point you’re trying to make will drown in the noise.

Why? Because familiar structures and predictable rhythms lead to mental laziness. And you the human brain filters out unchanging backgrounds. Which means there’s no need to pay attention if nothing moves.

Sadly, most communicators mess this up. Their audience tunes them out because their communication isn’t oxygen rich. Your challenge is to let the pearl sink. To arouse riveting curiosity as your words profoundly penetrate people. Otherwise you’ll step on the silence, smother the sparks of your message and cripple the impact of your point. How are you scattering the clouds obscuring your message’s light?

7. Build your bedrock of conviction. If you want your voice to reverberate for years to come, it has to come from a place of passion. My suggestion is to capture the “how” of the one thing you do better than anyone else on the planet.

For example, I publish time-lapse videos of my content generation, content management and content deployment processes. That way, instead of wondering what the hell I do all day, now my audience can experience the reality of my vocation. I’ve memorialized my unquestionable commitment for the entire world to see and, more importantly, hear.

Lesson learned: If you’re not about something, your vanilla voice will join the ranks of mediocre masses and fade into a sea of sameness. Are you a public spokesperson for your value you execute and the value(s) you embody?

REMEMBER: If they can’t hear you, they can’t follow you.

And if they can’t follow you, you lose.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your strategy for being heard?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "22 Unexpected Ways to Help People," 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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

NametagTV: More Phrases That Payses

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9!

Watch the original video on NametagTV.com

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are your Phrases That Payses?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "12 Ways to Out Service the Competitionl," 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!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Smoke What You’re Selling

I don’t do drugs.

But if I did, I would make damn sure that my dealer was someone who regularly used – and enjoyed – the same drugs he sold to me.

THINK ABOUT IT: Wouldn’t you prefer to buy something from someone who’s tried it before?

And, look, I understand that you’re not a drug dealer. Anymore.

But you are a leader. Even if your job title doesn’t say so. Come on: Everyone’s a leader.

Which means, the question that matters is:

Are you smoking what you’re selling?

Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church and bestselling author of Velvet Elvis suggested the following:

“I cannot lead people somewhere I am not trying to go myself. I don’t need to have arrived, I don’t have to be perfect, but I do need to be on the path. Too many leaders have never descended into the depths of their own souls. They haven’t done the hard, difficult, gut-wrenching work of shining the bright lights on all the years of baggage and destructive messages.”

Now there’s a guy I’d buy drugs from.

Today we’re going to explore a list of strategies for making the experience people have of you more consistent, more approachable and more trustable.

1. Consistency – or lack thereof – affects everyone you encounter. You are on display. You are the result of your own pattern integrity. And your purpose as a leader isn’t a specific task – it’s the way you live your life.

My suggestion is to make your life a constant demonstration. To run a sequence of consistent, similar actions that reinforce to people, “Wow, this guy eats his own dog food.” After all, everything’s a performance and everybody’s watching. May as well play the character you know best – and don’t have to memorize lines for.

Remember: There’s nothing more influential than a living, breathing example. Are your organization’s leaders leading or lip servicing?

2. Surprise people with your impeccable word. Reliability is so rare – it’s become remarkable. Fortunately, you’re the kind of leader who (actually) delivers. That’s all people ask. Especially the ones who put their asses on the line for you.

They don’t want to look stupid.
They don’t want to lose their job.
They don’t want to be the first person to trust you.
They just want you to come through like you said you would.

Imagine that.

Ultimately, the secret is to set expectational clarity. To be more strategic about your intent. To know who you are and who you aren’t; what you’ll stand for and what you won’t stand for. Even if you have to hold a meeting for no reason other than to clarify mutual misapprehension. These are the contributing forces to building consistent reliability. Are you prolific in communicating expectations?

3. Lead with practices – follow with principles. The beliefs held in your heart are immaterial when compared to the actions taken with your feet. Fortunately, we live in a tangible world where concreteness is followable. Lesson learned: Leaders, who articulate values as verbs, win.

Take my Personal Constitution, for example. Every morning during my daily appointment with myself, I ritually revisit my list highest, non-negotiable core values, each of which contains its own sub-list of verbs and action-items. Here’s an excerpt:

PERSISTENCE
Stern and uncompromising feet, commitment to boundaries through self-control and self-discipline; standing my ground without stepping on people's toes, remaining flexible enough to bend when needed without compromising foundation, and never at the expense of another's respect.

