How to Stay Accountable to Yourself When There’s Nobody Around to Hold Your Feet to the Fire

You can’t beat self-employment.

Working from home.
Working in your pajamas.
Working your own schedule.
Working the way you want to.

No commute.
No office politics.
No pointless meetings.
No bosses breathing down your neck.

Sounds like a dream job, right?

Well, it is. Most of the time.

EXCEPT FOR ONE PROBLEM: You’re the only person who can hold yourself accountable.

And if you don’t hold your own feet to the fire – eventually they’re going to freeze.

And frozen feet don’t make money.

This is about discipline.
This is about self-motivation.
This is about commitment to consistent action.

Whether you work at home, work by yourself or work in an independent role, consider these ideas to make sure you motivate yourself to execute what matters:1. Shake hands with yourself. Somewhere down the line, you’ve had manager, boss or supervisor – that you wanted to strangle with an orange extension cord. And my guess is: You weren’t especially motivated by their words, right?

Lesson learned: People rarely remain accountable to people they hate.

If you plan to be the person holding your own feet to the fire, the first key is simple: You better like yourself. Otherwise it’s going to be extremely hard to listen. And if you think that sounds corny, you’re right – it is. But corny doesn’t mean ineffective.

The second key is to establish expectational clarity with yourself. After all, the enemy of accountability is ambiguity. And a flawed assumption about yourself can set the whole process in misdirected motion.

The final key is to isolate your why. To assess your own motives. Because when you know why something is important to you, you never fail to impose the accountability required to execute it. What kind of relationship do you want to have with yourself?

2. Ask yourself focus questions. If what you’re doing – right now – is not consistent with your number one goal, you lose. Keep asking yourself if it is. And if what you’re doing right now isn’t supporting your own strategic intent, you lose. Keep asking yourself if it is.

This process of self-questioning is the single most effective strategy for self-accountability. It’s confrontational, it’s creative and it’s guaranteed to give you a much-needed kick in the ass.

As long as you don’t forget: Motivation without execution is nothing but consuming empty calories. Like eating seven pounds of iceberg lettuce and a Diet Coke. Blech.

Instead, commit to clothing your resolutions in concrete actions. Are you honest with yourself about what really motivates you?

3. Paint yourself into an accountable corner. When I first started my publishing company, I was still living in my parents’ basement. Not exactly an environment conducive to productivity and professionalism.

Ever try to make a sales call to a Fortune 500 company when your mother is screaming from upstairs to find out if you want broccoli or asparagus with your salmon?

Yikes. That’s why I made the commitment to leave the house every morning at 6AM, dressed and ready to go to work. But I didn’t go to an office; I went to a coffee shop. Just to have somewhere to go. Just to get into the right mindset.

And I’d spend the next two hours reading, relaxing, journaling and prepping my day. The cool part was, I’d see the same people each morning. And if I got lazy and slept in, they’d always ask, “Scott, what happened yesterday? We missed you!”

Over a period of two years, this daily commitment sharpened my discipline and laid a foundation of self-accountability that became essential in my career.

I don’t go to the coffee shop anymore, but I still start work at five. Sometimes four. It’s hardwired into me. What ritual will you build into your daily schedule to convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

4. Design your ideal day. If you don’t impose (some) structure into your otherwise chaotic schedule, the entrepreneurial undertow will carry you out to the sharks.

And when I say sharks, I’m referring to the chorus of meaningless distraction, seductive attention magnets and other ruthless villains of your time. Your challenge is to introduce enough structure to fight that undertow.

After all: Routine is healthy. Routine prevents insanity. Routine curtails procrastination. What’s more, ritualizing your days prevents you from saying, “Why the hell am I doing this?”

Without such structure, you wind up (artfully) creating constant distraction that prevents you from seeing the pointlessness of your activity.

On the other hand, I’m not a proponent of over scheduling.

I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Ruthlessly regimenting every minute of your day might keep you accountable to yourself, but it also might cause an ulcer. Your challenge is learning balance structure with spontaneity. What’s a typical day like for you?

5. Establish metrics that matter. While facilitating a recent leadership retreat, one of my participants said – and I quote – “The other day I cut the grass just to feel like I did something.”

Good lord. But, I guess good for him for executing that task. Too bad that task didn’t matter. That’s the rub with self-accountability: If you’re going to kick your own ass, you better wear a relevant shoe. Otherwise you wind up executing – exquisitely – something inconsequential.

Consider this: First, establish weekly criticals. These are the five key tasks that absolutely need to be executed by the end of the week for that week to be considered a success. Otherwise you’ve just wasted seven days of your life.

Second, develop daily essentials. These are the three highly valuable activities that absolutely need to be accomplished for that day to be considered a success. Ultimately, the effectiveness of this practice comes from the small-scale, non-threatening nature of the metrics.

What’s more, if you focus on small wins, the larger victories will happen by themselves. I’ve been logging these two metrics daily for eight years. It works. Are you winning a game that (actually) matters?

6. Create a nonstick surface. When you used to bake cookies with your mother, what was the first step in the process? Right: Dust the counter with flour. Why? So the dough didn’t stick.

Same thing goes with self-accountability. If you want to avoid getting stuck in trap of self-employed sluggishness, you need to take measures to create a nonstick surface.

My suggestion is to take short breaks every ninety minutes. This helps your body and mind refuel. Especially if, during your break, you go perpendicular to the task at hand.

For example, to break from writing, I pick up my guitar. Why? Because after eighteen years of playing music, I don’t have to think anymore. I just start jamming.

And when your occupation is to think for a living, nothing could be healthier for keeping your schedule on task than to give your break a break. Are you punctuating your day to unstick yourself?

7. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you’re not human. (Except for a few of my robot friends, but they’re probably not reading anyway. Lazy punks.)

Anyway, in your quest to stay accountable to yourself, recognize that you will miss the mark from time to time. Learn to be okay with that. As my yoga instructor constantly reminds us:

“Try not to pass judgment on yourself. When you interrupt stillness or fall out of posture, just notice it.”

Try this: Next time resistance gets the best of you – let’s say you unexpectedly oversleep till ten on a Tuesday – use that moment as a bell of awareness to send vibrations of self-accountability through your bones.

Instead of smashing your head into the maple bedpost telling yourself how much of a worthless, lazy excuse for an entrepreneur you are, brainstorm how you might be able to recoup that missed time later in the day or week.

Could you have a working lunch? Could you read while you exercise? Could you catch up after dinner instead of watching the three-hour finale of “So You Think You Can Dance?”

Look. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It happens. Will you be kind to yourself when you fall short?

8. You are the result of yourself. That’s the thorny, self-confrontational reality of self-employment: If you don’t do what you told yourself you were going to do, the only person around to notice, is you.

