The Answer to Every Question We Don’t Ask Is No

Entrepreneurs are notorious for having epiphanies.

Those moments of truth. Crucial crossroads. Irreversible explosions of momentum after which business is never the same again.

As a business owner, I’ve had dozens of epiphanies over the years, from creative droughts to financial meltdowns to media tipping points, all of which changed me forever.

A few years ago, I made a decision that, in hindsight, might have been the smartest sales move of my career:

I started asking everybody to buy everything, all the time.

Any chance I got, in person, en masse, online or off the cuff, I asked for the sale.

It was a bold move on my part, having never been a great closer, and having always battled my own psychological issues with money.

But the crazy thing is, when you ask people to buy, they do.

Not every time. Not all the time. Not even most of the time.

But enough of the time to make the effort worthwhile. Enough of the

– – – – 

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The Nametag Guy Live: Why Consistency Pays

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Scott Ginsberg


That Guy with the Nametag


Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


scott@hellomynameisscott.com



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Watch Scott Ginsberg’s Show & Tell Style Interview for Brandtag Strategic Planning Crusades!

Today I stopped by the station to talk about brandtags.

We focused on passion, making your organization more joinable and getting donors excited about your cause.

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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The Nametag Guy Live: Everybody is Somebody’s Somebody

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Scott Ginsberg


That Guy with the Nametag


Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


scott@hellomynameisscott.com



Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2012-2013.

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Commonality is the New Currency

The more divided our world gets, the more important sharing becomes.

Our currency is
commonality.

On the positive side, the more evidence of sharing we have,
the richer we become. The more collective touchpoints that unite us, the
happier we become. The more connections we have with like-minded souls, the more
normal we feel. And the more time we spend together, the more optimistic we
become.

On the negative side, the less time together we spend, the
more selfish we become. The less people we have to share our lives with, the
emptier our victories become. The less social capital we build, the less
support we have when the hard times hit. And the less we share our unique
experience with each other, the blinder we become.

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Isn’t it amazing what commonality changes?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

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Generosity Is Not A Technique

Among the fifty coffee shops in my neighborhood, Postmark Cafe is always slammed.

Not just because the location is ideal,
the wifi is free, the coffee is organic, the food is tasty, the staff is
friendly, the music is cool and the art is inspiring.

But because they donate one hundred
percent of their tips to charity.

                                           

Every month, they select a organization
that does meaningful work in the world, whether it’s donating livestock to poor
countries or building wells in drought prone areas of Africa. They write a
summary of that group’s mission on the chalkboard to inform customers exactly where
the money is going. And at the end of the month, they post the total amount donated
on the wall, then keep it on the wall until the next month.

                                                                                                      

Now, I’ve see a lot
of companies donate to charity. But there’s something special about the way
Postmark approaches their generosity.

First, they select a
new cause every month, which allows them to reach diverse organizations. Second,
they let their customers have a say in the causes they select, which gives them
ownership of the process. Third, they make their financial information public
and handwritten, which demonstrates accountability and transparency. And
lastly, their donations actually come from people’s pockets each month, not
just from the president writing a check at the end of the year and forgetting
about it until tax season.

That’s straight
class.

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What have you declined this week?

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* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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


Meet Scott’s client from Nestle Purina at www.brandtag.org!

A Young Artist’s Guide to Playing For Keeps, Part 18

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. I’m still there myself. I even wrote a book on it. But for now, here’s what I’ve learned lately: 

1. Bring life to what might be. We can curate, opinionate, calculate, commentate, evaluate and instigate until we’re blue in the face. But only when we round the work out, only when we actually create, physically bring life to something new, from scratch, from our hearts and for the entire world to see, can we have the greatest possible impact. Hugh
MacLeod is a hero of mine. He said that if all our songs are about
writing songs, we shouldn’t expect anyone to listen to them. He said the problem
with writing about creativity is that it’s usually more lucrative than actually
being creative. Guilty. As someone who’s written and
spoken extensively on artistic topics like brain candy, playing for keeps and
writing is basis of all wealth, Hugh’s message is a timely reminder to keep the
ratio down with my own work. I remember that my primary responsibility as an
artist is to actually make good, interesting stuff. Is your creation
subordinate to anything?
 

2. Pick your punctuation wisely. The
problem with everybody having a voice is, nobody remembers how to be a good
audience anymore. When we walk into a room, enter into a conversation, tune
into a program, sit down with a book or log in to an online community, most of
us are looking to validate our views, not welcome something new. This posture
hurts us. It suffocates our curiosity, limits our learning and lowers our
receptivity to new ideas that might be better than the ones we’ve already
convinced ourselves are the truth. Personally, I want to be disturbed. I want
to be provoked. I want to be called on my shit. I want to be confronted by
something so contrary to my train of thought, so far outside of my comfort
zone, that I have no choice but to be changed forever. After all, that’s why we
deploy our voice the first place: To move people. Seems to me, if we plan on
taking the stage, taking the page or taking the airwaves, then being a good
audience member is the other half of the job description. Otherwise we’re just
a world of exclamation points. What punctuation
are you?
 

3. Bad isn’t good, bad breeds good. My
parents always said that I was an unplanned pregnancy. That used to bother me,
until I learned that many of the world’s most important inventions were
accidents. Chocolate
cookies, rubber tires, hot tea, pacemakers, waffle cones, paper towels, maple
syrup, penicillin, soap bars, stainless steel, all accidents. Purpose, schmurpose.
Besides, who are we to judge if an idea is good? That’s not our job. As
artists, our job is to notice. As artists, our job is to render our unique
experience. As artists, our job is to treat everything we discover with deep
democracy. Only time will tell if it’s any good. Millions of people thought
Christianity was a bad idea – but they still wrote it down. Later, over the
course of hundreds and thousands of years, that idea went on to change the
world forever. How many bad ideas did you
have last week?
 

