The Fleetwood Mac Guide to Going Your Own Way

“Remember to wear your dark suit!”

That was the advice my roommate gave me two hours before the career fair.

Unfortunately, I didn’t own one. Or any suit, for that matter. So I did what any smart college senior would have done: Drove to Goodwill and bought one for seven dollars.

Later that day, with a stack of resumes in my hand, I headed toward the auditorium.

And as I walked across the threshold, amidst a sea of stale, corporate exhibits, piles of free notepads and hundreds of fellow students hopping from booth to booth trying to prove themselves to people they didn’t even like, one question entered my mind:

“What the hell am I doing here?”So I went home and finished my book.

Nine months later, I published it. And nine years later, I published twelve more.

Fleetwood Mac was right: When you open up, everything’s waiting for you.

That’s the beauty of going your own way. And if you’re even teetering with the idea of doing so, you might want to consider a few of these ideas first:

1. Accept the uncertainty of the journey. Personally, I love not knowing. It inspires the hell out of me. In fact, I think intelligence can be impediment. Because if you think about it: If you knew what you know now, you probably never would have started.

Instead, try this mantra: “Don’t be stopped by not knowing how.” That’s what I live my life by. After all, life is boring when you know all the answers. And sometimes what you know limits what you can imagine. In my experience going my own way, you have to leave room for the unexpected. To attend to life wherever it moves. And to get lost regularly and excitedly.

Otherwise you end up giving up on the moment before the miracle shows up.

Look: Hugging uncertainty is an act that entails commitment of the heart. And it will take all of you. But without it, your addiction to knowing how will make the journey a lot rockier.

Remember: Uncertainty is an exhilarating dance. Take its hand and spin it for the world to see. Have you accepted fear as an inevitable part of the equation?

2. Grow smaller ears. A few thousand years ago, stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “If you go your own way, prepare for reactions.” He was right: Whatever you commit to, there will always people waiting for you to fail.

Maybe because they envy your path.
Maybe because they feel disenfranchised by your success.
Maybe because they see you living your truth and it pisses them off because they’re not living their own.

But the reality is: If people can’t respect you for going your own way, their respect isn’t worth having in the first place.

Take Hugh Macleod’s suggestion: Ignore everybody.

Don’t be oppressed by those who try to silence your individuality. Don’t be destroyed in response to someone’s invitation to stop living. And don’t be limited by the thoughts that other have set in motion for you.

Give up your obsessive need for approval from anyone other than yourself. Learn to believe in the availability of your own answers. Do you have the courage to follow your inner guide even if you look like an idiot and risk alienating those who don’t understand?

3. Find adequate moral support. The hardest part about going your own way is going it alone. Sure, it’s great for productivity – but where’s the fun in celebrating your victories when nobody’s around to watch you blow out the candles?

I’m all for doing the work to please yourself – but I’m also tired of being lonely.

And that’s where your support system comes in handy: You need people who will be whatever gets you through. People who will gladly sit with you in companionable silence. And people who will enthusiastically carry you to the other side of the wall.

The secret is: You can’t force it. When the loneliness creeps in like a mist, sporadically calling everyone you know to compensate for the anxiety is like eating a huge bag of Twizzlers, then crashing three hours later.

My suggestion: Instead of digging your well when you’re thirsty, set up your life up in a way that the water is always flowing. And like a human oasis, it will be there when you need it. Then, just remember to live your life as a thank you in perpetuity to the people who reside there. Because if you forget who helped you on the way up, it’s going to be a lonely fall on the way down. Who’s got your back?

4. Calculate your own currency. Every endeavor needs cash to thrive. Even charities. Make no mistake: Non-profit is a tax code, not a goal. However, while profit is a healthy form of applause, money isn’t the only thing that matters. Your challenge is to figure out what your currency is.

Here’s a counterintuitive way of doing so: Honestly admit what has never been part of the equation for you.

As an author, for example, people frequently ask me how many books I’ve sold. And I have no idea. Nor do I care. Number of copies sold isn’t currency that’s important to me. The cool part is, by owning that, I’ve learned what is important to me: Contribution, legacy and reader engagement. And I have a boatload of that.

Decide what you want via the process of elimination. It’s less threatening and intimidating. Otherwise you’ll be so focused on making money that you’ll forget to make a difference. What’s your personal definition of wealth?

5. Getting stopped in your tracks helps you own the path. If you think taking the first step is hard, wait until you encounter your first obstacle. Yikes. Resistance will knock you on your ass so hard your teeth will hurt. Then again, just imagine the resilience you’re developing. We should all be so lucky.

Besides, as long as you view your obstacles as inconvenient – not insurmountable – you’ll make it out alive. As my friend Rusty reminds me, “Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an experience.”

The key is to stop battling the resistance and start befriending it. Identify what lesson life is trying to teach you by asking the following question, “How can I use this situation as an opportunity to learn something about myself and change for the better?”

