Daily appointments with yourself

There are 55 strategies in my new book. Right now you are about to read what I believe is the best one. My fave. Numero uno.


It’s called a Daily Appointment with Yourself.

I’ve been practicing this technique every single day for five years, and I submit to you that it’s the most valuable habit I’ve ever developed.


It all started in Portland. I moved there after college because 1) I didn’t know anybody, 2) I didn’t have a job and 3) I’d never been there before.

All good reasons to go, right?

Anyway, I got a job slingin’ couches at a discount furniture store (more on how much I hated this job later). Now, because it was retail, I knew the days would be long, stressful and trying on my patience. So I decided to start “prepping” myself mentally.

Across the street from my apartment on NW Irving was a place called Coffee Time. Every morning at about 7 AM, I grabbed a cup, found a comfortable chair and got myself situated. Then, for the next hour, I did a combination of the following things:

• Journaling my thoughts
• Reading positive, inspirational books
• Reviewing my goals and personal mission statement
• Meditating through breathing exercises
• Praying on the day, my concerns, etc.
• Emptying my mind of all things negative
• Practicing positive self-talk to develop a great attitude (ahem, chapter two)

By the time I finished my appointment, I felt revitalized, energetic, positive, enthusiastic, happy and ready to take on the day. I was mentally prepared to handle anything the world threw at me because.

That appointment laid the foundation.

I became addicted. I never missed a day. Even on the weekends. And no matter how busy, tired or stressed I was; there was nothing more critical to achieving daily success than my Daily Appointment. As a result, I developed an amazing attitude that began to attract success, happiness and yes, even money, into my life.

Then one day I overslept.

I think it was a Tuesday. I was running late and didn’t have time for my Daily Appointment.

So I skipped it.

BIG mistake.

I missed my bus, forgot to bring my iPod for the commute and ended up rushing to work about 20 minutes late.

I had a terrible day. First one in months. Everything went wrong. I screwed up orders. I snapped at customers. I was annoyed, upset, tired, frustrated and therefore, didn’t sell many couches.

Nine hours later I returned home from a day that felt like it would never end. And as I lay on my bed, I knew exactly where I went wrong.

Since then, I’ve only missed about a dozen daily appointments in five years.

That’s how powerful this habit is. It’s amazing. And I promise, if you start practicing it every single day:

o You will become less stressed
o You will have fewer bad days
o You will develop a more positive & attractive attitude

So, now that you’ve got that extra hour (providing you read the last chapter) here are a few guidelines for setting up your own Daily Appointment. Feel free to modify them to best fit your needs:

1. Solitude. No conversations. No distractions. You need alone time. If you choose to make your appointment at home, tell everyone else in the house that you’re not to be bothered. Treat it like a real appointment with someone very important. Turn off that damn cell phone.

2. Atmosphere. Music helps drown out the outside world and enables you to focus on clearing your mind. I suggest calm, soothing sounds. Headphones work best to really pump the tunes into your mind and help you focus.

3. Supplies. Depending on your routine, you’ll need journals, goal sheets, personal mission statements, positive reading material, headphones, pens, coffee and anything else you need to make this appointment the most comfortable.

4. Time. Before work. Before breakfast. Before working out. Before anything. Trust me, the earlier the better. You need to set the stage for your entire day.

5. Duration. There is no time requirement, although you can’t have much of a Daily Appointment in less than 15 minutes. In fact, a 1999 issue of Transactional Analysis Journal revealed that successful people spend at least 15 minutes every day thinking about how they can improve their lives. And if you think you don’t have that much time in a day, you’re wrong. You don’t have the time NOT to do this. Trust me, it’s worth every second.

6. Components. Although this part is really up to you, some key components include: reading something positive (that means NO newspapers), journaling your thoughts, reviewing goals (HUGE!), doing breathing exercises, practicing daily affirmations and of course, giving thanks. Other activities include praying, meditating, visualizing the success of your day, logging your dreams, etc. Feel free to personalize this appointment according to your needs.

Try it for a month. You WILL notice immediate changes.

Because there’s no appointment more important than the one you have with yourself.

Every day.

(To hear an awesome podcast with Jim Canterucci about this very topic, click here!)

What’s your favorite daily ritual?

Share how that ritual has changed your daily life here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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How to become the greatest receptionist in the world

Seth had a fantastic post about becoming a great receptionist.