Which means there’s nobody to blame. Which means the onus is, was, and always will be, on you. Because even if you work alone, even if you spend every day sitting in your living room wearing your pajamas, you’re always in a relationship with yourself.

You still have to sleep with who you are, every night. Don’t create a reputation for unreliability. As Sir Josiah Stamp once wrote, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

Ultimately, assuming success is somebody else’s fault is the hallmark of an immature mind. And immaturity pollutes practically all behavior. Never forget that you are sole source of your own job security. Have you allowed yourself to fully and confidently face your own responsibility for your career?

REMEMBER: The long-term survivability of your business is dependent on your ability to kick your own ass.

Yes, laziness becomes extremely attractive when you know the masses will never know the difference.

But as an entrepreneur, holding your own feet to the fire is part of the job description.

So, stay committed to being committed.

Because sometimes, you have to administer the medicine to yourself, no matter how bad it tastes.

Are you willing to open wide and swallow the syrup of self-accountability?

For the list called, “61 Things to Stop Doing Before It’s Too Late,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Watch Scott Ginsberg’s Closing Keynote (LIVE!) at The Optimists International Convention

Six hours from now, I’ll be taking center stage here in Denver for the Optimist International Convention.

They’re streaming all of the sessions live!

My program this afternoon is about how to make your organization more joinable.

I’d love to have you tune in at 3:00pm (Denver time), go here!

See you then.

How joinable are you?

For the list called, “13 Ways to Out Develop Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

7 Ways to Convert Inertia into Demonstrable Forward Momentum

Execution isn’t a hobby.

It’s an effort.
It’s an attitude.
It’s an approach.
It’s an imperative.

And I know I write about it a lot.

In fact, you might even be sick of hearing about execution.

Too bad.

Inertia is a pervasive, expensive, urgent and real problem – in business and in life.

Here’s a list of eight (more) practices for converting your inertia into demonstrable forward momentum:

1. Accept inertia as an inevitable feature of the entrepreneurial landscape. Meet yourself where you are. Instead of making war with inaction, befriend it. Greet it with a welcoming heart. Put your arm around its shoulder and find out what it’s trying to teach you.

By partnering with inertia and respecting it as a natural part of the entrepreneurial experience, you’re able to move forward from an expanded (not contracted) mindspace. Are you ignoring, discounting or defriending the obvious?

2. Know that success (alone) is not enough to anchor you. Prosperity is the leading perpetrator of inertia. That’s the problem with winning: It often breeds complacency and dampens interest in innovative renewal. Lesson learned: Beware of the arrogance of success. Otherwise you’ll end up a victim of your victories, blinded by the bright light of your achievements, sitting on your butt in a blaze of self-satisfied glory.

My suggestion to build forward momentum mirrors Josh Waitzkin’s philosophy in The Art of Learning, “Make losing part of your regular experience.” That way you’re grounded in reality. Unlike our current educational system, which deludes kids into believing that there are no losers and winners.

Bullshit. Losing is part of life, and it needs to be part of your life too. Otherwise you’re in for a rude awakening the day you graduate. The cool part is, the moment you learn from your experience is the moment it ceases to be a mistake. So, failure actually is an option – but not growing from it, isn’t. When was the last time you were the loser?

3. Get the hay in the barn. My 12th book hits the shelves in the fall of 2010. But I know that if I don’t stop adding new material to it by July 1, it will never be done. Ever. I know me. And while it’s a painful part of the entrepreneurial process, you’ve got to put a creative stake in the ground.

Otherwise you’re consigned to career as a stock boy in the warehouse of inertia. In a recent blog post, Seth Godin riffed on this very topic, “People don’t like deadlines because they force us to decide. But they also create forward motion. And they give you the opportunity to beat the rush. They just have a lousy name. Call them live-lines instead. That’s what they are.”

Similarly, I teach this same idea to the people in my mentoring program. In fact, you might try writing the following reminder on a sticky note: Prepare to declare it done. Otherwise you’ll keep adding and changing and editing and improving until the day you die. Ugh. Why haven’t you put it on your calendar yet?

4. Breathe help in. Success never comes unassisted. You need to admit that it’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you needy, incompetent or in the debt of the helper. Learn to ask for it proactively, accept it gracefully, act upon it swiftly and appreciate it regularly.

It could be as simple as, “David, would you be willing to email me once a week as a gentle probe to keep me on point?” or as complex as, “Wendy, can you offer some advice on how to drag my sorry ass out of bed every morning instead of lying like a piece of broccoli listening to Howard Stern for three hours?”

Accountability works. Ask for it. Are you willing to let it be okay that you need other people?

5. Decide how much discomfort you can absorb. Moving forward, establishing momentum and executing are uncomfortable and inconvenient actions. But you can’t expect to thrive only when things are safely within your comfortable grasp. All motion carries (some) risk of injury.

As Marshall McLuhan wrote in The Global Village, “Pain is the natural accompaniment to innovation.” So, overcoming inertia is a function of how uncomfortable you’re willing to make yourself. Not to the point of hurting your body, obviously. But knowing yourself well enough to recognize your pain threshold.

That’s why I love yoga: You stretch yourself (literally) to the point where pain is a possibility, but not a reality. And that awareness prepares you to handle future discomfort. What are you pretending not to be uncomfortable about?

6. Believe you have everything you need to begin. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Failure to move forward stems less from poor planning and more from the timidity to proceed. It’s a question of self-belief. And a practice I’ve found helpful over the years (from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds) is to recite the following incantations each day:

“I am richly supported … I trust my resources … I am equal to this challenge … I am ready to proceed.”

Just accept the fact that you’re never ready, you’re never going to be ready, and that waiting until you are ready is like waiting on a train that doesn’t come through your town. May as well get on your bike and just start peddling. Remember: Who you already are is enough to get what you want. Have you ever asked yourself why you procrastinate?

7. Maintain alignment or risk wasting your energy. My friend Jim writes about this in Personal Brilliance: “Pursuing a goal that’s in conflict with your value system is kind of like trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that are a size too small.”

To prevent this from happening to you, I suggest creating a governing document for daily decision-making. This exercise changed my life – and my business – forever. And the secret behind it is, when you convey a thorough understanding of yourself, create a good working model of your own identity and maintain consistency of your actions, moving forward becomes substantially easier.

After all, it’s a hell of a lot easy to persist when you know who you are. Have you considered how you decide?

REMEMBER: Moving forward might be hard – but standing still is just plain stupid.

Fight the overwhelming influence of inertia.

Why haven’t you moved forward yet?

For the list called, “13 Ways to Out Develop Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

How to Move Forward

Determination alone fails.

Just watch American Idol. Every one of those kids is determined to become the next international pop sensation.