Remember: If there’s no resistance, you’re doing something wrong. Accept the obstacles as part of the path and answer the invitation to evolve. Are you willing to greet the resistance with a welcoming heart?

6. Put yourself in the way of success. Opportunity never stops knocking – you just stop listening. Or, you do hear the knocks, but because opportunity comes disguised as hints, whispers, clues, mistakes and discomforts, you choose to ignore them. If you want to turn embers of possibility into blazes of reality, you’ve got to take the initiative path.

In the book Poke the Box, Seth Godin calls this instigation capital, or the desire to move forward combined with the ability and guts to say yes.

“Many people and organizations have money, networking abilities, smarts, tools and a great reputation. But the key ingredient they are lacking to make it successful is the ability to move forward. And the market responds to the power that comes with this kind of capital.”

My suggestion: Stop waiting for permission. Stop waiting until you’re ready. And stop waiting until you know what you’re doing. Say yes to everything. Keep the field of activity open. Possibility hinges on the lever of proactivity. Are you lingering on the balcony instead of dancing on the floor?

HERE’S THE REALITY: Going your own way can feel like digging your way to hell with a plastic fork.

But it sure beats going to the career fair.

Instead of one-size fits all, try my-size fits me.

Everything’s waiting for you.

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, 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

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How to Elevate Your Employabilty, Part 3

Approachability is about increasing the probability.

Of getting noticed.
Of getting remembered.
Of getting what matters most.

And for millions of people right now, that means getting and keeping a job.

According to this month’s report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has reached a staggering level of nine and half percent.

Yikes.

Fortunately, there is way to increase the probability of employment.

No, I’m not talking about bringing a handgun to your interview.

That doesn’t work. Just ask my ex-girlfriend.

The real secret is to make yourself more employable.My name is Scott, and I’ve never had a real job.

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

But I have dedicated every waking hour of the past decade to experimenting, experiencing and educating on approachability.

And if you do it right, approachability converts into employability.

Tired of watching Law & Order reruns all day? Here’s part three (read part one here and part two here!) of a collection of employability skills to help you increase the probability of getting – and keeping – a job:

1. Grit trumps work. In a recent article in FastCompany, Dan & Chip Heath reveled that grit – that is, endurance in pursuit of long-term goals and an ability to persist in the face of adversity – is a key part of what makes people successful. The secret is to bolster grit by creating unacceptable consequences of failing.

When I first started my publishing company, I was living in my parents’ basement. Not exactly ideal conditions for building an enterprise. Ever tried to book a speech with your mom yelling downstairs to find out if you want asparagus with your salmon?

Two words: Dial tone.

But, that frustration grew into the source of my grit. And the motivation to persist became clear: Get the hell out of the basement. Only took two years, eight months and twenty-nine days. Where will your motivation come from?

Don’t abandon yourself during trying times. Adversity is exercise, obstacles are aphrodisiacs and suffering is sandpaper. Besides, I bet not every part of you has given up yet. Are you constantly formulating escape plans, or tunneling your way out one spoonful at a time?

2. Focus trumps knowledge. Any idiot can be smart. Employability is a function of your ability to focus your face off. That’s what companies want: People who know when to stop brainstorming and start executing. You don’t need another idea – you need an “I did.” In order to strain the impurities out of your life and free yourself to execute what matters most, two factors must be considered.

First, focus comes from deleting internal noise and discarding irrelevant work. Which isn’t about time management, getting things done or streamlining the quality of your process so you can maximize the efficiency of strategic productivity. It’s about creating a filter for your work. Do you have one?

Second, focus comes from the emotional environment of your workspace. And your challenge is to let people know – specifically – how you preferred to be praised. Because when you can count on the emotional release of consistent public recognition, focus will become a non-thought. What internal and external factors keep you from keeping focused?

3. Action trumps acquiescence. Demonstrating that you’re actively engaged in helping the organization succeed is a surefire way to retain employability. And while it’s not smart to develop a reputation for challenging everything, it is possible to rock the boat without sinking the ship. Here’s two ways to do so:

First, disagree openly. Good naturedly test the limits without alienating the people who matter. Use the phrase “I respectfully disagree” as a vocal hanger to command attention and prime people’s brains for your argument.

Second, be more challenging. Instead of nodding with unexamined enthusiasm, gently poke people’s assumptions in a way that encourages them to rethink their own solutions. Challenge unspecified attribution with phrases like “According to whom?” and “What evidence do you have to support that?”

Remember: Just because you have the right to remain silent doesn’t mean you should invoke it. When was the last time you took the risk to stand up and speak out for something you were passionate about?

4. Story trumps statistics. Numbers lie. And they can be manipulated to prove pretty much anything. On the other hand, if you position yourself as a compelling storyteller, it will be impossible to disagree with you. What’s more: Stories aren’t just remembered – they’re retold. And success in any organization is measured by the number of positive stories that are circulating about you.

