6 Ways to Bow to the Door of Next

The most important word in your entrepreneurial vocabulary is “next.”

Next fortifies action.
Next symbolizes progress.

Next is the BFF of your business.

Next means complacency prevention.
Next means continuous improvement.

Next is the monetizer of momentum.

Next is the fervent architect of creative reinvention.
Next is the critical trigger of entrepreneurial advancement.

Next is the rocket fuel of your career.

Next derives from the German term, nahisto, which means, “Neighbor.”
Next derives from the Old English term, niehsta, which means “Nearest.”

Next is the playmate of your professional life.

THEREFORE: Don’t just use the word next – bow to the door of next.

Bow meaning honor.
Bow meaning respect.
Bow meaning recognize.

Knowing that without incremental progress, there is no incidental profit.

Today we’re going explore six ways to honor, cultivate and leverage next as an invaluable attitude of entrepreneurial excellence.

1. How do you talk to yourself when you fail? Imagine you just screwed up. Ate the big one. Totally bombed. Pulled a Homer. Instead of whining, “I suck!” start affirming, “Nextime…” First, this helps you let go of the past and focus on the future. You can’t debate what was.

Second, maintaining a nextime attitude forces you to begin thinking about what you’ll do differently. Sure beats becoming paralyzed by your own mistakes and a prisoner of yesterday’s errors.

Third, nextime is about (not) overreacting emotionally or being too hard on yourself. Rather, navigating the entrepreneurial waters calmly, objectively and unapologetically. Are you willing to increase your dosage of vitamin nextime?

2. What’s next? My readers and audience members frequently ask me, “Hey Scott, which of your books is your favorite?” And after eight years, the answer has always been the same: “My next one.” I challenge you to embrace that same attitude of “What’s next?” in your work.

First, on a micro level. That is, in terms of productivity. Ask yourself this question throughout the day to resurrect declining momentum. Secondly, on a macro level. That is, in terms of projectivity. Ask yourself this question throughout your creative process to ensure consistent execution. What is your legacy of taking action?

3. What will you do differently next time? Kaizen is the Japanese term for continuous improvement. That’s exactly what this question is all about: Honoring your current performance, yet challenging yourself to envision an enhanced future.

In my first five years as a professional speaker, I employed this philosophy as a post-speech ritual. Once my presentation was over, I’d take fifteen minutes to write a stream of consciousness list. Every thought, every feeling and every evaluation of my performance, I wrote down. What worked? What didn’t work? What killed? What bombed?

Then, when I was done, I’d make a note at the bottom of the document that read, “In my next speech, what I plan to do differently is ____________.” This simple ritual grew into a profitable practice for continuous improvement of my performance as a speaker. How could you apply the same reflection process to your job performance?

4. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? If you want to kill two stones with one bird every time, all you have to do is consistently imagine what else can be made (or could come) from this. Therein lies the key to leverage: Looking at something you’ve created and then playing with its potential.

This process is called Movement Value. You identify concepts that allow you to “breed” other ideas from those concepts. You expand, grow, cook, stretch and shift your idea, allowing it to spawn creative offspring. You look for spin-offs and related ideas. You go forth and multiply. You also exercise enough restraint to recognize LACK of potential.

If an idea doesn’t have much (or any) movement value, you need to save it, file it and move onto something else. Is this idea a springboard or a straightjacket?

5. If everything you’ve done up until now is just the beginning, what’s next? Past is prologue. Past brought you here. Past made you who you are. When you start to align your thinking with this truth, a new world of possibilities opens up.

Your challenge is to extend gratitude for – and embrace the value of – everything you’ve already accomplished. At the same time, don’t overvalue prior successes. Arrogance of the past will come back to bite you in the ass. As John Mayer explained during a 2009 interview with Esquire:

“To evolve, you have to dismantle. And that means accepting the idea that nothing you created in the past matters anymore other than it brought you here. You pick up your new marching orders and get to work.” Will you view the past as a crutch or a fulcrum?

6. What are the three next steps you can take on your own? This is an expanded version of David Allen’s famous question from Getting Things Done, “What’s the next action?” The secret is twofold. First, by assigning a number to it (three), you set a quota of accomplishment.

This forces you to stretch your thinking. Secondly, by specifying the person taking action (you), progress becomes a brighter possibility because you take personal responsibility. Are you using specific, ownership-taking language?

REMEMBER: The answer to “When?” is “Next!”

It’s the most important word in your entrepreneurial vocabulary.

What is your legacy of taking action?

For the list called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

7 (Not So) Harsh Realities of Entrepreneurship

1. Actions are antidotes. Mainly, to the fears you think are real. Which aren’t. Because they’re fears. And fears are only as real as your fear of them. Like the schoolyard bully whose sole source of power is your fear of him, most fears melt into a puddle of goo when you stand up to them.

That’s the action part. And it’s contrary to FDR’s philosophy that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I disagree. I think the only thing we have to fear is the fear OF fear itself. Nothing a few courageous steps of action can’t fix. If this action drains your energy and ability to change, what would cause the opposite?

2. Bodies are barometers. They speak the language of Truth. They tell you what your mouth is afraid to say, what your ears don’t want to hear and what your brain is too chickenshit to admit. Your mission is to listen louder. Much louder. And to treat everything you hear as legitimate, quantitative data.