The cool part is: When you stand for something, decisions are obvious. That’s how you become a verb – by prioritizing orthopraxy (the right practices) over orthodoxy (the right beliefs). Remember: Values aren’t taught – they’re caught. Are you living your faith out in the world or lip servicing your beliefs from behind a desk?

4. Become the physical embodiment of your understanding. My mentor, Bill Jenkins, constantly reminds me: The best leaders eventually become the thing they’ve been teaching. He’s found – and I agree – that after a certain number of years, you just wake up one morning, look in the mirror and think to yourself:

“Wow. I am the message I’m been preaching. I am my own best case study. The word has become flesh.”

The hard part is remaining patient in learning to live physically what you know intellectually. To do so, consider becoming an expert at reflection upon and learning from your experiences.

The harder part is being consistent in letting your life enshrine what your lips proclaim. To do so, consider taking your own advice.

The hardest part is being (and staying) persistent in your efforts to become a living brochure of your own experience. To do so, consider (not) just having a name – but living your name.

Ultimately, when you start to deliver and demonstrate through every breath, you won’t need to sell or promise. Just breathe and infect. How well do you resemble what you worship?

5. Use yourself as your own case study. Approachable leaders know how to translate their unique experiences into relatable, digestible and universal messages that meet their people where they are. Your challenge is to design a system for drawing wisdom from every experience.

Consider asking three questions every time something happens to you: “What lessons could I learn from what just happened to me?” “How does this fit into my organization’s theory of the universe?“ and “What generic attributes of what just happened to me can be extracted and practically applied to my people?”

Whomever you serve as a leader (employees, associates, volunteers, members) recognize this: All you have to draw from is your unique experience. You’re not one of them. You can’t pretend to be one of them. And the moment you do, they’ll smell the veneer faster than a dog smells a fresh bag of Bacon & Cheese Snausages.

The only difference is, instead of drooling all over your leg, they’ll stop trusting you. How are you increasing your ROE, or Return on Experience?

6. Be not humiliated by having others see you truly. Immediately after sweating off five pounds during a typical Bikram Yoga class, I usually grab an ice-cold bottle of water and plop down on the sidewalk to recover. I call it a Reverse Sauna: The air is chilly, the breeze feels great and the concrete is cool on my legs. Can’t beat it.

And sure, I look a bit out of place doing so the parking lot. Then again, I’ve also been wearing a nametag twenty-four-seven for the past ten years. Kind of used to not fitting in by now.

Anyway, what fascinates me is Rick, the guy in my class who always gives me guff about it: “Scott, aren’t you worried that one of your clients will spot you out here?”

To which I respond, “Not really. My clients hire me because I’m a person – not just a personality. And when you’re sitting on the ground half-naked, sweating, steaming and exhausted – there’s no hiding out. And I have no problem with anyone seeing me like this.”

Lesson learned: Don’t back down from unguarded moments. Invite people to catch a glimpse of your naked truth, laid bear. After all, to truly live heroically is to commit to and act from the truest version of yourself – every day. How much loyalty are you sacrificing because you’re terrified of exposing a part of yourself you don’t like?

REMEMBER: Duplicity breeds distrust.

Shakespeare was right: Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.

Your leadership challenge moving forward is as follows:

Match outer appearance and inner substance.
Align your onstage performance and backstage reality.
Make the message you preach the dominant truth of your life.
Give people the tools they need to build the world you envision.

Soon people from all around the world will form a line around the corner just to score a dime bag of your stuff.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you smoking what you're selling?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "14 Things You Don't Have to Do Anymore," 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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How to Create Something Worth Being Criticized

If you’re not polarizing, you’re not monetizing.

If you're making people react, you're not making a difference.

If everybody loves what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong.

THAT’S YOUR CHALLENGE: Create something worth being criticized.

Otherwise you’re boring.
Just another slice of average cut from the mediocre multitude.

Otherwise you’re ignored.
Just another non-entity in the infinite grey mass of blah blah blah.