But here’s the secret most experts won’t tell you: It’s not enough to tell the story – you have to stick the landing. Here’s how:

First, extract the universal human experience from the story so every listener can relate to it. Second, tell people what you learned from the story and how that lesson can make their lives better today. And third, drive home the actionability of the story by giving people simple instructions that make them think, “I believe this, I can do this and I’m willing to try this.”

All the statistics in the world won’t be able to contain your employability. Are you known as an employee who depends on numbers or commands with story?

5. Attitude trumps age. If you’re a newbie, here’s how to be taken seriously when you’re the youngest person in the room: First, stop taking yourself so seriously. Be strong enough to be simultaneously self-effacing and self-confident.

Second, identify opportunities for bold contrast. Develop your ability to deliver powerful perspective wrapped in a concise package, to the right people, at the right time.

Third, replace bitching with evidence. When you have a problem, complaint or issue, calmly present your issue to the powers that be in a quantitative, organized, legitimate and nuts and bolts fashion.

If you’re a veteran, try this: First, learn the new tricks that matter. Even if you’re an old dog, if there’s a new trick that counts – you still have to learn it. It has nothing to do with old age and everything to do with old thinking.

Second, don’t just get over yourself – stay over yourself. When you share a success story, use someone younger as an example. When share tell a mistake moment, use yourself as an example.

Finally, stop trying to manufacture commonality. Treat people as individuals to be cared for, not as labels to be related to. Are you leading with the rings around your trunk or the flavor inside your fruit?

REMEMBER: You can’t make anybody hire you.

What you can do is increase the probability of getting a job by making yourself more employable.

And you won’t even need a handgun.

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

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

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Win a Copy of The Nametag Guy’s Ebook When You Buy Social Boom!

To celebrate the release of Jeffrey Gitomer’s new book, Social Boom, he’s asked me to offer a special gift to those who buy today.

I write books and give talks on approachability.

And, since Gitomer’s book is all about online platforms, I’ve written an ebook on taking approachability online. The ebook you’ll win (along with tons of other awesome extras) is called:

E-pproachable: Strategies for Making Your Online Presence More Human, More Engaging and More Profitable

Buy Jeffrey’s book here!

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

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

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Art of Making People Feel Seen

In the movie Avatar, natives on Pandora greet each other with three words:

“I see you.”

That was my favorite part of the movie. Kind of made me wish human beings were more like the Na’vi people.

HERE’S WHY: This phrase was more than a simple greeting – it was an acknowledgment.

It’s a form of namaste that means: I love you, I honor you and I understand who you are.

That’s how you make people feel seen.

Not just noticed.
Not just looked at.
Not just listened to.

Seen.

And while you can’t bastardize the art of making people feel seen into a technique, here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you engage with the people who matter most: 1. Greeting is the engine of seen. My parents were high school sweethearts. They’ve been together more than forty years. And when I asked them to share their recipe for a successful, enduring partnership, here’s what they advised:

“We never got lazy with each other.”

Too bad more couples don’t practice that. After all: Relationships work when you work at them. Otherwise they degrade into predictable, boring, complacent stalemates. And that’s when people start to feel invisible.

One test is to pay attention to the length of time you devote to greeting people. How long do you hold eye contact? Handshakes? Hugs? Kisses? Because there is an inverse relationship between the length of your greeting and the level at which people feel seen.

For example: When my girlfriend and I greet each other, our unofficial ritual is that we always embrace for a minimum of ten seconds. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, that moment is for us.

And it’s not like we’re kissing with one eye on the clock. She doesn’t slap me if I pull back after nine seconds. The point is to stay present. To honor and celebrate the relationship. And to never, ever get lazy with each other. When your significant other came home from work yesterday, how long did you kiss each other?

2. Honor the unique person, not just the assigned role. The biggest complaint about large hospitals is their insistence on formality. Instead of connecting personally and communicating directly, doctors reduce patients to the anonymity of a horizontal figure between the white sheets. And all that does is underestimate their hearts.

The secret is to give feedback and support for the things that make people unique. Instead of giving a dull, blank stare – plunge yourself insatiably into the uniqueness of the other person. This honors who they are, not just the role they fulfill.

Also, take the time to do what you could have easily blown it off. Even if it seems mundane. Even if it would have been easier to delegate it to your assistant or send a surrogate. You’ll find that what’s pedestrian to you become priceless to them.

Remember: When you continually communicate visibility, you give people a gift. Are you turning a blind eye to the human experience?

3. The convenience of connectedness comes at a high price. When you divide your attention between the person in front of you and the people you’re giving snippets of your digital attention to, it’s disrespectful, annoying and makes people feel invisible.

Are you really that important? Or are you putting yourself at the beck and call of people you barely even know just to feel needed?

