What’s YOUR alarm clock?

The other day, one of my coaching clients emailed me an article from Reader’s Digest called, “What If You Said Hello to Everyone In Your Path for a Month?”

Journalist Joe Kita attempted this 30-day experiment and found great success.

“Reaching out focuses you,” Kita said. “The simple act of saying hello continually pulled me back from wherever my mind had wandered and forced me to be more aware. It’s social Zen.”

So, that got me thinking.

About speed. About mindfulness. About being present.
About how we’ve become so goal-oriented in our daily actions.
About how we’ve become obsessed with achieving, getting, adding and striving.

And then I asked myself, “How has wearing a nametag pointed the way to greater awareness?”

Reflecting back upon the past eight years, these are the four things I came up with:

1. Nametagging slows me down. If I’m in a rush and someone says, “Hey Scott!” or “Dude, you’re still wearing your nametag…” I have no choice but to stop (or at least S-L-O-W down) to acknowledge that person. Their greeting – in jest or not – has acknowledged my existence, and the proper, HUMAN thing to do is to reciprocate.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you slow yourself down throughout the day?

2. Nametagging brings me back to the present moment. When standing in line or waiting for something, I often find myself daydreaming. Or brainstorming. Or thinking. Or writing something in my jotter. Or playing on my iPhone. Either way, when the cashier or person behind me says something like, “Scott, you’re next in line!” it’s a gentle nudge away from La-La Land and back into the present moment. Get out of your mind and into the now.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you find your center of gravity at the moment?

3. Nametagging trains my intuition. Remember the creepy kid from The Sixth Sense who famously said, “I see dead people”? Well, the spookiest thing about wearing a nametag 24-7 is that I’ve developed sort of a sixth sense of my own. See, every day I encounter approximately three to five new people.

The weird thing is, about a half-second before someone says, “Your name must be Scott!” or “Do you know you’re still wearing your nametag?” I can feel it. I can sense it. Like, in my gut, RIGHT before it actually happens. It’s almost scary. But, I guess after 100,000 hellos, my intuition has finally caught on.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How are you training the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation?

4. Nametagging paints me into a present corner. The other function of a nametag is its ability to keep me accountable for my behavior. Interestingly, after eight years, my likelihood to do things like: litter, tell little white lies to strangers, or, in general, be a jerk to people, has significantly decreased. Not that I don’t mess up here and there. And not that I don’t sometimes feel the desire to want to punch certain people in the throat.

The point is, when I feel the urge to impatiently snipe at someone, I always notice that little red and blue sticker in my peripheral vision. “Easy, Scott. Just breathe,” it whispers to me. Like The Incredible Hulk’s heart monitor, the nametag calms me down.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: What personal bell of awareness keeps YOU on point?

IN SHORT: Nametags are alarm clocks.

My aforementioned coaching client, Aaron McNaught, is a perfect example. He’s known as The Wakeup Guy. In his books and programs called “Waking up to Life,” he says:

“Much of humanity spends its waking hours with eyes open, yet in a state of greatly diminished awareness as the natural beauty and magic of life goes by unnoticed and unlived.”

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: Finding a tool, a technique, or a practice, that slows you down, brings you back and keeps you present.

It might not be wearing a nametag.

It might not be saying hello to everyone in your path.

It just needs to keep you here … NOW … in this moment.

What’s YOUR alarm clock?

For the list called, “12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009,” 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

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What if you practiced EVERYTHING?

Halfway through the movie The Peaceful Warrior, Nick Nolte’s character, Socrates, makes a profound point about practicing:

“That’s the difference between me and you, Danny,” he explains to his young apprentice, “You practice gymnastics. I practice EVERYTHING.”

SO, MY QUESTION IS: What are YOU practicing?

Now, I bet if you asked a hundred people, their answers might include activities like: musical scales, free-throws or magic tricks; listening, patience or question-asking; and mediation, mindfulness or yoga.

And I would say, “Good.”

Because all of those things are important to practice.

BUT, I CHALLENGE YOU: Rethink your definition of the word “practice.”

Because it’s not just a word. It’s not just some action you do repeatedly for twenty minutes a day.

It’s a religion. And by that I don’t mean “The Divine” or “Your Personal Faith,” but rather whatever your life is dedicated most to.

So, the follow-up question to, “What are you practicing?” is…

How could you approach everything you do as practice?

Wow. What a concept.

This goes WAY beyond practicing musical scales or magic tricks.

We’re talking about practicing LIFE.
We’re talking about practicing BEING YOURSELF.
We’re talking about practicing YOUR CHERISHED VALUES.

Yes, all of these things can be practiced.

But only if your definition of the word, “practice” evolves.

If you’re focused on the process, not the product.
If you’re focused on the journey, not the destination.
If you’re focused deepening and enhancing, not achieving and bettering.

Because you’re not striving for perfection.

You’re not striving at all.

You’re just DOING. Just BEING.

You’re not waiting for The Main Event, The Big Competition or Game Day.

EVERY day is game day. Every moment is game moment. And NOW, this present experience, IS practice. For its own sake. For the love of practice.

My education in the religion of practice has evolved from three key periods in my life:

I first understood the value of practice when I began playing, composing, recording and performing music at the age of 12. My dad, who taught me music – both the art of appreciating AND playing it – said it best: “You just have to play everyday.”

That’s it. You don’t need lessons. You don’t need Mel Bay Book 2. Just play every day. Whether it’s for five minutes or five hours.

Practicing music is just what musicians DO.

As BB King once said, “If I forget to practice one day, only I will be able to tell. But if I forget practice two days in a row, my audience will be able to tell.”

I further understood the value of practice when I started my company in 2002. As a writer, all my mentors’ advice all pointed to the same thing: “A writer writes. Always.” http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

So, you practice writing. Every single day, without exception. It doesn’t matter if you create one line, one page or one chapter on that day.

Practicing writing is just what writers DO.

As my favorite author, Steven Pressfield once said, “All that matters is having the courage to sit down a try, every day.”

Then, in 2008, my philosophy evolved to a new level. Once I started practicing yoga, THAT act became the vehicle for awakening to the TRUE value of practice.

Yoga rocked my world. It shook my soul. It changed me forever. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. And the cool part was, as a student of yoga, I learned that you don’t “go to yoga class.”

You go to practice.

It’s a noun AND a verb.

Pretty cool, huh?

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: You never “get better” at anything.

You only ENHANCE your practice.
You only DEEPEN your practice.

Every day. Even if you can’t make it into the studio every day. After all, your yoga “practice” is isn’t something that’s limited to the studio.

Practicing is just what yogis DO.

As Hatha Yoga guru Bikram Choudhry says, “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again.”

So, as my philosophy of practice has evolved, I’ve started to ask myself a few NEW questions. For example:

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice LIFE?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice LIVING?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could practice BEING?

Not to achieve anything. Not to prepare for anything. Just for the practice.

Wouldn’t it be cool to shift your attitude in a way that, at ANY POINT during the day, if someone called your cell phone and asked, “So, what are you up to right now?” you could ALWAYS respond with, “Just practicing”?

Because, simply out of curiosity, your friend on the other end of the phone would HAVE to ask, “Oh yeah? What are you practicing?”



You’d blow people’s minds.

Simply because you made the conscious decision to practice EVERYTHING.

The world is your studio.

What are you practicing?

For the list called, “31 Uncommon Practices that Lead to Wealth and Wisdom,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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