Too bad their singing voices sound like donkey farts.

HERE’S THE REALITY: Progress is the product of attitude, focus, impatience, imperfection, avoidance and courageous action.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, salesperson, organizational leader or simply a person who’s tired of sweating it out on the treadmill of life, here are eight ways to move forward:

1. Mind over mattress. Davinci said, “Rouse yourself from sleep because lying down will not bring thee fame.” Ginsberg said, “Lying down will not bring thee forward.” Either way, the suggestion is the same: Wake up earlier.

You’ll get more done. You’ll avoid having to rush. You’ll prevent the need to launch right into your daily tasks. And you’ll activate a sense of momentum that will set the rest of the day into productive motion.

One hour. That’s all I ask. Try it for a month and see how easy it is to move forward. What time did you get up today?

2. Real progress starts with self. You’re waking up earlier. Cool. The next step is to practice winning the private battle before going into the public arena. I’ve been practicing this (daily) since 2002. But I didn’t understand the psychology behind it until I read Principle-Centered Leadership by Steven Covey. He wrote:

“Early morning private victories give you a sense of conquering, overcoming and mastering – and this sense propels you to conquer more public challenges during the day. Starting a day with an early victory over self will lead to more victories.”

Beginning tomorrow, I challenge you to use your first waking hour profitably. After thirty days, you’ll build reserves of emotional stamina to be called on during the inevitable stress that accompanies moving forward. Are you willing to take charge of your own development?

3. Announce your intentions to yourself. Moving forward means architecting a vision, then aligning your daily actions with that vision. Even if you don’t have a plan. Even if you don’t know how to do what you want to do. If you use a compass instead of a map, it’s easier to pinpoint your general direction.

Sure beats killing yourself trying to figure out longitudinal coordinates. Remember: How is not your responsibility. Fall in love with why and how will make its appearance when it’s ready. Like Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” What are you forgetting to be intentional about?

4. Focus activates progress. Throughout your day, beware of the distraction of the next idea. Shiny object syndrome is executioner of execution and the preventer of progress. Marcus Aurelius addressed this issue a few thousand years ago in Meditations:

“Give not the strongest foothold to anything else. Nothing will sooner prevent your true spirit from flourishing or be more difficult to root out than the distraction of divided loyalty.”

Look: You don’t need more ideas. Pick a lane, crank up the Alpine and drop some lead on the gas. Remember: Moving forward means investing time in things that matter – not burning time trivially persisting on inconsequential wastes of energy. How much time are you wasting (not) focusing on your priorities?

5. Make progress by making peace with inadequacy. Here’s a trend that’s not going away: Finished is the new perfect. As such, progress is a form of accepting. For example:

Accept that you might fail.
Accept that you’re never really ready.
Accept that you don’t need to know how.
Accept that you don’t need a complete script to start shooting.

The sooner you recognize that you’re the only one waiting for you to get everything right, the sooner you can move forward. What is your bottomless need for perfection preventing you from achieving?

6. Listen smarter. The biggest secret to moving forward is closing your ears to people whose toxic noise is holding you back. Don’t listen to people who nastily try to induce insecurity in you. Don’t listen to people whose imagination can’t encompass what it is that you want to do.

Also, don’t listen to people who put a damper on your natural versatility. And don’t listen to people who did something once and think they know everything about it.

People like this undermine your execution. Instead, learn to listen to people whose opinions matter. Surround yourself with a trusted team of life-enhancing high grade people. Spend your time with individuals who are examples of the way you want to live.

Growing bigger ears, after all, means growing more mature ears. Are you listening to people who mindlessly judge you or compassionately honor your perspective?

7. Wage a war against inertia. In The Paradox of Choice, we learned that the desire to avoid regret induces people not to act at all. Barry Schwartz dubbed this principle inaction inertia. So, your challenge is simple: Reduce your number of choices.

If you want to move forward, stop killing yourself trying to pick the best of everything. Stop plaguing yourself with post-decision doubts. And stop exhausting yourself running ridiculous searches of every possibility. Choices cause stress, and stress stops you. According to Schwartz:

“The more choices you have, the longer it takes to commit; the longer it takes to commit, the more you regret and reevaluate every decision after the fact; and the more you regret and reevaluate, the less satisfaction you ultimately receive from the choices you make.”

Eventually, there comes a point of diminishing returns. Eventually, you need to stop choosing and start moving. Remember: When massive resistance is marshaled against you, you’ll never run out of reasons not to choose. Decide anyway. Even when it seems senseless to others. Are you a great chooser?

8. Leap and the net will appear. Lastly, it’s impossible to make progress if your ego is too invested in trying to define what progress looks like. Just start moving. Let your feet do the talking. Progress will define itself for you.

Otherwise you’ll prematurely commit to a false definition of advancement. That assumption functions as an arrogant clamp that closes you off to potential growth opportunities.

I’m reminded of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. In the final scene, we see that only when Indy has courage (and faith!) does the path appear before his feet. The cool part is, when he looks back, the path was there the whole time. He just wasn’t tuned into that frequency yet. Are you willing to close your eyes, extend your leg and breathe deeply into the next terrifying step?

BOTTOM LINE: Your hands are tired of being sat on.

If you (really) want to move forward…

Stop sleeping in.
Stop wondering how.
Stop listening to idiots.
Stop striving for perfection.
Stop watching American Idol.
Stop making so many choices.

If action is eloquence, progress is a standing ovation.

Why haven’t you moved forward yet?

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, Entrepreneur, Mentor

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

The Smart Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing What You Started

Anybody can start.

Starting cost little money.
Starting involves limited risk.
Starting requires minimal stamina.

But starting isn’t how you win.

You only win when you execute to completion.

And that’s the big problem: Execution is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Today you’re going to learn how to finish.

Whatever project you’re working on, whatever endeavor you’re committed to and whatever idea you’re drumming up, here’s how to lean into the tape. Here’s how to finish:

1. Develop a relentless bias toward action. This requires a major attitudinal shift. Consider these ideas for initiating the change. First, surround yourself with reminders of the beauty of action. Post sticky notes, messages or signs that read, “Action is eloquence,” or “Those who ship, win.”

Second, surround yourself with people whose bias toward action inspires you. Build edit-ability (not just accountability, but edit-ability) into your relationships. Ask each other what you’ve finished recently. You could even each other every Friday at five with a list of the things you’ve finished that week.

Finally, surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. Post your goals where you can see them every day. Then, once you finish, grab a Sharpie and write, “I did it!” atop each one. How will you develop an attitude of action?

2. Flex the muscle of why. Customers buy why – not what or how. The final product merely gives life to your cause, your mission and your currency. Sadly, too many entrepreneurs begin with a flawed assumption. They don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Or, they know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and it’s the wrong why.

