Is Anyone Else Tired of Being Right?

Have you ever been in a committed relationship with someone that you loved completely and devoted yourself to fully – who was totally wrong for you?

That’s terminal certainty.

It’s that mindset when you’ve convinced yourself that you’re correct, despite evidence to the contrary. And from that moment on, nothing will make you go back on your commitment. Nothing.

Because you just know.

The decision is final: She’s the one. Together forever. End of story. No room for discussion.

And then one morning, you wake up and realize that you no longer like this person, you no longer want to spend the rest of your life with this person and, by the way, none of your friends ever liked this person in the first place.

They just kept quiet to avoid breaking your heart. So you stayed together to preserve your sense of rightness. And as a result, you ended breaking your own heart.

That’s terminal certainty.

AND DON’T GET ME WRONG: I’m all about commitment.

But the ego has a sneaky way of convincing the heart that it has shit for brains. And if you’re not careful, you can become a victim of your own conviction.

Here are a few ideas to help you cure terminal certainty:1. Practice listening louder. Readers often ask me how I know what I’m going to write about each day. And to their frustration, my answer is always, “I don’t.”

Because that’s not the way creativity works. You can’t decide what you’re going to write – all you can do is listen for what wants to be written. Otherwise you end up limiting yourself to what you already know you want. And that prevents you from hearing the unintentional music that might change everything.

The same goes for the page of life: If you want to keep yourself open to possibility, don’t ignore the whispering invitations of the world. Listen loudly. Respond to your inner urgencies. And trust that whatever needs to open within you, will. Because the last thing you want to do is force-feed the canvas with something that doesn’t matter.

If you’re not alert to the forces streaming around you, you’ll never pin down what wants to be written. Grow bigger ears. Trust the process. And always ask yourself what wants acceptance in this moment. You’ll have no trouble figuring out your next move. What are you allowing yourself to give birth to?

2. Goals are overrated. It’s one thing to be goal oriented – it’s another to be goal obsessed. That’s the problem: Once you become too fixated on your goals, a whole host of dangerous reverberations echo through your life. First, you lose sign of the true intention behind the goal. And that’s way more important than crossing some arbitrary number off your list.

Second, you become too attached to the outcome. And you lose site of what matters most: The person you’re becoming while accomplishing the goal. Third, you lock yourself into working on something you’re no longer passionate about. And that’s not fair to you, your work or the world.

And finally, when you’re too fixated on accomplishing your goals, you end up living in a perpetual state of dissatisfied expectation. And that blocks you from finding contentment in the now.

My suggestion: Hold intentions; don’t set goals. This approach focuses on the present moment, isn’t so outcome oriented and makes it easier to pivot when life throws you a curveball. Then, instead of striving for the finish line, you can remember why the hell you’re running in the first place. Will you really be that much happier when you accomplish all your goals?

3. Certainty locks down your story. After wearing a nametag everyday for the past eleven years, I’ve finally comes to terms with this reality: Commitment has the potential to degrade into detriment.

Here’s why: The deeper you commit to something, the more likely you are to become so obsessed with idea of being committed to that something, that your desire actually becomes bigger than what you’re committed to. And as a result, you end up hurting the people you love because you’re blinded by the fire of your own conviction.

What’s more, you block yourself from whole world of cool opportunities that would have come your way had you not been so damn certain.

But it’s too late. You were too right.

All I’m saying is: Never overlook the possibility of changing your mind midstream. There’s nothing wrong with quitting. And it’s not a sign of failure to change your vision. As long as you do so when it’s right – not when it’s hard – nobody is going to spank you with a ruler.

In fact, they’ll probably give you a medal. At least you had the guts to admit you were wrong, turn the car around and barrel into the other direction. Most people wouldn’t be able to handle that kind of imperfection. Are you too attached to it?

4. Plans are for architects. One of my favorite mantras comes from legendary point guard Steve Nash: “If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.” I’ve been living that philosophy for nearly a decade.

Think about it: When I started my business the day I graduated college, I had no idea what I was doing. And now, nearly a decade later, I’m happy to report that I still have no idea what I’m doing.

Interestingly enough, it seems to be working: Business is good, and life is even gooder. That’s the big secret nobody tells you in business school: You don’t need to know where you’re going – you just need to know why you’re going there. Because if you know your why, the how will come. As long as you develop a deeper awareness of the dance – and believe that the path will take you where you want to go – you’ll figure it out.

