Six Ways to Prove What Matters

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.

Affectionately known as, “The Show Me State.”

According to the state government homepage, the most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903.

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have to show me.”

THAT’S THE REALITY: Even if you’re not from Missouri, you still need to show people the proof.

Customers, employees, bosses, fans, competitors – and of course, yourself.

Today we’re going to explore six ways to prove what matters:1. Criticism is proof of visibility. I won’t pretend that negative feedback doesn’t hurt. It does. Every time. I’m not impervious to those feelings. When I get a message from a reader who thinks I’m spitting hot garbage, I take it personally. After all, I’m a person. And the persons who take things personally are the persons who make things better.

Besides, if people aren’t reacting, you’re doing something wrong. May as well be winking in the dark. Personally, I’d rather be shot to the ground that not remarkable enough to be a target. Sure beats being ignored. When was the last time someone said you were out of your mind?

2. Doubt is proof of legitimacy. Feeling like a fraud is a right of passage. It helps you get over yourself, helps you to stay over yourself and installs the proper humility required to win. Instead of trying to eradicate feelings of inadequacy, lean into the doubt.

Override the disbelief by telling your face that you’re enough. You’ll discover that what you say to yourself when you have doubts about yourself determines how, when and if you make a name for yourself. Feeling like a fraud? Fantastic. That means you’re doing something right. That means you’re stretching. When was the last time you questioned your own abilities?

3. Fear is proof of mattering. In The Courage To Write, Ralph Keyes says, “If you’re not scared, you’re not writing.” That’s the cool part about fear: When you find the places that scare you, you find the work that needs to be done. In that respect, fear isn’t a crisis – it’s a compass. And if you have enough faith, you can use fear as a guide to where your heart belongs.

It all hinges on your willingness to change your relationship to fear. To start greeting, bowing, hugging, investing and leveraging it – rather that hiding from it. Are you brave enough to go after what you want?

4. Resistance is proof of rightness. If the work is too easy, it might be the wrong work. As Steven Pressfield writes in Do The Work, “The more important an action is to our soul’s evolution, the more resistance will feel toward pursuing it.”

The good new is, when you’re willing to endure the period of difficulty that wipes out most of the competition, you don’t just come out first – you come out focused. Because you picked the right work. Or maybe the right work picked you. Either way. Are you willing to bleed for it?

5. Promiscuity is proof of life. If you die a virgin, you did something wrong. And I’m not talking about sex. A virgin is simply someone who’s untapped, uninitiated, uninformed and underexposed. That’s no way to live. As Henry Rollins wrote in A Mad Dash:

“I want to make life run for its life. I want to be a pain in life’s ass. I want life to celebrate the day I die. I want life to finally get a breather once I’m dead.”

That’s the advantage of promiscuity: Your experiences turn into leveragable assets. Will you end the innocence to begin the opportunity?

6. Struggle is proof of life. A life of ups and ups is boring, uneducational and uninspiring. Besides, if nothing bad ever happens, you’ll never know what good feels like. If nothing bad ever happens, you’ll never learn how to cope. And if nothing bad ever happens, you’ll never strengthen the muscle of resilience.

Maybe it’s time to paint yourself into a painful corner. To practice a little voluntary suffering. To put yourself in a position where you have no choice but to struggle. Are you still trying to outsmart getting hurt?

REMEMBER: If you want people to believe, you have to show them.

Practice proving what matters.

How do you show people?

For the list called, “123 Questions Every Marketer Must Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Six Prices You Shouldn’t Have to Pay

Everything costs something.

Not always in the form of money, though.

Currency has many faces.

AND THE REALITY IS: If you’re not careful, you may end up paying a higher price than you need to.

Today we’re going to explore six prices you shouldn’t have to pay:1. Resentment is the price you pay for having no boundaries. I write books and give presentations about approachabilty. And on a weekly basis, somebody almost always asks me, “Can you be too approachable?”

