The Art of Mattering

Mattering is a choice.

The choice to be consequential.
The choice to fulfill your whole capacity for living.
The choice to take responsibility for feeling insignificant.

At work, in life and in love.

Consider making these choices to assure your work matters:1. Art that mirrors, matters. People need to see their own truth staring back at them. That’s why artists are artists: They have an unmatched sensitivity to the human experience. How does your work reflect people’s reality back to them?

2. Work that dares, matters. Safe is a very dangerous place to be. If you’re not risking failure, risking your face and risking you future, you’ll never get anywhere. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

3. Innovation that simplifies, matters. If your idea doesn’t solve a real problem for the world, you’re just doing something cool. Never underestimate the marketability of practicality. Does usefulness has a palpable presence in your work?

4. Leadership that infects, matters. Infection has nothing to do with being sick. It’s about transferring emotion, putting something into people and influencing them through your state of being. What are you breathing into people?

5. Love that sends, matters. When you love someone, you should want to parade them around the room. Their existence should be a reflection of your own. And when you gush about them, you should glow like a gas lamp. Who sends you?

6. Technology that humanizes, matters. If you create a collaborative experience, you win. If you create acts of individuality in moments of conformity, you win. And if you encourage regular expressions of digital personality, you win. Are you a robot?

7. Interaction that elevates, matters. The point is to leave people better. To help them walk away from an encounter with a more colorful vision of what they can contribute to mankind. How do people experience themselves in relation to you?

8. Experience that educates, matters. We learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon them. It all depends if you’re willing to listen for lesson, then document and share it. What did you write today?

9. Design that points, matters. Information expects a passive recipient, but design demands an active participant. Pierce people’s consciousness, create a smile in the mind and put your audience to work. Do you make people blink and think?

10. Attention that accumulates, matters. If people complain that you’re only doing something for attention, good. Attention is a scarce resource. It’s an endangered species. That’s why anonymity is bankruptcy. How are you turning your attention into permission?

11. Content that confronts, matters. Writing is a contact sport. You have to reach through the page, grab your readers by the lapel and whisper sweet nothings into their hearts. Are you a great date for your reader?

REMEMBER: Mattering is a choice.

And if you commit to it, people will thank you for making that choice.

What’s your mattering strategy?

For the list called, “50 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, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Brandtag 001: How to Matter


I was in Tokyo when it happened.

My stomach was full of sushi, my creativity was firing on all cylinders, and I’m pretty sure I felt a minor earthquake during breakfast.

Not a bad morning.

And that’s when it occurred to me:

Contribution is critical to my constitution as a human being.

And on that day, something inside me changed. I don’t know what. But my work was never the same after that.

That’s when I started writing about mattering. Both how to matter and what to do when you feel like you don’t matter.

That’s why I knew the first ever brandtag would have to be about mattering. It’s simply too important not to celebrate.CASE STUDIES:
These are my friends and colleagues at goBRANDgo. I use their culture as a example of brilliant engagement in my talks.

Their company matters. Their work matters. Their clients matter.

More pics here!

This is my great friend and editor, Jeremy Nulik, of the St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

I’ve been writing for their paper since 2004.

Their publication matters. Their stories matter. Their readers matter.

More pics here.

This is the home office of Optimists International. We’ve been strategic partners for the past three years.

Their members matter. Their service matters. Their programs matter.

More pics here.


Each print is autographed in nametag style, plus numbered as part of the series.

Interestingly, when I took the prints to my framer, her comment was, “Wait, you’re just signing the nametag and that’s it? But in the art world, that’s not enough.”

To which I replied, “In my world, it is.”

There are only fifteen of these limited edition prints on the planet.

Seven of them are already gone.

If you would like to purchase Brandtag 001: How to Matter, you can contact Scott directly.

INVESTMENT: $1000.00

Why does your work matter?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist, Mentor

What To Do When You Feel Like You Don’t Matter

When was the last time you were paralyzed by the threat of insignificance?

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Myself included.

THE REALITY IS: The human need to feel valuable to the world runs deeper than just about anything.

THE SECRET IS: How quickly do you recognize, overcome and leverage that that looming threat into something positive?

Not sure what to do when you feel like you don’t matter? Try this:1. Delete people from your life who make you feel invisible. Success means surrounding yourself with people who don’t just look at you – but actually see you. Huge difference.

It’s like in Avatar: When the Na’vi people meet, they greet each other with, “I see you.”

That was my favorite part of that movie. Because their phrase is more than a simple greeting – it’s an acknowledgment. It’s a form of namaste. It means I understand who you are. And according to creator James Cameron, it’s an alternative way to say, “I love you.”

You need people in your life who will greet you that way. No matter how insignificant you think you are. This provides a foundation to sustain your spirit during times of perceived non-mattering. How many of the people you interact with on a daily basis leave you feeling seen?