Stop making gods out of your plans. Find your core motivation, embed into the pavement and use the why to set yourself on fire. Because the irony is, there’s actually a lot of predictability in uncertainty. But only if you listen. Are you willing to plunge forward planless?

REMEMBER: Our troubles come not when we think we’re wrong, but when we’re sure we’re right.

Life’s too short to stay on the wrong path just to avoid looking like an idiot.

Try not knowing. Hug uncertainty. Be blissfully ignorant.

Are you still addicted to terminal certainty?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Out Attract Your Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on!

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Geographic Impotence, or, How Having No Sense of Direction Can Change Everything

Consider four clichés:

If you don’t know where you’re going, you may never get there.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you’ve finally arrived.

I respectfully disagree.

In my experience:

If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.
If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s no destination to scare you.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you may end up somewhere better.
If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s easy to hear unintentional music.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you can pivot and change mid-course.
If you don’t know where you’re going, the wheels of serendipity can set in motion.

My name is Scott, and I am geographically impotent.

Which isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you have to lose your way to find your home. But personally, I can’t imagine living in a world where you can’t get lost.

Today we’re going to talk about the value of having no sense of direction.

Feel free to let your brain wander:1. Intelligence is the great impediment. Admittedly, I didn’t put lot of thought into my first book. There was no strategy, no through line, no promise to the reader, no take home value for the buyer and no unique selling proposition for the target market.

I just wrote it because I wanted to write it. I wrote it because I had a story worth telling. And I wrote it because if I didn’t, my heart would never forgive me. So I just shipped the damn thing.

And when the book came out, it’s not like I wised up and got my act together. There was still marketing strategy. No social media push. And no finely orchestrated plan that was in perfect alignment with my personal vision statement and life purpose.

I just handed out copies to every single person I knew, along with two free nametags in the back of each book. That’s it. And because I wasn’t trying to make money – I was trying to make a point – the book ended up making history. All because the intention was pure, the process was organic and the art was completely selfish. Sweet.

Remember: When you know too much, you execute too little. How could you become dumber today?

2. Goals are for soccer players. The problem with goals is that you’re never really happy when you accomplish them. You just keep setting more goals. And you end up living in a perpetual state of dissatisfied expectation. Nothing but an infinite regression of marginally worthwhile accomplishments.

This is not healthy.

First of all, there’s more to life than accomplishing your goals. Being trumps doing any day of the week. And just because you’re not “getting things done” doesn’t mean you’re going to disappear. Secondly, life changes. Quickly. And often times, what you thought you wanted later proves to be irrelevant, redundant or erroneous.

Instead of deadlocking your life to an arbitrary list of pointless attachments, focus on your intention. Decide how you want to invest your life. And let go of your outdated plan that has no relationship with reality. You might also try making a list of one hundred reasons why you do what you.

After all, life’s greatest transformations occur in the moments when we’ve lost our way, but preserved our why.

Remember: Success is not a spreadsheet. And what can’t be measured, matters. Are you a victim of the victories that don’t count?

3. Beware of making gods out of your plans. I don’t plan – I just sort of do stuff that feels consistent with who I am, and go from there. Truth is: Planning is procrastination in disguise. But people do it because it preserves their sense of control. It reinforces the illusion that they know what they’re doing. Which they don’t.

That’s why I’m completely against any permutation of the phrase, “Ready, aim, fire!” Because you’re never ready, aiming is overrated and fire burns people.

An alternate formula you might consider is, “Try, listen, leverage.”

First, you just try stuff. You just do stuff. Don’t plan anything. Don’t overthink it. Just start. Second, listen. To the people who matter. And not for opinions, but for reactions.

Then, be sure to treat everything you hear with deep democracy. Finally, leverage. Kill two stones with one bird. And constantly ask yourself, “Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?”

The point is: Failure doesn’t come from poor planning, but from the timidity to proceed. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how.

Instead of holding a meeting to get ready to prepare the execution of your plan for formulating your strategy to begin the initial stages of brainstorming your pre-launch, just go. Are you prematurely committing yourself to an endeavor that might later prove to be unprofitable?

4. Don’t think big – think now. The problem with the big picture is that it fills up your entire wall. And that prevents you from hanging the art that matters most. When the reality is: Just when you get there, there disappears. Just when you think you have life figured out, it changes on you like a traffic light.

And just when you think redheads are your type, your online dating profile matches you with a dishwater blonde that steals your heart like a thief in the night.