Look: This isn’t like flying coach when you stick your ear buds in and tune out the safety demonstration you’ve heard a thousand times. This is your health. And your business will thank you for prioritizing it over everything else. What is your body saying about your pace?

3. Boundaries are saviors. If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them. And then they will tell all their little friends that it’s OK to violate them. All because you failed to set a precedent of value by putting a stake in the ground.

Your challenge: This week, don’t let yourself back down from another boundary defining moment. Give yourself permission to say no to the good so you can make space for the best. What would it cost you NOT to stick up for your boundaries here?

4. Brands are accelerators. On the customer side, they accelerate the decision making process and the sales cycle. On your side, they accelerate profitability and company growth. But here’s what’s scary: For too long, too many businesspeople have barely skated by with ZERO branding.

And while it may have worked for a few decades, eventually, brandless businesses become broke businesses. You can’t afford not to have one anymore. Be branded or be stranded. How much longer can you go without having an identity?

5. Clients are teachers. Let them participate in your brand. They will teach you how to sell to them. They will teach you how to serve them better. They will teach you what products to release next. They will teach you where to take your business. They will teach you what you’re doing wrong.

All you have to do – and this are the two steps most companies miss – is ask them, then listen. Loudly. What kind of feedback loops are you generating so your customers and employees can have a genuine conversation?

6. Interruptions are derailments. An article in The New York Times recently reported that the average employee is interrupted every eleven minutes. If you do the math, that’s forty-three interruptions over the course of an eight hour day.

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

No wonder productivity is in the toilet. Thank God I’m self-employed. What I’d be interested to know is how many of those interruptions were self-inflicted, and how many were legitimate time stoppers. Because you always have a choice. Remember: The best way to block a punch is to not be there. Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?

7. Maybes are lies. If you don’t say, “I will,” you won’t. If you don’t say, “I choose to,” you aren’t. That’s how powerful language is. My suggestion is to write the word “maybe” on a pad of sticky notes. Then draw a big fat “X” through each one. Then post them all around your office.

Soon enough, that word will be permanently deleted from your vocabulary. And that’s when your pattern of execution will begin to manifest. Your welcome. What are the components of your success vocabulary?

What (not so) harsh reality are you avoiding?

For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

10 Simple Secrets Smart Entrepreneurs Know — And Broke Entrepreneurs Ignore

1. Put your money where your foot is. Mouths don’t do anything but eat and talk. And occasionally drool. Feet, on the other hand, are profit centers. No wonder so many successful entrepreneurs have corns and calluses: It’s all about mileage.

It’s all about asking the question, “What’s the next action?” Remember: Your feet are your balance sheet’s best friend. Better engage your pedometer. Profitability comes from steppability. What massive action did you take today?

2. Honesty shouldn’t HAVE to be a policy. If you have to remind your people to tell the truth, you need new people. On the other hand, if your leaders cleave to truth and practice radical, rigorous honesty, your people will follow suit.

Truthfulness speaks volumes, begets trustworthiness and accelerates followership. Policies are for amateurs. Have you introduced a steady stream of truth serum into your leadership diet?

3. A man is known by the company he keeps AWAY from. Show me who you refuse to hang with, and I’ll show you who you are. That’s perhaps more indicative of your character. On a deeper level, also think about the people you refuse to listen to. Same thing.

It’s all about whom you let participate in your life. Because it’s too damn short to surround yourself with people who don’t challenge and inspire you. How much time are you spending with people who haven’t learned how to value you yet?

4. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not very creative. Everybody hates somebody. Personally, I could name ten people – right now – that I would just LOVE to watch take a bath in hydrochloric acid. But as much as dislike them, I could still say something good about every one o them. It’s all about making the choice to attend differently to people.

You have to ask yourself questions like: How could this person positively affect me? What makes this person special? What is the hidden treasure inside this person that maybe others don’t see? What character qualities do I admire in this person? What potential, ability and wisdom do I see in this person? What has this person accomplished that needs to be celebrated? Remember: There’s always something nice to say. What do you see when you see people?

5. It is what it is. Wrong. It ISN’T what it is. “It” is what you’ve chosen it to be. “It” is what you’ve given yourself permission to accept. “It” is what you’ve allowed to exist into your life. “It” is what you’ve assumed you’re stuck with.

Screw “it.” I loathe the word “it.” The word “it” is a personal responsibility dodger. It you don’t like “it,” change “it.” Is it (really) what it is?

6. Shtick gets your foot in the door, but only substance keeps you in the room. Shtick is necessary, but it’s not enough to sustain you. Customers demand substance. Meat. Value. Sustainability. They want a sweet candy shell AND gooey, delicious Tootsie center.

Sadly, too many entrepreneurs are all shtick and no substance. Like Dum-Dum pops: All sugar, no payoff. The secret is being remarkable (and) relevant, worthwhile, marketable and brand-consistent. Otherwise the milk from your Purple Cow will taste sour. What substance will keep you in the room?

7. Only the WRONG survive. Be incorrect more. Encourage aggressive mistakes. Go screw something up – then go learn from it. After all: The wronger you are, the stronger you become. But only if your wrongness of action is punctuated with rightness of reflection.