In the book Crazybusy, Dr. Edward Hallowell writes about this very topic. His research proves that each time you introduce a new object of attention into what you’re doing; you dilute your attention on any one object. “Multitasking is usually disrespectful to someone,” he says.

My suggestion: Put down your phone. Honor the audience of one. Listen with your eyes. And when you’re with people, really be with people. Instead of checking your email under the dinner table, make it clear that human beings are more important than technology. People will feel seen.

Remember: Just because you’re instantly connected to the masses doesn’t mean you’re intimately connected to the people who matter. What do people get when they get you?

4. The opposite of listening. Conversational narcissists drive me crazy. Probably because I used to be one. If you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain: If all you’re doing is thinking about what you’re going to say next, you’re not listening – you’re rehearsing. And that’s the polar opposite of making people feel seen.

My suggestion: Stop adding value. Stop anticipating what people are going to say next. Stop crafting the story you’re going to tell to demonstrate empathy. And stop plotting how you’re going steer the conversation into the direction of your personal agenda.

Instead, plaster yourself with patience. Say yes to silence. And practice otherliness by shifting the focus from you to the other person. Like a good yoga student, learn to stay in the posture until the teacher says change.

Otherwise you leave people wondering why they even bothered to talk to you in the first place. Are you losing track of conversations with key people because of inner conversations you’re having with your ego?

5. Stay fascinated with people. There’s nothing worse than attending a meeting where people treat you like you’re part of the wallpaper. Not the best way to make you rush back next month. As an approachable leader, part of your job is to keep an eye out for new people and guests who haven’t had a chance to contribute.

First, because still waters usually run deep. And they probably have cool input to offer. Secondly, just because they’re quiet doesn’t mean they hate the spotlight. They might just need a little push onto center stage.

To make them feel seen, ask them to share their experience. Give them permission to contribute to the group. Respond to their ideas with a foundation of affirmation. Then, go out of your way to thank them at the end of the meeting for sharing. This invites them to continually do so in the future, plus leaves them feeling impressed with themselves.

Remember: Making people feel seen isn’t about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people to life at the party. How many people did you go out of your way to ignore last week?

6. A small drop goes a long way. I’m not on social media as much as people think. Just enough to fulfill several key intentions. First, to publicly thank people who inspire my work. And I do so across all platforms on a daily basis. How are you paying homage to the voices that shape you?

Second, to hear what my readers are saying. Then, use my listening platform to turn feedback into inspiration. Are you using social media as a selling tool or a hearing aid? Third, to send personal, private and direct messages to people who follow my work. This combination of gratitude and engagement keeps me connected to the people who matter most. Does your autoresponder make people feel invisible?

The point is: This level of engagement doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time. It’s not like I’m tweeting every spare minute of my day like Gary Vee. Or spending family time glued to my smartphone. Or getting sucked into the digital vortex by responding to every magnet for my attention when I should be paying attention to the person across the dinner table.

Making people feel seen online is like epoxy glue – you don’t need much to make it stick. It’s simply a matter of bothering to bother. Are you taking time to show people they’re worth the effort?

REMEMBER: You look with your eyes, but seeing is something you do with the heart.

Don’t make people feel invisible.

Love them. Honor them. Acknowledge them.

And they will come back.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What do you see when you see people?

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

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A Young Artist’s Guide to Playing for Keeps, Part 7

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 and part six here.

1. Bring yourself into risk territory. In the book Wisdom, Robert Redford cautions, “Once you begin thinking about security, you begin to erode yourself as an artist and stop being able to take the risks you need to take.”

That’s the challenge: You have to be willing to step across the lines of safety and to accept the surprises of the outcome. Otherwise your work remains stale and uninspired. Nothing but a series of boring reproductions doomed to disappoint.

Personally, I find that it’s helpful to create a filter. A ritual that audits the level of risk in your creative endeavors. Two questions you might ask are: “What do I risk in releasing this work?” and “Who will this piss off?”

By doing so, you bring risk to the frontline of your artistic awareness. And the work you execute speaks with a daring voice that’s impossible to ignore. Your challenge is to customize your own practice. Whatever it takes to sustain your status as an agent of chaos.

Remember: Art without risk, isn’t. Do you dare your genius to walk the unknown path?

2. Ask for the sale. Artists aren’t typically the best salespeople. Most experience physical pain when they’re forced to assign monetary value to their intellectual and creative property.

But, as Jason Friend wrote in a recent article, “Never be afraid to put a price on something. If you pour your heart into something and make it great, sell it – for real money. Even if there are free options, even if the market is flooded with free, people will pay for things they love.”

The cool part is, charging for something makes you want to make it better, says Fried. Which means your product is going to improve by virtue of people paying for it. Which means over time, they’re going to pay more for it.

Here’s my suggestion: Never apologize for your pricing.

You deserve to be compensated commensurate with your value. State your feel confidently and shut up. Because he who speaks next, loses. You just have to believe that people love to pay for what they love – your work. Are you asking them to open their wallets?

