Overcoming fear of failure

Curt’s latest topic at Collective Genius is overcoming fear of failure. I posted with several answers to his key questions. Enjoy!

What advice would you give to someone who is stuck because a fear of failing / being wrong / looking stupid is keeping them from taking action?

If you think something is going to make you look stupid – at least temporarily with no long term repercussions for you or for others – I say do it. It’s good for you. That’s how you learn. Heck, I’ve looked stupid thousands of times in my life, and I’m better, stronger and wiser because of it. Looking stupid allows me NOT to take myself, my life and my business so darn seriously. It keeps me real. Keeps me in check. And I think that as long as you don’t make the same mistake twice, you’re all good.

What techniques do you use to help move past that fear?

I once made a list of 50 of the stupidest things I ever did and what I learned from them. Once I read the list back to myself, I thought, “Man, maybe it’s not so bad after all!” This is a great exercise that I recommend to everyone.

How has that fear kept you stuck in the past? How did you move past it?

I once had a fear of watching myself speak on video. I had footage from speeches that I didn’t watch for almost a year! But I found that when I did watch it, I realized, “Hmm…I’m actually a pretty good speaker!” I suppose the way I moved past it was to just bite the bullet and say to myself, “Alright, this is the only way I’m going to get better. Besides, there’s nobody else in the room watching this, so who cares anyway?”

What effect does perfectionism have on that fear? What are some ideas for countering it?

I live by the adage, “Success is not perfection.” In fact, one of my books has 6 typos in it! But I found a way to use those mistakes as marketing tools, in addition to symbolizing my humanness to my readers and audience members.

What ideas do you have to help people learn from failure?

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.” That’s a great quote I live by. Not sure who said it, but I try to fail at one thing a month. I keep a list of my failures and go back to it every once in a while to learn. Also, if I feel like everything’s been going perfectly, I pray for a failure. Seriously. I welcome screw ups into my life and give thanks for every one of them.

What are some alternate perspectives on failing / being wrong / looking stupid?

In the song “Lose Yourself,” Eminem says, “Success is my only mother-f***ing option, failure’s not.”

Great lyric!

What’s your philosophy on failure?

Make a list called My Top Ten Business Failures and What I Learned From Them. Email it to me and I’ll include your list on a future post!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how in 21 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

Taple Topics: How to Get Everyone Talking!

Toastmasters, meet Uncommon Goods.

They believe that creativity and the expression of individuality represent two great human treasures. They recognize that people want ways to express their individuality and creativity when shopping for themselves and others.

Which is why they sell cool stuff like this…

Table Topics boxes are clear acrylic “ice cubes” that hold a stack of 138 conversation starters that will get your guests thinking and eager to talk.

They were created by Cristy Clarke who wanted to have genuine, compelling conversations at her cocktail parties. These colorful cubes let you snappily circulate the question at hand in the cube or pass cards out individually. Every box is peppered with questions ranging from the serious to the silly, for friends, families and teens.

Awesome. I might buy a set. Thanks to Head Shark for the link.

What’s your favorite get-together game?

Next time you have a party or host a networking event, provide nametags for everyone. Then, encourage guests to also write their favorite cereal, book or biggest business challenge underneath their name. Undoubtly, networking and conversation will blossom! Take pictures, write down the stories and email them to me. I’ll post them on the blog.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how in 22 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

Adventures in Nametagging: Charlotte Style

Except for the enormous amounts of cigarette smoke that engulfed the city like a cloud (echh) Charlotte was awesome! As you look at this picture, you’re probably wondering: who are all those people sitting with THE Ryan Cameron?

That’s Jessica McDougall, Jeffrey Gitomer and yours truly.

We had a blast all weekend. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! Especially during our brief Miss Pac-Man Tourney, in which I schooled Gitomer and McDougall like the video prodigy that I am.

We also spent (probably too much) time checking out The Kid From Brooklyn, which might be my new favorite website.

I only have one thing to say: HEY STARBUCKS!!

The highlight of the weekend had to be watching the US Open of Table Tennis. Ryan and I stopped by the convention center to check out the festivities. And I have to say, it might have been one of the Top Ten Coolest Things I’ve Ever Done In My Life. When we checked in, they gave us our tournament badges – although I think they were the wrong ones!

