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Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures in Nametagging: Gelato, Fire Breathing & The Bliss of Not Knowing

“Acts of friendliness in moments of anonymity.”

That’s why I wear a nametag:

To invite people to join me, to remind the world that face to face is making a comeback and to create spontaneous moments of authentic human interaction infused with a spirit of humor, playfulness and connection.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a nametag is worth a thousand stories.

Here are my most recent adventures:
*DAY 3,863: Today the girl behind the counter spotted me and said, “Nice to meet you Scott, my name is Stephanie!” The other two guys in line looked confused, then looked at me, then cracked up. I was not rewarded with free gelato.

*DAY 3,870: Today at the Shakespeare Festival, I walked past the fire breather. He asked if I was the Nametag Guy. I said yes. He told me he read my blog. I said thanks. He never broke character the whole time.

*DAY 3,871: Today I ran into my friend Brian. He was talking to a girl who introduced herself as Christine. “I see you’re wear a nametag,” she said. I told her I always wore it. She chuckled. Then Brian asked if I was going to go into my entire spiel about. I said no, and that some things are better left unexplained. Christine responded, “I kind of like that I don’t know.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What was your best nametag related adventure?

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For the list called, "35 Things You Simply Can't Do," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to Stick Your Fingers in Your Ears

Listening is overrated.

History has proved this time and time again.

For example:

Henry Ford. If he listened to his customers, they would have asked for faster horse.

King David. If he listened to his family, he would have kept his job as a sheepherder.

Thomas Edison. If listened to his critics, we would still be going to bed at seven.

John F. Kennedy. If he listened to his generals, Russia would’ve deployed warheads.

Steve Jobs. If he listened to his pundits, we’d still be carrying cases of compact discs.

THAT’S THE SECRET: When you’re willing to stick your fingers in your ears, you can change the world forever.

Tired of listening to people? Consider these ideas:
1. Safeguard your vision. Although you don’t need permission to dream, you do need protection to make that dream a reality. Otherwise the vultures will destroy your seed before you have a chance to harvest it.

The secret is to remain vigilant about the company you keep. In the book Ignore Everybody, Hugh McLeod explains:

“You don't know if your idea is any good the moment it’s created. But neither does anybody else. The most you can hope for is a strong gut feeling that it is. And it’s not that your friends deliberately want to be unhelpful. It’s just that they don’t know your world one millionth as well as you know your world, no matter how hard they try, no matter how hard you try to explain.”

Stop gushing to people who are going to belittle your ambitions. Surround yourself will mirrors that make you feel beautiful. Are you listening to your voice or a program created by someone who doesn’t get you?

2. Learn to trust your voice. Feedback is useful when it comes from people who matter. But more often than not, feedback hinders performance. Feedback burdens your capacity to act. Feedback induces unnecessary self-doubt. And feedback forecloses your creativity’s full expression.

That’s why your fingers belong in your ears: It protects you from being swallowed by everybody else’s vision. It protects you from people who will try to dilute your core mission by injecting their views. And it helps you develop a chronic predisposition to persistence.

Decide that you’re on a mission and nobody is going to stop you. Otherwise the arena of feedback will be an exhausting and fragile place to be. Who’s stopping you from executing by offering irrelevant feedback you didn’t ask for?

3. Listen for the guilt. Being approachable means not afraid to be confident. It means dogged persistence in your own truth. It means you’re not haunted by the fear of standing for something. And it means you’re willing to stand up in front of the world and put yourself at risk. Even if people think you’re crazy.

The problem is, following your own heart might break everyone else’s. And that’s a hard reality to swallow. In fact, the guilt that lay within that reality is the culprit of a million dead dreams.

But you can be a prisoner of your own remorse. Better to follow your heart and fall on your face than swallow your voice and watch freedom escape. Besides, the people who love you just want you to be happy. Give them what they want. Is it worth making your idea ten percent better if you feel thirty percent less free?

4. Pick the path of initiative. You don’t need a map. You don’t need to wait for instructions. You don’t need permission to use someone else’s machine. And you don’t need to put your life on hold until someone more successful than you stamps your creative passport.

Lean into your dream. Forgiveness is cheaper than permission. Personally, I’d rather take action and risk being scolded than stand by for approval to do something great. Besides, the last thing you need is more advice that will force you to work against your instinctive grain.

You are the shaper of you. Don’t destroy yourself in response to an invitation from others to stop living. Battle that which blocks your free expression with everything you’ve got. Because in the end, that’s all you’ve got. What do you need to give yourself permission to stop waiting for?

REMEMBER: If you’re too busy listening to everybody, you’ll never hear the sound of your own voice.

Don’t deny what is central to your makeup.
Don’t let one piece of information fill your entire identity screen.
Don’t let people’s feedback define who you are or dictate how you see yourself.

Believe in your dream.
Believe in the availability of your own answers.

Stick your fingers in your ears.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who are you still demanding excessive reassurance from?

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For a list called, "49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment."

--Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What People Really Buy

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy who you are.
They buy who you aren’t.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you disclosing what matters?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy what you stand for.
They buy why you stand for it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Who knows your mission by heart?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the posture of your spirit.
They buy the intention of your heart.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are you willing to be touchy feely?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the process you endured to make it.
They buy the resistance you overcame to ship it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How are you making the invisible inescapable?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the experience of interacting with you.
They buy the experience of themselves around you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How do you leave people?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the mythology you create around what you sell.
They buy the humble beginnings that first ignited your work.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Are people aware of the emotional labor you’ve invested?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the story you tell that taps into their existing worldview.
They buy the meaning they create for themselves in response to that story.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Is your legend worth crossing the street for?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the future reactions from others who see them using your product.
They buy the elevated status they receive from those reactions.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: How much cooler are you making people?