Remember: Mistakes are springboards. Mistakes build instincts. Mistakes precede truth. Mistakes reframe creativity. Mistakes reveal individuality. What do you have to learn from this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

8. Opposites attract, but that doesn’t mean they endure. Especially if there’s no commonality of constitution. No foundational harmony. No overlapping value systems. Because as much as we’d like to think life is like a Beatles song, love isn’t enough.

Love isn’t all you need. Not if you seek sustainability, that is. What are your 2010 relationship goals?

9. The best way to bring home the bacon is to raise your own pigs. That way, you’re the only shot caller. No permission. No committees. No compliance. No decision-making hierarchy. Just you. Wow. Can you imagine how much time, money, effort, energy and stress you could conserve by in-housing your next project?

Ask yourself: What if you bought your own equipment and made it yourself? What if you built everything proprietary and created your OWN studio? What if you never had to hire anyone ever again because you learned how to do it yourself? Just a thought.

After all: Having done it yourself makes you a more educated entrepreneur. Plus execution occurs faster. Maybe being a pig farmer isn’t as bad as it sounds. Maybe Thoreau was right when he said, “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” How much (more) money could you be earning working solo?

10. Your ship never comes in – only your dock gets bigger. Stop waiting for things to happen to you and start happening to things. Practice purposeful impatience and start taking action toward what you desire. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for perfection. And certainly don’t wait until you know what the hell you’re doing.

Just go. It’s only a matter of time before the captain says, “Welcome aboard!” Of course, none of this happens without an eagerly desirous, raring-to-go, restless expectation and dislike of anything that causes delay. That’s the construct of an impatient person.

Remember: Triple your impatience = Triple your proactivity = Triple your profits. What one step could you take now to start moving forward to your ideal future?

What epiphany will you have this week?

For the list called, “65 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Started My Company,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Have You Had these Seven Small Business Epiphanies Yet?

1. People are classrooms. They contain volumes. And as such, deserve to be treated with deep democracy. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you have the urge to “accidentally” push them out of the fourteenth story window of your office.

Go out of your way to experience everybody as your mentor. As Emerson reminds us, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.” As Ginsberg reminds us, “You don’t have to like them to learn from them.” How could you morph this person into a professor?

2. Problems are messages. The word “problem” derives from the Greek term, proballein, which means, “to throw forward.” Interesting. Sounds like the challenge is keeping your receptive capabilities open enough to see what the problem points to.

Three helpful questions to ask are: Is this particular problem part of a larger problem? What does this problem tell me about the larger picture? And what am I pretending not to know about my role in the problem? Understand: This problem is a message, and it’s your job to reply in a timely fashion.

Like a first date with a girl, you don’t want to keep it waiting. What if, overnight, a miracle occurred, and you woke up tomorrow morning and the problem was solved – what would be the first thing you would notice?

3. Questions are catapults. Lord of the Rings style. Launching your curious butt over the wall of uncertainty, plunging straight into the heart of understanding. And the cool part is: Once a question has been asked, it’s neurologically impossible for a human brain (not) to begin answering it.

This fact is especially powerful during a meeting, for those of you unfortunate enough to attend them regularly. Ultimately, people sitting around the table can pretend they didn’t just hear you. But their efforts are futile. A question asked is a brain toggled. And like a bell that can’t be unrung – once you send your question out there, there’s no turning back. Truth or bust. Where do you want to take people with your questions?

4. Rants are goldmines. In moments of unbridled emotion, unexpected anger and unimpeded passion, truth surfaces like a fart in a bubble bath. So, next time you feel a rant coming on, let ‘er rip. Try not to avert your ears. (Or your nose, for that matter.) Instead, spy on yourself as you rant.

And like the spontaneous bedtime story you continue to tell to your kids after they fall asleep just to see how it turns out, keep ranting. Then write everything down. Then organize your rants in an easily accessible way. You never know: You might say something good. Even better, you might say something bad. When was the last time went on a good rant?

5. Shortcuts are mirages. We just think they’re real because they’re everywhere. Stupid instant gratification culture. Like I tell my audience members: Learn to love and leverage the longcut. Shortcuts are stressful, expensive and time intensive. Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea.

Stop taking them just to impress yourself. Instead, learn the chords. Take the long cut. Work your face off. Develop bottomless patience. That’s where the true oasis awaits. Will this choice bring your long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?

6. Transitions are teachers. My friend Ria from My Mommy Manual recently reminded me that when you undergo periods of personal transformation, it’s crucial to examine the new and different types of things you attract into your life. People. Ideas. Situations. Thoughts. Attitudes. Experiences. Whatever shows up in your life is your fault. Outer represents inner. You are the result of yourself.

And the trick is twofold: (1) Practicing enough self-awareness to recognize that these new things are supposed to be teaching you; and (2) Maintaining a teachable, coachable attitude to convert those new things into lifelong lessons. If the current phase of your life were a how-to book, what would it be called?

7. Values are navigators. Maps and compasses are for sailors and boy scouts. As long as you have enough self-awareness to ask, “If I were me, what would I do in this situation?” you’ll get where you’re supposed to go. That’s how you chart your course. That’s how you traverse turbulent waters.

By knowing yourself SO well that you could memorialize your non-negotiable decision making patterns to the point of repeatability. Do that, and I promise you’ll discover land. What if you started wearing a bracelet that read, “WWID?”

