The Nametag Guy Live: Workshop Clips from The Smart Jewelry Show, April 2010

How are profiting from insanity?

For the list called,”11 Ways to Out Market the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win 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 Follow Up After a Job Interview without Coming off Like a Stalker

“Morning Karen! I just wanted to personally thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule yesterday to talk to me about the Senior Toilet Cleaning position with The Packlebush Proctology Clinic.

After speaking with you and the group – and considering the other four loser applicants I saw in the waiting room – I believe I’d be the perfect candidate for the job.

And I hope you don’t mind, but I’m currently camping out in the parking lot of your office, halfway through a two-liter of Mountain Dew and a box of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. I’m eagerly anticipating your decision. When do I start?”

And you were wondering why you heard police sirens in the distance.

LESSON LEARNED: There’s a fine line.

Between enthusiasm and desperation.
Between needing a job and being needy.
Between demonstrating initiative and deserving a restraining order.

Today we’re going to explore five ways to follow up after a job interview without coming off like a stalker:

1. Be persistent – not pushy. Pushy leads to suspicion. Suspicion lower trust. And lower trust forces people to check you off. Here’s how to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

First, understand the difference. The word “pushy” actually means “obnoxiously forward or self-assertive.” The word “persistent” actually means “insistently repetitive or continuous.”

Next, the (real) secret isn’t just being persistent – but demonstrating a valid motivation FOR your persistence. Otherwise you come off like a try-hard, working overtime to drum up rapport.

Remember: Following up for the sake of follow up is time wasting and sour tasting. Are you pushy or persistent?

2. Use gentle reminders. You don’t want to be a pest. But you do want to follow up in a non-threatening, non overly salesy and value-driven way. For example, let’s say a certain prospect hasn’t returned your calls or emails. Maybe she’s busy. Maybe she forgot to reply. Maybe she has more important tasks to get to that week.

No problem. Your mission is to gently remind that person who you are and how you uniquely deliver value. Consider sending a link to a relevant blog post you read. Or, better yet, send a link to a relevant blog post YOU wrote.

Wait: You are blogging, right?

Remember: Gentle reminders sure beat leaving another annoying, predictable and unremarkable voicemail saying, “Hey Mark, did you get a chance to look at my resume?” Are you gently reminding people?

3. Strategic subject lines. Since you will most likely be following up via email, remember to use engaging, noticeable and emotional headlines. That’s how people will decide whether to open or delete your message.

Fortunately, that’s also the secret to immediately differentiate your letter in their inbox. Here are a few examples:

*You were right
*I need your help
*I took your advice
*Your ears should be ringing
*I need your opinion on something
*I did what you said – and it worked!
*Somebody paid you a compliment yesterday
*Here are five lessons you taught me during yesterday’s interview…

Remember: The subject line is the most important component of your follow up email. How will your message stand out among the other 397 they received that week?

4. Grow bigger ears. Also for your follow-up thank you note, don’t just gush about how grateful you were to have had the opportunity to connect. And don’t just morph your message into mini-movie trailer summarizing why you’re so awesome.

Instead, PROVE to people that you – unlike every other sub-par candidate they met that day – were the one person who (actually) listened to them. Suggestion: Attach a copy of your notes. I do this daily with prospects who inquire about booking me as a speaker for their conferences, and have discovered several benefits to doing do.

First, taking notes is proof. That you’re actually interested. That you’re actually paying attention. And that you’re actually making an attempt to understand (not just) what they’re saying; but also what they’re trying to communicate.

Next, taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Because they’re worth capturing. Because they’re worth considering. Because they’re worth saving and revisiting for further contemplation.

Finally, taking notes is respectful and reinforces openness. Because you allow people to see how they affect you. Because you allow people to experience that they can change your mind. And because you allow people to come back to you in the future with their ideas. How will you use your ears as a follow up tool?

5. Amplify your assertiveness when needed. If you’ve attempted to contact someone and that person hasn’t gotten back to you yet, it means one of three things:

(a) He never got your message.
(b) He did get your message, but has been too busy (or forgot) to reply to you.
(c) He did get your email, but chose not to reply to you because you’re not a good fit for the job. Or he suspects you’re having an affair with his wife.

Here’s what I suggest. Send a friendly follow up email or voicemail saying:

“Morning Tom! Looks like it’s been difficult for us to connect lately. Look: I don’t want to be an annoyance. Still, I do want you to know that I’m nothing less than completely professional in my follow up. So, if you would kindly pick from one of the following options – that would be great:

(a) Yes! I would love to chat on the following date
(b) Right now I’m totally slammed, so I’ll get back to you by ______
(c) If I get one more message from you, I’m calling security.