We suited up in typical USTTA gear, hoping to fit right in with the crowd. Look closely and check out my paddle. (Excuse me, racquet.) Anyway, we donned our spiffy new badges and walked around the tournament area. Several kids approached us and kept asking us questions about the Ping Pong Robot, which was also extremely cool.

Then we had a seat at center court. I whipped out my camera to snap this picture. And as the flash went off, the entire match froze and everyone looked over at us. “NO FLASHES PLEASE!” yelled the judge. Then, 2006 US Open World Champion Alexander “Cheese Sandwich” Karakosovitch stared me down with his intense, Russian daggers. Gasp! I almost wet myself!

Finally, seeing as how Ryan was from Canada, we decided to have the North American Showdown to settle the argument once and for all: who is better at table tennis – Canada or US?

It was a long, painful match. Screams and grunts could be heard from afar.

Halfway through the match, I had to take a time out to regroup and replenish my fluids. After all, table tennis can be a violent, non-stop action sport.

I will say, however, that the US was victorious 2-0 against Canada. (Go America!)

All in all, the weekend was full of classic, one-of-a-kind experiences. Special thanks to all my new friends at BuyGitomer and TrainOne for making me laugh so hard. You guys ROCK!


What’s the best sporting event you’ve ever attended?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

Do you want to be That Guy?

Find out how in 23 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

Adventures in Nametagging – Gitomer Style

I’m in Charlotte this weekend hanging out with my buddy Jeffrey Gitomer, along with the WAY cool staff at BuyGitomer and TrainOne.

We’re just hanging out, brainstorming, sharing book ideas and having a blast. These guys are the best in the biz. It’s truly an honor to watch how the REAL pros do it, and do it right. I’ve only been here one day and already I’m learning a ton!

Also, great little story for ya. On the plane ride out here, I found an old copy of Reader’s Digest from March 2004. There was a quip about marketing that was SO classic, (and SO appropriate, considering last week’s podcast, Marketing & Dating Are The Exact Same Thing), that I just had to rip it out of the magazine so I could share it with ya:


  • You see a gorgeous girl at a party and you say to her, “Hi, I’m very rich. Marry me!” That’s Direct Marketing.
  • You see a gorgeous girl at a party and you get her telephone number. The next day you call her and say, “I’m very rich. Marry me.” That’s Telemarketing.
  • You see a gorgeous girl at a party. She walks up to you and says, “You’re very rich.” That’s Brand Recognition.
  • You see a gorgeous girl at a party and say to her, “I’m rich. Marry me.” She slaps you in the face. That’s Customer Feedback.

    Once again, I stand by my theory: marketing and dating are the exact same thing.


    Finish this sentence: marketing is just like ____________.

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

    Do you want to be That Guy?

    Find out how in 25 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

    Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

  • The World is a Mirror, Part 5

    A is for ATTITUDE
    C is for CONSISTENCY
    D is for DISCIPLINE
    E is for EVOLUTION

    Sometimes I still can’t believe it. How wearing a little nametag for one day evolved into all of this.

    Well, ok. I do believe it. I guess if I didn’t believe, none of this would have happened. But still, some days I just look at my nametag in the mirror, start laughing and think, “Man! This is crazy!”

    But that’s the beautiful thing about an idea: its evolution. And I think the moment you come up with your own great idea is the moment you also begin to develop a greater appreciation for idea evolution as a whole; hence the title of this essay series.

    GREAT EXAMPLE: A few months ago I watched a documentary about the making of Fraggle Rock, one of my favorite childhood TV shows. In this special DVD edition, Jim Henson narrated a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his beloved children’s program.

    All throughout the documentary, Henson kept making references to a small insert that came with the DVD box. I eventually grabbed the case and found a small booklet labeled, “Jim Henson’s Sketchbook.”

    I opened it and saw dozens of scribblings; original drawings and blueprint ideas from Jim Henson’s vision for an underground colony of joyful creatures called “Fraggles,” who loved to sing and dance. He even made a little note that “these creatures would bring peace and joy to children around the world.”