What epiphany will you have this week?

For the list called, “23 Ways to Bring More of Yourself to Any Situation,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

11 Contrarian Comments that Will Make You Squirm in Your Seat and Probably Hate Me

1. Don’t go where the money is – going where the money is going. Think Gretzky: He always skated where the puck was going. 1,016 goals later, the entire world calls him – and ONLY him – The Great One. This is not coincidence. Just strategy. Anticipatory thinking. It’s predicting the future. Are you thinking ten years out?

2. Faith doesn’t move mountains – faith IS the mountain. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Ye of little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I imagine you’ve heard that passage before, so, here’s my interpretation: Faith moves mountains because when you stop believing that you are separate from the mountain, you become the mountain. Then all you have to do is move yourself. Unfortunately, nothing in the world harder to move. Dang it. If you had complete faith in the universe and in your future, what would you do?

3. Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll never email you again with another pointless, time wasting, boundary-violating, bloodsucking question that you don’t have the time or patience to answer for free. It’s all about putting a stake in the ground.

I addressed this issue extensively in How to Stand By Your Value and Sidestep Bloodsuckers – While Still Remaining Approachable. Read it. Live it. Do you let people PICK your brain or RENT your brain?

4. Give people an inch and they’ll take mile; but CHARGE people for an inch and they’ll accomplish a mile. Speaking of boundaries. I used to allow people to “pick my brain.” For free. For hours at a time. For years. And what I began to notice was, after every session, people walked away excited, inspired and grateful for the time spent together. But then I never saw or heard from then again.

Why? Because they didn’t pay me. And when people don’t pay me, they don’t hear me. Lesson learned: There is a direction correlation between financial investment and probability of execution. Charge enough so people believe the value IN, listen TO and take action UPON what you tell them. What’s your two-hour consulting fee?

5. Haste only makes waste if you believe in waste. Which I don’t. The way I see it, nothing is ever wasted. Ever. Especially if you learn to ask questions like, “What good could come of this?” “What am I supposed to be learning here?” and “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

Therefore, haste is tasty. As Alicia Keys once said, “In the age of love, nothing is wasted.” How would your life be different if you never viewed anything as being wasted?

6. Have your cake; eat it too, AND save a piece for breakfast tomorrow. People who tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it too are operating from a scarcity mentality. Or they’re diabetic. On the other hand, when you assume a baseline posture of abundance, bad economies don’t threaten you.

As The Tao of Abundance taught me, “The world you see is a reflection of the condition of your mind.” How would you career change if you learned to approach cake differently?

7. He who dies with the most JOYS wins. Toys are for elves. When your time on The Great Mud Ball expires, it’s going to sound more like Ben Harper’s “Excuse Me Mister,” which reminds us, “When you’re rattling on heaven’s gate, by then it’s too late. Because when you get there they don’t ask you what you saved, all they want to know, Mister, is what you gave.” What specific types of joy have you brought to others in the past 48 hours?

8. He who fails to plan plans to PREVAIL. Think about it: If you don’t know where you’re going – nobody can stop you. If you have a plan, however, you might actually HIT it. Yikes. What if you planed less this year?

9. It looks like it’s gonna be one of those days. Really? Then maybe you should have your vision checked. Newsflash: It’s NOT going to be one of those days. Not if you don’t want it to. Not if you shift your attitude. Not if take responsibility for your choices, thoughts and responses.

Unfortunately, few people think that way. Most of us embrace victimhood and blame our bad days on some external force beyond our control. And then we have a bad day. Because we made the choice to have a bad day. My suggestion is to heed Pablo Neruda’s advice: You are the result of yourself.

Remember: It’s not the weather. It’s not the traffic. It’s not your annoying coworker who chews gum like a cow. It’s you. It’s ALWAYS you. Are you have a bad day or do you have a bad attitude?

10. It’s not about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people TO life AT the party. Your goal is to help people fall in love with you by first helping them fall in love with themselves. Here’s a rapid-fire list of ways to do so:

One simple word: Listen. Two simple words: Take notes. Three simple words: I appreciate you. Four simple words: I believe in you. Five simple words: Refer back to your notes. Six simple words: Quote people’s wisdom back to them. Seven simple words: Tell people to write their wisdom down. Eight simple words: Breathe into people a reflection of their awesomeness.

Remember: When people are in love with themselves, they will love whoever made them feel that way. And people do anything for the people they love. How do you leave people?

11. Life ISN’T a bowl of cherries. Life is the bowl. Or maybe it’s the spoon. No, wait. Maybe it’s the dinner table. Better yet, maybe life is refrigerator that keeps the cherries fresh. Or perhaps life is the delivery truck from the Maraschino Farm.

Who knows? The point is: Life isn’t something you haphazardly label with some simplistic, fifth-grade metaphor. Life is always something else. What is it for you?

Are you squirming yet?

Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

13 (more) Things That Don’t Really Exist, No Matter How Many Lies You’ve Been Conditioned to Believe

Last time you read a list of things that don’t (really) exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

Today, I have more: Thirteen additional items that don’t (really) exist.

Read them at your own peril…

1. “Must see” doesn’t exist. That’s just fancy, coma-inducing marketing language for, “Please addict yourself to our crappy programming so our advertisers don’t come to their senses and stop wasting their money on a dead medium like television.”