Otherwise you’re forgotten.
Just another flash-in-the-pan, all-shtick-no-substance, one-trick-pony.

AND THE TRUTH IS: Criticism isn’t something you draw – it’s something you earn.

If you want to create something worth being criticized, consider these ideas:

1. Change your reactions to criticism. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield suggests that we recognize criticism (especially the envy-driven variety) for what it really is: Supreme compliment.

“The critic hates most what he wishes he would have done himself he had the guts.”

Lesson learned: Next time someone attacks you, smile. Even if you do so internally. Know that you’ve done your job and that it’s probably got nothing to do with you. In fact, consider keeping Criticism Log. Document daily victories of being hated – even in minor moments – as reminders that you haven’t lost your edge. What’s your definition of (and relationship with) criticism?

2. Assess the risk. There is an inverse relationship between your willingness to risk and the likelihood of criticism. For example, one of the questions I ask myself every morning as I sit down to work is, “What do I risk is presenting this material?”

If the answer is “not much” or “nothing,” I either rework it – or don’t publish it at all. It’s simply not daring enough. Too much ink, not enough blood. And whether you’re a writer or not, the challenge is the same: Create a filter for your own work that reinforces the importance of risk. You might ask, “Who will this idea piss off?” or “How much hatemail will this garner?”

Otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark. How do you assess the risk of what you release to the world?

3. Disturb people. The word “disturb” comes from the Latin emotere – the same derivative as the word “emotion.” That’s all you’re doing when you’re being a disturbance: Evoking emotion. Interrupting the quiet. Unsettling the peace. Upsetting the mental landscape. Could be positive or negative or neutral. Doesn’t matter.

The point is: You can’t go down in history if you’re not willing to shake things up in the present. Therefore: Learn to be constructively challenging – but without being ignorantly defiant. Learn to be delightfully disturbing – but without being painfully annoying.

After all, grinding the gears just because you love the sound doesn’t help anyone. And doing something just for the sake of being criticized isn’t worth being criticized for. Are your monkey wrenches well intentioned?

4. Wage an ongoing war against mediocrity. People who maintain a constant posture of challenging the process don’t just get noticed – they get nailed to crosses. Which, if you have thick enough skin – and perhaps some snacks to hold you over until the cavalry comes (no pun intended) – isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Take Bill Maher, for example. In the aftermath of 9/11, he refuted president Bush’s message that the terrorists were cowards: “We have been the real cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away,” explained Maher on Political Incorrect, “And staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, isn’t cowardly.”

Not surprisingly, Maher’s comments became a major controversy. Advertisers withdrew their support. Affiliates stopped airing the show temporarily. Even White House press secretary Ari Fleischer denounced Maher, according to the show’s Wikipedia page.

Sure enough, Politically Incorrect was cancelled six months later. Shortly thereafter, Maher moved to HBO to start shooting Real Time, which has recently been resigned for its ninth and tenth seasons. According to Nancy Geller, senior vice president, HBO Entertainment, “Bill Maher is one of the most sought-after opinion makers on TV, and I’m delighted that this fearless and provocative observer will return to HBO next year.”

Oh, and did I mentioned that since getting kicked off the air in 2002, Maher produced, wrote and directed the seventh most successful documentary of all time? Yep. Lesson learned: Violently refuse to become a follower of the common ways of the mediocre masses. Are you letting the world bring your average down, or are you dedicated to bringing its average up?

5. Negativity sucks – but silence sucks money out of your bank account. Oscar Wilde as right: “The only thing worse than being talked about – is not being talked about.” For example, I’d rather have my readers say that my books are drivel-filled hamster terds – than say nothing at all. And I’d rather my audience members tell me I was the worst speaker on the planet than sit there for an hour sexting their boyfriends.

Disagreement and doubt is a form of engagement. It means people heard you, and that’s what matters. Like Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz once said in a Rolling Stone Interview, “Happiness would be nice. Sadness would suck. But insignificance is the worth thing of all.” Next time your work gets beamed, consider it a victory. Better to be impugned than to be ignored. Are you earning criticism or hearing crickets?

6. Honesty scares people. Creating art is a simple process: Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page. Note well: I used the words “vein, blood and truth." That’s the difference-maker: Criticism is earned by people who are willing to dance along, happily cross and stretch miles beyond the line.