He offered several great tips, which got me thinking: how else could you become the greatest receptionist ever?

Well, let’s brainstorm!

I’m working on a pair of mini-books for the fall. One of them is called The Approachable Front Line.

I’m working on a chapter called “How to become the Greatest Receptionist in the World.”

..with YOUR help!

Here’s a list of 12 ideas I’ve gathered so far.

CHALLENGE: submit your own suggestions at the end of this post and I will gladly give you credit my the upcoming book…

How to become the Greatest Receptionist in the World

1. Get descriptions of the people coming in for appointments. When you recognize them you can say, “Welcome in Mr. Jackson! Have a seat and Steve will be with you shortly.”

2. Get business cards, nametags and nameplates with cool job titles. For example: “First Impressions Director,” “Chief Hello Distributor” or “Greatest Receptionist Ever.”

3. Brainstorm a list of the most common candies, snacks and goodies that every receptionist in the world uses. (You know, the ones that every customer expects.) Then, go out and buy really delicious, unexpected candy that nobody else offers.

4. Have a “Trivia of the Day” for each guest. Challenge them to solve the answer by the time they go in for their appointment.

5. When a guest checks in, offer him a sticker while he waits. Not only will this be fun, it will spark conversations between other guests! Offer a choice of custom stickers like, “Next Victim,” “I’m here for the free food” and “I came to meet Mark.”

6. Instead of falling victim to the First Word Farce, (asking for name, information, number, etc.,) create an unexpected, unique greeting. Try something like, “Welcome to the best __________ in the world!” CHALLENGE: brainstorm twenty-five different greetings and using a new one every day for a month! Let the customers vote on which one they like best!

7. Four words: warm chocolate chip cookies.

8. Make your reception desk into a DJ booth. Ask guests what their favorite song is. Set up a pager system. When someone’s song comes up, say, “And this next tune is dedicate to our newest guest, Mr. Hansen! Here’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey…” (You laugh, but Shoe Carnival actually does stuff like this. It’s great.)

9. Do what Australian Dentist Paddi Lund did: chain saw your reception desk in half and serve tea to your clients in bone china cups.

10. Bring your dog.

11. Bring an assortment of treats and bones for other people’s dogs.

12. Nametags for everybody!

What are your ideas for becoming the Greatest Receptionist in the World?

Share them here! I’ll happily give you credit in my upcoming book!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Conversations are laboratories

Talking makes you think.
Thinking makes you create.
Creating makes you write stuff down.
And writing stuff down makes you money.

For that reason, conversations are laboratories.

All types of conversations, too.

With friends.
With yourself.
With mentors.
With strangers.
With employees.

And if you’re looking for a creative boost to attract more ideas into that big juicy brain of yours, start using conversations as tools.

Here are Five Lab Rules to remember when cooking up something new in your conversational laboratory:

1. Increase your frequency. Are you having weekly lunches, coffees and brainstorming meetings with colleagues? If not, start increasing your frequency. Double it. Triple it! And don’t think of it as “networking” or “eating,” think of it as taking a trip to the creative laboratory. NOTE: choose wisely. Be sure to select cool, creative, open-minded, positive people.

2. Take more notes. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. Writing is the basis of all wealth. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, don’t be shy! When you’re talking to a friend who says something inspiring, catchy or brilliant, get it down. Simply say, “Hey, that was great! Could you repeat what you just said? I want to write that down…” (Be sure to give them credit too. For example, today’s blog post was inspired by my new homeboy, John “Duct Tape Marketing” Jantsch.)

3. Ask better questions. More questions. Trickier questions. Stupid questions. Obvious questions. Repetitive questions. FACT: whether it’s with yourself or with someone else, questioning is absolute essential to uncovering new ideas.

4. Become a plucker. The word “pluck” means “to take something away swiftly, often by means of skill or strength.” That’s exactly what you need to do. To slow down, listen carefully and pluck out those little ideas, one-liners, phrases and light bulbs that go off during your conversation. Become a constant scanner of your environment. Then write them down and expand on them.

5. Affirm to attract. More ideas into your head, that is. See, creativity isn’t solely a function of luck or inspiration. It’s about prepping yourself mentally to attract and accept what’s available from the universe.

TRY THIS: before your next conversation, affirm to yourself, “During lunch today, I believe we’re going to make breakthroughs! New ideas will be pouring into our heads!”