    Sooooo cool. Actual brainstorms from one of one the world’s most creative minds! I devoured the sketchbook all night.

    Stuff like that is fascinating to me. I guess I just like ideas. I like to marvel at the way they evolve from nothing to something. In fact, one of the many definitions of creativity is “to make something out of nothing.” And I think that’s a great way for people to learn: to follow the path of an idea from the cradle to the grave.

    Speaking of, I recently stumbled across my original “Nametag Notebook” from my junior year of college. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten all about it! And although it wasn’t as interesting or valuable as Jim Henson’s sketchbook, last month I took some time to read through it…

    I plopped down in a comfortable chair (Carmel Apple Cider in hand) and took a trip down Memory Lane. Er, wait, maybe it was Nametag Manor. Whatever. It was a road. Anyway, here’s what I found.

    During that first year of nametagging, I jotted down observations of group reactions to wearing a nametag, individual stories and encounters, comments made about my nametag, even the names of new friends I made while wearing the nametag! The pages oozed with experiences and encounters with strangers and friends alike. I even sketched out a diagram of the chest placement of my nametag to prove that left vs. right didn’t matter; and that vertical placement was more important.

    And check this out. The most interesting entry of all was towards the back. I found a near-blank page with the following note written in large, block letters in the center:


    It was dated April 25, 2001.

    Before I started writing books on the word.
    Before I started giving speeches on the word.
    Before I built a business around the word!

    Sooooo cool.

    That’s evolution: the growth, expansion, development, progress and transformation that makes something out of nothing. It’s a beautiful thing.

    I encourage you to take some time today to think about one of the coolest, most successful ideas you ever had. For work, for life, for anything! Consider its origins. Ponder its evolution. See how far it’s come.

    You’ll probably end up marveling to yourself, “Man! This is crazy!”


    What’s your favorite idea evolution example?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

    Do you want to be That Guy?

    Find out how in 26 days with the release of Scott’s forthcoming third book!

    Check out www.hellomynameisscott.com for all the juicy details!

    How to create an approachable atmosphere at your next association meeting

    One of the privileges of working with ASAE was contributing to their national publication, Associations Now.

    Before my speech in May, the editor and I got together to talk about how organizations and associations could foster approachability among members and guests.

    The piece came out great, even if they did use a picture from when I was 22! (Click on the image to view a larger size.)

    Also, sorry it took so long to get it up here. Here’s page two with all the “meat” of the article. We included lots of use-tomorrow tips for your organization, applicable ideas, do’s and dont’s of approachability, and of course, a nice pic of the ol’ nametag tattoo to reinforce the value of commitment.


    What’s the best way to encourage approachability during an association meeting?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

    How my nametag almost got me kicked out of a wedding

    First of all, I didn’t know it was a black tie wedding. I guess those things happen when you don’t read the invitation carefully. Or at all. Woops.

    Secondly, I arrived 2 hours late. (Thanks a lot, alarm clock that never went off at the Best Western Garden Inn in Santa Rosa, CA.)

    Anyway, when I arrived I noticed that all the men were wearing tuxes. Damn it. Hope nobody minds that I’m wearing a measly old suit!

    And I really didn’t think anyone would care. But ever since Wedding Crashers came out, I suppose families are on the look-out for inconsistent guests who don’t seem to fit in.

    (That’s me!)

    So, I think it was the late arrival plus the suit/nametag combination that did it.

    After the service, I strolled around the reception area. I felt a tug on my left shoulder. With my mouth stuffed full of mini pizzas, I turned to an intimidating man in his mid-fifties wearing a beautiful black tux and a big scowl on his face.

    “Excuse me, sir, but do you know this is a private party?”

    I swallowed quickly. “Um, yeah…?”

    “So, were you actually invited to this wedding?” he probed.

    Who is this guy? What the heck is he talking about?!

    “Well, I’ve known the groom for like, 17 years,” I defended.

    He glanced down at my nametag as a smile slowly replaced his angry stare.

    “Oh wait, yeah! I know you. You’re Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy! Gosh I’m so sorry about that. Please forgive me…

    …I’m the father of the bride.”


    Have you ever seen a real Wedding Crasher?

    * * * *
    Scott Ginsberg
    Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag

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