How to be a Monument of Non-Conformity

I’m aware of the irony of publishing a list of instructions on how not to conform.

And I confess to the glaring paradox of a non-conformist like myself publishing a blog post that teaches people how to conform to a standard of non-conformity.

BUT TWAIN WAS RIGHT: Don’t assume you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.

AS WAS EINSTEIN: Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities.

AND SO WAS EMERSON: A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist.

Here’s how to be a monument to non-conformity:

1. Discover what drummed the magic out of you. Indoctrination starts early. Very early. Usually long before you’re old enough to realize there’s a shiny watch swinging above your head. The trick is to travel back in time and pinpoint the person, institution or dogma that first hypnotized you.

Then, to honestly admit how that conditioning affected your choices as you grew up. My friend Richard, a therapist and life coach, asks his clients: “Name the first person that told you that who you were wasn’t okay.” Oof. Not a smooth path to walk down. Crappy self-confrontation.

Still, this kind of exercise yields tremendous insight into your (subconscious) conformist beginnings. And without such reflection, you run the risk of compromising your truth. “Becoming vacant in the eyes as you conform,” as Chris Whitley sang in Din of Ecstasy. Are you willing to look in the mirror and ask yourself when you stopped thinking for yourself?

2. Avoid fitting in. “What could I do – in this moment – that would be the exact opposite of everyone else?” This is the guiding question of my decision-making process. Has been since I was a kid. But now that I’m thirty, I don’t even think about it anymore. It just happens.

The question is forever engraved upon my bones like a cosmic serial number. And that’s my argument: Simply standing out is only half the equation. You have to actively avoid fitting in, too. How are you converting yourself into a square peg?

3. Work outside mainstream thinking. Is fitting in such a high virtue? No way. Don’t refuse to become anything other than what to group tells you to be. Make a conscious choice not to be a ditto. An echo. A copy of a copy.

Ask yourself (and your organization) to complete the following sentence: “The way we challenge the status quo is ____________.”

Then, post your answers on your website. After all, the answers to that question are the building blocks of your monument of non-conformity. Have you publicly refused to occupy the middle?

4. Practice positive deviance. That means believe what you believe because you (actually) believe it – not because somebody told you to believe and you mindlessly followed.

That means free yourself from the constraints of heartless orthodoxy.
That means make yourself the exception to as many rules as possible.
That means approach everything with a healthy dose of curiosity and aggressive skepticism.

However: Don’t deviate just for the sake of deviating. Mindless contrarianism isn’t much better than mindless conformity. I urge you to bleed for what you want, but not for the sole purpose of staining the rug. Do you know when to break the rules?

5. Hack a new path. My friend Genuine Chris wrote a brilliant blog post related to today’s topic. Here’s an excerpt that made my stomach drop:

“The difference makers are the people who are indifferent to what the crowd does or thinks. They create the world and mold it regardless of resistance. They ignore the persistent tether of the mediocre and don’t brag about seventy hour weeks, but brag about how much of their mind, soul and spirit they engaged to solve a problem.”

Lesson learned: Don’t live with the results of other people’s thinking. Push beyond group norm constraints. Are you following an existing path of safety or going where there is no path and leaving a trail of blood?

6. Be unafraid to court controversy. Again, not because you want to make noise – but because you want to keep rein on your individual. To show the world that you refuse to stand mute. And to “throw off the shackles of non-conformity and shout a throaty no to anything non-wow,” as Tom Peters wrote.

My suggestion: Take contrarian positions on more issues. Hell, on all issues. Make yourself a model of courageous living and thinking by constantly asking yourself: What do I risk in presenting this message? Because if the answer is, “not much,” you lose. Your monument to non-conformity crumbles under the weight of gutlessness.

Remember: Going against the grain welcomes splinters. Have your tweezers ready. What risk are you going to have to learn to live with?

7. Big isn’t necessarily beautiful. The bigger you get, the fewer risks you take. There’s just too much pressure to be predictable. That’s why smaller organizations, freelancers and one-man shows – who choose not to conform – win.