People don’t just buy what you sell.

They buy the belief that you will deliver on your promise to solve their problem.
They buy the faith that if their problem isn’t solved, you’ll work tirelessly until it is.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are your people really buying?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For a list called, "62 Types of Questions and Why They Work" send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

“I usually refuse to pay for mentoring. But after Scott’s first brain rental session, the fact that I had paid something to be working with him left my mind – as far as I was concerned, the value of that (and subsequent) exchange of wisdom and knowledge, far outweighed any payment."

--Gilly Johnson The Australian Mentoring Center

Rent Scott's Brain today!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Art of Problem

Your problem is never your problem.

There’s always something bigger, deeper and more important.

THE CHALLENGE IS: If you never identify what that is, then you’ll really have a problem.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of these common problems, along with the bigger issues that accompany them:
1. Age isn’t the problem, attitude is. It doesn’t matter how old the dog is. If the new trick matters to your customers, you still have to learn it. Why are you so afraid to date yourself anyway? Age isn’t a disability. Tell people how old you are and get on with your life. Are you suffering from old age or old thinking?

2. Position isn’t the problem, passion is. You don’t need a title on the outside – you need a burning fire on the inside. That’s what makes you followable. That’s what makes people come from miles to watch you burn. Because your passion infects them with a vision of the future. Do you need a job title or more wood?

3. Discipline isn’t the problem, dedication is. Commitment deletes distraction. If you want to achieve your goal, try this: Write a list of a hundred reasons why you do what you do. Read it to yourself every morning. And I guarantee you’ll never have another discipline problem again. What values are your actions aligned with?

4. Proficiency isn’t the problem, permission is. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. How is overrated. How is a dream destroyer. Besides, failure doesn’t come from poor planning, but from the timidity to proceed. Allow yourself to not know and just go. Will you kick your addiction to permission?

5. Recession isn’t the problem, resourcefulness is. Accept what is. Leverage your downtime. Keep support flowing. Stir the pot. Befriend the current. Use every crisis. Foster a pervasive tone of gratitude. Double your dosage of daily inspiration. And keep pulling your triggers for joy. Will you persevere through the low?

6. Productivity isn’t the problem, priority is. There’s always enough time for what matters to you. Just ask anybody with kids. The secret is, you can’t find the time. You can’t even make the time. You have to steal it. From anywhere and everywhere. Like a time management ninja. How can you turn waiting into working?

7. Capacity isn’t the problem, complexity is. When economy is on life support, the secret isn’t necessarily pumping in new, different resources to your company. Instead, it’s about new thinking and creative approaches to what you’re already doing. In which areas of your business can you create the most leverage?

8. Promotion isn’t the problem, positioning is. What you do to the product isn’t as important as what happens in the mind of the prospect. The cool part is, every time somebody hears about you is one less time you have to spend money making people hear from you. Whose headspace do you occupy?

9. Service isn’t the problem, saturation is. I don’t want a bag. I don’t want a receipt. I don’t want to fill out an online survey for the chance to win a thousand dollars. And I don’t want to sign up for your useless rewards program so you can spam me forever. Just hand over the latte and nobody gets hurt. Are you serving or overserving?

10. Discovery isn’t the problem, documentation is. The best way to keep track of all the ideas in your head is to get them out of your head, onto paper and into a system that works for you. Otherwise your ideas will stay as ideas. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Is everything you know written down somewhere?

11. Loyalty isn’t the problem, love is. When people fall out of love with your brand, you lose. To make loving you easy, you need to be a welcome oasis. A place of refuge, a place of belonging and a place of connection. Out heart the competition. If your customers could give your company a hug, would they open their arms?

12. Innovation isn’t the problem, invisibility is. The upside to exposure is everything. And the greatest barrier to business success isn’t stupidity – it’s anonymity. That’s what I tell my clients: No matter what product you sell, you don’t need a marketing plan – they need a visibility plan. How are you making people aware of you?

REMEMBER: Most problems are other problems.

Keep your eye on the big picture.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Is your problem really your problem?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, “50 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Young Artist's Guide to Playing for Keeps, Pt 10

You’ve chosen an uncertain path.
You’ve adopted an inconvenient lifestyle.
You’ve embarked upon an unconventional journey.
You’ve felt the voice inside you growing more urgent.
You’ve committed yourself enough so you can’t turn back.


IN SHORT: You’ve decided to play for keeps.

This is the critical crossroads – the emotional turning point – in the life of every young artist.

I’ve been there myself, and here’s a list of suggestions to help you along the way:
(Read part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, part six here, part seven, part eight and part nine.

1. Honor thy ache. Anxiety is a right of passage. It’s a sign that you’re on the right path. And thankfully, it’s an effective form of self-pressure to help you get over – and stay over – yourself. Forget about trying to eradicate feelings of inadequacy. They’re not going away.

In fact, the more successful you become, the more those feelings will creep in. Truth is, anxiety is a fundamental human posture. And once you change your relationship to it, you can put it to work.

Instead of convincing yourself that your fears are a futile campaign, greet your worries with a welcoming heart. Accept them a natural part of the life experience. And understand that there is no art without an occasional crisis of doubt.

As Arthur Koestler once said, “If a writer loses his doubts, he’s finished. He’ll just go on writing the same book like an idiot.” What are you converting your anxiety into?