Either way, starting with the wrong questions means even the right answers will still steer you in the wrong direction. Without flexing your why muscle, you set the whole process in motion into the wrong direction. And with ever step you take, the finish line fades farther and farther away. What’s your strategy for keeping your why alive?

3. Silence the voice of no. People and companies with a history of not finishing need to lower the volume on the voices inside their heads. In a recent presentation, Seth Godin illustrated this point perfectly, “People don’t ship because their lizard brain says, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!’”

Your challenge is to recognize those voices and devise a strategy for overcoming their primal powers. My suggestion is to smile every time your lizard brain takes the stage. Nothing will piss it off more. Except maybe when you finish. What voice are you listening to that’s causing you to swiftly abandon things?

4. Breathe through the pain. During some of the longer postures in Bikram Yoga, I frequently find myself struggling to finish. It’s amazing how long sixty seconds feels when you’re doing a full backbend in 110° heat.

Fortunately, I discovered the secret to finishing. And you can apply this principle on the yoga mat, in your life struggles or to your business ventures. Let your body do the one thing it naturally does best: Breathe. There’s no better way to recenter yourself.

Plus, breathing helps you reignite momentum from a relaxed, non-destructive space. Most people lose touch with their breathe. Then they clumsily plunge forward from a place of contraction and fear. No wonder they never finish. How’s your breathing?

5. Adopt agile development. I read an enlightening blog post on How to Finish Big Projects. They used the software industry as the quintessential example:

“All software developers use a method they crazily call Agile Software Development, aka, ASD. They build a releasable product within weeks. Then, they build outward to create successively bigger product releases. The first releasable product has the most important stuff done. They’ll term it Version 0.1. Next, they’ll expand that version outward with additional features and term it Version 0.2. Gradually, the successive small releases ultimately form one juicy-good completed software item. Completo.”

Lesson learned: Focus on the most important component of your project first. You can fill in the holes later. Is enough as good as a feast for your company?

6. Limitation is the springboard to completion. The word “finish” comes from the Latin finire, which means, “To set boundaries.” Call it a deadline. Call it a limit. Whatever floats your creative boat. The point is to have a definite moment when you give yourself a swift kick in the ass and declare, “The hay is in the barn.”

Otherwise Parkinson’s Law – that work expands to fill the amount of time given to accomplish it – will eat you (and your idea) alive. Remember: Finished is the new perfect. How much longer are you going to wait before shipping something that’s never going to be perfect anyway?

7. When the finish line is in plain site, look out. Every time I go swimming, I conveniently develop a burning cramp during my 40th lap. Right in the calf muscle. Hurts like hell. But I always laugh it off. I know it’s just resistance coming to get me.

Nice try. Too bad I learned my lesson from The War of Art: “The danger is great when the finish line is in site. At this point, resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”

Don’t get complacent. No high stepping with ten yards to go. Stay focused. Otherwise the resistance will slap that pigskin out of your hand and cause a fumble at the one-yard line. Are you giving up one percent too early?

REMEMBER: Woody Allen was wrong.

80% of life isn’t showing up – it’s following through.

I know it’s inconvenient.
I know it’s uncomfortable.
I know it’s harder than starting.

But those who ship, win.

Go finish something.

How are you executing to completion?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Make Ideas Happen at an Alarming Rate

Marry Poppins was an entrepreneur.

She summarized business execution in six simple words:

“Enough is as good as a feast.”

What about you? How skilled are you at executing?

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you make ideas happen at an alarming rate:

1. Convert your workspace into a progress-rich environment. It’s emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. What’s more, keeping past progress in front of your nose stimulates focus – even if it’s incremental.

As I learned in Making Ideas Happen, “As a human being, you are motivated by progress. When you see concrete evidence of progress, you are more inclined to take further action. Surround yourself with it. Celebrate it.” What’s on your wall?

2. Take massive, rapid and consistent action. That’s how momentum accumulates. Just like Newton said: A body in motion stays in motion. My suggestion is to shoot for five High Valuable Action Steps. Every day.

Even if you take an occasional step backwards – at least you’re still stepping. Movement (backwards or forwards) is necessary to prevent atrophy. Some people just stand there. They’re called nouns. Verbs, on the other hand, move. Which one are you?

3. Increase executional velocity. As a writer, my biggest advantage is that nobody can keep up with me. I am dangerously prolific. Nobody who does what I do can do what I do as fast as I can do it. And, nobody who does what I do can do what I do in the quantity that I can do it.

Lesson learned: Making ideas happen is less about intellectual property and more about executional velocity. Contrary to what your lawyer tells you, there’s very little you need to protect. If somebody wants to steal your ideas, fantastic! Let them.

First of all, that’s a great compliment. Robbery is the sincerest form of flattery. Secondly, by the time they execute your idea – which they probably won’t – you’ll already be ten ideas down the road. Screw ‘em.

Lastly, if people want to hijack your brain, tell them to go right ahead. Just remind them: “You can steal my ideas – but good luck stealing my initiative and execution.” William Wallace never thought of that. Remember: The creations of innovative persisters will always dwarf the accomplishments of the copying and surrendering masses. Who’s faster than you?

4. Structureless environments paralyze. Not that you need to regiment every element of your creative process. But structure allows growth. And the impact of an idea is directly proportionate to how well it is organized.

My suggestion: Preserve the sanctity of your workspace. Not an office – a workspace. Call it an office and slice your creativity in half. Call it a workspace – a factory of creativity – and you make ideas happen. Is your content as brilliant as the system that manages it?

5. It’s not what you do – it’s what you avoid. People frequently ask me how I manage to be so productive. My answer is very logical and simple:

No meetings. No employees. No interns. No busywork. No filing. No copying. No excuses. No hurdles. No bullshit. No asking permission. No begging for forgiveness. No memos. No status reports. No kids. No television. No surfing the web. No mass media. No coworkers. No putting out fires. No gossip. No worrying. No headaches. No managing people.

No walking on eggshells. No task requests. No micromanaging. No useless planning of things that don’t matter. No processes to weigh me down and diminish my energy. No waiting for people. No endless list of people trying to reach me. No distractions. No decision-making hierarchy. No distance between the owner and decisions that matter. No awkward staff lunches. No committees. No socializing. No compromising.

No doing activities that aren’t focused on my #1 goals. No doing activities that don’t leverage my gifts. No doing activities that aren’t income generating. No office politics. No office. No clothes. No shoes. No commute. No traffic. No interruptions. No paperwork.

After deleting all of that noise, what are you left with? Work. That matters. Think about it. If that were your daily environment, you’d make ideas happen at an alarming rate too. Remember: Productivity isn’t about what you do – it’s about what you avoid. How many of your amazing ideas will never see the light of day because they’re gasping for air under the weight of irrelevant time-wasters?