My suggestion: Go there. “Take a chance – tell the truth,” as George Carlin reminded us. Take your readers, audience members and viewers somewhere they didn’t want to go – or never thought they’d go – but then make them so grateful they’re there that they never want to leave. How are you branding your honesty?

REMEMBER: Anything worth doing is worth being attacked for.

Ultimately, creating something worth being criticized is a risky, demanding and unglamorous process.

But that’s what difference makers do.

Sure as hell beats being ignored.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you received hate mail?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

7 Ways to Convert Inertia into Demonstrable Forward Momentum

Execution isn’t a hobby.

It’s an effort.
It’s an attitude.
It’s an approach.
It’s an imperative.

And I know I write about it a lot.

In fact, you might even be sick of hearing about execution.

Too bad.

Inertia is a pervasive, expensive, urgent and real problem – in business and in life.

Here’s a list of eight (more) practices for converting your inertia into demonstrable forward momentum:

1. Accept inertia as an inevitable feature of the entrepreneurial landscape. Meet yourself where you are. Instead of making war with inaction, befriend it. Greet it with a welcoming heart. Put your arm around its shoulder and find out what it’s trying to teach you.

By partnering with inertia and respecting it as a natural part of the entrepreneurial experience, you’re able to move forward from an expanded (not contracted) mindspace. Are you ignoring, discounting or defriending the obvious?

2. Know that success (alone) is not enough to anchor you. Prosperity is the leading perpetrator of inertia. That’s the problem with winning: It often breeds complacency and dampens interest in innovative renewal. Lesson learned: Beware of the arrogance of success. Otherwise you’ll end up a victim of your victories, blinded by the bright light of your achievements, sitting on your butt in a blaze of self-satisfied glory.

My suggestion to build forward momentum mirrors Josh Waitzkin’s philosophy in The Art of Learning, “Make losing part of your regular experience.” That way you’re grounded in reality. Unlike our current educational system, which deludes kids into believing that there are no losers and winners.

Bullshit. Losing is part of life, and it needs to be part of your life too. Otherwise you’re in for a rude awakening the day you graduate. The cool part is, the moment you learn from your experience is the moment it ceases to be a mistake. So, failure actually is an option – but not growing from it, isn’t. When was the last time you were the loser?

3. Get the hay in the barn. My 12th book hits the shelves in the fall of 2010. But I know that if I don’t stop adding new material to it by July 1, it will never be done. Ever. I know me. And while it’s a painful part of the entrepreneurial process, you’ve got to put a creative stake in the ground.

Otherwise you’re consigned to career as a stock boy in the warehouse of inertia. In a recent blog post, Seth Godin riffed on this very topic, “People don't like deadlines because they force us to decide. But they also create forward motion. And they give you the opportunity to beat the rush. They just have a lousy name. Call them live-lines instead. That's what they are.”

Similarly, I teach this same idea to the people in my mentoring program. In fact, you might try writing the following reminder on a sticky note: Prepare to declare it done. Otherwise you’ll keep adding and changing and editing and improving until the day you die. Ugh. Why haven’t you put it on your calendar yet?

4. Breathe help in. Success never comes unassisted. You need to admit that it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you needy, incompetent or in the debt of the helper. Learn to ask for it proactively, accept it gracefully, act upon it swiftly and appreciate it regularly.

It could be as simple as, “David, would you be willing to email me once a week as a gentle probe to keep me on point?” or as complex as, “Wendy, can you offer some advice on how to drag my sorry ass out of bed every morning instead of lying like a piece of broccoli listening to Howard Stern for three hours?”

Accountability works. Ask for it. Are you willing to let it be okay that you need other people?

5. Decide how much discomfort you can absorb. Moving forward, establishing momentum and executing are uncomfortable and inconvenient actions. But you can’t expect to thrive only when things are safely within your comfortable grasp. All motion carries (some) risk of injury.

As Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Global Village, “Pain is the natural accompaniment to innovation.” So, overcoming inertia is a function of how uncomfortable you’re willing to make yourself. Not to the point of hurting your body, obviously. But knowing yourself well enough to recognize your pain threshold.