3. Commitment trumps discipline. Here’s the biggest misconception about me: I’m not really that disciplined – I’m just obsessively focused on what’s really important. Turns out, when you actively cultivate the purpose driven nature of your work, discipline becomes a non-thought.

That’s how commitment works: It deletes distraction. It makes you wake up early. It turns habits into non-negotiables. And when you’re committed, you drop everything and get to work. Every day.

That’s the reality about being an artist: The work is always an outgrowth of who you are. Your deepest values. Your personal constitution. And if there isn’t a shade of significance in the work, it will never get done.

Remember: Discipline derives from the wellspring of why. If you truly want to play for keeps, you have to play every day. And the game has to be meaningful to you. Otherwise, you lose. What will your commitments enable you to do?

4. It’s not about doing more – it’s about doing different. If you’re stuck seeing your life from the same angle, not only will your art suffer – your soul will suffer too. And until you explore the possibility of living differently in some way, both will continue to do so.

The bad news is: I don’t have a collection simplistic tactics for temporarily boosting creativity like taking different route to work or wearing mismatched socks.

What I’m suggesting is dramatic personal displacement. Bringing yourself to a place that’s so uncomfortable, you have no choice but to be creative in every area of your life.

After all: You didn’t come here to do what has already been done. It’s time to accept the risks of committing to a new path and take your chance in the struggle. In the book Life Change Artists, Fred Mandell sums it up well:

“We overestimate the magnitude of risk we take in changing our lives, and underestimate our personal ability to successfully navigate such a change.”

Look: There’s always another door to open, and there’s always an adventure attached to it. You just have to jump. And you have to believe that you’ll be fine. When was the last time you stepped back from the canvas of your life and flipped your routine on its ass?

5. Finishing is for beginners. Real art never finishes. And even though your head will make sure your heart never gets that memo, you’ve got to press on anyway. Even if nobody notices the work you’re putting out. I learned this lesson from Robert Henri, who said:

“All any man can hope to do is to add his fragment to the whole. No man can be final, but he can record his progress.”

That’s the secret to longevity in the art world: Hunkering down with your work – every single day – and accepting that not everything you make will feel like a masterpiece. Instead, get good at starting. Stay focused on contributing to your ongoing body of work, not just a single song.

After all: Good artists are masters of promiscuity – not perfection. Their legacy is the result of volume – not accuracy. And if you can wake to the canvas of a fresh day with such purity of intent, you will win. Are you closing the book or showing the world that there are still more pages possible?

6. The greatest gift you can give is your experience. Art is the fundamental expression of who you are. It’s the autobiography of your deepest thoughts and unique collection of universal human emotions you bring to the table. As Tolstoy advised, “Write only with your pen dipped in your own blood.”

For that reason, my definition of art making has always been: “Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.” That’s where your best work is born. The good news is: It has less to do with skill and talent and more do with will and honesty.

The bad new is: It’s a risk, it hurts and it’s going to take all of you. But it’s absolutely worth it. If you want to play for keeps, go there. Commit to self-disclosure. Ask penetrating questions with your work. And make some risky art.

Remember: The more personal and intimate you are willing to be, the more universal your work become. Where are you willing to take people with you work?

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?

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For the list called, “14 Things You Don’t Have to Do Anymore,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Elevate Your Employability, Part 2

Approachability is about increasing the probability.

Of getting noticed.
Of getting remembered.
Of getting what matters most.

And for millions of people right now, that means getting and keeping a job.

According to this month’s report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has reached a staggering level of nine and half percent.

Yikes.

Fortunately, there is way to increase the probability of employment.

No, I’m not talking about bringing a handgun to your interview.

That doesn’t work. Just ask my ex-girlfriend.

The real secret is to make yourself more employable.My name is Scott, and I’ve never had a real job.

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

But I have dedicated every waking hour of the past decade to experimenting, experiencing and educating on approachability.

And if you do it right, approachability converts into employability.

Tired of watching Law & Order reruns all day? Here’s part two (read part one here!) of a collection of employability skills to help you increase the probability of getting – and keeping – a job:

1. Assertive trumps aggressive. Assertion is based on respect for yourself without justifying, claiming or withholding. It’s about becoming a public spokesperson for your values. It’s about engaging your backbone to solidify your boundaries. And it’s about being proactive instead of lapsing into passivity.

If you want to rock the boat without sinking the ship, try this: Don’t accept passively what is happening as the only way. Good naturedly test the limits. Become known as someone who takes action quickly, but without tramping people along the way.

Remember: Companies keep people who initiate. People who can travel without a map. After all: If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you. What is the cost of nonassertiveness?

2. Intellect trumps smarts. Any idiot can be smart. Real job security comes from being an intellectual. Here’s the difference: Smart people have all the answers; intellectuals ask all the questions. Smart people study content for the purposes of memorization; intellectuals entertain ideas for the purpose of democratization.