That’s been the biggest learning for me: That your currency will change. That you will outgrow things. And that you will have to leave some people behind. That’s why I’m all about getting lost. And that’s why people who try to choreograph everything piss me off.

I’m sorry, but life isn’t that predictable.

The world pivots quickly. And if you don’t meet the now need, you’re going to make the mistake of living your life and not being present for it. As Adam Duritz reminds us, “You have to be in your life or it will pass you by.”

Look: Just embrace the moment. It pays better. Are you willing to leave room for the unexpected, or are you still seduced by the sexiness of what’s next?

REMEMBER: There’s no shame is having no sense of direction.

Try getting lost. Step into the beauty of useful serendipity.

You may end up somewhere that changes everything.

What will your addiction to terminal certainty cost you?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on!

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The Steve Nash Guide to Not Knowing

I was watching basketball at the time.

When the game was over, the announcer stepped onto the floor to interview my favorite player, Steve Nash.

“It’s fascinating to watch you play. You’re quick, you’re scrappy and you’re smart. And I never know where you’re going to take the ball: Straight to the basket? Across the paint? Out to the three-point circle? I mean, how do you know where you’re going to go?”

“I don’t,” Nash replied.

The announcer froze.

“Yeah, but you’re one of the best point guards in the league. Millions of fans adore you. And your numbers are off the charts. What do you mean you don’t know?”

And with a sweaty, confident smile, Steve said something I’ll never forget:

If you don’t know where you’re going, nobody can stop you.

That’s the art of not knowing.

And it’s not only valuable for basketball players, it’s also profitable for businesspeople.

THE QUESTION IS: Are you smart enough to be dumb when it matters?

Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help you convert strategic ignorance into a competitive advantage.1. Reason is highly overrated. When I started wearing a nametag every day, there was no strategy. There was no agenda. It was just something I did. And what always amazed me was how how hard it was for certain people to wrap their heads around that. They simply couldn’t accept the fact that I was doing something just the sake of doing it.

In fact, some of them got outright angry, insisting that there must be a deeper motivation behind my actions. Nope. I just feel like wearing a nametag. What do you want from me?

Years later, I read Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He named this type experience autotelic, or engaging in an activity or a creative work that has an end or purpose in itself. The other option is exotelic, which means doing things not because you enjoy them, but rather to accomplish a later goal.

Which category describes your actions?

The point is: Life’s too short to surround yourself with people who a demand a reason for everything. Instead, stay in touch with your childlike sensibility. Never discard your playful spirit. And remember that sometimes, digging a hole is just digging a hole. You don’t need to find the treasure when digging is the treasure.

After all: Sometimes the best reason is the one you don’t have. Are you motivated by the quality of the experience you feel or the quantity of the results you achieve?

2. Position yourself as the curious one. Not knowing has nothing to do with stupidity. It has everything to do with being aggressively skeptical and keeping a posture of incurable curiosity.

That way, you can recognize the broken patterns most people miss. That way, you’re the person who comes in, raises his hand and asks the dumb questions everybody else stopped asking long ago because they already know everything.

Which they don’t. They just haven’t kicked their addiction to terminal certainty yet, and they need a fix.

That’s what I tell the clients who rent my brain: That I’m an outsider. A new pair of eyes. And the reason they’re paying me is because I know nothing. Yes, it sounds like a counterintuitive position to take as a consultant.

But in my experience, when you become known as a breath of fresh air, those who matter will come in droves to inhale. And they’ll pay big money to sustain that high. Look: People are tired of listening to the same messages from the same people. Try walking in with some perspective. You’ll walk out with a check.

Remember: Sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything. How are you marketing your stupidity?

3. Not knowing is the great gateway. In the humbling book Being Wrong, author Kathryn Schulz takes the reader on an adventure through the margin of error. Here’s my favorite passage:

“We all outgrow some of our beliefs. So instead of parading your own brilliance, try rebuilding your understanding. Otherwise certainty becomes an obstacle to the path toward truth.”

That’s the cool part about not knowing: It engages a higher part of yourself. That’s what keeps you mentally flexible. That’s what allows you to trust the process. And that’s what affords you the psychological freedom to pivot into new directions. Only from that space of openness, vulnerability and surrender can you make discoveries that change everything.

The only problem is: Not knowing will drive your ego crazy. Even if you know you’re wrong — your head will make sure your heart never gets that memo.