6. Align your action with accomplishment. Bob Parsons, CEO of, recently published a helpful productivity module on his video blog. In order to keep productivity at bay, he suggests asking two questions: Is this conversation directly leading to what I need to accomplish? Is this immediately relevant to my success?

If the answer is no, respectfully remove yourself. Focus on finding what matters instead. What questions do you ask yourself to stay on point?

7. Commission you inner doodler. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said in a recent presentation, “Start drawing your idea. Get it out of your head and see it from a completely different perspective.” Even if you suck at drawing. Even if you’re more left-brained than a computer science professor at MIT. Draw it anyway.

Tap into the unused creative faculties collecting cobwebs in the back of your brain. Produce visual understanding by letting the idea hatch before your eyes. My promise is that you’ll get so jazzed about the organic growth of your idea, that the thought of (not) executing it will give you indigestion. What have you drawn today?

8. Attitude is soil. And if it’s saturated with too much fertilizer, anything that grows in it – not matter how big and beautiful and profitable it may be – will always have a stinkshit core. I’m reminded what Seth Godin wrote in a recent blog post:

“No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book. If your attitude at the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.”

Lesson learned: Exquisite execution doesn’t last when underscored by an excremental attitude. When you make ideas happen, how does your breath smell?

REMEMBER: Many of your execution failures are not due to poor planning but to your timidity to proceed.

Mary Poppins was right.

Enough is good enough.

Go make your ideas happen.

How are you increasing your capacity to execute?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you 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!

12 Ways to Sharpen Your Instincts to a Razor’s Edge

“What were you thinking when you decided to wear a nametag every day for the rest of your life?”

Well, that’s just the thing – I wasn’t thinking.

I was feeling.
I was listening.
I was trusting.
I was testing.
I was risking.
I was reacting.

But I definitely wasn’t thinking.

And, interestingly enough, that decision turned out to be the single most important one of my life.

LESSON LEARNED: Thinking is overrated.

Allow me explain that ridiculous blanket statement before I start getting hatemail from Mensa.

First of all, thinking is (technically) my occupation.

As a writer, speaker, mentor, consultant and entrepreneur – I literally make a living off of my brain.

At the same time, part of being a Professional Thinker – that is, one who dedicates his life to the persistent and honest pursuit of ideas – is recognizing when to stop thinking and start instincting.

This reminds me of John Cusack, whose character in the movie High Fidelity confesses:

“I’ve been thinking with my gut since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.”

Ever felt like that before?
Like your instincts were about as sharp as Fisher Price butter knife?

I know I have. It’s sickening. All you want to do is be able to trust your gut, but every time you roll the dice, you crap out.

THE REALITY IS: Instinct is not a self-sharpening blade.

As much as you’d like your instincts to be as sharp as the Miracle Blade – which, if you recall, could slice through a steel hammer, a leather boot and a tomato, back to back, with no hassle (and no shipping and handling!) – then you’ve got to be willing to hone your intuitive muscles.

Here’s a collection of practices for doing so:

1. Look back at the path that you followed to victory. That way you can see the sequence of moves that led you where you are. Try this: Make a list of three situations where you trusted your instincts. Maybe it was a key business decision. Or the choice to end a relationship. Or that time you took a left down a gravel road even though the annoying British voice on your GPS kept telling you to turn around.

Whatever your situations were, write the answers to the following questions for each one: What were your intuition triggers? Where did you feel a sense of self-trust in your body? What questions did you ask yourself? How long did it take to make your final decision? And most importantly: How did that situation ultimately turn out? You’ll be amazed. Are you polling your past successes?

2. Look back at the path that you followed to failure. Next, I want you make a list of three situations where you ignored your instincts. And I want you to write down the answers to those same questions from the first example. My guarantee: Simply by making these two lists, you will immediately double the sharpness of your intuition through the power of self-awareness.

In the same way that getting the appointment is making a sale in itself; simply asking yourself these questions like pressing the ON button of the intuition sharpening saw. Remember: Self-evaluation is the impetus of self-improvement. Would your instincts be sharper if you became a more contemplative person?

3. Audit your instinctual abilities. Now that you’ve brainstormed a series of experiences, the next step is to give yourself an overall intuitive evaluation. Ask questions like: How do you treat your own intuitive promptings? In what areas of your life are you most intuitive? Under what conditions are you most intuitive? Who murdered your intuition?

This provides further insight into the origins of your instincts. Very helpful. Are you allowing yourself to trust your more spontaneous instinctual abilities?

4. Make paying attention to your intuition a priority. This is the crucial mindset for achieving deeper intuitive validity. Affirm to yourself, “I’m committed to listening to my body,” “I trust my resources,” and “I’m committed to honoring whatever arises.”

That’s how you plant the intuitive seed within yourself. And if you keep watering it, over time, you’ll yield a bountiful harvest of instinctive goodness. Are you dedicated to listening to your deepest self?

5. Be always guided by your body’s wisdom. It will never lie to you. And don’t have to climb to the top of a mountain or pay thousands of dollars for some weekend seminar to attain that wisdom. All you have to do is listen to what your body trying to tell you.

Here’s how: Think about where you manifest stress. Back pain? Stomach acid? Migranes? Then, notice patterns in how you feel when doing certain activities. Anticipatory waves of anxiety? Immediate biofeedback? Emotional hangovers? These are all the clues you need. And you’ll find that when you put yourself in direct touch with the one thing that will always tell you the truth (and that you can always learn from), your instincts will thank you.

But only if you become a consistent congregant of your bodily temple. If your cells could speak, what would they say to you?

6. Commit to stillness. After three years of practicing yoga, I’ve found my instincts to be sharper than ever before. Here’s why: The most challenging component of practicing yoga is the stillness. Especially in Bikram, when it’s 110° and sweat gushes out of every pore of your body for ninety minutes straight. Kind of hard (not) to wipe, itch, scratch, pick, pull or adjust something.

But that’s the whole point: To be able to practice perfect stillness amidst surrounding chaos. That’s when you’re confronted with who you really are. That’s when you can’t hide from your truth. Sounds simple, but it’s actually the most challenging part of class.

Hell, anyone can touch head to knee. But to just sit there and do nothing for sixty seconds? Ha! Most people are so voluntarily overbooked and crazybusy that the mere thought of absolute stillness gives them an ulcer. The cool part is: If you can practice stillness in the studio, you can practice stillness anywhere. Muscle memory is a beautiful thing.

The best part is: From stillness comes lucidity. And from lucidity comes the ability to listen to your intuition. Ask anyone who does yoga: The highest benefits are found outside the studio. Them instincts will get sharp as steel. How much time did you spend yesterday just sitting?