And smart people accumulate facts; intellectuals explore ideas, extract universal truths from their experiences – then use those lessons to make other people better.

That’s the kind of person companies want to hire: Someone whose mind can plug itself a variety of workplace equations. Someone who can step back from the corporate canvas and say, “Wait a minute. Does anyone else smell that?”

Think of it this way: Companies, much like baseball teams, pay the most money to hire athletes – not shortstops. How many positions do you play?

3. Why trumps how. Anyone can learn how to do anything. But if they’re not in touch with why they’re doing it, the lack of vision will stain every part of the process. That’s what employers are looking for: People who are plastered with purpose. People who are the walking translation of their vision.

If you want to tap into the reservoir of whypower and pinpoint the deepest motivations behind what you do, try this exercise: Make a list of a hundred reasons why you do what you do. Keep a copy in your wallet. And on your next interview, pull it out and read it. I’m serious.

People won’t just pay attention – they’ll pay money.

The point is: You can teach a monkey how to email, but you can’t teach it why the message important. Will overrides skill. Demonstrate a deep enough purpose behind your work and you can invent the technique of your work. Are you at war with how when you need to be in love with why?

4. Commitment trumps talent. I’m not saying competence is overrated – I’m saying competence is commonplace. What differentiates you is your dedication. What keeps you around is your commitment.

Those are the people that companies retain and promote: The ones with a proven history consistent commitment. Period. Talent is so last century. Now it’s merely an assumption. A commodity. And if it’s the only thing you bring to the table, you will be ignored.

On the other hand, if you compound talent with commitment – and communicate to the people who matter most that you’re fully committed – they won’t just pay attention, they’ll pay dividends. All you need is a commitment device. Because if your commitment isn’t symbolized, memorialized and personified in a tangible way, you’re just winking in the dark. Which of your fears are diminishing your commitment?

5. Passion trumps leadership. To make yourself more employable, you don’t need a title on the outside – you need a burning fire on the inside. That’s the thing about employability: It doesn’t matter who you know, it matters whose life is better because they know you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a leader, it matters is how many people are warming their hands by your fire.

Here’s how to ignite the flame: The word “passion” comes from the Latin passio, which means, “to suffer.” Therefore, the two questions you have to ask yourself are: What would you suffer to do? What would cause you suffering if you did not do it?

That’s passion. And if you can uniquely infect people with that fire every time you interact with them, they won’t even care what title you hold. True power comes from personhood. When you walk into a room, how does it change?

REMEMBER: You can’t make anybody hire you.

What you can do is increase the probability of getting a job by making yourself more employable.

And you won’t even need a handgun.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How employable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “37 Things Not To Do This Year,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

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

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What Most Young Leaders Overlook, Part 2

Sometimes, it sucks being the youngest guy in room.

And by “sometimes,” I mean, “Every excruciating hour of your workday.”

Think about it:

Nobody takes you seriously. The world refuses to listen to your voice. And the people you work with are twice your age, have three times your knowledge and four times your experience.

What’s a kid to do?

Instead of going postal on your entire office with a semi-automatic machine gun (which isn’t as effective as it sounds) here’s part two (part one here) of strategies, practices and practical advice on making a name for yourself as a young professional:1. Crystallize your timeline of credibility. If people aren’t sure whether or not to trust you, they’ll ask one question: “What measurable success has this person achieved?” And if you don’t have an answer – on paper – you will be ignored.

Try this: Document your achievements. All of them. Because if you don’t write them down, they never happened. Ever. What’s more: Keeping a paper trail of past victories – no matter how inconsequential they might seem – reinforces that you’re an employee who produces results.

That’s evidence of promotability, baby. And you’ve got to showcase that value. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark.

Remember: You don’t need to screw the boss in the supply closet to move up. Consistency is enough to qualify you. Like I always say, “When you’ve written twelve books, people stop asking how old you are.” How will you send a credible signal?

2. Actively champion your own growth. When I first showed up at my professional association, I was the youngest person in the room. By fifteen years, minimum. But instead of slapping down my application for membership, my mentor suggested I take another approach: Show up, hang out, ask questions and shut up.

So I did. And it turns out, that was a much smarter investment of my time, money and energy. What’s more, veteran members appreciated it. They didn’t mind me eavesdropped on their thinking. And after a few years of doing that consistently, I became a board member, then later the chapter president.

Cool lesson: You don’t have to join to be a member. Never underestimate the advanceability of showing up, shutting up and listening louder than anybody in the room.

The only caveat is: You have to let people like you. Because if you put box around yourself and rob people of the chance to know the real you, it won’t matter how awesome you are. How are you counteracting generational stereotypes?