But that’s an inner battle you have to fight. And it will annoy you to no end. My suggestion: For one week, stop being right. No arguing, no asserting your opinion and no spinning everything people say into another statement you disagree with. You’ll be amazed how differently you treat people when you’re not trying so hard to prove them wrong. What insecurity is being disguised by your relentless need to be right?

4. Ignorance isn’t just bliss — it’s boldness. I started my company the day I graduated from college. I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t smart enough and I had no experience. But I took the plunge anyway. Because I knew that if I waited until I knew what I was doing, I never would have done anything.

That’s the advantage of not knowing: It gets you going. And as long as you have the right mindset, jumping doesn’t have to be a reckless endeavor. Risky, but not reckless.

Here’s the distinction: Risky is embracing uncertainty; reckless is rejecting ambiguity. Risky is growing increasingly mindful of how your pebbles ripple, reckless is remaining utterly unconcerned about the consequences of action.

All I’m saying is: The less you know, the less you fear. And it’s a lot easier to break the limit when you don’t know the limit exists. At least that’s what the officer told me. If you didn’t know the ropes, would that give you permission to to fly?

REMEMBER: Any idiot can be right.

Only a real genius can embrace wrong.

Pull a Steve Nash. Give not knowing a try.

Because life is boring when you know all the answers.

Are you still addicted to terminal certainty?

For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on!

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In Praise of Duh

People who have it all figured out scare me.

I don’t know about you, but:

I’m not ready.
I’m never ready.
I’m not smart enough.
I’m never smart enough.

And if I waited until I knew what I was doing, I never would have done anything.

I don’t marry myself to ideas.
I don’t box myself into rigid plans.
I don’t set as many goals as I used to.
I don’t think my way into limited corners.
I don’t commit solely to one course of action.
I don’t have some arbitrary, one-sentence overarching life vision statement.
I don’t blindly follow outdated plans that have no relationship with reality just to avoid looking inconsistent.

And I refuse to kill myself planning things that I don’t control and that are going change anyway.I love failing.
I love getting lost.
I love not knowing.
I love making mistakes.
I love leaving room for the unexpected.
I love attending to life wherever it moves.
I love seeking out new ways to be stretched.

And I’m constantly rewriting my definition of victory.

I can’t believe this is my job.
I can’t believe I’m getting paid for this.
I can’t believe I haven’t been found out yet.
I can’t believe nobody has exposed me as inadequate.
I can’t believe people haven’t caught on to how clueless I really am.
I can’t believe I’ve deceived the world into believing that I know what I’m doing.

And I just know that at any second, I’m going to slip up, blow my cover and it’s only a matter of time before the world spots my shortcomings, wises up and boots me out.


I allow myself to trust the process
I humble myself to the door of next.
I permit myself to meet life in the middle.
I make myself predisposed to compromise.
I keep myself open and amenable to the changes of life.
I give myself the psychological freedom to move in a new direction.
I allow myself to stand on a springboard instead of struggling in a straightjacket.
I trust myself enough that wherever starting over takes me, I’ll still be able to excel.

And I have no clue what the future holds.

I choose to live larger than my labels.
I choose to become bigger than my past.
I choose to yield to the impulse of expression.
I choose to become known for more than one thing.
I choose a name for myself that’s big enough to hold my life’s work.
I choose to allow the new opportunities that come along to outshine the brightness of the former version of myself.

And I know that what identifies me doesn’t define me.

I believe the detour is the path.
I believe life isn’t as predictable as we want.
I believe the less you know, the less you fear.
I believe ignorance isn’t just bliss, it boldness.
I believe life is boring when you know all the answers.

And I am not stopped by not knowing how.

I think that just when you get there, there disappears.
I think that what you know limits what you can imagine.
I think the more you plan; the harder it becomes to invite healthy derailments.
I think that everything that happens to me is exactly what was supposed to happen, even if it seems inconsistent with the brilliant life plan I orchestrated.

And as much of a control freak that I am, I’m fully aware that I have no control, I never will, and I’m not going to waste my energy trying to preserve it.

That’s why I praise duh.

Duh protects me.
Duh humanizes me.
Duh keeps me humble.
Duh is a warning system.
Duh inspires me to become better.
Duh motivates me to achieve great things.
Duh gives me permission to explore alternatives.
Duh helps me keep checks and balances on myself.
Duh keeps me approachable to the people who matter most.

So that’s it.

I’m done trying to eradicate feelings of inadequacy.

And I thank god that I’m clueless.

Because sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything.