That’s why I love yoga: You stretch yourself (literally) to the point where pain is a possibility, but not a reality. And that awareness prepares you to handle future discomfort. What are you pretending not to be uncomfortable about?

6. Believe you have everything you need to begin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Failure to move forward stems less from poor planning and more from the timidity to proceed. It’s a question of self-belief. And a practice I’ve found helpful over the years (from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds) is to recite the following incantations each day:

“I am richly supported … I trust my resources … I am equal to this challenge … I am ready to proceed.”

Just accept the fact that you’re never ready, you’re never going to be ready, and that waiting until you are ready is like waiting on a train that doesn’t come through your town. May as well get on your bike and just start peddling. Remember: Who you already are is enough to get what you want. Have you ever asked yourself why you procrastinate?

7. Maintain alignment or risk wasting your energy. My friend Jim writes about this in Personal Brilliance: “Pursuing a goal that's in conflict with your value system is kind of like trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that are a size too small.”

To prevent this from happening to you, I suggest creating a governing document for daily decision-making. This exercise changed my life – and my business – forever. And the secret behind it is, when you convey a thorough understanding of yourself, create a good working model of your own identity and maintain consistency of your actions, moving forward becomes substantially easier.

After all, it’s a hell of a lot easy to persist when you know who you are. Have you considered how you decide?

REMEMBER: Moving forward might be hard – but standing still is just plain stupid.

Fight the overwhelming influence of inertia.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Why haven't you moved forward yet?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “13 Ways to Out Develop Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list 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, June 14, 2010

9 Ways to Make Your Company More Human

“Nothing should be called good that fails to enlarge our humanity.”

Marcus Aurelius. Meditations. Twelve hundred years ago.

Too bad more companies aren’t living that philosophy.

Especially now.

As technology accelerates to shocking velocities.
As competition saturates to near-commoditized levels.
As customers and employees become more isolated and disengaged.

NOBODY CAN ARGUE: Being human is good for business.

People demand it.
Customers expect it.
Employees deserve it.
And trust can’t exist without it.

THE PROBLEM IS: Not unlike caring, you can’t bastardize “being human” into a technique.

What you (can) do is increase your awareness of – and maintain the consistency with which you deploy – your own humanity.

Here’s a list of nine ideas for doing so:

1. Lead with your person and follow with your profession. People buy people first. Period. That means: Values before vocation, individuality before industry, personality before position and humanity before statistics. That also means: Mortals, not markets; divine beings, not demographics; people, not numbers.

Your mission is to begin with a conscious awareness of this philosophy. Be human. You won’t just be ahead of the game – you’ll be one of the few companies (actually) playing it. When you put your best foot forward, are you wearing wooden shoes or going barefoot?

2. Small is an acceptable destination. The corporate veil of bigness and anonymity no longer appeals to customers. That’s what sucks about being a behemoth: When you make mistakes everybody, notices. Dang it. Your small company, on the other hand, can make mistakes quickly, quietly – even largely – and hide the ashes before the fire engines come.

Plus, the less you own, the greater your mobility. And the less you have, the less you have to worry about. Being human is great! Are you ruthlessly small?

3. Turn error pages into smiles. When my web team at CIO Services recently redesigned my new website, they insisted on creating a cool error page. Great idea. And since I had the perfect picture to accompany it, here’s what we came up with.

Personally, it’s my favorite page of the entire website.

It’s playful and relaxing, makes the mundane memorable and rewards users with an exclusive message when they make a mistake. Almost like a secret club you can’t get into unless you’re imperfect. Cool.

Lesson learned: Mistakes happen. Acknowledge them. Affirm them. Reward them. Correct them. And do it in a fun, brand-consistent, unexpected way. People will talk. You big human, you. How are you humanizing your website’s error pages?

4. Improv beats scripting. The minute you start robotically reacting to customer requests with scripts, policies, stock-phrases and pre-rehearsed answers, you lose. And so do the customers. Hell, a robot could do that. You’re a human – may as well put that humanity to use.

After all, people don’t want scripts – they want sensibility. They don’t want lines pulled from your handbook – they want words scraped from your heart.