ALSO TRY THIS: after your next conversation, give thanks. Gratitude shows the universe that you appreciate the gifts it has given to you. Which makes it want to give you more.

With these Five Lab Rules of Creative Laboratories, you’ll be sure to maximize the output of your next conversation.

And remember:

Talking makes you think.
Thinking makes you create.
Creating makes you write stuff down.
And writing stuff down makes you money.

Conversations are laboratories.

What are your Lab Rules for Creativity?

Share them here! After all, blogging IS conversation…

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Be (somewhat) predictable

Brands are expectations.

Which means it’s your job to prove customers right.

To confirm their suspicions about the value you deliver and the value(s) you stand for.

It ALSO means you need to be (somewhat) predicable:

1. In person.
2. Via email.
3. On the phone.
4. Throughout your marketing efforts.

Be somewhat predictable.

Disney calls this “staying in character.” (After all, their employees ARE called “cast members!”)

AND HERE’S THE THING: you’re not that different than, say, Snow White.

OK, maybe you wear a little less makeup. But the distinction is, instead of playing the role of Snow White, you’re playing the role of YOU.

SO, THE CHALLENGE IS: how do you become (somewhat) predictable?

Here’s a list of three ways to maintain brand consistency:

1. RECORD Brand Moments. Keep a log of your branding “moments of truth.”

For example, write down any time a customer says, “I figured you would do that!” or “It doesn’t surprise me to see your company…” or “That’s exactly what I expected your website to say!” After all, what people remember about you is what you are.

2. REMIND Brand Moments:

In your office, post a bunch of sticky notes that read, “Is what I’m doing RIGHT NOW consistent with my brand?” This will keep you accountable. And if you’re ever not sure if the answer is yes, well, consider that a hint.

3. REINFORCE Brand Moments:

Any time you do or say something consistent with your brand’s values, tell people. For example, if you email a prospect and say, “Well, my consulting fees are available on my website,” don’t forget to punctuate that sentence with, “…because that’s the way I do business,” or “…because that’s what clients have come to expect of me.” They’ll appreciate your integrity. And people respond to policies.

ONE FINAL NOTE: don’t seek to achieve 100% predictability. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a few curve balls here and there. Not to mention, to the most effective way to capture someone’s attention is to B-R-E-A-K their patterns.


Consistency is CRUCIAL to successful branding. Because consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.


Consistency leads to familiarity.
Familiarity leads to predictability.
And predictability leads to trust.

And TRUST is foundation of all business.

Especially when it really IS a small world after all!

Are you (somewhat) predictable?

List three behaviors your clients could probably predict about you here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Why you need a cool company name

The cashier swiped my credit card.

She looked closely at the name.

HELLO, my name is Scott…?” she said, “What is that?”

“Oh, that’s the name of my company,” I smiled.

“Really? So what do you do?”

“I wear a nametag all the time.”

She furrowed her brow and tilted her head.

“Are you serious?” she chuckled.

“Yep! And I write books, speeches and training materials on approachability.”

“Ohhhhh,” she nodded. “I get it – that is so cool!”

She handed the card back to me. I thanked Susie for her help and headed out to my car.

And by the time I got back to the office, the lesson was obvious: cool names work!

Not cute. Cool.

Smart. Fun. Eye catching. EAR catching.

HERE’S WHY: In a world of infinite choice, it’s impossible for customers to keep all those company names straight.

That’s why you need to try extra hard.

Because acronyms suck.
Because nobody notices normal.
Because the world is crying for uniqueness.

SO, HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE: when naming your company, make it cool.

And make it unconfusable.

Because creativity is magnetic.
Because monograms are NOT brands.
Because generic names generate generic business.

And what you’ll discover (especially in conversations) is that cool company names tend to follow a three-step pattern of dialogue:

FIRST, someone says, “Huh?”

But wait, this is good! Because of your cool company name:

1. You’ve surprised them.
2. You’ve broken their patterns.
3. You’ve attracted their attention.

And the best way to capture someone’s attention is to B-R-E-A-K their patterns.

What’s more, you’ve created a hint of anxiety in the air. And this is the best time to give someone new ideas.

SECOND, you articulate your company’s value.

Your USP. Your value statement. Your positioning statement.