Here’s the naked truth: You’re not their little target anymore. You are in charge of how much attention you choose to give. How much money did you make last month by watching television?

2. “Off the record” doesn’t exist. Everything matters, everybody’s watching and everything’s a performance. You’re on the record, all the time, whether you like or not. I sure hope your integrity is tact.

Or else you’ll end up like one of those moronic athletes who chooses to throw away his entire reputation and legacy on one night’s stupidity. Or, in Tiger Woods’ case, thirteen nights. But who’s counting? Would you want to become known for what you’re about to do?

3. Overnight successes don’t exist. Instead, you work your ass off for about twenty years when nobody notices, nobody cares and nobody remembers. And then one day you take a deep breath, look in the mirror and say, “It’s about time.” How patient are you willing to be?

4. Quick fixes don’t exist. I guarantee: When you get your fix, you will not be fixed. You will want more very soon. That’s the nature of addiction.

That’s why the quick fix industry makes so much money: Never-ending repeat business is guaranteed because of infinitely unsatisfied customers. I wonder what would happen if you made the decision to be satisfied right now. What are you currently addicted to?

5. Recession-Proof doesn’t exist. Everyone is affected by a recession. Everyone. Maybe not financially. But we all feel it. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t be so arrogant as to assume the recession wants nothing to do with you.

I got news for you: The recession doesn’t care if you sell an inelastic, “recession-proof” product. It’s still coming after you. And if you leave your guard down, it’s going to deliver the death stroke when you least expect. How are you preparing for the devastation?

6. Shortcuts don’t exist. Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea. Ultimately, shortcuts don’t lead anywhere but the Exit Door. Longcuts, on the other hand, lead to the finish line.

So, here’s my suggestion: Learn the chords. Take the long cut. Work your face off. Develop bottomless patience. You will win, win BIG, and win alone. How much money is impatience costing you?

7. Stupid questions don’t exist. As the great philosopher Homer Simpson once said, “There are no stupid questions – only stupid people.” In this case, the stupid people who don’t ask questions.

“That the problem with our educational system,” complained George Carlin, “kids shouldn’t be taught to read, they should be taught to question what they read.” What questions are you afraid to ask?

8. The Real World doesn’t exist. As John Mayer sang in the song No Such Thing, “I wanna run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs, ‘There’s no such thing as The Real World – it’s just a lie you’ve got to rise above.’” What lies are you afraid to call people out on?

9. Time doesn’t exist. If you don’t compartmentalize your life, you, become the SOURCE of time. And that’s when you realize that you always have heaps of time to do anything and everything you’ve ever wanted. Also, it depends on how you define your activities.

For example, people complain they don’t have time to meditate. But if you learn to approach every experience as a meditation, you’re never (not) meditating. I think if people sat down and actually mapped out their energy investments, they’d be astonished at how out of whack their priorities were. How would your daily life be different if you accepted yourself as the source of time?

10. Warm calls don’t exist. Stop kidding yourself. If the prospect doesn’t know you and isn’t expecting you, it’s cold. Even if she DOES know you and IS expecting you, if she’s not your friend, it’s cold.

People buy people first. Grasp this distinction and you will make more sales. When was the last time you were excited to answer a phone call from a caller ID you didn’t recognize?

11. Waste doesn’t exist. Everything is valuable. Everything is a contribution. Everything is productive to something. Everyone you encounter is your mentor. Think this way and you’ll never feel wasteful again. What’s your recycling plan?

12. Work/Life Balance doesn’t exist. Balance is for ballerinas. You need to focus on alignment. That means gathering all the components of your life and asking them to join hands in a circle around your cherished values, singing and dancing and rejoicing for eternity.

Once that’s accomplished, an occasional break in the balance isn’t won’t be able to hurt you. As long as you maintain a well-diversified portfolio of happiness, you’ll be fine. What is out of alignment?

13. Writer’s Block doesn’t exist. Writing is an extension of thinking. You don’t have Writer’s Block; you have Thinker’s Block. Stop blaming your lack of creativity and productivity on some evil, external force of resistance over which you have zero control.

It’s you. It’s always you. When was the last time you took time to just think?

REMEMBER: No matter how many lies you’ve been conditioned to believe, certain things don’t (really) exist.

Perhaps you should make a list of your own.

What’s on your list of things that don’t exist?

Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Are You Wasting Your Hard Earned Money Chasing After These 13 Things That Don’t Really Exist?

Have you ever found yourself arguing about whether or not something (really) existed?

I don’t mean existential ideas like God or space or reality.

I’m talking about simple, basic things we encounter every day. Do they (really) exist, or has the steady stream of illusions veiled the truth from us?

GOOD NEWS: I’m here to set the record straight.

Below is a list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place. Read them at your own peril…

1. “A quick question” doesn’t exist. An example of a quick question is, “Are you gonna finish that rocky mountain oyster omelet?” Other than that, this phrase is a disguise used by people who want to pick you brain, suck your blood and steal your time. Charge them or walk away. What is this person REALLY asking you?

2. Accidents don’t exist. Everything that’s ever happened, everything that’s currently happening and everything that will happen, is exactly what’s supposed to happen. Even if it wasn’t part of your nice little plan. Accept what is and move on. Is this something that might happen whether you worry about it or not?