How are you marketing your duh?

For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

The Art of Making People Feel Seen

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

“I see you.”

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

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

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

That’s how you make people feel seen.

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


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

“We never got lazy with each other.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t make people feel invisible.

Love them. Honor them. Acknowledge them.

And they will come back.

What do you see when you see people?

For the list called, “22 Unexpected Ways to Help People,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Is your frontline IN line?

Tune in to The Frontline Channel on!

Watch video lessons on delivering unforgettable service!

Are You Sculpting These Four Muscles of Approachable Leaders?

1. Energy is the best attractor. People might not remember what you said – but they’ll never forget how your energy made them feel.

That’s what brings them back for more of you. That’s what causes them to tell everyone they know about you. Whether or not your forcefield of aliveness helped them fall in love with themselves. How do you make people feel essential?

2. Execution is the great qualifier. If you’re not sure whether or not to trust someone, just ask one question: “What measurable success has this person achieved?” That should weed out the talkers from the doers. At the same time, remember that your prospects are probably asking the same question about you.

Your challenge is to reinforce a positive pattern of execution. To present a timeline of credibility. Otherwise you’ll appear about as qualified as George W. Bush. What have you executed this week?

3. Inauthenticity is the great deal-breaker. Because it taints everything else you do. I don’t care how smart, good-looking or successful you are. If you’re bullshitting the world, eventually they’re going to smell it. Especially if you “try” to be authentic.

Doesn’t work that way. Authenticity is like pregnancy: You either are or you aren’t. Sure, it’s not as obvious to onlookers as carrying a child. But time has this funny way of either exposing you or extolling you. May as well go with the real version. What do you rationalize as authenticity?

4. Trust is the great closer. Failure to achieve believability is a widespread challenge. Which is understandable. People are afraid of everything, so they trust nothing. The goal is to teach people to trust and believe in you again so they’re not afraid of you anymore.

After all: The more people trust IN you, the more they will bet on, buy from, follow after, stand beside and tell others about you. And if you’ve ever wondered, “Why don’t people don’t trust me?” perhaps it’s time to ask the bigger question, “Am I trustable?”

Here’s a helpful guide to become more trustable than Oprah without resorting to brainwashing or Jedi mind tricks. What are the signs that you haven’t earned someone’s trust yet?

What makes you an approachable leader?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” 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!

7 Effective Approaches for Handling The Office Criticizer without Using the Fire Extinguisher

Depending on the situation, you might try any of the following Phrases that Payses to diffuse their negative energy:

1. “You may be correct.” This phrase diffuses the energy behind someone’s attack and avoids threatening the attacker. And by giving an impression of active agreement – not passive acquiescence – you avoid adding fuel to the fire. What’s more, “You may be right” validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you TOTALLY agree with her. But, it does make it easier for the other person to hear your side of the story by way of reciprocation.

2. “I agree with you.” Similarly, this phrase “agrees with thy adversary quickly,” as the scripture suggests. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement and aligns you with the other person. That way, you’re both on the same side. Which is how resistance dissipates. Which makes moving toward a solution flow a LOT smoother.

3. “What makes this so important to you?” This gem is especially effective when someone shoots down EVERY idea you suggest. It identifies a person’s motives and challenges them to honesty examine their emotions, which, if they’ve lashed out at you, probably isn’t something they’ve done yet.

4. “I respect your opinion of my work.” My all-time favorite. Perfect for artists and creative professionals. Remember: If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not polarizing or pissing of at least SOME people, you’re doing something wrong. Likewise, if everybody loves your idea, it’s probably not that good of an idea. So, next time someone expresses a dislike for your work – especially in an attempt to fluster, insult or embarrass you – try saying this phrase.

5. “How exactly do you mean?” This responds directly to the attack instead of letting it pass unchallenged. Another variation is, “Can you give me a specific example?” Either way, have a paper and pen ready to take notes to demonstrate a willingness to listen and openness to feedback.

6. “You’re right.” Two of the most powerful words in the world. Also, two of the most beautiful words anyone will hear. This Safety Phrase surprises the attacker, short circuits their verbal violence loop and communicates the message that you’re not going to play by their rules. What’s more, it forces the other person to make a new move. Additionally, saying, “You’re right,” contains the following attributes:

a. It’s positively framed. Which redirects the conversation into a productive direction. And that can ONLY help achieve greater resolve.
b. It enters into someone else’s reality. Which demonstrates empathy. Which shows you’ve listened. Which advances the conversation into safer, more productive territory.
c. It increases someone’s pride. Which speaks to their self-esteem. Which makes them more confident about themselves. Which makes YOU feel better about YOUR self.
d. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement. Which reduces emotional distance and increases trust. And especially if someone’s really upset, getting her to trust you is your key goal.
e. It validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you’re TOTALLY agreeing with them. But, it makes them easier for them to (then) hear your side of the story.