2. Break out of the deadlock. A book that every artist needs to read is called Mental Traps, by Andre Kukula. It explores how chronic indecision, monumental overplanning and endless anticipation cripple your artistic and earning capacity. Here’s a rapid-fire list of suggestions that flipped a few internal switches in my artist’s heart:

Stop attending to project when they’re not calling for your attention. Stop carrying around a scenario for everything. Stop scrubbing the world clean of surprise. Stop remaining perpetually ahead of yourself. Stop killing yourself trying to accomplish an outdated goal.

In short, the book reminds us that life isn’t one prefigured scenario after another. It’s not an endless stream of things to get over. Are you standing on your tiptoes to foresee the future, or grounding your heels into the earth and making love to the present moment?

3. Art that mirrors, matters. Botticelli was Davinci’s mentor. During an interview about his student’s work, he said, “It will reward the viewer from any angle.” Does your art meet people where they are? Does your art make people’s own experience available to them?

That’s the whole point: Art’s purpose is to remind people that they’re not alone. That they’re not the only ones having an experience.

Next time you sit down to create, don’t write, paint or draw – breathe life onto the page. Create an infection that leaves the viewer better. Turn your art into a mirror in which people can see their own reflection, and you will make your name dear to history. Does your art recognize the pain in its patron?

4. Quantity eventually produces quality. I write between four and seven hours a day. Not just because writing is my religion, and not just because I have a love affair with my art, but because value is a function of volume. My experience has taught me that if you want your voice to matter, if you want people to follow your thinking and if you want to make a name for yourself, volume is the vehicle for being heard.

It’s more important than accuracy, knowledge, winning, talent, popularity and influence. Simply by playing the numbers in a prolific way, quality eventually shows up.

It has to. Because the best way to have a great idea is to have a lot of ideas. Even if most of those ideas suck. Sometimes you have to slog through a sea of shit just to find the one diamond. If you tripled your creative output, how much better would your body of work become?

5. Confidence opens checkbooks. If you’re in art, you’re in sales. Period. You have to show the world your wares and ask them to give you money for it. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark. And this doesn’t come easy for a lot of artists, myself included.

Personally, I hate the business side of art. I don’t care about making money. I could care less about closing sales. And the mere thought of quoting a price for one of my pieces makes me want to ram my head through a steel wall.

But selling is part of the job description. And if you don’t make peace with that reality, you will cripple your earning capacity. As George Plimpton observed in Writers At Work, “You can’t set art off in a corner.”

The secret is to get good at stating your fee. Whether you’re a performer, writer, painter or singer, here’s the rule: Speak with uncompromising language. Be unapologetic. State your fee confidently – then shut up. Otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life donating your work to charity auctions. Do you feel guilty for demanding compensation for your value?

6. Balance creative needs with survival needs. The art is essential. For the sake of your sanity, you must yield to the devout motions of the soul. But for the sake of your survival, you also have to yield to the devout motions of the mortgage. The secret is to hone in on which of your artistic efforts are the most income generating.

Not just fun. Not just cool. Not just creative. But the specific actions that physically put money into your bank account on a predictable basis so you continue to make the art you want to make.

And you have to prioritize those efforts over the majority of your daily endeavors, save your actual creative time. Otherwise you’re going to end up sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of your own work, eating beans out of a can with nothing to show for it.

You can’t just write all day. Eventually, you’ve got to get your ass out there and make some money. What consumes your time that isn’t making you any money?

REMEMBER: When you’re ready to play for keeps, your work will never be the same.

Make the decision today.

Show the world that your art isn’t just another expensive hobby.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you committed with both feet yet?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "52 Random Insights to Grow Your Business," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Nametag Manifesto -- Chapter 18: The End of Discrimination

[ View the infographic! ]

"Everyone should wear nametags, all the time, everywhere, forever.”

That’s my thesis, philosophy, dangerous idea and theory of the universe.

My name is Scott, and I’ve been wearing a nametag for past four thousand days.

And after traveling to hundreds of cities, a dozen countries, four continents, meeting tens of thousands of people, constant experimentation and observation, building a enterprise and writing a dozen books in the process, I believe, with all my heart, that the societal implications of wearing nametags could change everything.

This is my manifesto:  
 
18. The End of Discrimination
If everybody wears nametags, cultural understanding spreads.

As humans, we tend to avoid what we don’t understand. But knowing the name of someone – especially from another ethnicity, race or culture – not only brings us closer to them, but also makes us more understanding of who they are as a person and what brought them where we find them.

It’s an unmasking.

And because diversity is respecting people’s right to be, while honoring that same right in ourselves, nametags bridge connections across different cultures. The break silence and break walls, because knowing each other’s names overrules the silent, lazy judgments we would otherwise make about them in the absence of knowing their real identity.

Now, it’s harder to treat people with disrespect. We’re reminded that they’re a person with a name. And only through knowing a human’s name can you learn about the heart beating behind it.

No longer do we avoid contact with people who aren’t like us for fear of social contamination. No longer do we hold ourselves hostage by our own intolerance.

If everybody wears nametags, no more hatred, no more judgments and no more bigotry.

# # #

You can read The Nametag Manifesto, in full, for free, right now, here. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What's your manifesto?

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

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

My job is to help companies make their mission more than a statement, using limited edition social artifacts.

Want to download your free workbook for The Brandtag Strategic Planning Crusade?

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Adventures in Nametagging: Bread, Air & Chicks

“Acts of friendliness in moments of anonymity.”

