Practice intentional discomfort

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you grow the most.

As a person.
As a professional.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you learn the most.

About others.
About yourself.
About the world.

When you make yourself uncomfortable, you expand the most.

Because you meet new people.
Because you experience new things.

SO, THE BIG QUESTION IS: Are you practicing intentional discomfort every single day?

Me? I’m kind of a discomfort junkie.

See, I wear a nametag every day. Wherever I go.

(Been doing it non-stop for seven years now.)

And I’ve probably learned the most, grown the most and experienced the most simply by sticking myself out there.

Of course, you don’t need a nametag. Approachability comes in many forms.

So, if you’re a regular attendee to association meetings, networking events, company celebrations – even church or temple – here’s a list of eight ways to step out of your comfort zone:
1. Be someone’s first friend. If you notice a new member, congregant, student or employee, be the first to approach him. Satisfy his basic psychological need of acceptance by simply saying hello.

Do you remember your first friend?

2. Be a greeter. Even if you’re not on the welcome committee, first impressions team or hospitality squad, be a greeter anyway. And don’t just greet people within twenty feet of the door and within twenty minutes of the start of the meeting. REMEMBER: consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Everyone is a greeter.

When was the last time you were greeted by a non-greeter?
3. Third party intros. When you meet someone new, introduce them to someone else you know. Make sure to use a “Connector Line” to spark interest and keep the conversation alive: “Hey Mike, have you met Randy yet? He was just telling me about the Stones concert from this weekend!”

Are you including new people into your conversations?

4. Park in the back; sit in the front. Literally and metaphorically. Make small sacrifices so The New Guy, first timers and solo rollers so they can enter your meeting or organization with ease and comfort.

Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable so a new person isn’t?
5. Embrace the outsiders. Keep your eyes open for people who aren’t being included. Watch for the individuals who seem lost, have wandering eyes, sit alone or “pretend” to be busy with something. You never know, they could be pretty cool! Take the first step to get to know them.

Do you remember when you were an outsider and someone embraced you?

6. Sit with the wrong company. Next time you attend a meeting or networking event, don’t sit with five people you know and work with every day. Find a table with a few open seats and a bunch of strangers … and have a seat! Avoid the temptation to stay within your group.

How can you expand your network by sitting with everyone you know?

7. Stay late. Next time your meeting, workday or event concludes, stick around. Look for new people. Ask them, “So, what’d you think of our little group?” “Did you have fun?” or “How was your first day?” Make yourself physically available (openness of personal space) and personally available (openness of mind and heart).

If you had lots of questions on your first day, wouldn’t YOU appreciate it if someone stayed late to answer them?

8. Extend the event. If there’s a particular person you connected with, offer to keep the event alive. Invite her to join the after-party, or make yourself available for a personal “debriefing.” NOTE: this isn’t something you should to do all the time. Respect yours and other people’s time. However, if it’s appropriate, setting aside a chunk of time to answer questions, offer insider information or address concerns will be HUGELY appreciated.

Don’t YOU like being invited to the afterparty?

NOTE: there IS a flip-side to all of these examples: be mindful of yours and other people’s boundaries. Nobody should fully give his entire self or time to every person he meets. Practice discretion, not snobbery. And remember, a “yes” to something or someone is always a “no” to another.

Still, stepping out of your comfort zone (cliche as it may sound) is a valuable activity.

And it’s not just “something you do.”

It’s a way of life.
It’s a way of business.
It’s a way of thinking.

Most importantly, it’s a way of learning.

Practice intentional discomfort today.

How did you step out of your comfort zone today?

Share your best comfort zone learning experience here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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How to be a Sticky Note Superstar

Sticky notes.

Pretty much the greatest invention ever.

Especially when you post them on your:

Bulletin board.
Laundry machine.

The possibilities for self-motivation are endless!

And even if you’re not a visual person, here are seven variations to become a Sticky Note Superstar!

1. Self-Assessment Questions. If you continuously ask yourself the same few questions every day, you will accomplish more, stay focused and remain motivated. That’s what QREATIVITY is all about.

STICK WITH THIS: “What did you write today?” “Is what you’re doing right now consistent with your #1 goal?” and “Did you make a sale today?” Check out this ebook for a few more suggestions.