3. Behavior modification doesn’t exist. You can’t make anybody change. No matter how many books you read. No matter how hard you try, the other person has to WANT to change. And even then, you can only do so much. Whom are you trying to make just like you?

4. Business Ethics doesn’t exist. In John Maxwell’s There’s No Such Thing As Business Ethics, he explains that there’s only one rule when making decisions. The singular idea agreed upon by every major religion in the world. “Do unto others as you’d have them to do you.” I agree with John. Ethics of life and ethics of business are the same. How will you translate your personal values into your professional world?

5. Cinderella doesn’t exist. There’s no Prince Charming. There’s no Glass Slipper. Unjust oppression doesn’t always receive triumphant rewards. That’s not the way it works in real life. That’s why they call it a fairy tale. Are you willing to work harder than ever before and watch 90% of that work go unnoticed and underappreciated?

6. Competition doesn’t exist. It’s merely a projection of your scarcity mentality. The pie is enormous. You just need the right fork. Change your silverware or change your career. Are you making war on the competition or making love to the customer?

7. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no. And without approaching failure this way, you’ll get swept away in the undertow of personal drama. Which accomplishes nothing but granting your emotions an all-day pass for disturbing your ability to execute. Will you fail like you mean it?

8. Good or bad days exist. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Everything is neutral until painted with the meaning you ascribe to it. Are you having a bad day or a bad attitude?

9. Gurus don’t exist. If you meet a guru who calls himself a guru, run back down the mountain. He’s not a guru. If you have to tell people you are, you probably aren’t. Who’s teaching you?

10. “It just happened” doesn’t exist. No, it didn’t. Nothing just happens. Things happen because a series of decisions were made by somebody, and that’s what caused things to happen. Do you take responsibility for the consequences of your choices?

11. Limits don’t exist. For example, when people complain that they’re “not creative.” I don’t buy that. Everyone is creative. The difference is, not everyone knows how to explode the barriers set in place by a lifetime of conditioning to express that creativity. Here’s the reality: As long as you don’t violate the scientific laws of thermodynamics, pretty much anything is possible. Probable, maybe not. But possible, absolutely. Are you bound and limited by the thoughts that other have formulated for you?

12. Luck doesn’t exist. Serendipity is, in fact, a strategy. It’s not an accident. It’s not luck. It’s working your ass off. It’s putting yourself in the way of success. It’s making the world say yes to you by engaging your Yes Muscle and becoming a more yessable person. It’s increasing the probability of success by making yourself more successable. It’s creating an ongoing, market-wide hunger for you. It’s victory through unwavering vigilance to your vision. It’s being at the right place at the right time by being in a lot of place. How could you become the luckiest person you know?

13. Mistakes don’t exist. In Steven Mitchell’s Second Book of the Tao, he explains, “There are no mistakes in the universe. What happened is what should have happened; there’s no other possibility. And anyone who understands that everything happens as exactly the right time will be untouched by sorrow and joy.” How would you career be different if you viewed nothing as a mistake?

FINAL NOTE: This is only half of the list. Stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation of things that don’t exist.

What’s on your list of things that don’t exist?

Leave a comment on this blog with your list of things that don’t exist, why they don’t exist, and what exists in their place.

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Are You Making These Five Mistakes of Piss-Poor Execution?

My favorite scene in Steven King’s The Green Mile is when prisoner Eduard Delacroix and the Death Row guards rehearse their upcoming execution:

“Walking the Mile, walking the Green Mile … I’m getting to my knees … I’m praying, praying … Lord is my shepherd and so forth and so on … I’m sorry for all the bad stuff I’ve done and people I’ve tramped on and I hope they forgive me … and I’ll never do it again, that’s for sure …Walking the Mile … Walking the Green Mile … Still praying, still praying … Getting right with Jesus … Final requests … I want fried chicken with gravy on the taters, I want to take a dump in the warden’s hat … and I got to have Mae West sit on my lap because I’m one horny bastard! … Walking the Mile, Walking the Green Mile…


But today we’re going to talk about a different kind of execution.

Entrepreneurial Execution.

No electricity required.

Wait. I take that back. Electricity is exactly what is required.

I’ve identified the five most prominent purveyors of piss-poor execution. As you explore this list, consider what’s standing in your way of turning thoughts into things and things into money.

1. Hesitation hinders execution. He who hesitates isn’t just lost – he’s COST. As in, opportunity cost. My suggestion is simple: Be more impatient. Now, this is a challenging paradigm shift for most of us because we’ve been conditioned to believe that patience is a virtue. Which it is. Just keep in mind: Impatience, when applied consciously, creatively and cautiously, isn’t just a virtue – it’s a victory.

Just go. Just DO stuff. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t wait until you’re old or smart enough. Don’t wait until you know HOW. If you wait too long, when the time comes to move, there will be no momentum left to execute. Ultimately, being impatient is about the willingness to look bad on the road to immortality. The courage to plunge forward planless. And the vulnerability to be an imperfectionist. How much money are you losing by being too patient?

2. Ambiguity assassinates execution. While a high tolerance for ambiguity IS necessary for entrepreneurial success, SOME clarity is helpful. Especially when you begin soliciting support and communicating your ideas to others. They won’t be able to help making your dream a reality if your ideas are ill thought out and scatterbrained.

Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” So, my next suggestion is to become an expert at entertaining your ideas. I’ve published a handy guide on how to entertain ideas for your reference. Remember: Ideas are your major source of income. Become a MASTER of entertaining those ideas.

Finally, remember this: All talkie and no walkie makes Jack a broke boy. That’s the epitome of piss-poor execution: Flappin’ them gums. And too many entrepreneurs use their mouths to murder their ability to execute. Be sure you balance your entertaining time with your DOING time. What is your conduit for creative clarity?

3. Inertia injures execution. The first step is to figure out what areas of your life are suffering from inertia. A crystal-clear window into this reality is to grab your list of New Years Resolutions … from two years ago. Honestly assess which ones have come to fruition, and which ones have fallen by the wayside.

Then, alter your trajectory by planting the seeds of movement. Here’s the easiest way how: Wake up one hour earlier. That’s it. ONE hour. Single greatest piece of advice I ever got. And I promise, you’ll be amazed at how much momentum that one hour activates for the rest of the day.

Next, figure out how you can you arrange your day so you become unstoppable. Continually ask yourself questions like, “Is what I’m doing right now consistent with my #1 goal?” and “Is this a highly valuable activity?” Finally, keep the momentum going by constantly asking, “What one step can I take (right now) to start moving forward to the execution of this idea?” These steps are surefire strategies for resisting injury by inertia. How will inertia emancipate your ability to execute?

4. Flub fights execution. Flub is one of my favorite words. It means, “to perform poorly or blunder.” Now, as fun as flub is to say, it’s also the purveyor of piss-poor execution. Here’s why: People assume flawlessness is possible. It’s not. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no.

And the problem is, once people fail, they freeze. Once people see a ghost, they’re always afraid of the dark. Little do they know that execution is like a motion-activated floodlight – the more you move, the clearer you see. Remember: Mistakes can be tranquilizers. Don’t become a prisoner of yesterday’s errors. Do you listen to the way you talk to yourself when you make mistakes?

5. Time tramples execution. You didn’t execute because you didn’t have enough time, right? Wrong. You didn’t execute because you didn’t have the right relationship WITH time. Check this out. In Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap, he shares a profound insight about developing a healthier relationship with time:

“Get yourself in harmony with the reality that YOU are the source of time. Put yourself on a diet of complete abstinence of complaining about time. This takes you out of the victim position. Then, when you stop complaining about time, you cease perpetrating the destructive myth that time is the persecutor and you are its victim.”

Hendricks’ philosophy changed my life. Forever. Based on the truth that expectation determines outcome, it challenged me to stop thinking time was “out there.” To take ownership and acknowledge that I was where time came from. His book also taught me this:

“Time will stop owning you if you claim time as yours and it will release its claim on you. Stop using time (or the lack thereof) as an excuse. Stop engaging in an ongoing wrestling match with time. And stop viewing time as some big, threatening pressure that is always about to overwhelm you. Once you understand that YOU are where time comes from, you have the power to make as much of it as you want.”

Time is your friend because you ARE time. How much time do you REALLY have, and how much will you execute because of that?

REMEMBER: Ideas are free; execution is priceless.

Whether you’re walking the Green Mile, or looking to make the green million, be on the lookout for these warning signs.

And I promise you won’t become a purveyor of piss-poor execution.

Are you executing exquisitely?

For the list called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

11 Questions to Determine if Your Passion Will become Profitable

“Passionate” doesn’t (necessarily) mean “profitable.”

Passion isn’t a panacea.

This is a common entrepreneurial mistake.

People think that just because they’ve pinpointed their passion – POOF! – They can now magically make a business out of it.


Entrepreneurship isn’t a Beatles song. Passion (or love, for that matter) isn’t all you need.

Passion only becomes profitable when it’s: (1) Enhanced by competence, (2) Entwined with purpose, and (3) Embraced by market demand.

Without achieving harmony between those three elements, your passion will remain a gorgeous (but dangerous) fire that ends up burning you AND everyone you touch.

Not to mention, you also end up annoying the bejesus out of people with your misguided inconsequentiality.

That’s a misfire you and your business can’t afford to make.

In order to prevent that from happening, I invite you to (honestly) ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you passionately incompetent?
• Are you confusing passion with talent and ability?
• How much do you know about running a business?
• Is your passion cool, but irrelevant to the marketplace?
• Is your passion inherently interesting, but difficult to sell?
• Is your passion intrinsically appealing, but something you suck at?
• Will the thrill of your passion dissipate once it becomes a daily task?
• Are you wasting your passion on people who don’t appreciate or deserve it?
• Are there at least ten other people out there who are successfully making money from a passion similar to yours?
• Do you really know how to run a bakery, or do you just like to cook because people always tell you they enjoy your cupcakes?
• If you DID end up making a business out of your passion, how long before you start to feel robbed of your true talent because you’re wasting most of your time and energy on menial, soul-sucking activities that have nothing to do with your passion?

Not to be Debby Downer or anything.

But somebody’s got to say it.

REMEMBER: Passion without competence is nothing but misguided energy; passion without purpose is nothing but chaotic fire; and passion without a viable market is nothing but a hobby.