That’s why I wear a nametag:

To invite people to join me, to remind the world that face to face is making a comeback and to create spontaneous moments of authentic human interaction infused with a spirit of humor, playfulness and connection.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a nametag is worth a thousand stories.

Here are my most recent adventures:
*DAY 3,851: Today at the farmer's market, a man selling bread said, “Hey Scott this loaf has your name on it!” I told him I was on a low carb diet. He said, “Yeah, but how often do you encounter Scott Bread?” Touché. I bought four loaves.

*DAY 3,853: Today as I exited the plane, the flight attendant said, “Scott, you can take your nametag off now. We know who you are.” Well that’s a relief. Just when I thought Delta didn’t care about their passengers.

*DAY 3,854: Today while waiting in line for a slice of pizza an older woman said, “Scott you must really like nametags, huh?” I told her chicks dig them. She replied, “Well then, may you meet many chicks tonight.” What a lovely gesture. I didn't.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What was your best nametag related adventure?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "20 Types of Value You Must Deliver," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Art of Cheap

When the economy sucks, everyone is trying to save money.

And there’s no shortage of ways to do so.

But what about saving time? Saving energy? Saving face? Saving emotional effort?

THE REALITY IS: Saving isn’t just about spending less – it’s about becoming more.

Today we’re going to explore several areas where you can practice the art of cheap:
1. Abstinence is cheaper than moderation. I’d rather say no and be done with it than gamble on the pathetic odds of self-control. That’s the thing about moderation: It doesn’t work. If it did, you’d have to take moderation in moderation. How many times are going to eat an entire bag of Oreos before you learn your lesson?

2. Character is cheaper than comfort. I’d rather honor my personal constitution than placate people’s insecurities. That’s the reality of comfort: Rarely does anyone grow in that state of being. What personal boundaries are you violating just to make other people happy?

3. Choose is cheaper than pick. I’d rather grab something good enough and move on than suffer chronic indecision just to find the best option. That’s the problem: You can’t go through life regretting every decision you make just because it’s not the best possible choice. Are you imprisoned by the tyranny of small, irrelevant decisions?

4. Conflict is cheaper than silence. I’d rather say something and cause trouble than bury my feelings and create resentment. That’s the thing about relationships: The only thing worse than saying that something’s wrong is saying nothing at all. Last time you sat down to dinner with your spouse, what did you omit?

5. Creation is cheaper than rejection. I’d rather hire myself and get to work than wait for approval to become who I am. That’s the difference maker: You can sit back and ask for permission, or you can step up act without restriction. Should you be updating your resume or finishing your business plan?

6. Curiosity is cheaper than belief. I’d rather make ruckus with my questions than make people happy by mindlessly accepting their dogma. That’s what people don’t realize: Passionately curious beats incredibly smart. Do you believe because you actually believe, or because someone told you to believe and you mindless followed?

7. Delegation is cheaper than education. I’d rather pay someone to make it beautiful than teach myself to make it mediocre. That’s what smart entrepreneurs know: When you calculate how much you’re worth per hour, everything changes. Everything. Are you trapped in the pursuit of perpetual improvement?

8. Delete is cheaper than unsubscribe. I’d rather press one button and get on with my life than wait for someone to win me back to a service I never asked for in the first place. That’s the thing about email: Ninety percent of it is nothing but a digital fidget. How many of your emails do you delete without opening?

9. Failure is cheaper than regret. I’d rather take a risk, totally bomb and end up looking like an idiot than suffer the purgatory of inaction. That’s a helpful philosophy for business and personal: Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. What regrets do you regret?

10. Forgiveness is cheaper than permission. I’d rather take action and risk being scolded than stand by for approval to do something great. That’s what drives me crazy: People who put their dreams on hold until their creative passport gets stamped by people who don’t matter. Why are you waiting to get paid to do what you love?

11. Love is cheaper than anger. I’d rather forgive people who don’t deserve it than raise my voice at people who do. That’s the fun part: If you're willing to be unfair with your heart, it's amazing what you can accomplish. When was the last time you loved someone anyway?

12. Meditation is cheaper than worry. I’d rather create a mental pause than waste my imagination sweating over something I don’t even care about. Too bad more businesspeople haven’t realized the secret: When you treat everything as a meditation, you’re always relaxed. Where do you go when you need to stop thinking?

13. Passion is cheaper than security. I’d rather scrape by doing what I love than get a paycheck with one eye stuck on the clock. That’s the misconception: When you make a living doing what makes your heart sing, you’re not living the dream – you’re living your dream. What if you set up a life you didn’t need to escape from?

14. Patience is cheaper than control. I’d rather wait until the job simplifies itself than ruin my day with monumental overplanning. Fortunately, I’ve finally come to terms with the following reality: Planning is procrastination in disguise. Are you still swatting a fly with a sledgehammer?

15. Permission is cheaper than advertising. I’d rather deliver predictable value to my tribe than inject unwanted noise to the masses. That’s the big aha: You don’t have to yell at people if they’ve given you permission to whisper. What group of people is anticipating your marketing?

16. Trust is cheaper than control. I’d rather give people permission to express their individuality than try to make everyone like me. That’s what I tell my clients: When you petition embed their passion into the pavement that leads the way, they arrive faster, better and happier. Who are you asking to edit themselves?

17. Truth is cheaper than consistency. I’d rather admit that I’ve changed my mind than lie to myself just to save face. That’s the affliction that crippling the corporate world: Good old-fashioned terminal certainty. Are you eating when you’re not hungry just so the food won’t have to be thrown out?

REMEMBER: Saving isn’t just about cutting – it’s about becoming.