2. Goals. Consider your #1 personal and #1 professional goals for 2007. Post at least ten sticky notes all around your home and office. Keep it short and simple, i.e., “Weigh 170 pounds!” or “$10,000 per month!”

STICK WITH THIS: post these two goals on the inside of your wallet, your car’s dashboard, or anywhere else you might look at several times daily. Remember, the key to self-motivation is repetition.

3. Quotations. Make a list of your five favorite quotations. Keep them short, keep them simple and keep them positive.

STICK WITH THIS: bathroom mirrors are great spots for these sticky notes. This will be certain to start and end your day on a positive note. (No pun intended!)

4. Motivators. All it takes is a simple word or phrase to keep yourself motivated. Write something emotional, powerful and visual.

STICK WITH THIS: Put “Yes!” sticky notes everywhere. Also try statements like, “You rock!” and “You are succeeding right now!”

5. Reminders. If you have an important phone call to make, email to send or errand to run, write it down on a sticky note.

STICK WITH THIS: the inside of your front door is the perfect place for a last minute reminder, i.e., “Did you turn the lights off?” Also, your pantry or fridge is a great place to catch yourself slipping, i.e., “How many vegetables did you eat today?” or “Are you REALLY hungry right now?”

6. Current ideas. Creativity requires incubation. If you have a new idea, project or brainstorm that needs constant attention, post a key phrase in a visible spot. Keep your new idea in front of your face and at the top of your mind.

STICK WITH THIS: “How will you improve the Johnson Account?” or “Get more ideas for next week’s staff meeting!”

7. Education. If you’re expanding your vocabulary or learning a new language, sticky notes are the perfect education tool.

STICK WITH THIS: put a single word (and a brief definition) in your wallet or on your desk. If you’re learning a new language, put the translations on items around your house. Great for repetition.

NOTE: these Sticky Note exercises might seem a little cheesy to you.

Just remember: cheesy doesn’t mean ineffective.

ALSO NOTE: your coworkers, friends or partner might think you’re a bit crazy for posting sticky notes all around the house or office.

Don’t let them stop you. They’re either jealous of your success or insecure about their own lack of motivation.

Ultimately, sticky note reminders like these work because:

1. They make you CLARIFY … so your goals are specific.
2. They make you WRITE … and writing is the basis of all wealth.
3. They make you VISUALIZE … what you want and how to get it.
4. They make you ACCOUNTABLE … to yourself and the people around you.

Stick with that.

Are you a Sticky Note Superstar?

Share your #1 best use for sticky notes.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Approachable Service: The First Impression Fizzle

Are first impressions the most critical part of Approachable Service?


YES, it’s true that first impressions are usually correct.

YES, it’s true that first impressions are based on instinct and emotion.

YES, it’s true that first impressions your customers form about you are likely to stay in their minds forever.

YES, it’s true that humans put pressure on themselves to behave consistently with their own existing commitments.

YES, the information people see or learn about you is more powerful than what is learned later.


If you google “first impressions,” 1,930,000 pages come up.
If you google “ongoing impressions,” 317 pages come up.
If you google “lasting impressions,” 630,000 pages come up.

LESSON LEARNED: don’t solely focus your service efforts on MAKING first impressions, but also, on MAINTAINING those impressions.

CAUTION: if the first few seconds are all that matters, your front line may fall victim to The First Impression Fizzle.

EXAMPLE 1: have you ever walked into a store or hotel that made a GREAT first impression in the lobby … and then, sort of gave up after that?

EXAMPLE 2: have you ever attended a club, association meeting or church service whose greeters extended a warm welcome when you walked in the door … and then never talked to you again?

EXAMPLE 3: have you ever eaten dinner at a restaurant in which your server was friendly, helpful and warm … and then, once the food came, sort of forgot about your table for the rest of the night?

That’s The First Impression Fizzle.

And if you want avoid it, remember these ABC’s…

1. ATTITUDE. Don’t (just) focus on the first. Remember, “The Touchpoint Trinity” includes your FIRST, ONGOING and LASTING impressions. None are more important than the others.

2. BRAINSTORM. List all the possible Daily Touchpoints within each category of your Touchpoint Trinity. Examples might include “greeting,” “order taking” and “handling complaints.” Then, for each of the components, think of two new ways to make the mundane memorable. Remember to keep your approaches positive, friendly, fun, unexpected, and most importantly, unique.