Thanks Tom. I’ll be standing by.”

If, after both of these attempts, you still haven’t heard back, it’s highly probably that Tom doesn’t like you. Or his wife squealed. Time to get over it and move on. How assertive are you willing to be?

REMEMBER: There’s a fine line between following up and stalking.

Don’t violate people’s boundaries.

Otherwise, Senior Toilet Cleaner might be the only position left.

Are you following up or stalking?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” 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!

5 Fundamentals to Building a Business You Can be Proud of

1. Hissing is the echo of awesomeness. Accept the fact that approximately ten percent of the people you encounter in life will not like you. Get over it. Screw the ten and stick with the ninety. Pick a side, put a stake in the ground and polarize people purposely.

And remember that if everyone loves you, you’re doing something wrong. Besides, you’re nobody until somebody hates you. At least that’s what my parole officer tells me. How much hatemail have you received this week?

2. Inertia is the slaughterhouse of success. Jon Kabat-Zin’s book Wherever You Go, There You Are, explains this beautifully:

“If you can make some time early in the day for BEING, with no agenda, it can change the quality in the rest of your day. By affirming first what is primary in your own being, you get a mindful jump on the whole day and wind up more capable of sensing, appreciating and responding to the bloom of each moment.”

Beware of inertia. How can you arrange your day so you become unstoppable?

3. Inexperience is the machete of fear. Why are children more creative than adults? Because their sense of curiosity and innocence hasn’t (yet) been suffocated by wet blanket of adulthood. Lesson learned: Innocence and ignorance overcome fear and lead to curiosity, creativity and knowledge. Your challenge is to temporary suspend your adult habit of self-criticism and do it anyway.

The first step is to write the following five words on a sticky note: “Yeah, but I can’t just…” Remember: As Jeff Bridges said in the movie Tron, “You keep doing what it looks like you’re supposed to be doing – not matter how crazy it sounds.” Are you willing to look stupid on the road to immortality?

4. Mistake is the mentor of man. First of all, they’re not mistakes – they’re lessons. Catalysts. So, practice attending to your errors with a mindset of personal growth, life-long learning and never-ending improvement. By approaching failure with this attitude, disappointment will slowly dissipate.

Secondly, listen to the way you speak to yourself when you make mistakes. Instead of berating yourself, try asking questions like: Is this a new mistake or repeat mistake? Why did the universe want me to make this mistake? How many different ways can I embrace, incorporate and ingeniously leverage this mistake in my life? And what would I have to learn about this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

Remember: Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. How are you exponentially growing from your screw-ups?

5. Suffering is the sandpaper of life. “If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?” I get that question a lot – especially during media interviews and after speeches. And my answer is always the same: Nothing. I would do everything exactly the same way.

Here’s why: I am eternally and unregretfully grateful for everything that’s ever happened to me – good AND bad. Especially the bad. After all: From great suffering comes from great awakening. And the person I’ve become is the summation of all that stuff. It made me who I am. And I love who I am.

Think about it: Consider the three most powerful lessons you’ve ever learned in your life. EVER. Odds are, at least two of the three stemmed from some form of pain, didn’t they? And that’s a beautiful thing. That’s how we learn and grow. So, your mission is to put all the bad stuff to good use. To use suffering – even if it’s minor – as sandpaper. To smooth out the edges of your life like a pinewood derby car, cruising to the finish. What made you into you?

Are you building a business you can be proud of?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” send an email to me, and you win 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 Exponentially Increase Your ROE: Return on Experience

“We learn not from our experiences, but from intelligent reflection upon those experiences.”

My mentor, William Jenkins, taught me that lesson when I was 17 years old.

Little did I know that his wise words contained the #1 secret to becoming a successful Thought Leader.

Develop a system for exponentially increasing ROE, or Return on Experience.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of practices I’ve personally been using for the past twelve years:

1. Allow no experience to be meaningless in your sight. Everything that happens in your life affords SOME value. But only if you enhance your ability to be influenced in the moment.

This requires open mindedness, mental flexibility and the willingness to be mentored by everyone and everything you experience. Read The Mentor’s Spirit for the (life-changing) philosophy behind this practice. What do you see when you see people?

2. Be not wrapped up in the injustice of the situation. “Save the drama for your mama,” as my yoga instructor likes to say. That means not wasting any energy whining about your current experience. Instead, redirecting any frustration you have into learning from that experience.

That also means coping calmly with your inconveniences. Practicing undeniable objectivity – learning to unglue your heart from the problem. Do you have the capacity to respond flexibly to what the world hurls at you?