7. Float a trial balloon. Set a goal to achieve one small intuitive victory a day. Whether you’re deciding what shoes to wear, choosing which route to take to work or listening for which specific thought wants to be tweeted, the sharpening will continue.

And by practicing instinctive/intuitive behavior in small moments, you’ll start to become more receptive to future whispers about bigger moments. How many intuition reps do you usually get in each day?

8. Regularly ask yourself intuition-tapping questions. In no particular order, try these:

*What do I need to remember to be most aware of right now?
*What direction do I need to go right now?
*How do I need to take care of myself right now?
*What is it that I don’t want to know about myself?
*What remains unexpressed within me?
*What message is my body trying to give me right now?
*What are the signs I need to look for in myself that tell me I need to do something different?
*What is within me that’s trying to come through right now?

You might post these questions on sticky notes. Or ask them to yourself as you fall asleep. Or make a list of one hundred answers to each question. Or repeat them as mantras during meditation. Or write them in blood on your bathroom mirror. The point is to use whatever works for your learning and motivation style – then allow the solutions to your problems suggest themselves. How do you punch yourself in the face?

9. First thoughts, best thoughts. When you start writing, it doesn’t matter what you write or how you write – as long as you’re writing, the truth eventually arrives. The page doesn’t lie. It just takes a while. Usually about twenty minutes. Give yourself permission to keep writing, to write what you feel, and to write what wants to be written. The truth has a sneaky way of slipping out.

Often times, right under your nose. Ever experienced that before? The moment when you look up from your laptop think, “Holy crap. Is that how I really feel?” Well, here’s the reality: It is. You just needed that container of honesty, safety and patience to invite that naked truth to make an appearance.

Remember: Off the top of your head usually means from the bottom of your heart. Beatnik author William Burroughs was right, “Rewrites are a betrayal of your own thoughts.” Don’t edit yourself. Words contain truths. Are you using them as intuitive weapons?

10. Beware the dulling forces of intuition. You can’t train your instincts if the velocity and volume of your life never recedes. Here are two practices I’ve found great success with. First, keep your distance from people whose sole purpose is to pollute your head with toxic noise. Life’s too short to surround yourself with people who don’t challenge and inspire you.

Second, learn how to disappear from the world. Press the mute button on life. Be quiet. Listen. Your questions will be considered, if not answered. Sometimes that’s all your intuition needs – to be nudged out of hiding and onto center stage for a sound check. What rust do you need to remove from your life?

11. Behind every problem there’s a question trying to ask itself. Your challenge is to spy on yourself in the spirit of self-inquiry. To step back from life’s situations and figure out what the question of the moment is. And to call upon untested faculties awaiting your discovery.

Then, to make yourself available to any spontaneous feelings that begin to arise. The cool part is: By asking yourself questions about your current experience, you attune yourself to promptings of inner wisdom. Have you established an ongoing inner dialogue with yourself?

12. Discern the voices. There’s nothing wrong with hearing voices inside your head. What matters is listening to the right ones. What matters is courageously identifying the angry voice of your ego that is making it difficult to hear the subtle voice of intuition. Which do you hear?

REMEMBER: Instinct is like creativity – the more you use it, the more you have of it.

Employ any (or all) of these practices, and you’ll be sure to sharpen your instincts to a razor’s edge.

That way, you won’t even have to think.

Do you trust your gut?

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, Entrepreneur, Mentor

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

12 Ways to Increase Your Capacity to Execute

You know what you need to do.
You know how you need to do it.
You know when you need to start.

So what’s the problem?

WELL, MAYBE: Increasing your capacity to execute isn’t just about what you do – it’s also about what you avoid, what you stop doing and what you stop thinking.

Consider these ideas for turning ideas into action:

1. You don’t need to respond to every attention magnet. People who dissipate themselves in useless activity or let their agenda collapse too easily are forever doomed to an execution-free life. All because they haven’t trained themselves to be ruthlessly self-protective with their time. Nor have they made the conscious decision to put their own needs at the top of their own list.

And I get it. I’ve been there before. I’m busy too. But overburdening yourself is easy because it makes you feel busy, important and needed.

Too bad that’s all a lie. Too bad checking your inbox forty times an hour doesn’t make you any money. Too bad spending your evenings fiddling around on Facebook, stalking ex-girlfriends from college – who, by the way, look five times better than they did a decade ago – isn’t helping you turn your ideas into action. Does distraction overwhelm and enslave you?

2. Decide who to ignore. Feedback is enormously profitable, but only when it comes from people who matter. Otherwise, it’s nothing but procrastination in disguise. Just another confusing, unnecessarily discouraging, self-doubt-producing, undue-stress causing waste of energy and tears.

My suggestion: Don’t torture yourself over feedback from someone whose opinion doesn’t count. Execution is the byproduct of listening to the right people while ignoring the wrong people. It’s about self-trust and healthy impatience.

Stop exposing yourself to harsh, unsolicited feedback and start trusting your voice. Demanding excessive reassurance is a one-way ticket to entrepreneurial purgatory. Whose advice have you outgrown?

3. Beware of the over commitment trap. It’s like owning a truck: The week you buy it, everyone you know needs help moving. And you don’t want to feel like a bad friend, so you allow yourself become entangled in other people’s pointless wars. No wonder you never execute. You haven’t learned to be respectfully discerning about whom you give permission participate in your life.

Like my mentor taught me, always ask two filtering questions, “Is this person asking me to create a future that I’m going to feel obligated to be a part of?” and, “Is the level of help this person is asking me to offer commensurate with the type of relationship I have with them?”

Remember: If you don’t set healthy 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 okay to do the same. All because you never set a precedent of time valuation. Are you sacrificing your life by spending too much time being everybody else’s dream machine?

4. Decide for yourself first. The world will attempt to superimpose onto you its prefabricated definition what success should be. Please avert your ears. Don’t become one of those people who give mass consciousness permission to think for them. Otherwise your execution track record will be about as consistent as Shaquille O’Neal’s free throw percentage.

My suggestion: Stop listing all the reasons why you should avoid taking a risk. Waiting squanders momentum. And when you let your desires stay sobbing, awaiting your hand to take action upon them, momentum becomes a statistical improbability.

Instead, don’t wait until you have five years experience. Don’t wait for instructions. Don’t wait for overwhelming evidence before you trust yourself. And don’t wait to be rewarded to do it. Just go. What are you rationalizing your way out of?

5. Refuse to exist in an inhibited condition. If the innovation of others intimidates and inhibits you, you lose. The secret is to use the success of others to fuel your own execution. Two examples come to mind. First: When I sense the warning signs of an approaching storm of creative blockage, I just read Gaping Void or Seth’s blog. Their innovative spirit and cutting edge philosophies never cease to light a fire under my (occasionally) uninspired ass.