4. Geographic displacement fuels
creativity.
Sometimes size really does matter.
About a year ago, we began a conversation about relocating. It was a massive
shock, but to my delight, the mere idea of moving to a big city gave me
permission to think bigger. Even before we physically relocated, my creativity
had already left town. Ever since then, I’ve been chasing down ideas that the old
version of my brain never would have given the time of day to. Tackling
unfamiliar genres, writing with different voices, embracing new technologies,
taking more performance risks, adopting opposite routines, even resurrecting
adolescent whimsies that my adult brain had long since forgotten, all of these
things were made possible by thinking big. Kind of makes me wish I’d started
sooner. Do you need to get out of town? 

5. Firing blanks is healthy. It happens to
all of us. We hit the wall. We reach the end of our creative rope. We realize
that running on fumes can no longer get us anywhere. And we start firing
blanks. Discharging wildly into the darkness, scaring inspiration into hiding
and soaring past point of diminishing returns. It’s a seductive release. It
might even feel productive. But we all know the logical solution is to stop the
work entirely. Because staring harder
isn’t going to help.
So we walk away. We go see a movie, hit the gym or
rock out to some live music until our ears are ringing. We go perpendicular.
And we completely empty our minds of anything work related. That’s the path for
coming back fresh. It’s how we return to the work with renewed strength and a
sense of perspective. Without it, there’s never a chance reload the creative
chamber. Have you struck out lately? 

6. Easy does
it.
It’s hard not to be hard on ourselves. We get frustrated for only
writing a bit, even though it’s not as much as we’d like. But we have to put it
in perspective: A bit is better than a
blank page.
A bit is better than procrastinating. Or planning all day. Or
talking our ideas into the ground instead of taking creative action. A bit is
better than running away from the canvas, terrified of what we might learn
about ourselves if we actually sat down and did the work. In fact, a bit might
be the most we can bring right now. And
we have to learn to be okay with that.
Besides, a bit at a time leads to a
bunch over time, which builds a body of work in time, which leaves a legacy
when we eventually run out of time. Are
you taking it easy?
 

7. Execution is the measure of man. If we
never ship anything, it doesn’t matter how talented we are. We may as well be
winking in the dark. As creators, our primary task is to create. But a close
second is to circulate. To share as much as we can, with as many people as we
can, as often as we can. That’s why we got ourselves into this whole mess in
the first place – to be heard. Steve Wozniak, someone who was constitutionally
disinclined to share, still had a mandate to circulate. He knew he had to ship
or risk fading into obscurity. Fortunately, his pal Steve Jobs came along to
nudge the sharing process. And they shipped one of our world’s most important
innovations. We can never let the fear of failure trump our desire to express. What are you afraid to ship?

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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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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


Meet Scott’s client from Nestle Purina at www.brandtag.org!

What We Can Do Instead

Instead of wallowing in the pride of our finished work, let’s whirl in the production of our next one.

Instead of worrying that people will leave, let’s do
something to remind them how much we love them.

Instead of trying to resolve our tension, let’s learn to
respect it as a regular part of the life experience.

Instead of telling customers that their call is important to
us, let’s answer the phone sooner.

Instead of answering every question, let’s learn to live
inside the questions until the answers come out of hiding.

Instead of preaching a sermon, let’s live our lives in a way
that demonstrates what we believe.

Instead of expecting people to read our minds, let’s be
disarmingly clear with our intentions.

Instead of yelling at people with a voice that’s annoying,
let’s earn the right to whisper to them with a voice that’s anticipated.

Instead of worrying about what people think about our idea,
let’s worry if our idea is as great as it could be.

Instead of wondering what the hell is the matter with us,
let’s ask what we might be learning in the process.

Instead of trying to change people’s minds, let’s offer
tools to help them change their minds on their own.

Instead of making people look stupid, let’s show them how
they make themselves look stupid.

Instead of outrunning our truth, let’s sit closer to the
things we’re trying to move away from.

Instead of occasional expressions of good intentions, let’s
practice consistent exertions of good actions.

Instead of focusing on
how little we know about something, let’s turn inward and focus on how important
it is to do that something.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…

What have you declined this week?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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The Power of Selective Indifference

The greatest advantage is to not give a shit.

To reach a point where you let go of attachment to goals, zero
out any expectations and drop the need for approval and permission.

In his later years, George Carlin touted
the importance of not giving a shit. He attributed much of his success as a
writer and performer to this very concept, saying that when we act from
that posture, good things start to come to us.

I call it selective indifference. The willingness to have no stake in any set outcome creates a unique brand of
freedom unavailable anywhere else. When we expect nothing, failure is
impossible.

The secret is, selective indifference isn’t
about being too cool to care.

It’s about being discerning enough not to
dwell.

Refusing to push out our creativity to
make room for all the backwards, soul killing mental traps that keep us from
bringing new life to what might be.

And this is especially relevant in the
sales world. Because the easiest sale to make is the one you don’t need. When
you walk into a room with no attachment to outcomes, you’re ten times more
buyable.

Now that’s something worth giving a
shit about.

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How could you practice selective indifference?

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For the list called, “123 Questions Every Marketer Must Ask” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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

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


Meet Scott’s client from Nestle Purina at www.brandtag.org!

The Nametag Guy Live: Who Do You Belong To?

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Who do you belong to?

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For the list called, “21 Things I Learned While Spying on Myself,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg


That Guy with the Nametag


Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting


scott@hellomynameisscott.com



Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2012-2013.

Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

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