7. Silence. Lastly, sometimes the best way to reverse the momentum of an overly aggressive or hostile person is to say nothing at all. To just shut up and let them vent. See, in many cases, that’s all they wanted: Someone to listen to them. To honor them. Or, in some cases, that’s all they needed: Someone to serve as a sounding board so they could hear how absurd their words actually were.

Of course, if none of these practices work, you can always grab the fire extinguisher, either for beatings or sprayings. It all depends on how tall the criticizer is.

Good luck.

How do you approach the office criticizer?

For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” 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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

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

4 Ways to Help People Love Themselves More When They’re With You

The best way to get people to fall love with you is to help them fall in love with themselves first.

After all, it’s not about being the life of the party – it’s about bringing other people TO life AT the party.

Here are four ways to do so:

1. Be aware of the weight you have on people. A common mistake made by unapproachable leaders is forgetting to regularly share what they’re thinking and feeling. This confusion over where the leader stands causes stress in their followers. After all, when people never know what’s on your mind, it drives them crazy.

And ultimately, the weight you have on them will become so heavy that your unpredictability will create apprehension in their process of approaching you.


What’s more, let’s talk about the peril of passion. Sure, passion is beautiful because it’s enthusiastic and contagious. But be careful. Part of being an approachable leader is cultivating an awareness of how your energy affects others. Take a campfire, for example. Yes, it provides warmth. Yes, it provides inspiration. Yes, it provides heat to cook your s’mores.

But it can also burn you (and others) pretty good. Does your intensity wear others out?

2. Don’t overwhelm people with your knowledge. In Rules of Thumb, Alan Webber identifies two types of leaders: The ones who compliment other people they work with for their ideas, and the one who use their incredible brainpower to point out the flaws in others’ thinking and shoot down their ideas.

Hopefully, you’re the former. Because the secret is to share your knowledge without showcasing it. To present your ideas without hurling them. As Bob Lefton says in Leadership Through People Skills, “Resist the urge to unload advice on people who haven’t asked for it and aren’t ready to listen to it.”

If you have a lot of ideas to convey, chunk them down into small clusters. By spacing ideas effectively, they’re easier to digest. Otherwise people feel intimidated by a barrage of knowledge, which reduces receptivity. How does the way you use your intelligence come across to the people who work with you?

3. Don’t ignore signs of discomfort in others. That means refraining from telling a lot of insignificant, endless stories that have zero relevance to anyone. This is not only uncomfortable, but also annoying. And it leaves a perception of vanity – not value – in the minds of others.

And yet, tons of people practice this without invitation and it drives others up the wall. So consumed with telling their story, they pay little or no attention to people’s irritation, impatience or disgust. Scott Adams said it best in Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook, “Be obliged to stop rambling if your listener shows signs of starvation, coma or rigor mortis.”

Otherwise, people will experience you as being too selfish to acknowledge anyone else’s right to talk. And the problem with his communication pattern is that it (1) Leaves people wondering why they bothered to listen in the first place, and (2) Lowers the likelihood that they’ll come up TO, feel relaxed AROUND, open up WITH, comfortable walk away FROM and confidently return TO you.

The secret is becoming more mindful of declining receptivity in the people around you. In addition to uncomfortable scanning their watch to see how much longer they have to listen to you, remember to watch for these warning signs: Flat assertions. Impatience. Silence. Nervousness. Superficial questioning. Unquestioning agreement. Each of these are grounded in discomfort and declining receptivity. How listenable are you perceived as being?

4. Identify and disarm silent dialogues. Assumptions. Annoyances. Preoccupations. Concerns. Questions. This is just a sampling of the communication barriers floating around in people’s heads. See, the big question people are asking themselves (as they experience you) is, “Is this person the same on the inside, as he seems on the outside?”

For your sake, I hope the answer is yes. And here’s why. In Parker Palmer’s fantastic book, A Hidden Wholeness, he addresses this perception gap:

“When the answer to that question is yes, we relax. We believe that we are in the presence of integrity and feel secure enough to invest ourselves in the relationship. When the answer to that question is no, we go on high alert. Not knowing who or what are dealing with and feeling unsafe, we hunker down into a psychological foxhole and withhold the investment of our energy, commitment and gifts.”