Master the art of cheap.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do your fears really mean?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, “27 Ways to Out the Competitors," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Your Fears Really Mean

Most of the things we’re afraid of, aren't.

Fear is sneaky like that. Always wearing disguises to throw us off.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: If you can identify the fear behind the fear, you can beat it.

More than that – you can use it.

As a compass.
As a fuel source.
As an invitation to evolve.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of fears, the bigger fears behind them and to convert them into something more useful:
It’s not the fear of falling.
It’s the fear of letting go.

It’s not the fear of death.
It’s the fear of insignificance.

It’s not the fear of boredom.
It’s the fear of not mattering.

It’s not the fear of change.
It’s the fear of feeling helpless.

It’s not the fear of commitment.
It’s the fear of choosing wrongly.

It’s not the fear of love.
It’s the fear of trusting the wrong person and getting your heart stepped on.

It’s not the fear of making a poor impression.
It’s the fear of meeting someone and then being forgotten.

It’s not the fear of termination.
It’s the fear of feeling unwanted.

It’s not the fear of being replaced.
It’s the fear of discovering that you never actually had a place.

It’s not the fear of going it alone.
It’s the fear of leaving behind the world you know.

It’s not the fear of intimacy.
It’s the fear of giving yourself away and being rejected.

It’s not the fear of losing.
It’s the fear of not living up to your own standards.

It’s not the fear of moving away.
It’s the fear of feeling guilty for leaving.

It’s not the fear of poverty.
It’s the fear of shame.

It’s not the fear of reflection.
It’s the fear of confrontation.

It’s not the fear of saying no.
It’s the fear of feeling like an asshole.

It’s not the fear of selling.
It’s the fear of losing your audience.

It’s not the fear of speaking.
It’s the fear of amplifying.

It’s not the fear of success.
It’s the fear of the changes success will bring.

It’s not the fear of technology.
It’s the fear of irrelevancy.

It’s not the fear of winning.
It’s the fear of living up to victory’s expectations.

It’s not the fear of writing.
It’s the fear of nakedness.

It’s not the fear of losing love.
It’s the fear of realizing that you never had it in the first place.

REMEMBER: Fear is sneaky.

Don’t let it trick you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do your fears really mean?

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6 Ways to Increase Your Digital Approachability

I wear a nametag twenty-four seven.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

THE REALITY IS: Approachability is more than just face-to-face.


It’s about being findable.
It’s about being reachable.
It’s about being knowable.

Straight from my monthly column with American Express Open Forum, here are six ways to increase your digital approachability:
1. Build online knowability. Since day one, you’ve been beaten over the head with three words: “Know your customer.” Actually, there’s a bigger question at stake: How well do your customers know you?

This question matters because trust is a function of self-disclosure. It’s a basic tenant of human communication. And when trust is the only currency that counts – which it is – if your customers don’t know you, you lose.

The secret to making your online identity more knowable is a combination of several elements. First, photography. Images showing you doing what you do in front of the people who matter most. Second, role definition. Mapping out the various ways customers can use you. Third, memorializing your values. After all, people don’t just buy what you sell – they buy what you stand for and why you stand for it.

Hiding the true picture of who you are is a form of reputational risk you can’t afford to take. Share yourself. That’s all branding is anyway: Committing to and acting from the best, highest version of yourself – every day. How well do your customers know you?

2. Keep the virtual loop open. Otherwise you’ll never develop an ongoing relationship with your market, audience, customers and other people who matter. The key is to combine outreach with attraction. To make it easy for readers, subscribers and audience members to engage with you, every day. Whatever online tools you use to keep the loop open, here are the essentials:

First, the speed of the response is the response. Even if you’re not able to solve your people’s problem right away, providing consistent assurance that you’re on the case preserves their sense of control. Second, ask for their feedback. Take heed. Take notes. People will tell you how to serve them better. They will also tell you how to sell to them better.

Third, communicate with meaningful concrete immediacy. Address only what’s relevant to their experience, be concise in your messaging, and give people actionable ideas they can execute – today – to make their lives better. Do you get back to customers quicker than your competitors?

3. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Did you know that eighty percent of divorce lawyer have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating? Apparently, Facebook is by far the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating. According to the study by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers:

“Flirty messages and photographs are increasingly being cited as proof of unreasonable behavior or irreconcilable difference.”

It’s not a computer problem – it’s a character problem. The longer you keep lying to the person you’re supposed to be committed to, the more it’s going to show – not just on your Facebook page – but on your face. And if you’re a cheat, your body will always tell the truth. Especially to the people who matter most.

If you plan to live a dishonest life offline, there’s going to be a huge echo online. And your digital footprint will slip on the technological banana peel to destroy the most important thing in your life. Don’t scapegoat your dishonesty on social media – blame it on social stupidity. Is your online performance equal to your offline reality?

4. Grow bigger ears. A few sad realities: The world is not waiting breathlessly to hear what you have to say. The blogosphere is not standing on the edge of their seats eagerly anticipating your next post. And your followers on Twitter – who, by the way, don’t care about your tweets as much as they care about their stats – are not waking up an hour earlier just to read the hilarious update about your Rottweiler’s latest genital licking adventure.

Social media isn’t a marketing tool – it’s a hearing aid.

Stop using it as a selling too and start leveraging it as a listening platform. For example, I contribute to around fifty different publications, both online and offline. And as a writer and speaker, doing so is essential element of my visibility plan and a crucial component to my listening platform.

But I don’t just give people my email – I offer them an additional resource to supplement the piece of content they just read, watched or listened to.