3. Victory trumps winning. Wayne Gretsky holds the world record for most goals scored. That’s an example of a win – because it makes him look good. Interestingly, Gretzky also holds the record for the most assists. That’s an example of a victory – because it makes his teammates look good. See the difference?

That’s what young professional need to remember: Making a name for yourself means helping others do the same. It’s about being a stand for other people’s greatness. Creating an atmosphere where they can shine.

My suggestion: Step back from center stage. Stop trying to be the life of the party and start bringing other people to life at the party. After all, it’s not who you know – it’s whose life is better because they know you. And that doesn’t mean stop winning; it means help others achieve victory just as often. You will become a voice worth listening to. How do people experience themselves in a relation to you?

REMEMBER: Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re useless.

As the youngest person in your office, you have an opportunity to bring new blood, fresh perspective and youthful energy to the workplace.

Be patient. Be proactive. Be pointed. And be a problem solver.

And maybe you won’t even need that semi-automatic machine gun after all.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you leveraging your youth?

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

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

NametagTV: Entrepreneur Questions That Matter 3

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9!

Or, watch the original video on NametagTV.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your question quota?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “7 Ways to Out Attract the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Sick of selling?
Tired of cold calling?
Bored with traditional prospecting approaches?

Buy Scott’s book and learn how to sell enable people to buy!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How to Sell Your Dream

Hugh Macleod said it best:

“People can say a lot about Americans: We’re idiots, uncultured, shallow and naïve. But what we do have that almost no other country has, is a pretty good monopoly on possibility.”

That what I love about this country: We’re all free to live our dreams.

Notice I didn’t say “The American Dream.”

That phrase is done. As George Carlin so aptly observed: “It’s called The American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

What matters is your dream. Your vision. Your possibility.

THE CHALLENGE IS: Having a dream is easy – selling that dream is the nightmare.

Fortunately, if you execute a few key practices, I promise that you won’t wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat:1. Go back to the future. When I first started my publishing company, my mentor asked me a question I’ll never forget: “If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?” Turns out, this is the critical question that every writer – and, for that matter, every leader – needs to ask. Here’s why:

First, it enables you to act as if the dream has already come true. Second, it helps you imagine what you need to become in order for the dream to manifest. Third, it empowers you to speak from the future, then look back to identify the steps that led there. Finally, it inspires you to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future that you can meaningful strides toward.

And the best part is: This question keeps you accountable to your dream as you sell it. Because all you have to do is make sure that what you’re doing every day is both giving people the tools they need to build that world, plus showing them how to use those tools correctly.

Remember: You can’t sell anyone on your dream if you haven’t sold it to yourself first. If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?

2. Enable the infection. Not with a fatal disease, of course. The word “infect” comes from the Latin inficere, which means, “to put in.” That’s what approachable leaders do: They infect their followers. And the question you have to ask yourself is: What are you putting into people?

Fire? Passion? Creativity? Excitement? Inspiration? Enthusiasm? Salmonella? What are you infecting them with?

In fact, it might not even matter. With the exception of most diseases, what you infect people isn’t as important as how you infect them. And in my experience, the best way to infect people is simple: Go out of your way to gush. Just like you do with your best friend after a memorable first date.

You know the drill: You call them up as soon as you get back to your car. Then, while your heart is still doing back flips, you yap their ears off for an hour about how great the girl is.

That’s gushing. Letting the infection cascade out of your pores like a waterfall until other people have no choice but to believe you. It has nothing to do with being sick. It’s about transferring emotion. Putting something into people. Influencing them with your energy, mood, mindset and overall state of being. Whom are you infecting?

3. Connect your dreams to their values. Enrolling your loved ones into your dream is not a tent revival moment of conversion – it’s a continual process of constitutional alignment. That’s the next secret to selling your dream: Helping people understand that your dream directly connects to three things.

First, with the person they are. Second, with the narrative they hold. And third, with the vision they maintain. Without that trifecta, when faced with the opportunity to buy into your dream, people will yawn, offer their best golf clap and mutter, “Meh, that’s nice.”

The thing is: You don’t want to be nice – you want to be necessary. Here’s the difference. Nice gets commended; necessary gets compensated. Nice leads to sticky; necessary leads to spreadable. Nice achieves mindshare; necessary captures heartshare. Nice is a helpful addition; necessary is a vital component. And nice is the vitamin that convinces you you’re getting better; while necessary is the aspirin that actually kills your pain.

Get the point? See the pattern? Align your dream with their reality. Otherwise, if people can’t see their own reflection in the finish of your wood, they’ll never buy your furniture. How are you create a message to resonate with what’s already there?

4. Inspire people to see the world as you do. In her book, The Story Factor, Annette Simmons reminds us that people don’t want more information – they want faith in you, your goals, your success and the story you tell. “That’s why people pick up where you left off: Because they believe.”

The hard part is getting them to drink the punch. For example, I recently launched brandtag, my series of customized, limited edition art pieces. It’s by far the riskiest thing I’ve ever shipped. But what most people don’t know about this project, however, is that it took fifteen months to execute. And not because I was procrastinating.