3. Become conscious of your own development. “You can only know what you’re really doing by making the process conscious,” says leadership professor Warren Bennis. So, here’s the secret: Learn to spy on yourself. During or directly after an experience, practice detaching, disassociating and sort of “getting out of yourself” for a while.

Look inward at your own behavior. Gently poke your inner landscape with an inquiry or two about what’s going on in the moment. Try questions like: “In what ways am I reacting, instead of responding?” “What are the consequences of the choice I’m making?” and “What am I resisting?” How conscious are you experiences?

4. Create a constant source of learning for yourself. This will assure you maintain relevancy, credibility and relatability. Personally, I read five books a week, write for four to seven hours a day, practice listening daily, travel several times a month, and of course, wear a nametag twenty-four-seven.

That’s MY system for constant learning. Your challenge is to build a unique education plan around your passions and preferences. Remember: If you’re not current, you’re not credible. What have you learned TODAY?

5. Design a system for drawing wisdom from every experience. It all depends on how you talk to yourself during your experiences. I suggest asking questions like:

*What lessons could I learn from what JUST happened to me?
*How does this fit into my theory of the universe?
*What generic attributes of what just happened to me can be extracted and practically applied to anybody?

Create your list of questions today. Start asking them tomorrow. Wisdom will have no choice but to show up. What’s your learning cycle?

6. Don’t grip the bat too tight. Don’t swallow anything uncritically. You might miss openings the world is trying to give you. Instead, allow your experiences to profoundly penetrate you. Freeze situations in your mind. Register the moments. Let the pearls sink.

And please, put away that goddamn camera. Just try experiencing and remembering things for change. I guarantee your learning will double. Are you experiencing the world with your head, your heart or your iPhone?

7. Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. Failure becomes success the moment you learn from it. Likewise, failure remains failure the moment you choose NOT to extract value from it. Your challenge is to unglue your heart from failed moments and start asking:

“What lesson am I supposed to be learning from this screw up?”

P.S. Make sure to take charge of your own learning and write that lesson down. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Are you willing to endure the failure that growth requires?

REMEMBER: You are the sum of all your experiences.

Ultimately, the more experiences you have – and the more you learn from them – the more ROE you will build.

What’s your Return on Experience?

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

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

Who’s quoting YOU?

Check out Scott’s Online Quotation Database for a bite-sized education on branding success!

A Checklist for Making Today Famous

This one goes out to my friends at Famous Footwear.

Their AWESOME tagline inspired me to write this piece…

Let actions talk.
Your execution will become the hallmark of eminence.
And people will follow you.
What have you DONE today?

Let content accumulate.
Your intellectual assets will build wealth.
And expertise will grow around you.
What have you PUBLISHED today?

Let everything mentor you.
Your learning curve will vanish.
And experiences will sculpt you.
What have you SPONGED today?

Let genius catch you.
Your life will make room for it to enter.
And you will taste the transformation in you.
What have you ATTRACTED today?

Let ideas sneak up on you.
Your creative fire will become undousable.
And monetizing your brain will become a no brainer.
What have you BRAINSTORMED today?

Let mystery enter.
Your vulnerability will invite greatness.
And life’s surprises will transform you.
What have you WELCOMED today?

Let inferiority evaporate.
Your confidence will surface rapidly.
And people will listen to you.
What have you AFFIRMED today?

Let knowledge lead to action.
Your engine of credibility will chug-a-lug.
And people will believe you.
What have you READ today?

Let life make you happen.
Your struggle to DO will be replaced by your desire to BE.
And the world will say yes to you.
What have you ALLOWED today?

Let life plan.
Your job will become walking the path it chooses for you.
And listening to where it wants to take you.
What have you LISTENED TO today?

Let purpose prioritize.
Your decisions will become a thousand times easier to make.
And your family will thank you.
What have you ALIGNED today?

Let people into your universe.
Your life’s landscape will inspire the evolution of theirs.
And their lives will be inspired by you.
What have you INVITED today?

Let preparation talk.
Your performance will become the living brochure of your unique value.
And the world will applaud you.
What have you PRESENTED today?

Let problems face you.
Your grit will convert them into openings through which love can enter.
And they’ll stop pestering you.
What have you CHALLENGED today?

Let the best have a real chance at you.
Your receptivity will invite historic beginnings.
And you won’t just make money – you’ll make history.
What have you INVOKED today?

Let your body choose for you.
Your ego will take a back seat to unshakable truth.
And your mind will listen to you.
What have you FELT today?