That’s how I’ve changed the interaction model. And the cool part is, growing bigger ears enables the following leverage question: What does expanding your listening platform earns you the right to do? Answer: Everything, that’s what. Everything. Are you listening to the sound of your own voice or the music of your customer’s voice?

5. Be a virtual extrovert. In the pivotal book Jim and Casper Go to Church, I learned the difference between “outreaching,” which is inviting people to join your group, and “inbreaking,” which is joining an existing community action. According to my friend and occasional mentor Jim Henderson:

“We can find out what groups in our community are already doing to make life better for people and join them. Rather than start groups, we could join their groups. Rather than join groups to convert people, we could join them to connect with and serve people.”

Next time you go online, try this: Consider the types of members you hope to attract. What groups are they already a part of? What role in the community do they currently occupy? Create a gameplan to take a more active role in those spaces. People will notice. People shouldn’t have to adjust to you. You need to adapt for them. Less outreach, more inbreak. Who life are you willing to become a part of?

REMEMBER: Being approachable is much more than face-to-face interaction.

It’s about creating a digital nametag.

Stick yourself out there today.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you e-pproachable?

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For the list called, "11 Ways to Out Market Your Competitors," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
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!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are You Forgiving Mistakes or Rewarding Them?

I recently booked a room at the Sofitel New York.

When I arrived, their system showed no record of my reservation, nor did they have any open rooms for walk-ins.

A bit annoyed, I ended up staying across the street at a competing hotel. No problem.

But when I got my credit card statement, Sofitel still billed me. Turns out, they documented my reservation after all. The problem was, I mistakenly booked the room for the wrong date. And it was a non-refundable reservation.

Woops.
A bit embarrassed, I asked to speak to the manager. He was friendly, helpful and a great listener.

After speaking with his reservations manager, he decided to refund the charge immediately.

And The Sofitel earned a fan for life from a guest who never even stayed there.

LET ME SUGGEST THIS: Good companies forgive mistakes – but great companies reward them.

Here are a few ways to do so:
1. Respond with a foundation of affirmation. Next time people share their mistakes, thank them for being vulnerable enough to be imperfect. Thank them for giving you the chance to love them unfairly. And thank them for the opportunity to create a service moment.

In the process, you’ll demonstrate unreasonable compassion, unexpected empathy and unprecedented gratitude. You’ll set an example of approachability, deepen your reputation for loving people anyway and make people who aren’t your customers, wish they were.

That’s an act of forgiveness in a moment of transgression. And people don’t just remember it – they’ll repeat it. When was the last time you turned a mistake into a gift?

2. Call a mistake meeting. Once a month, gather your people for a working lunch. Starting with yourself, go around the room and require each person to share a mistake they recently made, one lesson they learned from that mistake and the practical application of that lessons to the other people in the room. Document everyone’s contributions.

Then, mail a hard copy to everyone with a twenty-dollar bill stapled to it and a sticky note with a personal message of gratitude. I promise you’ll make company history. You’ll demonstrate your humanity. And meeting attendance will be through the roof. When was the last time you asked people what their mistakes taught them?

3. Create a cooler error page. If someone types an incorrect address on your website, what happens? Are they confronted with a sterile, unrewarding image that makes them feel incompetent for mistyping? Or do you create a playful, disarming experience that rewards users with an exclusive message?

Twitter accidentally popularized this same concept with their Fail Whale, which ended up becoming a powerful word of mouth marketing too. After all, people value things that are hard to find.

Your challenge is to use your error page to create an act of human forgiveness in a moment of digital transgression. Doing so makes the mundane memorable, rewards people’s mistakes and instantly humanizes your brand. Does your website make people feel good about messing up?

4. Schedule time for making mistakes. The psychological and social pressure that prevents people from making mistakes is also preventing your company from getting better. I’m reminded of the book What Would Google Do, in which Jeff Jarvis makes a powerful point:

“Google never makes you feel foolish for making mistakes. It graciously asks when you misspell or mistype if you meant something else. It doesn’t waste your time trying to find what you want. It just gives you a blank box and puts the world behind it.”

That’s the big secret: Rewarding mistakes doesn’t just make your customers happy – it makes your company smarter. How do you make screwing up okay?

5. Give unexpected compliments. The first time I took hot yoga, I slipped on my mat and nearly fell on my ass. But instead of embarrassing me in front of the class, my instructor gently remarked, “Thank you for listening to your body.”

I felt better immediately. She wasn’t critical, she was appraising. She wasn’t harsh; she was constructive. She wasn’t frustrated; she was fascinated. And she wasn’t judgmental; she was thankful. It was an act of spirit in a moment of struggle. Is that the way you respond to your people when they fall out of posture?

REMEMBER: To make a mistake is human; to reward one, divine.

Next time one of your people messes up, love them anyway.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you turning mistakes into?

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For the list called, "31 Questions to Turn Your Expertise into Money," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Friday, June 10, 2011

How to Hire Yourself

I never went to the career fair.

I just hired myself and got to work.

And after ten years, I still haven’t been fired.

That’s the cool part:


When you hire yourself, you stay free.
When you hire yourself, you call the shots.
When you hire yourself, you don’t have to wait.
When you hire yourself, you execute what matters faster.
When you hire yourself, you remove the threat of rejection.
When you hire yourself, you become a more educated entrepreneur.

Tired of waiting to be picked? Consider these ideas for hiring yourself:

1. Kick your addiction to permission. Permission is a spiritual revolt. It’s an inner imperative. A soulful drive for significance. And the bridge between mediocrity and remarkability. The problem is, permission is very real and pervasive in most of our lives.