Will your passion become profit?

For the list called, “86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy’s (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott’s…
“Live your name.”

7 Essentials for Executing Exquisitely

“Ideas are free, execution is priceless.”

That’s my mantra.

It HAS to be. After all, how else would someone make a career out of wearing a nametag 24-7?

SO, HERE’S THE SECRET: Executing is eloquence. Period.

Today I’m going to teach you how to do it. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, creative professional or cubicle dwelling worker bee, consider these seven essentials for executing exquisitely:

1. Think on paper immediately. Writing is the great clarifier. Writing also makes everything you do easier and better. Unfortunately, too many ideas never make it past their initial stages because most entrepreneurs’ disorganized thinking blocks new possibilities from surfacing.

Here’s my suggestion: As soon you get a new idea for a project or business venture, spend an hour writing out the following lists:

a. Every Thought I’m Having about This Idea
b. Every Question I Have about This Idea
c. People I Should Talk to about This Idea
d. Immediate Action Items to Take on this Idea

The secret of thinking on paper is to just puke, non-stop, with no editing and no opinions. Brainstorming needs to be objective in order to prevent premature cognitive commitment, aka, falling in love with your idea too soon. Use flip charts, dry erase boards, note cards, bulleted lists, whatever it takes. Just do it soon. Because if you don’t write it down; it never happened. How will you out-write the competition

2. Be impatient. Just go. Just DO stuff. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t wait until you’re old or smart enough. If you wait, you might spend all your waiting time talking your idea to death. And when the time comes to move, there will be no momentum left to execute.

Being impatient is about the willingness to look bad on the road to immortality. The courage to plunge forward planless. And the vulnerability to be an imperfectionist. So: Stop waiting to be paid for something you love and go DO something. Life’s too short. How much money, success and happiness is being (too) patient costing you?

3. Hack the rules. Hacking isn’t cheating. Huge distinction. In the phenomenon book, Trust Agents, authors Brogan and Smith explain the difference:

“Hacking is about finding alternatives for the traditional uses of a system. It’s about modifying the conditions of the system you’re in. It’s about using a system in a different way than it was designed. And it’s about figuring out your strength and applying it to the system of your choice so you position yourself as number one person playing the game in that system.”

Therefore, in the game of life, you have a few options:

a. Change the rules so you can win at your OWN game
b. Change the game so there ARE no rules
c. Play the game but become the exception TO every rule.

The question to ask when faced with one of these “rules” is, “Can this rule be ignored, modified or changed?” By doing so, you give yourself permission to refuse to accept your current circumstances. This opens the floodgates to diligent work on creating a new set of circumstances. Remember: Learn the rules, learn which of the rules are irrelevant, and then hack the shit out of them. What could I do in this moment that would be the exact opposite of everyone?

4. Keep asking, “What’s the next action?” In the classic time management system, Getting Things Done, David Allen explains that this single question is the secret to de-cluttering your mind and enabling stress-free productivity. (I agree.) And if I had to make a list of companion questions to go along with David’s, they would include the following:

a. Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?
b. What consumes your time but isn’t making you ANY money?
c. What are you doing that makes NO sense at all?

My suggestion: Write these four questions on sticky notes, post them in visible locations and look at them hourly. You’ll quickly discover that exquisite execution is the natural byproduct of skyrocketed productivity. How many ideas did you fail to execute because your time was managing YOU?

5. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. HOW is overrated. HOW is a dream destroyer. HOW is the enemy of progress. HOW is the hallmark of hopelessness. Basic to all exquisite execution is: (1) Know-WHY and (2) Know-WHAT. Your mission is to learn the minimum amount you need to know for now, just to get started.

Trust your resources and believe that the requisite competence will come in time. Either by trial and error, by Google, or by asking smart people smart questions. How much execution have you squandered because you’re at war with HOW when you should be in love with WHY?

6. Fail like you mean it. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no. So, here’s the secret: Make mistakes, make them early, make them quick and make them quietly. Then write down what you learned. They go teach someone what you learned. And then keep moving. Period. Amen. Q.E.D.

Without approaching failure this way, you’ll get swept away in the undertow of personal drama. Which accomplishes nothing but granting your emotions an all day pass for disturbing your ability to execute. So remember: Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. When was the last time you screwed up royally, and what did you learn from that?

7. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Every day. That’s the two-word secret to executing ANYTHING. And it shouldn’t even have to be a secret, but I guess not everyone has grasped this concept yet. For example, when I talk to fellow authors, they’re always “working on their next book.” But when I ask them the only question that matters – “What did you write TODAY?” – they fumble to give me an answer.

Which means they’re not consistent.
Which means they’re not executing.
Which means they ARE going to be buried with their book still inside them.


On the other hand, when I talk to writers who discipline themselves to stick to their writing schedule – every day – the conversation changes. People actually carry out their ideas. People actually write amazing books. And they also tend to be cooler people to talk to.

So, not only is consistency the engine of exquisite execution; it’s also the conduit of character. Remember: There is no royal road to greatness except by constantly plugging. Every day. What action have you taken on your idea, TODAY?

REMEMBER: Execution is eloquence.

And in the business world, there are talkers and there are doers.

I wonder which one YOU are.

Are you executing exquisitely?

For the list called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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