Wow. What existing defensiveness do you need to diffuse?

REMEMBER: We always fall in love with those who help us fall in love with ourselves.

How are you make this person light up like a Christmas tree?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” 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!

What Everybody Ought to Know about Being an Approachable Employee

1. Behavior is the broadcaster of attitude. Don’t bother announcing to people what kind of attitude you strive to maintain. Anyone who’s even (somewhat) perceptive can already tell. And here’s why: Bodies override mouths, verbs outweigh nouns and actions embody mindsets.

Whatever you feel, people can spot. Whatever you harbor, people can smell. And whatever you deny, people can detect. They might not admit it, but deep down, they know something’s going on. Christ, even the DOG is onto you. So, you may as well tell the truth about how you feel. Is your behavior consistent with your stated values, even when no one is watching?

2. Humor is the height of communication. It’s also the only universal language and the great catchall of communication. For example: Funny means listening. Funny means approval. Funny means trust. Funny means attention. Funny means memorable. Funny means engaging. Funny means emotional. Funny means credible. Funny means learning. And funny means influential.

Nothing else in the world covers more ground than humor. And the good news is, everybody is funny. Everybody has endless humor in his life. And anyone can excavate the constant and inherent hilariousness of his daily experiences to improve his communication with others. You don’t need ventriloquize other people’s humor and pawn it off as your own original material.

Learn to leverage you brain’s creative process. Learn to observe ALL your experiences as being humorous. And learn to record them in an easily accessible, organized place. You’ll be the funniest person you know. How strong is your funny bone?

3. Imperfection is the insignia of inspiration. In a 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, Madonna shared the following insight:

“Justin Timberlake is really good-looking and laid back. He’s sort of a Cary Grant. I love him. I love working with him. But I don’t recognize myself IN him. But I can see myself in Lady Gaga. At her concert, she didn’t have a lot of money for her production, she had holes in her fishnets and there were mistakes everywhere. Kind of a mess. And it was nice to see that at a raw stage.”

Lesson learned: Followers and fans can’t see a reflection of themselves in monuments of flawlessness. Are you too perfect?

4. Inauthenticity is the forecaster of failure. Eventually, people are going to find out who you really are. It’s only a matter of time. And while certain people might be able to keep the show going longer than others, putting on an act IS exhausting. Just ask any professional comedian. Everyone (eventually) runs out of steam. And that’s when their truth is revealed.

The question is: How will the people you serve respond to it? And how wide will the gap be between your Truth and their memory? After all, it doesn’t matter what YOU think – it matters what THEY remember. All I’m saying is, it might be easier (and cheaper) to start walking your Truth TODAY. What’s the difference between your onstage performance and backstage reality?

5. Overseriousness is the fountainhead of mediocrity. The only thing worth being serious about is play. Now, understand that there are two components to this philosophy. First: Play as Attitude. This is about approaching everything you do in a playful way. Experiencing the world as a curious child would. Second: Play as Action.

As my mentor and occasional therapist, Richard Avdoian taught me, “Being playful isn’t the same thing as PLAYING.” One is a philosophy, the other is an event – and both are required. So, “playing” is something you do deliberately that has nothing to do with work whatsoever.

Think of it as a mini vacation. Going to a ballgame. Riding a Slip and Slide. Watching a mind-numbing action movie. Walking your ferret. Whatever. Anything that helps you escape from work. Remember: Be playful AND let yourself play. Is your life a playground or a corporate park?

How approachable are you?

For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” 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

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

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

6 Ways to Breathe Possibility into People

Nobody cares what you’ve done.

They only care what you’ve LEARNED – and – how what you’ve learned can be applied to their world in a practical, actionable way.

That’s the secret to being an inspiration to others:

Transforming “How I did” into “How you can.”

As I mentioned in How to become the Most Inspirational Person You Know, the word “inspire” derives from the Latin inspiraire, which means, “to breathe into.”