And as such, there are two kinds of people: Those who sit back and ask for permission, and those who step up act without restriction. I wonder which one describes you. Truth is, it’s not a question of who’s going to let you, but rather, who’s going to stop you?

And the answer is: Nobody. Except maybe you. Because the only permission slip that matters is the one you sign for yourself. That’s your first challenge: Greenlighting your own work. Becoming your own authority figure. And sticking your fingers in your ears so you can hear the sound of your own voice.

Otherwise you get sucked into a life situation where mediocrity is exalted. Are you listening to your voice or a program created by someone else?

2. Mainstream is lamestream. Absolute unfreedom is allowing other people to chart the course of your life. But when you hire yourself, everything changes. Just ask Kevin Smith. After writing the screenplay for the movie Red State, the filmmaker promised that the rights to the film would be auctioned off to a distributor at the Sundance Film Festival.

But last minute, Smith decided to purchase the rights to himself. He then self-distributed the picture under an independent banner. And through his persistent social media efforts, he created a sold out traveling show in select cities before officially releasing the movie.

This process saved millions of dollars, reached millions of and elevated his online and offline platforms to stratospheric heights. Smith’s relentlessness is a shining example of what happens when you stay on the path of your heart. He proved that if you’re not making people react you’re not making a difference. He proved that anything worth doing is worth being attacked for. Are you willing to create something critics will criticize?

3. Being picked keeps you passive. You don’t need a resume. You don’t need an internship. You don’t need another degree. You don’t need more credentials. And you don’t need to attend another industry convention just to kiss the collective ass of a bunch of crusty veterans who still put the word “the” in front of Google.

What you need is initiative. What you need is an enterprise mentality. What you need is to stand on the edge of the abyss and choose to fly. What you need is the desire to take massive action combined with an abundance of chutzpah.

That’s how you say yes to your own value. That’s how you reject the tyranny of being picked, says Seth Godin. Because if you’re just waiting to be discovered, you’re just going to end up waiting tables.

Make yourself the default. Change the rules so you can win at your own game, change the game so there are no rules, or become the exception to every rule. Because you can’t hire yourself if you’re not interactive, reactive and proactive. Are you waiting for your big break, or manufacturing your own big breaks by making yourself more breakable?

4. Stable is for horses. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, only twenty-five percent of recent graduates who applied for a job had one waiting for them after graduation. It’s no secret: Hiring yourself is no longer a renegade choice – it’s a viable path.

First of all, the tools are accessible, affordable and have rapid learning curves. Secondly, offices are a thing of the past and mobile workforces the thing of the present.

Third, open-source software reduces or eliminate the need for consultants and tech support. And lastly, microfinancing, business incubators, peer councils and digital fundraising opportunities are abundant and available – as long as you know how to make a case for yourself.

Yes, half of all new businesses fail within the first five years. And yes, the entrepreneur life is filled with risks, stresses and sacrifices. But it certainly beats working a job that eats away at you just a little more each day. So maybe you take fewer vacations. Big deal. Isn’t it worth it to set up a life you didn’t need to escape from?

5. Farming isn’t for farmers anymore. As a writer, publisher and artist, I’ve learned that best way to bring home the bacon is to raise your own pigs. Think about it: No more traffic on the way to the store. No more inflated retail prices. And no more waiting in lines with the other carnivores.

If you raise your own pigs, and you want some bacon – you just grab a knife and walk outside.

That’s what impatient, persistent, heartstrong people do: They sing the song that is natural for them to sing, in the way that is natural for them to sing it, in front of the fans who most need to hear it. Then, they give their audience permission to be taken over by he performance. Even if they have to rent the theater themselves.

If you are fortunate enough to find the work you were born to do, find ways to do that work no matter what. No. Matter. What. Because the only thing worse than not having a song to sing is having a song to sing, but not giving yourself permission to sing it. The show must go on. May as well hire yourself as the headliner. When was the last time people watched you do what you do?

REMEMBER: It’s about fearing rejection – it’s about putting yourself in a position yourself where rejection can’t even find you.

Burn your resume.

Hire yourself.

It might be the smartest career decision you could make.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Why are you still waiting to be picked?

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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor
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!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Adventures in Nametagging: Petrol, Trademarks and Identity Problems

“Acts of friendliness in moments of anonymity.”

That’s why I wear a nametag:

To invite people to join me, to remind the world that face to face is making a comeback and to create spontaneous moments of authentic human interaction infused with a spirit of humor, playfulness and connection.

And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a nametag is worth a thousand stories.

Here are my most recent adventures:
DAY 3,848: Today a man asked my girlfriend why she wasn’t wearing a nametag. I said, "She doesn’t need one – I’m the one with identity problems.” People usually think I’m joking. Which I am. Kind of.

DAY 3,849: Today I met a three-year-old girl while waiting in line at the gas station. She turned around and said hello to me. Pointing to my nametag, I told her my name was Scott. Looking utterly confused, she asked, “Why?” Interesting question. Never really thought about it that way. So I just told her that’s what my mommy and daddy decided to call me. She seemed unsatisfied with my answer.

DAY 3,850: Today my friend’s spouse said rather smugly, “I notice you wore that same nametag yesterday. Is that like, your thing?” To which I replied, “Yeah, it’s kind of my trademark.” She rolled her eyes and didn’t ask any follow up questions. Fine with me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What was your best nametag related adventure?

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For the list called, "12 Secrets of Supremely Successful Writers," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Don’t Take the Road Less Traveled Until You Learn These Six Lessons

I never had a real job.