Rather, because I was documenting every single phase of the creative process – then, privately sharing it in a twenty-minute slide show presentation – with people who matter to me. Partly to obtain their feedback, but also to infect them with my vision of what the world would look like when these art pieces finally shipped.

And to my delight, when brandtag set sail, those people were already on board and willing to help me paddle.

Remember: If people can’t see the passion in your face, they won’t hear a word that comes out of your mouth. Will you do whatever it takes to get your dream into the hearts of the people who matter most?

5. Convince people that you’re doing something important. It’s not enough to help people dream the same dream as you – you also have to educate them on why they should sell it for you. The secret, writes Guy Kawasaki in Selling the Dream, is to enable as many people as possible to touch, feel and experience your cause. Literally.

If you have to physically run a live demo in public, do it. If you have to build a prototype that paints a detailed picture of the dream’s desired future, do it. And if you have to hire a camera crew to follow you around for a week so you can produce a sixty-second promo video to publish on your social platform, do it.

That’s how you go beyond radical honesty and enter into the territory of ridiculous transparency: By being gloriously explicit. By punching people in the face with your dream and making no qualms about how the world will be a better place once it comes to fruition. How are you making it easy for people to go with your flow?

6. Err on the side of embodiment. Jesus didn’t just tell stories – he was the story. That’s what enabled his dream to endure. That’s what made his dream eminently sellable to the masses. And that’s what inspired his followers to leap out of their sandals and paint the earth with his dream for the next two thousand years.

The cool part is: You don’t need to be a Christian to be a follower of Christ. We can all learn from his example, religious beliefs notwithstanding. My suggestion: Stop being a storyteller and start being a storyliver.

The proof is already there. All you have to do is figure out what questions you’ve been answering with your life since your dream started. Then, write them down. Next, support each question with at least three specific stories and experiences from your life. And finally, use that reservoir of embodiment as ammo to mount an evidence campaign. How much evidence will you need to take the people who matter lightyears beyond reasonable doubt?

REMEMBER: Selling your dream can be disheartening.

Especially when people don’t take you seriously, aren’t interested in your progress and only seem to notice the negativity of your endeavors.

But.

Everything depends on those who go on anyway.

Be one of those persisters. Seek your dream – not thee dream.

Resisting you will be futile.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Would you rather follow your heart and fall on your face, or swallow your voice and watch freedom escape?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

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

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Rent Scott’s Brain One-On-One

“What can I expect when I work with Scott one-on-one?”

Funny you should ask. Above is an overview of Scott’s Expectational Clarity Workflow.


What Clients Are Saying:

“I’ve been a supporter of the approach that mentoring should not be a paid activity as this has the potential to change the dynamics of the relationship and create a power imbalance. But I have to be honest and say that after Scott’s first mentoring response to me, 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

 “Working with Scott will make you think, not harder but differently than you would have ever been able to think without him. And different thinking always expands your options and your horizons and ultimately, your wallet! Involving him in your company, with your people and in your own professional growth is something you should only do when you are serious about attaining that elusive ‘next level.’ But when you are serious – call Scott.

–Dixie Gillaspie, www.dixiedynamitecoaching.com

Now that Scott got me thinking, I can’t stop. Wow. Didn’t see that coming today at all. I don’t think any of us could stop our brains after this morning. We all thought today’s brain rental was fantastic. None of us knew what to expect, but the outcomes and the thought process were pretty spectacular. A lot was stuff we already knew, but a good reinforcer and a fresh perspective that shifted priorities for us, along with a few surprises of course. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be doing this again. Awesome investment. But my brain will have to slow back down first. If we did it again tomorrow my head might explode.

–Wendy Gauntt, www.cioservicesllc.com

If you’d like to Rent Scott’s Brain for a one-on-one session, follow these steps:

1.  Send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com with “Brain Rental” in the subject line.

2.  In the body of your letter, summarize your three biggest business challenges in 75 words or less.

3.  If he thinks he CAN help, Scott will reply immediately with information about his fees and Brain Rental Sessions.

4.  If he thinks he CAN’T help, Scott will reply immediately with information about someone who can.

Cool?

—————————————————————-

More happy clients: 

“In the past year, Scott has done more to impact my professional career than anybody else on the planet!” –Dennis Smith, Senior Recruiting Manager, T-Mobile

“Thanks to Scott’s advice, my blog traffic quadrupled; and within a week I got six national media outlets to cover my story!”  –Eric Feng, Author of The FAQ Book

“If I had to pinpoint ONE exact moment that spurred the growth of my business, it would definitely be the amazing Brain Rental Session I had with Scott.  He helped me see through the clutter and ask insightful questions that made me step back and look at my business at a whole new angle!” –Derek Webber, President, goBRANDgo

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