3. CATCH. People doing it right, that is. Any time you see one of your front line employees reinforcing the customer’s first impression throughout the ENTIRE service process, reward them. Consider making Touchpoint Trinity stickers, stars or slips. Hand them out throughout the day. At the end of the week, reward whichever employee has the most.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: practice these keys with consistency.

Because consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.

When was the last time you experienced The First Impression Fizzle?

Tell us what they could have done to prevent it.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Approachable Service: The Touchpoint Trinity

Your first impression is only 1/3 of the battle.

WHICH MEANS: simply greeting customers at the front door is NOT enough.

For that reason, always remember THE TOUCHPOINT TRINITY:

FIRST impressions. These lay a foundation for the service process. These frame the entire customer experience. They take between five and ten seconds, but last nearly forever.

ONGOING impressions. These either reinforce or diminish customers’ initial judgments. Throughout the entire service process, they cause customers to either (keep) checking you on, or check you off.

LASTING impressions. These create farewell feelings that stay with customers until their next visit. They cause them to: 1) tell nobody, 2) tell a few people, or 3) tell EVERYBODY … about their service experience (good OR bad.)

So, how do you achieve success all throughout the Touchpoint Trinity?

ONE WORD OF ADVICE: consistency.

“Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness,” as my company motto states.

THAT is the key to Approachable Service. And it’s the result of focusing your efforts on all three components of The Touchpoint Trinity.


If you want to create FANS, (not just customers)…

Whose experiences are UNFORGETTABLE, (not just memorable)…

So they become INSISTENT, (not just satisfied or loyal)…

Sit down with your team and conduct the following exercise:

1. Organize. Divide a sheet of blank paper into three columns. From left to right, title them “First, “Ongoing” and “Last.”

2. Brainstorm. List all the possible Daily Touchpoints within each category. Examples might include “greeting,” “order taking,” “handling complaints,” “checking out,” “paying the bill,” and “final words as customers exit.” (You’ll probably have around 10-20 touchpoints in all.)

3. Imagine. Now, multiply the total number of Daily Touchpoints by your total number of employees. Then multiply that number by 250. The final result is your Annual Touchpoint Total. (This will help you understand the volume of your accumulated actions!)

4. Accentuate. For each of the components in your Touchpoint Trinity, think of two new ways to make the mundane memorable. Brainstorm techniques, Phrases That Payses, ideas, procedures and fun ways to approach your customers in every possible situation. Remember to keep your approaches positive, friendly, fun, unexpected, and most importantly, unique.

5. Brand. The last step is to formally brand your service. For example, take Disney, Ritz Carlton and FedEx. Each of these companies’ unique approach to service is SO good that other companies steal it!

Who’s stealing YOUR service philosophy?

If the answer is “Nobody … yet,” then this is your chance!

Create Service Philosophy Cards explaining your unique approach to all areas of your Touchpoint Trinity. Print 500 of them for every employee! Staple one to every receipt! Scatter them about your office, hotel or property. Over time, your philosophy will spread.

And with these exercises, you will be able to maintain consistency in your first, ongoing AND lasting impressions.

AND REMEMBER: if you can understand, improve and consistently brand your company’s Touch Point Trinity…

Customers won’t (just) be satisfied.

Customers won’t (just) be loyal.

They’ll be insistent.

Who is stealing YOUR service philosophy?

In addition to satisfaction and loyalty, remember to focus on insistence.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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Grill yourself

What enables someone to be relaxed on an interview?

Here’s the way I see it:

Approachability comes from relaxation.
Relaxation comes from comfort.
Comfort comes from confidence.
Confidence comes from knowledge.
Knowledge comes from preparation.

IN SHORT: relaxation come from preparation.

So, what the best way to prepare for an interview?

By asking yourself questions.

Like, hard questions.

Questions like:

1. What are three reasons ANYBODY would want to go to my website?
2. What am I doing to earn my customers’ loyalty?
3. What did I JUST learn from this experience?
4. What do I know now that I didn’t know 12 months ago?
5. What ONE thing do I do great?
6. Who can hurt me the most?
7. Why are customers picking me?
8. Why is my business succeeding?

That’s called grilling yourself.

It challenges your thinking.
It clarifies your beliefs and values.
It prepares you to answer questions (for real) at the drop of a hat.