They’re not prisoners of their own bigness.And they’re the sole shot-callers. Thank God. After all: Who says monuments have to stand five hundred feet tall? Small is an acceptable destination. As Seth Godin wrote in Small is the New Big:

“Changes in the way that things are made and talked about mean that big is no longer an advantage. Big used to matter – and then small happened. And small means the founder is close to the decisions that matter and can make them quickly. As such, small is the new big only when the person running the small thinks big.”

Remember: If size mattered, dinosaurs would still be alive. How can you be a monumental without being monstrous?

8. Shields up. When you do decide to stand out, prepare yourself for inevitable slings and arrows from the people around you. It comes with the territory of occupying the margins. You’ll find that many of them will become uncomfortable. Or feel threatened by your distinctiveness. They’d much rather you fit in – that way they could ignore you.

Unfortunately, because you’ve sculpted yourself into a monument of non-conformity, people are (now) confronted with just how boring they really are. Good. Maybe that will disturb them into action. Maybe Steven Pressfield was right: “When we see others living their authentic lives, it drives us crazy because we know we’re not living our own.” Are you prepared to be hated?

ULTIMATELY: Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

That’s what John F. Kennedy said in his address to the UN General Assembly on September 25th, 1961 – and it still holds true today.

I challenge you to contest the conventional.
I challenge you to drum up a delightful disturbance.
I challenge you to make yourself into monument to non-conformity.

Your voice will be heard by the people who matter.

What do you do to go against the grain?

For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” 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!

9 Ways to Turn Your Pipe Dream into a Dream Come True

To execute is to put to death.

THAT’S THE KILLER QUESTION: What do you need to murder in your life that’s preventing you from taking action?

That annoying neighbor whose home cooking smells like hot trash?

Regardless of your situation, everyone can benefit from a few execution lessons.

Here: Your first session is on the house.

1. Finished is the new perfect. Perfect is boring anyway. As Mary Poppins taught us, “Enough is as good as a feast.” That’s your first execution lesson: To declare it done, throw your arms up in the air and say, “The hay is in the barn.”

Kind of like that night senior year when you were cramming for your calculus exam – somewhere around midnight while all your friends were getting smashed at Skipper’s – and you reached the point of diminishing returns. “If I don’t know it now, I’ll never know it,” you said.

So you packed up, walked home and got a good night’s sleep. Then you went to class the next day and made those derivatives your bitch. Way to go.

Remember: You’re the only one waiting for you to get everything right. Eighty percent is enough. Trust your resources. Nobody is going to notice the final twenty anyway. Did you postpone (again!) because you’re sweating something irrelevant?

2. Declare a stern deadline of no more. The hardest part about being an author is cutting. Deleting chapters that are brilliant but unnecessary. After twelve books in eight years, I still feel physical pain in my stomach every time I do it.

But that’s the secret: I wouldn’t even have this many books published at the age of thirty if I trapped myself in the eternal loop of pointless editing like every other author. Instead, I give myself “no more deadlines.” For example, “After the date of June 1, I will not add or subtract anything from this book.”

That’s the only way to get it done. That’s the only way to ship.

And yes, I find one or two typos in every book I write. But, in the words of Larry Winget, bestselling author of more than thirty books, “My crap is better than your nothing.” Are you stalling a product that, by the time it’s perfect and ready, some other chump company will have already finished, sold and shipped their version of it?

3. Exorcise falsehoods. End the barrage of lies. Be honest with yourself about these three questions: Are you making something useful or just making something? Are you creating problems you don’t have yet just to feel in control? Are you wasting your money solving an imaginary problem beautifully?

If so, you may be foreclosing on your own good efforts. Truth is: Execution is priceless; but when you’re miles away from meaningful work, it’s about as valuable as a used MC Hammer album. Does what you’re doing – right now – matter?

4. Establish real-world momentum. In physics class, you learned that momentum (mass times velocity) means moving without deliberate acceleration. In short: Moving, but only by using what you already have. Alex J. Mann, who blogged a series of articles on execution had this to say:

“Momentum doesn’t hit when you first edge off the starting line. But it begins to creep in when you start moving against the wind towards the unknown horizon. This is why momentum is so vital to a solid execution strategy. It proves one thing: that you are capable of getting things done with very little.”