So, what approachable leaders breathe into people is POSSIBILITY. And whether you’re writing, presenting or working with someone one-on-one, here’s a compendium of practices to help you do so:

1. Accelerate the actionability of your message. “I believe this! I can do this! I want to try this!” That’s what your readers, listeners, viewers, subscribers and audience members need to think after they’ve been exposed to your ideas. That they can take action. So, in order to move from “How I did” to “How you can,” consider compounding your message with action items like:

o An exercise to do that bridges what you said into their unique situation.
o A checklist could to keep people accountable and consistent in the future.
o An assignment that, when they’ve completed it, people will be ready to move forward.
o An equation (algorithm, formula, system, etc.) people can easily plug themselves, their situation or their company into.

BREATHE IN: You words become persuasive the moment someone is compelled to take action as a result of being exposed to them. How actionable are you?

2. Challenge people. Let’s say you’re telling a story about an obstacle you overcame. Either in a conversation, during a presentation or in a piece of writing. Here’s what you do: First, once the story is over, allow it to land. Embrace the pause. This increases the probability that your words profoundly penetrate people.

Then, call to the hearts and minds of your audience by using phrases like, “I invite you to reflect with me,” “Consider this question,” “Plug yourself into the following equation” and “Ask yourself how good you are at these things.”

BREATHE IN: Language like this immediately 180’s the message and moves the story from Me Land to You Land. How challenging are you?

3. Help people. In a few different ways. First, help people absorb and understand what you said. But allow things to unfold at their speed. Do this by becoming a master at letting the pearl sink. Second, help people see their field of possibilities. Ask them how they would coach themselves through this situation.

Do this by asking people Back to the Future Questions. Lastly, help people build long-term, self-generative capabilities. Feed the development of self-reliance. Do this by becoming a listening midwife, that is, helping others give birth to their own understanding.

BREATHE IN: Let people lead themselves. What are you helping people do?

4. Throw people lifelines. If you’re a leader, odds are, you’re not normal. And don’t worry – this isn’t a bad thing. The only challenge is making sure your message stays relevant and relatable. Otherwise “How you did” is perceived as “How the hell am I supposed to?”

For example, I’m a writer. That’s what I do. That’s my occupation. And, sure: I’m also a speaker, coach, consultant and entrepreneur. But writing is my occupation inasmuch as it occupies most of my workday. As such, I spend four to seven hours writing, every day.

Four to seven hours.

Now, upon hearing such a number, most think, “Good god. Four to seven hours? But I don’t have that kind of time to write!” And naturally, I respect that. Because it would be ridiculous to expect my clients, workshop attendees and readers to invest that kind of time each day.

So, I challenge people to start with fifteen minutes a day. That’s it. If you do the math, that comes out to 1/100th of your daily allotted time. (I don’t think that’s asking too much!) In fact, when I started my career as a writer in 2002, fifteen minutes was the unit of writing time I started out with. And if I can do it, so can you.

That’s a perfect example of a lifeline. You inspire others to function at a higher level by telling them to take action things in the context of their unique situation. You breathe life into people’s hopes and dreams by meeting them where they are.

BREATHE IN:Don’t run the risk of people thinking, “Oh, but I could never do that…” What lifeline could you throw them?

5. Democratize your experiences. Open the curtain. Simplify and demystify your message. First, ask yourself questions like, “What is the universal human emotion here?” “How could what I endured relate TO (and offer help FOR) people who aren’t like me?” and “What lessons are inherent within my experience that anybody could apply to their own life?

This line of thinking builds a generic equation your followers can plug themselves into. Second, answer those questions with nuggets, keepers, pebbles, one-liners and other digestible forms of wisdom. Third, you physically write those answers down. And fourth, you articulate those chunks of wisdom to stick the landing of the message you’re delivering.

BREATHE IN: Move people’s hearts and engage their capacity to dream. How democratic is your message?

6. Inspire others with a vision of what they can contribute. Reflect their reality. Show them what they know. Make them aware of their abundant, inherent treasures. One way to do this is to offer your attention and acknowledgment of another person’s contributions to your worldview.

For example, after having a conversation with someone, type out your notes into a bullet-point list. Then email your keepers to that person later that day. Not only does it prove you were listening, not only does it honor the other person, but it helps people see the brilliance they didn’t realize they possessed.

BREATHE IN: Inspire people to continue contributing in their own unique way. How do you reflect genius back to others?

– – –

REMEMBER: The secret to inspiring people isn’t sharing what you’ve done, but rather, what you’ve learned.

AND, the practical application of what you’ve done to their unique situation.

Otherwise “How I did” morphs into “How the hell am I supposed to?”

How actionable, relatable and translatable is your message?

For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise Receptivity of Those You Serve,” 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!

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