Let yourself burn.
Your fire will ignite all who experience you.
And the architecture of their hearts will be changed forever.
What have you IGNITED today?

Let yourself play.
Your lightness will incite greatness.
And people won’t help but be attracted to you.
What have you FINGER PAINTED today?

How will you make today famous?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” 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

Download a free copy of The Nametag Guy’s (unofficial) 9th book!

HELLO, my name is Scott’s…
“Live your name.”

38 Ways to to Make TODAY the Best Day of Your Life

How you spend your day – literally, hour by hour – will determine how much money you make, how happy you are, how healthy you are and how successful you become.

Period. Amen. Q.E.D.

Here are 38 ways to make TODAY the best day of your life:

1. Today, accomplish three highly valuable activities.

2. Today, achieve small victories.

3. Today, add value to yourself.

4. Today, approach everything you do as practice.

5. Today, ask dangerous questions.

6. Today, ask for help.

7. Today, ask for the sale.

8. Today, be thankful for it all.

9. Today, break a few rules.

10. Today, count the lies you told yourself.

11. Today, deliberately add value to your business.

12. Today, demonstrate a value that is near and dear to your heart.

13. Today, enhance your celebrity status.

14. Today, facilitate self-discovery and reflection.

15. Today, fail at something.

16. Today, gather creative fruit.

17. Today, give yourself away.

18. Today, give yourself permission.

19. Today, go quietly inside yourself.

20. Today, ignore the would-be deflectors of your one true dream.

21. Today, increase your freedom tomorrow.

22. Today, make sure some part of you gets stronger.

23. Today, make sure some part of your life gets better.

24. Today, make the effort today to become the person you want to be.

25. Today, make the tasks on your agenda worthy of your life.

26. Today, make your non-billable time worthwhile.

27. Today, move a little closer to your goals.

28. Today, personally amputate the people who don’t believe in you.

29. Today, put your ear to the ground and listen for things that are coming.

30. Today, risk turning some people off.

31. Today, rock your own socks off by constantly impress yourself.

32. Today, solidify your boundaries by saying no to the wrong things.

33. Today, solidify your boundaries by saying yes to the right things.

34. Today, trust that the best thing that could have happened, happened.

35. Today, validate your existence.

36. Today, walk your truth in a world of (mostly) fiction.

37. Today, work on your legacy.

38. Today, write something.

Pick one. Or three. Or make up your own list.

It doesn’t matter how many you do.

All that matters is that you do them TODAY.


How will you make today best day of your life?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” 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!

20 Keys to Crafting a Career You Can Be Proud Of

1. Action isn’t just eloquence, it’s credibility. And it’s rare. So if you make it your practice to actually execute your ideas quickly, you’ll be ahead of 90% of the world. What have you taken action on today?

2. Be careful not to set too low a price point for your own value. It’s hard to raise it back up. Are you charging enough?

3. Be fierce and original in your work. Stealing other people’s ideas is easy. Doing your own thing is a challenge. Which road will you take?

4. Be gentle and non-critical of yourself. When you mess up, don’t say, “I suck!” Try saying, “Next time!” or “Until now, I used to suck…” or “Starting today, I’m getting better at…” Do you listen to the way you talk to yourself?

5. Be honest with yourself about what really matters to and motivates you. Otherwise everything you do will have an undercurrent of slight suckiness. What are your non-negotiables?

6. Be in the presence of advanced souls more frequently. And when you are, listen. Take notes. Ask questions. Watch them BE. Best learning in the world. Whom are you allowing to mentor you?

7. Be just as much of a rockstar off stage. That way people won’t have to guess which version of you they’re dealing with. How deep is the gap between your onstage performance and your backstage reality?

8. Be the answer. “Solve problems that are real, expensive, urgent and pervasive,” says my pal David Newman. What were you designed to cure?

9. Become a fixture in your industry. Make sure everyone else who does what you do knows who you are and what you do. Whom are you known by?

10. Charge enough so people will listen TO – and actually DO – what you say. Your time isn’t valuable – it’s billable. And you need to educate people on your value. To help them realize that you get what you pay for. Remember: If people don’t pay you, they don’t hear you. So, if they don’t hire you, don’t solve their problem. How could you turn bloodsuckers into clients?

11. Chose to make personal growth your daily discipline. That way, every day, some part of you gets stronger. And every say, some part of your life gets better. The cool part is, after a few years, that stuff really starts to add up. Especially when you’re writing it all down. How did you grow today?

12. Decide whom you want to become a known entity to. Could be a boss. Or a customer. Or a prospect. Or a competitor. Or a coworker. Or a company you’d LOVE to work at. Doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that you develop a strategy for regularly appearing on that person’s radar in a value-based, word-of-mouth driven way. Who needs to know who you are?