My suggestion is to constantly ask the ultimately movement value question: Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?

5. Ship now, fix later, perfect never and bleed always. That’s the execution process for my creative practice. What’s yours? While you’re thinking about that, let’s turn to Derek Sivers of CD Baby for executional insight:

“Make it. Even if you don’t have the massive programming skill available, make a super lo-fi or no-fi version. Just get started with a couple friends and volunteers. It’s so much more impressive to hear someone say, ‘There’s this thing that I’ve started doing that a lot of people seem to like.’”

What can you do in the first half of the day to demonstrate focus and unstoppable action?

6. Find a way to start small. If it’s gathering dust, it’s bleeding money. Try this: Even if you can’t go the whole hog immediately, execute a small component of your idea early. Use social media platforms as testing ground. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that nobody even notices the minor flaws you’re losing sleep over. And know that the smaller and earlier you do it, the quicker and easier it is to hide your mistakes.

Besides, what’s worse: Hitting bumps in the road that project you forward, or go along sailing smoothly without realizing you’re actually standing still or worse, going backward?

Remember: Screwing up quietly beats sitting around loudly. As I learned in The Cult of Done Manifesto, “Failure counts as done, and so do mistakes.” Just admit it: You’re never really ready. Start small and win big. Will you let action eclipse excuse?

7. You don’t need more ideas. As a writer, public speaker and consultant, this is a huge problem for me. Especially since my idea inventory is slowly approaching 75,000 strong. I know. I’m like a chocoholic, but for creativity. Sometimes I get so entrenched in the joy of collecting and organizing ideas that I forget to do anything with them.

Whoops. Too bad I didn’t learn the secret until a few years ago. It simple: While ideas set the wheel in motion, execution is where the rubber meets the road. Your challenge is to regularly ask the question: When is it time to stop creating and start judging?

8. Action isn’t an afterthought. Engineer action into every idea you have. Otherwise they’re going to remain nouns in a marketplace where customers only buy verbs.

Incidentally, did you know the word “execution” has the same Latin derivative as the word “sequel”? Interesting. Maybe that’s what it means to execute – to make a sequel. After all, each experience contains the value of helping us decide what to do next. How are you entering into each endeavor with an attitude of action?

9. Jealousy is a waste of time. If someone else executes faster than you, it’s not because you’re incompetent or complacent – it’s because they have more resources at their disposal. Relax. Stop projecting. Stop resenting. Instead, focus on what’s standing in the way of accomplishing similar results.

For example: Creating busywork to avoid the important isn’t execution – that’s procrastination. Are you guilt of that? What about this: Remaining dangerously committed to not losing money is the enemy of execution. How are you in that department?

Remember: Be very careful about the expectations you set for yourself. Are you using your abilities constructively, or is your drive and ambition directed to unproductive and purely self-seeking channels?

REMEMBER: Your ability is only as good as its execution.

Ideas aren’t meant to stay ideas.

Don’t leave them that way.

Will your idea stay a pipe dream or become a dream come true?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” 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!

How to Create Something Worth Being Criticized

If you’re not polarizing, you’re not monetizing.

If you’re making people react, you’re not making a difference.

If everybody loves what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong.

THAT’S YOUR CHALLENGE: Create something worth being criticized.

Otherwise you’re boring.
Just another slice of average cut from the mediocre multitude.

Otherwise you’re ignored.
Just another non-entity in the infinite grey mass of blah blah blah.

Otherwise you’re forgotten.
Just another flash-in-the-pan, all-shtick-no-substance, one-trick-pony.

AND THE TRUTH IS: Criticism isn’t something you draw – it’s something you earn.

If you want to create something worth being criticized, consider these ideas:

1. Change your reactions to criticism. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield suggests that we recognize criticism (especially the envy-driven variety) for what it really is: Supreme compliment.

“The critic hates most what he wishes he would have done himself he had the guts.”

Lesson learned: Next time someone attacks you, smile. Even if you do so internally. Know that you’ve done your job and that it’s probably got nothing to do with you. In fact, consider keeping Criticism Log. Document daily victories of being hated – even in minor moments – as reminders that you haven’t lost your edge. What’s your definition of (and relationship with) criticism?