Started my own company the day I graduated college and never looked back.

HOWEVER: There were a lot of things I did wrong. A lot of things I overlooked. And a lot of things I wish someone would have told me when I was twenty-two.

Here’s a collection of ideas you might consider before going out on your own:
1. Build recovery into your schedule. Music is my religion. There are very few things in my life that don’t involve it. But since I started my company, music has actually taken on an expanded role. In addition to being soundtrack of my life, it’s also become the place I go to disappear.

Whether I’m playing it, singing it or watching it, music isn’t just my off button – it’s my escape button. It’s where I shed all sense of self and just be. And that’s the secret: We all need a way to disappear. From ourselves, from our work and from the world. Otherwise we never recover. Otherwise we never gain any perspective.

Novelist Joseph Campbell describes it beautifully:

“You must have a place you can go in your heart, your mind, or your house, almost every day, where you do not know what you owe anyone or what anyone owes you. A place you can go to where you do not know what your work is or whom you work for.”

Make no mistake: You are the boss of your own energy. Manage it well. When was the last time you spent fifteen minutes doing nothing?

2. Myopia is underrated. Lack of focus is the single greatest determinant of failure in any endeavor. I see it with clients, I see it with colleagues, and occasionally, I see it with myself. And it kills me every time.

That’s why I’m adamant about focus. But it’s not about time management, getting things done or streamlining the quality of your process so you can maximize the efficiency of strategic productivity. Focus is about creating a filter for your life. Focus is about executing against your values.

That’s what I’ve learned in my experience as a writer, as an entrepreneur and as a leader: Total freedom comes by forcing yourself into a tight corner.

To win, you have to focus on your core, pound it home and never lose sight of it. Otherwise you’ll never hunker down to execute what that matters. Instead of swatting flies with sledgehammers and wasting time making shiny objects shinier, delete anything that isn’t aligned with your vision.

Otherwise the absurd reluctance to let go of what’s worthless will keep you from reaching greatness. Focus is function of sacrifice. What are you willing to give up to stay on point?

3. Answer the invitation to evolve. Early in my career, my mentor gave me a warning: “If you’re giving the same speech you gave six months ago, you’re doing something wrong.” Ever since that conversation, I’ve vowed never to give the same speech twice.

Partly because I’d get bored, but mostly because I believe in evolution. Not just with the planet – but with the person. And that’s the reality every leader has to confront: If you refuse to make upgrades, there will be a self-imposed ceiling on what you can accomplish. If you insist on keeping yourself encapsulated in a cocoon with people who are just like you, you’ll never take your gifts to their highest potential.

Give yourself permission to explore options for your future. Otherwise you’ll deadlock yourself on a path that might not lead where you belong.

The point is: Your followers want nothing more than to watch you evolve into something much greater than anyone could expect. May as well give them a show to remember. In the last six months, how have you upgraded yourself?

4. Get people to follow your thinking. The world puts a premium on articulateness. And if you can express yourself creatively, concisely and compellingly, you win. The catch is, you have you clarify before you testify. And the best way to do is by thinking on paper.

Not emailing. Not texting. Good old writing. Every single day. Even if you only hit the page for fifteen minutes, that’s enough. Hell, I started with fifteen minutes a day and now I’m up to three hundred.

The good news is, writing makes everything you do easier and better. What’s more, writing helps you define the way you think about the world. And if you can get the people who agree with that definition to delegate certain chunks of their thinking to you, that world will be yours.

Get it through your head: You’re a thinker. Your brain is valuable. And your point of view matters. It’s time to say what you believe and see who follows. As long as you remember: The secret to self-expression is to believe that you have something worth expressing. Do you believe you’re worth putting on paper?

5. Don’t let yourself work small. If you want to watch steam come out of my ears, just tell me that you’re an aspiring writer. Or an aspiring artist. Or an aspiring anything. God help you. That’s the kiss of death. That’s the hallmark of working small.

Aspiring is for cowards. Aspiring is for riskless amateurs. Aspiring is what you say when you don’t want to commit with both feet and accept the responsibility of going pro.

Life doesn’t have a preheat setting. You’re either on, or you’re off. You either are, or you aren’t. Stop waiting to be who you are. Stop waiting for permission. And just start being. Today.

As Seth Godin wrote in Poke the Box, “Reject the tyranny of the picked. Pick yourself.”

The cool part is, once you gather the desire to move forward – most likely without a map – people will follow you. And they will stick with you as you promise not to let yourself work small. But when you dream big and do small, you lose huge. What are you still waiting for permission to become?

6. Legacy isn’t optional. In The Little Book of Leadership, Jeffrey Gitomer explains that the pieces of your legacy are created with your every action, your every achievement and your every victory.

I completely agree. The challenge is that legacy is a neutral entity. Not unlike tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce it’s immersed in. Which means it could taste fresh – but it could also taste like feet. It all depends on your behavior.

Everyone leaves a wake. Everyone. The issue is whether the people you love will surf on it, or drown under it. Here’s a question you might consider asking yourself every morning:” “If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?”

This question builds the blueprint for your legacy. And once you’ve fleshed out your answers, all you have to do is make sure that your every action gives people the tools they need to build that world. And maybe a few instructions on how to use them.

Ultimately, at the end of life, you’re not defined by the beads, but by the string that holds them all together. Will you leave behind something that can justify your existence?

REMEMBER: Just because you take the road less traveled doesn’t mean you can’t arrive in one peace.

Good luck.

I’ll see you out there.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What road are you taking?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, “26 Ways to Practice Being Yourself," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!