2. Ritualize your life. In his book Reflections on the Art of Living, Joseph Campbell suggests that ritual introduces you to the meaning of what’s going on. It properly puts your mind in touch with that you’re really doing.

Personally, I perform a ritual every morning: It’s called a Daily Appointment with Myself. And it’s exactly the same, every day, no matter where I am in the world, no matter where I am in my life.

Unfortunately, I can’t share all the details or I’d have to kill you. Sorry. Personal policy.

However, my experience with this ritual has proven countless times to be the single best daily reinforcement of mattering I’ve ever practiced. And I challenge you to think about the rituals you practice every day, and how they might reinforce your ability to matter. When was the last time you made an appointment with yourself?

3. Reframe perceived meaninglessness. Think of it this way: Moments of non-mattering are positive reflections of your inherent desire to make the world better. After all, mattering wouldn’t be important to you if you were a loser.

Look: I’ve been there. Inconsequentiality is a bitch. It’s a form of spiritual bankruptcy that feels like an earthquake to your heart.

The good news, it’s also a wake up call that mattering is like oxygen to your soul, and your tank is just a little low right now.

No problem. You just need to refill it.

As long as you start with that baseline level of awareness. Otherwise mattering will feel miles away. As Joseph Campbell also said, “Everything is a possibility, everything is a clue and everything is talking to you.” The question is: Are you brave enough to listen?

4. Normalize your fear. It’s a beautiful moment when you understand that you’re not the only one who struggles to matter. It’s not fair, however, to commandeer other miserable people just so you have someone to sulk with.

Misery might love company, but mattering loves positivity.

Instead of boo-hooing, start brainstorming. Ask each other, “What was in play the last you felt an overwhelming sense of mattering?” As my coach, Dixie Gillaspie explains in Anatomy of a Brick Wall,

“Figure out what inspired you and find another way to design that outcome. Reframe it, repaint it and redesign it. You can achieve your purpose, but sometimes you’ll have to rethink your method.”

This exercise – which I’ve done before – will help you commit your whole psychological pitch to believing in your ability. And that will exert the necessary energy to effect the transformation from wah-wah to wow-wow. With whom could you greet and leverage your fear together?

5. Rewrite your definition of mattering. Many of my readers are unemployed. Still, despite their job search struggles, they’re some of the most driven, intelligent and amazing people on the planet.

And here’s what I’ve learned after a few thousand of their emails: A principal struggle of the unemployed is, “How can I matter when I’m not making money?”

Good question.

Fortunately, mattering doesn’t come from money, power or responsibility. Mattering is the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living.

Let me run it by you again.

Mattering is the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living.

The hard part is believing you can actually fill it. As Benjamin Hoff wrote in The Tao of Pooh, “No matter how useful we may be, sometimes it takes us a while to recognize our own value. But in order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to believe.” Have you put unadulterated self-belief at the apex of your value system?

6. Surround yourself with visual evidence of why. The two biggest challenges of being a writer are (a) the crippling fear that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, and (b) the existential agony of not being read.

That’s why I keep the following email on my desk. I received it about five years ago, and I look at it every day:

“Dear Scott. My name is Karen Tarrentine. I’m sixty-five years old, and lately, I’ve been having a very difficult time with my bowel movements. However, now that I read your blog every day, I have become regular again. Apparently hysterical laughter is just what the doctor order to get things moving along. Thanks for everything you do!”

That’s how I reinforce my why, that’s what reminds me that I matter: Because my writing helps old ladies poop. Validation of my existence? Check.

Any time you feel like you don’t matter, physically keep something in front of your face to remind you why you do what you. After all, you can’t spell “matter” without “why.” What will you hang on your wall to remind yourself that your life counts?

7. Mattering is a choice. Feeling insignificant sucks, but refusing take responsibility for your perceived insignificance is just plain stupid.

However you look at it, it always turns out that you are chiefly to blame for everything. That’s what Dostoevsky wrote in Letters from the Underground. And that’s what you have to take ownership of: That you are the result of yourself. That the feeling of insignificance floated downstream of yourself.

Now, that doesn’t mean other people didn’t play a role in influencing the way you feel about yourself. After all, human beings craft their identities based on how people react to them in the past.

Still, you can’t absolve mattering to someone else. My suggestion is to make a list called, “One Hundred Reasons Why I Matter.” The first third will be easy. The second thirty will be challenging. But the last third will be revelatory. If you still feel insignificant after that, email me. Have you decided to matter?

REMEMBER: It doesn’t matter if you feel like you don’t matter.

What’s important is how quickly you recognize, overcome and leverage that that looming threat into something positive.

When was the last time you were paralyzed by the threat of insignificance?

For the list called, “8 Ways to Move Quickly on New Opportunities,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

“Engaging in email mentoring with Scott was an amazing experience! Not only was he incredibly responsive but his advice was clear, concise and thought provoking. Based on clearly agreed areas I wanted to focus on, Scott worked through them with me systematically and at my pace.”

–Donna Rachelson, Branding & Marketing You

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

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