Make sure it’s clear, concise and emotional. No more than ten words. Leave no doubt in the other person’s mind what you do and how your company delivers value.

Consider the formula described in John Jansch’s Duct Tape Marketing:

Action Verb (what you actually do)
Noun (target market you do it for)
Benefit (the result of what you do)

For example, “I teach nurse practitioners how to provide more empathetic patient care.”

JUST REMEMBER: Surprise attracts attention, but only interest keeps attention.

THIRDLY, you await the “Aha!”

At this point in your conversation, you’ve already attracted someone’s attention. You’ve already delivered your value statement.

Now comes the best part.

You’ve heard of the “Aha moment,” right?

Well, the challenge is framing your conversation in a way that supports it.

See, the only reason the “Aha!” is effective is because you FIRST got the person to say, “Huh?”

That’s the magic of these three steps, when used properly. Huh?, then value, then Aha!

THE BEST PART: when you sandwich these two emotions (Huh? And Aha!) around your value statement, three things happen to your conversation partner:

1. You become awfully hard for her to resist.
2. You become awfully hard for her to forget.
3. You becomes awfully hard for her (not) to tell other people about.

AND LET’S FACE IT: the only time companies are successful is when people are actively and positively talking about them.


If you break patterns, you get noticed.
If you get noticed, you get remembered.
If you get remembered, you get business.

Do yourself a favor. Get a cool company name.

What’s the coolest company name you’ve ever seen?

Share how you reacted when you first saw it.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Orthopraxy, not orthodoxy

A few months ago, author, pastor (and my homeboy) Jim Henderson educated me on the difference between orthoDOXY and orthoPRAXY:

The word orthodoxy comes from the Greek ortho (‘correct’) and doxa (‘thought’).

The correct thoughts.

The word orthopraxy comes from the Greek ortho (‘correct’) and proxis (‘action’).

The correct actions.

Traditionally, these two words are used in a religious context.

Of course, that’s not what I’m talking about.

This is about business. About relationships. About life.

SO HERE’S THE QUESTION: What’s better: having the correct thoughts, or the correct actions?

It seems to me that theory, information, thoughts, ideas, blah blah blah, are all vital things; but without action, they don’t amount to much.


People don’t give you credit for what they HEAR you SAY consistently.

People only give you credit for what they SEE you DO consistently.

Because action is eloquence, as Shakespeare said.
Because actions speak louder than birds, as Ali G said.

Now. This doesn’t mean orthopraxy is “better” than orthodoxy.

It’s just quicker.

And more authentic.
And more believable.
And more persuasive.
And more approachable.

Ultimately, orthopraxy means instead of practicing what you preach, you’re preaching what you practice.

In the words of the aforementioned Jim Henderson’s new book:

“Action changes everything … so, major in practices and minor in principles.

Practices are attitudes that translate directly into actions. In fact, they often start in the opposite direction.

We start practicing the practice even before we understand or perhaps believe it, which often leads to surprising changes in us (and our relationships with people) we normally wouldn’t known how to relate to.”

LESSONS LEARNED: action isn’t only eloquence; action is character.

DO something first, THEN tell people about.
DO something first, THEN tell people what you learned.
DO something first, THEN encourage people to do the same.

Do as I DO, not as I SAY.

Orthopraxy, not orthodoxy.

Thanks Jim!

Are you thought-oriented or action-oriented?

Tell us how you use action (not words) to persuade.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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The best way to eliminate the competition is to not have any

Are you worried about The Competition?

That someone else is going to come along and steal away all your business?

GOOD NEWS! competition doesn’t have to exist.

Not if you don’t want it to.

See, if your brand is uniquely positioned in a way that’s un-comparable, un-duplicatable and un-like anything else in the market – you won’t have any competition!

EXAMPLE: let’s say you’re a marketing consultant. But you’re the ONLY marketing consultant who works solely with paint shops.

You’re thee, consultant for paint shops, not merely “a” consultant in general.


Now, if a paint shop was hoping to hire an outside advisor like yourself, here’s what would happen:

1. The two owners of the paint shop would hop onto Google.

2. They’d find your website and think, “OK, these guys look great. But before we hire them, shouldn’t we at least check out a few of the other paint shop marketing consultants?”

3. But after a few minutes they’d realize, “Huh. Well, it looks like there ARE no other paint shop consultants. Guess we better hire these guys!”


Bye-bye competition, hello new customers!