Second: When I notice the declining momentum of one of my mentees’ executional patterns, I do what good mentors do – model. Take Carrie, for example. She’s been bragging to me for the last three years about her new book. Which I’ve read. And which I think is tremendous. The problem is, she can’t pull the trigger. She can’t make the book real. She can’t ship.

Instead of getting on her case, hounding her every week or trying to solve her execution problems for her, I just write another book. Then I mail her a copy. Then she wants to kill me. And then I ask her to channel that frustration into her project. And then she does. So much for existing in an inhibited condition. How can you fire inspiration into yourself (or others) today?

6. Capitulation is the enemy of execution. I’m all for delegation. But when you deliberately plant your entire idea in the hands of another person, he owns you. Which makes him the sole shot-caller. Which means execution just made one hell of a pit stop.

From now on, try this: Diversify the baskets you put your eggs in. That way, if one person moves like molasses, you can reach out to someone who moves like Speedy Gonzalez while you’re waiting. For example, my book production team consists of four people: Jeff for layout, Sue for cover art, Jess for edits and Chris for printing.

Now, after twelve books, I’ve learned that each person has their own individual pace. Which is fine. I respect that. So, in order to get the books done in a timely manner, I shotgun the assignments. Like a golf scramble. Everyone starts at a different time. That way, my books finish at (roughly) the same place in the process.

Your challenge is to figure out the time sensitivity of the people you’re working with. Otherwise the sole basket in which all your eggs lie might get chopped down by deforestation. Not exactly the kind of execution you had in mind. When was the last time you over delegated?

7. Complacency is the BFF of inaction. Declaring victory too soon is an exercise in entrepreneurial foot shooting. The best policy is to wait till the check clears. Or to hold off until the product is delivered. Or to stand by before you start telling the world about your new website. Otherwise you look like a putz trying to explain yourself to people when that error 404 page comes up.

Julia Cameron addresses this issue in her Artist’s Way series: “The first rule of magic is self-containment. You must hold your intention within yourself, stoking it with power. Only then will you be able to manifest what you desire.”

I made this mistake several times early in my career. From interviews on major media networks to new book projects, it seemed like the more people I told, the less likely the idea was to come to fruition. Woops. Looks like I shot myself in both feet. Lesson learned: Think long and hard before waving your “Mission Accomplished” banner on the poop deck of your career. What is the cost of inaction?

8. Celebrate quickly and quietly. Preserving yesterday is fun for about a week. But eventually, it’s time to get back to work. Otherwise you become so addicted to your victory dance that your sore knees atrophy your ability to execute again in the future.

Truth is: When you overvalue prior successes, the arrogance of the past comes 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.”

Remember: If you’re too removed from action, you’ll never be able to see what’s wrong. Are you sabotaging your own ability to repeat past performance?

9. Lower your expectations. Never execute as if you’re going to get it right on the first try. You won’t. Nobody does. What’s important is that you reflect on your experience, document your reflections and then internalize those lessons so you don’t screw up as badly next time.

Otherwise you’ll continue to let yourself down. Which murders your confidence. Which prevents you from taking positive action in the future. Remember: When you expect nothing, failure is impossible. Is your addiction to perfection adding undue pressure that nobody is going to notice anyway?

10. Don’t mistake knowledge for wisdom. Although I hesitate to draw another simplistic, narrow-minded chalk line that divides the entire human race into two convenient categories, what the hell. Here goes nothing. There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who take the tour, and those who get a guest pass. Which one are you?

Look: Reading a thousand books might make you an expert, but that doesn’t change the fact that you (still) haven’t executed anything. Learning (reading books) builds knowledge, but doing (taking action) builds wisdom. Ultimately, filling yourself up with irrelevant knowledge is akin to eating an entire can of Texas BBQ Pringles: They taste great, they fill you up, but their nutritional output isn’t the worth the time investment or the orange stains on your fingers. What percentage of your brilliant mental effort is invested in the immaterial?

11. Don’t share your execution goals with negative people. All they’re going to is deflate your enthusiasm, piss you off royally and inspire you to throw in the towel. Invest your energy elsewhere. Life’s too short to surround yourself with mediocre people. They rarely challenge and inspire you, plus they tend to smell like hot trash.

You need to play wit people who are better than you. You need to hang with people who, by virtue of their presence in your life, make executing your goals a natural byproduct. How much time are you wasting on relationships you’ve outgrown?

12. Comfort is rarely part of the equation. To increase your capacity to execute, it’s possible you’re going to have to choose an inconvenient lifestyle. Sorry. It’s part of the deal. Waking up at 5am might be a pain in the ass, but it’s also a pleasure for your bank account.

That’s the crucial moment: When discipline trumps desire. When you refuse to let your stamina become stifled by your endless excuse barrage. As my friend Sam Silverstein explains in his new book, “An excuse a story you tell to yourself about yourself. And you always convince yourself to buy that excuse before you try to sell it elsewhere.”

Lesson learned: When you ignore the inconvenient, you allow the lust for what is familiar block the beauty of what is possible. How, specifically, did you make yourself uncomfortable yesterday?

FINAL WORDS: Vision without execution is hallucination.

Edison said that.

Which brings me to my updated version of the same maxim:

Talking smack without doing jack is whack.

Ginsberg said that.


You know what you need to do.
You know how you need to do it.
You know when you need to start.

The world is standing by.

Life is curious to see what you will do.

How are you increasing your capacity to execute?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you 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!

Are You Crossing Over or Fleeing From These Seve Small Business Bridges?

1. Applicability is the bridge between information and insight. Anyone can be a vending machine of good information. Only a true thought leader could bridge the gap. The difference is: Information is just content; insight is a penetrating mental vision. Which one do you deliver?

2. Execution is the bridge between creativity and innovation. Everybody is creative. My five-year-old nephew is creative. That’s the easy part, since creativity is a state of being. Innovation, on the other hand, is a rare bird. It denotes consistent action. And not everyone can pull it off. Only those who impatiently transition from inertia to action. Are you turning your ideas into money or into more ideas?

3. Leverage is the bridge between opportunity and profitability. It begins with the abundance mentality that opportunity knocks all day, everyday. Then, it continues with the leverage mentality that it’s always possible to kill two stones with one bird. The only thing standing in your way is a narrow-minded vision of what’s possible. How big is your thinking?

4. Stamina is the bridge between amateur and master. People often ask me, “As a author, how do you know when your book is done?” My answer is: “When I’ve read it so many times that I hate it.” That’s stamina. This reminds me of what my friend Jim Flowers likes to remind me, “Amateurs practice until they get it right – masters practice until they can’t get it wrong.” Are you willing to go all night until right is second nature?