And if you want to ACE your next interview – for a job OR with the media – consider these three Self-Grilling Techniques:

1. THINK. Because thoughts become things. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: your thoughts are your most valuable possessions. And when you take the time to grill yourself, your thinking clarifies. Then, those positive thoughts eventually materialize as they align with your actions.

HERE’S THE WAY: try grilling yourself while exercising. High levels of endorphins will pump dopamine to help expand your creativity. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that come about. (Just be sure not to run into somebody else on the track!)

2. WRITE. Because writing is the basis of all wealth. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: you don’t know it until you write it. So, by regularly writing out your answers to various questions, you not only clarify your thoughts – you learn the material. Cold. And when you know the material, it flows out of your mouth smoothly, authentically and effectively.

HERE’S THE WAY: every morning before work, spend 15 minutes grilling yourself. Pick three interview questions a day. Write your answers in the form of bullet point lists. Then on Friday, re-read everything. Odds are, you’ll go back and say, “Wow, that was actually pretty good!”

3. SPEAK. Because practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. Period.

HERE’S THE WHY: speaking is an extension of writing and writing is an extension of thinking. So, by working up to speaking (the most difficult form of grilling yourself), you bring together all three elements.

HERE’S THE WAY: put 20 interview questions on 20 note cards. Everyday after lunch, pick a new one out of a hat. Read it to yourself. Then spend the next three minutes answering it aloud. Be sure to use specific examples that support your arguments. Do it every day until you’re out of questions. Then write 20 more.

Ultimately, grilling yourself is about preparation.

In your mind.
On your paper.
Out your mouth.


Approachability comes from relaxation.
Relaxation comes from comfort.
Comfort comes from confidence.
Confidence comes from knowledge.
Knowledge comes from preparation.

Grill yourself today.

When was the last time you grilled yourself?

Regularly practice these three techniques. Consider partnering up with a “grilling buddy” to keep each other accountable. In time you won’t just conduct interviews; you’ll control interviews.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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What finish line?

My mastermind group used to meet in a conference room at an ad agency.

The first time we held our session there, I couldn’t help but notice the powerful slogan painted across the office wall:

“What finish line?”

Wow. What a concept, I thought.

Imagine a company with no finish line.

Meaning, they’ve never arrived.
Meaning, they’re always getting better.
Meaning, they’re never resting on their laurels.

No finish line. Cool!

That was a few years ago. But it wasn’t until recently that I started thinking about that same idea again.

So I did some googling. And the following five quotations popped up:

1. In The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron says, “Art is never finished. It simply stops in interesting places.”

2. Leonardo da Vicni is well known for saying, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

3. Harry S. Truman in his 1953 State of the Union Address said, “The Nation’s business is never finished. New dreams must replace our old dreams; new horizons must open up; new challenges arise to test us–to test our spirit and our resolve.”

4. John Maxwell once wrote, “If you think you’ve arrived, you’re in trouble.”

5. Philosopher Baltazar Gracian wrote, “Display minimal self-satisfaction.”

That’s the way business is supposed to be.

Neverending. Always improving. No finish line.

Kaizen, as the Japanese like to say.

So, I guess it’s safe to say:

You’re never finished learning.
You’re never finished growing.
You’re never finished thinking.
You’re never finished asking questions.
You’re never finished becoming a better writer.
You’re never finished e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g your creativity.

And so on.

There is no finish line.

Just when you get there, “there” should disappear.

Because eventually, people, customers, fans and prospects are going to start wondering, “What have you done for me lately?”

And if you’ve been skating by on one measly past success from decades ago, resting on your laurels…

Not getting better
Not expanding or improving your expertise
Not enhancing the value you deliver

…then your customers are going to assume that you’ve already CROSSED the finish line.

And they’re gonna hire someone else.

Someone who isn’t so complacent as to think he’s arrived.

So, tighten up your Nikes.

Grab a Powerbar.

And take a quick swig of Gatorade.

Because there ain’t no finish line.

When was the last time you created new value?

Post the question, “What finish line?” on several sticky notes. Post them everywhere.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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When should you raise your fee?

A few years ago I was hanging out at an art gallery in Portland.

I asked the owner, “How do you know how much to charge for your paintings?”

Without a blink she smiled, “Depends on my rent!”

Wow. I don’t think she was kidding!