Yes, yes and yes. I know this because I used to lack boundaries. And I learned that if you don’t set healthy boundaries for yourself, other people will set them for you. And then they will violate them. And then they will tell all their little friends to do the same. All because you never set the precedent.

Your job is to figure out where you draw the line. How approachable you’re willing to be. Otherwise you’ll end up obligating yourself to death. Why are you still having coffee with people you don’t even like?

2. Anxiety is the price you pay for having no gratitude. No, you can’t outsmart getting hurt. And no, you can’t scrub your life free of stress. But the more you give thanks for something, the less power it has over you.

That was the best thing my therapist taught me: When you notice anxiety in your life, greet it with a welcoming heart. Put your arm around it. Ask it questions. Find out what lesson it’s come to teach you. And then be grateful for the opportunity to learn.

When I changed my relationship to anxiety in this way, everything changed. Everything. Do you walk a perpetual posture of thankfulness?

3. Panic is the price you pay for having no relevance. I recently received a ridiculous email from my professional association. The incoming president reached out to a group of younger members, asking if we would be willing to participate in a panel to help older members stay relevant to younger generations.

Excuse me, but that’s absurd. First of all, the only people who matter are the ones who choose to. Secondly, relevance is not a synonym for knowing a lot about social media. It’s a function of simplicity, beauty and humanity.

Third, stop trying to relate to people. When you manufacture commonality, you end up insulting people’s intelligence. If you want younger generations to take you seriously, you don’t need hair dye, you don’t need Botox and you don’t need a new wardrobe.

What you need is a mental makeover. Because the problem isn’t old age – it’s old thinking. How will you keep from fading away?

4. Regret is the price you pay for having no balls. I used to take the bus to work. Every morning, I would sit next to Kat, a funky yet fashionable hairdresser. One day, she asked me if I would be willing to be her hair model at an upcoming show.

“Your style is exactly what we need to round out our spring lineup. What do you say?”

I totally chickened out. And to this day, I still regret saying no. Because that would have been some fantastic experience. Fortunately, I’ve since learned how to say yes to life. I’ve learned how to instantly evaluate the perceived level of risk in those micromoments. And that sensibility has enabled me to make bolder choices in the larger moments that matter. What risks do you regret not taking?

5. Insomnia is the price you pay for having no trust. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s annual report, it takes the average person about fifteen minutes to fall asleep once they’re in bed.

To me, this is amazing. When my head hits the pillow, I’m out like a dead rock. Partly because I have excellent sleep hygiene, but also because I know how to trust. Both the tangible and intangible forces of my life.

If you find yourself tossing, turning and glancing nervously at the advancing clock each night, you don’t need a sleeping pill – you need to let go. That’s the challenge with trust: It’s the highest form of surrender. And it’s such a terrifying preposition because human beings an inherent need to preserve their sense of control.

But if you’re willing to trust, you’ll be amazed how quickly your eyes start to close. Do you believe in the dividends of your own emotional labor?

6. Advertising is the price you pay for having no friends. Marketing is like sex – if you have to pay for it, you’re doing something wrong. Smart companies spend money earlier in the process.

Smart companies build things worth noticing right into the product ahead of time. Take design, for example. It’s not an extra, it’s not an also and it’s not an accident – it’s everything. As Tom Peters once wrote:

“The dumbest mistake is viewing design as something you do at the end of the process to tidy up the mess, as opposed to understanding it’s a day one issue and part of everything.”

Choose to champion the beautiful. Think about products you’ve bought, cherished and shared the most. How many of them had brilliant design? And how many of your own products have the same?

Use that as a benchmark for your own remarkability, and your design will be the best advertisement of all. How much energy are you investing in being a beautiful organism?”

REMEMBER: Currency has many faces.

Make sure you’re not paying the wrong price.

What currencies are you using?

For the list called, “16 Ways to be the Best,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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