5. Mindset is the bridge between happenstance and happiness. If you have an attitude of leverage, everything that happens to you is positive. And profitable. And a growth opportunity. And a moment of instant education. It all depends on the way you talk to yourself. Instead of asking, “Why me?” you ask, “What’s next?” Instead of saying, “This sucks!” you wonder, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible.” Talk like this, and you’ll kill two stones with one bird, every time. Have you mastered the language of leverage?

6. Repetition is the bridge between average and awesome. If you’re a master, you most certainly have some kind of daily practice. It doesn’t matter what you practice – only that you practice. And that you do so every single day, without fail. What do you repeat every day?

7. Platform is the bridge between expertise and audience. It doesn’t matter how smart you are – if you’re selfish with your knowledge, you’re just winking in the dark. Besides, ideas don’t do you any good in your head. That’s the difference between creativity and innovation: One is a noun, the other is a verb. Which one are you?

What bridges are you fleeing from?

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, Entrepreneur, Mentor

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

Does Your Company Pass The Testicle Test?

“Wow, that takes balls.”

That’s what people tell you.

When you do something crazy.
When you go full time as an artist.
When you take the entrepreneurial plunge.

That it requires balls.

Cujones. Courage. Moxie. The willingness to step up and stick yourself out there.

I agree. I think it absolutely takes balls to change the world.


Having balls (alone) isn’t enough.

As Lawrence Fishburne said in Boyz in the Hood, “Any fool can make a baby – but only a real man can be a father.”

TRUTH IS: Making a name for yourself begins with risk; but the only way to make it last is to blend it with regularity.

Here’s a list of ten strategies to help you hang in there, or, as I like to call it, pass The Testicle Test:

1. Focus is the mobilizing force. In The Tao of Abundance, Laurence G. Boldt reminds us that by learning to do one thing with total focus; you bring a clarity and simplicity to the whole of your life.

The question is: Will you stay focused in the face of incessant distractions trying to pull you away from your dream, or will the beckoning, elusive “door to more” seduce you into walking through?

Don’t let things derail you. Be very careful what you begin. Otherwise, spending your energies on the wrong causes will be the end of you. All that risk will lead to zero rewards, or worse yet, an abundance of rewards that don’t matter. How much money are you losing (not) focusing on your priorities?

2. Call upon untested faculties that await your discovery. Sustainability is a function of adaptability. That is, deploying your gifts in new ways to add new value. A helpful audit is to ask yourself the following questions once a quarter:

*Which of your skills do you rarely get the opportunity to use at work?
*What personal skills have you not tapped into yet to build your business?
*What personal skills have you not tapped into yet to add value to your customers?

Eventually, your arsenal of sustainability tools (backbone) will support your attitude of courageous action (balls). How many new skills have you recently become known for?

3. Mere movement is meaningless. Especially if you’re mistaking movement for progress. On the other hand, if you’re making real advancement – even if you’re moving at a glacial pace – eventually the world is going to notice.

As long as you don’t regret what you have set in motion. Instead, develop faith in the decisions you made. And know every step you take (as long as it’s a smart step) makes the probability of success higher. What are you moving toward?

4. Take personal and proactive responsibility for your own evolution. The first step is learning to recognize and refuse the old image of yourself. That way you’ll know what (not) to regress back into.

Next, be surgical in your improvement. Keep rotation constant. And be willing to trust the process of change. Otherwise, like the phone book, you’ll move closer to extinction with every passing day.

Third, don’t preserve yesterday. Reflect upon it, yes – dwell upon it, no. Learn from it, yes – be shackled by it, no. Remember: No adapt, no advance. You must be a willing participant in that process. What change are you afraid to invite?

5. Deliberately slow down. Success turns into failure when it comes too fast, too early or too abundantly. I experienced this about ten years ago. My career blasted off before I had the chance to get my oxygen mask on. Not surprisingly, my left lung eventually collapsed. Then I really needed oxygen.

That became the lesson about proceeding before you’re ready: Impatience pays off, but only when it’s balanced with intermission. I discovered that all the balls in the world are irrelevant when you’ve got a tube in your chest. Learn to honor what stops you. And if nothing stops you, stop yourself. Are you an expert at pressing the off button?

6. Recognize failure as part of the plan. Otherwise your remarkable inability to learn from past errors will be the seed of your demise. Instead, build the stamina to recover rapidly from disappointment.

Because the question isn’t, “Do you have balls?” but rather, “When the world kicks you in the crotch, how quickly do you get up?” It all depends on your adaptive capacity. Remember: The falling is inevitable – the harm is optional. What gifts have your failures given you?

7. Trust accelerates trajectory. Risk requires trust, and trust requires evidence. That’s the hard part. So, it becomes a process of uncertainty reduction through repeated action. The more venues in which you reveal yourself, the more trust you garner for yourself.

Your mission is to match each moment of risk taking (having balls) with three moments of backbone engaging (sustaining stamina). How did you increase your self-trust this week?

8. Sustaining is a function of restraining. My clients frequently tell me that the discipline that I administer is astounding. To work. To life. To everything. And I’m always grateful for that compliment because most people don’t notice it. They assume boldness solidifies success on its own.

This, of course, is a lie.

Discipline is the hallmark of greatness. The foundation of all creativity. The four-letter word that guarantees success. And it’s the differentiator that will set you apart from all other creative professionals. You just need to ask yourself what you’re willing to give up to get what you want.

Remember: Risky becomes stupid the moment it touches inconsistency. Do it everyday or don’t do it all. What waits you in the refining fire of discipline?

9. Poke savagely away. Genius is a great spark, but rededication is the firewood that keeps that fire blazing. Think Mozart or Beethoven were happy with being one-hit-wonders?

No way. They were hundred-hit-heroes. All because they risked initially, but (also) refused to discontinue the passionate pursuit of their craft indefinitely.

You owe your success to a pattern. Step back from the canvas, step back within yourself and steer clear of complacency. Otherwise you’re just another Right Said Fred: To sexy for your shirt, so sexy it hurts. How many hours did you practice yesterday?

10. Be always planting seeds for the future. Small deposits. Every day. With intensity of desire and consistency determination. And, if you don’t have any options – create some. Map it out. Plan your learning trajectory.

I do this every few years with my own business. I’ll map out where I’ve come, where I am, and where I’d like to be. Then I’ll brainstorm a list of seeds that need to be planted to make my envisioned future a tangible reality. What’s growing in your garden of success?

REMEMBER: Action without consistency always falls short of mastery.

Next time someone remarks to you, “Wow, that takes balls,” silently remind yourself of the following truth:

Yes, it takes balls to stick yourself out there – but it takes backbone to KEEP yourself out there.

Does your company pass The Testicle Test?

For the ebook called, “15 Ways to Out LEARN Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

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