Still, whether you’re an artist, writer, entrepreneur or consultant, this is a tricky topic: When should you raise your fee?

Lots of potential answers…

You raise your fee when you raise your value.
You raise your fee when you do something HUGE.
You raise your fee when you increase your costs.
You raise your fee when you write your first book.
You raise your fee when you reduce your client base.
You raise your fee when you want to earn more money.
You raise your fee when you write a bestselling book.
You raise your fee when you want to grow your business.
You raise your fee when you think you deserve more money.
You raise your fee when you are quoted as an expert in the media.
You raise your fee when you have been featured in a major media outlet.
You raise your fee when you’re associated with the best, i.e., opening for U2.
You raise your fee when you want to cut out the bottom 15% of your client base.
You raise your fee when you want to work with fewer clients, fewer days of the year, but for the same or more total income.
You raise your fee when you’ve been getting paid your fee consistently with little or no resistance.
You raise your fee when it’s been at the same level for a long time and you think, “Well, it’s just time!”

It’s different for everyone.

In Alan Weiss’s Million-Dollar Consulting, he states, “The #1 cause of entrepreneurial failure is not undercapitalization or major competition, but lack of self-esteem.”

So maybe that’s our biggest challenge: figuring out what we’re worth.

A few years ago I raised my fee. I was so scared that I actually spent a five minutes every morning staring into the mirror, stating my fee confidently to myself.

I felt like such a putz.

However, later that day when I’d get on the phone and a prospective client asked what my fee was, I would have no problem sharing it.

Confidently, too.

AND THAT’S THE KEY: state your fee confidently and SHUT UP.

Don’t justify it.
Don’t validate it.
Don’t weaken it by saying, “Yeah, but, um, you know, I can always make it cheaper if your budget doesn’t…”


He who talks next, loses.

State your fee confidently and SHUT UP.

And ultimately, there’s probably no one reason to raise your fee.

What’s most important is that when you DO raise (and eventually state) your fee, do so with confidence. And if the prospect has a problem with it, maybe she’s not the right customer in the first place.

How much is one hour of your time worth?

Make a list called “Top Three Reasons to Raise Your Fee.” Post it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

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What’s next?

My first job out of college was selling couches at a discount furniture warehouse.

Aside from the long hours, sub-par working conditions, terrible pay, annoying customers, pain-in-the-ass coworkers and chronic back pain from lifting too many sofa-sleepers; it was a pretty decent job.

Anyway, my boss Pamela had a thing about signs.

She loved to post these little notes, sayings, quotes and motivational messages around the store.

My favorite was the ubiquitous, “What’s next?”

It was inescapable. Everywhere you looked, Pam was reminding you to ask yourself, “What’s next?”

Most of my coworkers thought it was cheesy. And annoying. And a waste of paper.

I thought it was cool.

Because it applied to everyone.

Salesman. Entrepreneurs. Creative professionals. Managers.


And here’s why:

WHAT’S NEXT? … is about productivity.

When you finish one project, activity or endeavor, celebrate and move on to the next one.

WHAT’S NEXT? … is about getting better.

Because there is no finish line. You’ve never arrived. Instead, you constantly expand your skills and abilities to add more value to your self, your services and you, products.

WHAT’S NEXT? … is about staying in motion.

Kind of like sharks, who start dying when they stop swimming. See, they have to ask themselves, “What’s next?” (presumably in Shark-Latin) because they can’t eat, breathe or breed unless they stay in motion.

WHAT’S NEXT? … Is about NOT being a one-trick pony.

Or a one hit wonder. Or a one-book author. Or a one-speech speaker. Or a one-income stream entrepreneur.

Which is not to say you should spread yourself too thin or lose focus; but you still need to be doing new stuff regularly.

It’s like taking the Rolling Stones, who probably ask, “What’s next?” all the time; and comparing them to some one-hit wonder spandex-wearing hair band from 1979 who’s been milking that same overplayed song for three decades.

Not that there’s anything wrong with spandex.

But whatever your situation is – businessperson, artist or manager – you need to regular ask yourself one question: “What’s next?”

What’s next … for YOU?

Write “What’s next?” on ten sticky notes. Put them all around your office. See what happens!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are you the luckiest person you know?

Watch Scott’s interview on 20/20!

add to * digg it! * email this post

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