In short, they want to feel: Valued. Needed. Wanted. Essential. Affirmed. Appreciated. Accepted. Respected. Recognized. Remembered. Taken seriously. Given a chance. Part of something that matters.

And employee training and orientation can only simulate so many “real life customer interactions.”

Learn to improvise, react, respond and riff with each individual’s experience. Like a jazz drummer, minus the jazz cigarette. When does the feeling of formality keep you from communicating freely, honestly and personably?

5. Don’t let emotions take a backseat. Humans are problem-solving creatures. And naturally, our default response to a customer issue is to launch right into problem solving mode. Now, while searching for an immediate solution is a smart move for demonstrating a sense of urgency and resolve – don’t sacrifice sensibility for speed.

Clear the air first. Own the affect before you fix the effect. Attend to a person’s emotional needs before you start fixing their physical ailments. Otherwise they won’t be receptive to help, won’t walk away feeling heard and won’t come back feeling excited.

Remember: Your humanity is marked (not) by your elevation above people, but your identification with them. How does your company preserve sensitivity to the human spirit?

6. Exponentially increase your (human) activity level. From tweets to emails to phone calls to lunch meetings, how many real interactions did you have with your customers last week? What if you tripled that number next week? Think that might contribute to a stronger sense of loyalty?

Damn right it would. As I learned from The Uberye Marketing Blog: “The more personal and human interactions customers have with your company, the more forgiveness they’re willing to show, the more passionate they’ll be with your cause and the more affection they’ll feel towards your company.” Remember: Trust grows with repeated impressions. What emotional foundation is your company pouring?

7. Do some quick math. Next time there’s a challenging situation, try this: Take a look at the sum total of the customer experience. If you judge it to be worth far more than amount of money it would take to remedy a simple problem that (slightly) bends the rules – but amazes the customer – do it.

Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. Besides, what’s your boss going to say?

“Ginsberg! What the hell were you thinking? You mean to tell me you paid five dollars out of your own wallet just to make that customer instantly happy? Why didn’t you instruct him to wait at the front desk, call me first, fill out an incident form, run the paperwork past HR and solve the problem seventeen minutes later like we taught you in our sterile, unrealistic orientation program four years ago?”

That’s called “taking ownership of the problem,” and more companies need to trust their employees to do so. Seth Godin was right: “Only one an act of human initiative makes a huge difference.” How creative are you allowing your frontline staff to get with their customer problem solving approaches?

8. Evidence of humanity is everywhere – study it. When The Cluetrain Manifesto came out ten years ago, nobody knew it would become a global phenomenon. Not even the authors. But those four guys were (substantially) ahead of their time. They predicted where the web was going, and they were right. Here’s my favorite excerpt:

“Business, at bottom, is fundamentally human,” wrote Doc Searls and friends, “And natural, human conversation is the true language of commerce – because the human voice is the music we have always listened to, and still best understand.”

Has every person at your organization read that book? If not, go buy a case. Hand ‘em out to everybody. The book is just as relevant today as it was in 2000. And if you keep your mind open (then take action on its content), the architecture of your company will change forever. After all: When you humanize, you harmonize. And when you harmonize, you monetize. What’s your computer’s emotional intelligence score?

9. Rededicate your company’s commitment to being human. Everyone and their mother is an expert on social media. Whoopee. Excuse me while I hoark all over my keyboard. The real question is: Have you become too obsessed with technology to see your company’s humanity?

Maybe you don’t need another ebook, six-hour audio system or three-day boot camp on how leverage the power of LinkedIn.

Maybe you need to sit in a room with ten people who matter and talk about how to make customers feel essential.

Maybe instead of telling customers that their call is important to you, you could just answer the phone sooner.

Maybe you need to take field trips to successful, cool, humanized companies like Crown Candy and figure out how to apply their genius to you organization.

Have you made a conscious choice to humanize your work, workforce and workplace?

FINAL THOUGHT: If customers wanted a picture, they’d buy a camera.

But they don’t want pictures.

They want art.
They want emotion.
They want humanity.

And that’s that kind of result you get when you work with a painter. An artist.

Not a machine.

Because being human is good for business.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you making your company more human?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "20 Ways to Make Customers Feel Comfortable," 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

Who's quoting YOU?

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

www.stuffscottsaid.com.