So, if you want to eliminate the competition, remember these three keys:

1. Be “thee,” not “a.” Pick a lane. Go where others aren’t. Narrow the focus of your expertise and you will broaden your appeal.

2. Be the only one. That’s the true definition of unique – the only one. You need to be able to finish the following sentence, “We’re the only company who…” or “Our website is the only one that…”

3. Be bold. Eliminating the competition isn’t for the timid. You MUST stick yourself out there if you want to get them to come to you. Don’t just be memorable; be unforgettable! Because if you get noticed, you get remembered. And if you get remembered, you get business.

Ultimately, if you practice those three keys here’s what will happen:

When your customer is seeking to hire someone like yourself, you won’t “be at the top of their list.”

Better yet, you’ll be so unique, so narrowly focused, so valuable and SO original, that your customer won’t even have a list!

Just a big fat sticky note that says, “Get these guy!”

How do you eliminate your competition?

Share your secret here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Never underestimate the power of working your ass off

I believe the following sentence is a myth:

“Work smart, not hard.”

No, no, no, no.

Here’s the deal:

There’s no secret.
There’s no formula.
There’s no quick answer.
There’s no get rich in 90 days.
There’s no six-step process.
There’s no seven-step system.
There’s no single way to do it.

It’s not about luck.
It’s not about serendipity.
It’s not (only) about whom you know and who knows you.
It’s not about how good or fast or smart or cool or funny you are.

The ONLY attribute that is 100% guaranteed to make you successful in any endeavor is HARD WORK.

Hard work.
Hard work.
Hard work.

(Did I say hard work?)

THE CHALLENGE IS: a lot of people don’t want to hear those two words.

For example.

Other night I was giving a talk to a publishers assocation about developing web presence.

At the beginning of our workshop, I told the group that my website gets 35,000 hits a day.

They gasped.

Then, for the next hour, at least seven people kept asking the same question: “Yeah, but how do you get all these people to come to your site?!”

Like there’s a definitive answer to that question.

Unfortunately, considering our A.D.D, quick fix, microwavable, hyper speed, downloadable culture, most businesspeople want that kind of success immediately.

Like the beloved Veruca Salt who sang, “I want the world! I want the whole wide world. I want it, I want it, I want it NOW!”

But it doesn’t work that way.

And that’s why I finally (at the end of the speech) answered the burning question by saying, “OK, do you REALLY wanna know how I get so much organic traffic to my website?”

“Yes!” they audience demanded.

“Because I work my ass off.”

The room fell silent.

Like I’d revealed some sort of magic secret to success.

And that was the end of my speech.

SO, HERE’S YOUR WAKE UP CALL: after thousands of years of existence, the only secret of success that has, and never will change, is HARD WORK.

If you interviewed one hundred super successful people, I bet 99 of them would attribute their success to hard work.

Because all things being equal: hard work is always the best answer.

Now, does that mean you shouldn’t work smart?

Of course not! Working smart is also essential.

But not on its own.

You need to work smart. AND long. AND hard.

For a while.

And eventually when you’ve paid your dues and you’re raking it in and you’re starting to get kind of tired, THEN you can work less hard.

Me? I’m not there yet. Not by a long shot.

So I guess for now, it’s all about hard work.

Never underestimate the power of working your ass off.

Is “working smart, not hard” a myth?

Post your argument here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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Adventures in Nametagging: South Florida Style

Just finished my four-day stint here in South Flor-ee-da.

(Oh, and if you didn’t get a chance to watch my interview from WINK News, check this out!)

Anyway, before heading to the airport, I decided to take a walk on the beach.

It was sunny. It was warm. It was breezy. It was perfect.

A few people mulled about, although it was still pretty early.

At around 7:30 I saw a man approaching me from the opposite direction.

He was one of those old guys donning a speedo, hat, sunglasses and a ridiculous tan.

Not to mention, a smile you could see from space.

He passed and greeted me with a hearty, “Good morning Scott!”

“Morning!” I cheered back.

As he walked passed me, I overheard him greeting a few other beach walkers the same way.

And then something occured to me.

That guy must be, like, REALLY, really happy.

I don’t really have a point to this story.

I just thought it was cool.

Where would you want to retire?

Describe your “Perfect Retired Day” here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Download Scott’s new book!
Right here, right now, for FREE, no strings.

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