2. Assess the risk. There is an inverse relationship between your willingness to risk and the likelihood of criticism. For example, one of the questions I ask myself every morning as I sit down to work is, “What do I risk is presenting this material?”

If the answer is “not much” or “nothing,” I either rework it – or don’t publish it at all. It’s simply not daring enough. Too much ink, not enough blood. And whether you’re a writer or not, the challenge is the same: Create a filter for your own work that reinforces the importance of risk. You might ask, “Who will this idea piss off?” or “How much hatemail will this garner?”

Otherwise you’re just wasting your time. Otherwise you’re just winking in the dark. How do you assess the risk of what you release to the world?

3. Disturb people. The word “disturb” comes from the Latin emotere – the same derivative as the word “emotion.” That’s all you’re doing when you’re being a disturbance: Evoking emotion. Interrupting the quiet. Unsettling the peace. Upsetting the mental landscape. Could be positive or negative or neutral. Doesn’t matter.

The point is: You can’t go down in history if you’re not willing to shake things up in the present. Therefore: Learn to be constructively challenging – but without being ignorantly defiant. Learn to be delightfully disturbing – but without being painfully annoying.

After all, grinding the gears just because you love the sound doesn’t help anyone. And doing something just for the sake of being criticized isn’t worth being criticized for. Are your monkey wrenches well intentioned?

4. Wage an ongoing war against mediocrity. People who maintain a constant posture of challenging the process don’t just get noticed – they get nailed to crosses. Which, if you have thick enough skin – and perhaps some snacks to hold you over until the cavalry comes (no pun intended) – isn’t as bad as it sounds.

Take Bill Maher, for example. In the aftermath of 9/11, he refuted president Bush’s message that the terrorists were cowards: “We have been the real cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away,” explained Maher on Political Incorrect, “And staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, isn’t cowardly.”

Not surprisingly, Maher’s comments became a major controversy. Advertisers withdrew their support. Affiliates stopped airing the show temporarily. Even White House press secretary Ari Fleischer denounced Maher, according to the show’s Wikipedia page.

Sure enough, Politically Incorrect was cancelled six months later. Shortly thereafter, Maher moved to HBO to start shooting Real Time, which has recently been resigned for its ninth and tenth seasons. According to Nancy Geller, senior vice president, HBO Entertainment, “Bill Maher is one of the most sought-after opinion makers on TV, and I’m delighted that this fearless and provocative observer will return to HBO next year.”

Oh, and did I mentioned that since getting kicked off the air in 2002, Maher produced, wrote and directed the seventh most successful documentary of all time? Yep. Lesson learned: Violently refuse to become a follower of the common ways of the mediocre masses. Are you letting the world bring your average down, or are you dedicated to bringing its average up?

5. Negativity sucks – but silence sucks money out of your bank account. Oscar Wilde as right: “The only thing worse than being talked about – is not being talked about.” For example, I’d rather have my readers say that my books are drivel-filled hamster terds – than say nothing at all. And I’d rather my audience members tell me I was the worst speaker on the planet than sit there for an hour sexting their boyfriends.

Disagreement and doubt is a form of engagement. It means people heard you, and that’s what matters. Like Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz once said in a Rolling Stone Interview, “Happiness would be nice. Sadness would suck. But insignificance is the worth thing of all.” Next time your work gets beamed, consider it a victory. Better to be impugned than to be ignored. Are you earning criticism or hearing crickets?

6. Honesty scares people. Creating art is a simple process: Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page. Note well: I used the words “vein, blood and truth.” That’s the difference-maker: Criticism is earned by people who are willing to dance along, happily cross and stretch miles beyond the line.

My suggestion: Go there. “Take a chance – tell the truth,” as George Carlin reminded us. Take your readers, audience members and viewers somewhere they didn’t want to go – or never thought they’d go – but then make them so grateful they’re there that they never want to leave. How are you branding your honesty?

REMEMBER: Anything worth doing is worth being attacked for.

Ultimately, creating something worth being criticized is a risky, demanding and unglamorous process.

But that’s what difference makers do.

Sure as hell beats being ignored.

When was the last time you received hate mail?

For the list called, “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” 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!

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!

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