13. Define and redefine your definition of success. When you write your own definition of your success your life accelerates. Period. So, keep images of that definition in front of your face daily. And affirm that your version of success has already happened daily. Your mind won’t know the difference, and it will just assume you’re already successful. And then you’ll start acting that way. And then it will be happening before you realize it. Sweet. What’s your personal definition of success?

14. Don’t assume that everyone is broke and won’t support you. Bad economy, schmad economy. People have money. And they will happily give it to the person who solves their problems and makes them fall in love with themselves. Who has your money in their pockets?

15. Don’t come across as someone who has a sense of scarcity. Dump every relevant fact without the fear that it would reduce your value. Free works. And remember that the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be. Don’t worry: The world will pay you back. Are you giving away enough?

16. Don’t march to the beat of a different drummer – BE the drummer. You don’t need lessons. You don’t need to know how to read music. You only need to know how to listen to your heart and play what you feel without skipping a beat. What are you marching to?

17. Drive the competition crazy. Make them hate your guts. Make them slam their fist down on the table when they see your website and yell, “Damn it! We should be doing stuff like that!” Who hates you?

18. Everything that happens in your life affords SOME value. The secret is to design a system for drawing wisdom from every experience. Personally, I make lists of lessons I learned from everything. It’s quick, easy and fun. I’m also super O.C.D. and that’s just the way I think. How do you extract value from your experiences?

19. Figure it out by DOING it. You can only read so many books, watch so many videos, listen to so many audio programs and interview so many people. Eventually, you just have to jump into the water with your clothes on and trust that you’ll figure out how to swim before the water fills your lungs. Are you talking or doing?

20. Forget about the HOW and touch the center of WHY. How is overrated. How is a dream destroyer. Don’t be stopped by not knowing it. Instead, find out why. Why fuels you. Why is what matters. Why is what sustains you after the how becomes irrelevant. What’s your WHY?

Are you creating a career you can be proud of?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” 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 #1 Strategy for Kicking Some Serious Ass on Your Next Job Interview

Congratulations! You got the job interview.

So, now that you bought a new suit, got a fancy haircut, did all your homework, read all the career books, practiced answering interview questions and recited enough positive affirmations to make Anthony Robbins cringe, there’s only ONE thing left to remember:

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

Let me repeat that. You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

Instead, here’s why you are there:

You’re there to articulate your fabulousness.
You’re there to deliver an impeccable performance.
You’re there to blow everyone else out of the water.
You’re there to guarantee that nobody forgets you were there.
You’re there to make enough of a mark that people can’t leave you out.
You’re there to help morsels of your credibility expand in people’s heads.

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

You’re there to advance your agenda and get what you came for.
You’re there to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.
You’re there to tell people what they need to hear to fall in love with you.
You’re there to THINK, SAY, DO and BE the polar opposite of what everyone is expecting.

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

You’re there to make YES the easy option.
You’re there to teach these people how to trust you.
You’re there to create an aura that makes you more desirable.
You’re there to relentlessly pursue the visions that possess you.
You’re there to bring all of who you are to the statement you make about the world.

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

You’re there to be seen as a problem solver.
You’re there to start positive rumors about yourself.
You’re there to let The Best have a real chance at you.
You’re there to create a compelling, credible composite of your character.
You’re there to make it impossible for people to escape your awesomeness.

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

You’re there to increase the probability of getting a hire by becoming more listenable, more employable, more hireable, more noticeable, more non-checkoffable, more promotable, more quotable, more spreadable, more uncategorizable and more unforgettable.

Ultiamtely, you’re there to do the ONE THING you know how to do better than anyone else on the planet: Be yourself.

You’re NOT there to answer their questions.

Good luck.

Email me when you land the job.

Why are you interviewing?

For the list called, “40 Questions Every Unemployed Professional Needs to Ask,” 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!

Five Factors that Fuel Your Engine of Credibility

So much so that, without it:

People will not buy from you.
People will not listen to you.
People will not open up with you.
People will not put their trust in you.

People will not take you seriously.
People will not consider your ideas.
People will not seek out your opinion.
People will not tell others to do the same.

Action is the engine of credibility.

THEREFORE: It does not matter what you believe. Or intend. Or even what you say.

Believing is overrated. Intending is useless. Talking is worthless.

Doing, on the other hand, isn’t.

It never has been.

Action is, has always been – and will always be – eloquence.

And your challenge is to continuously TAKE massive action. Every day. Constantly shoveling coal into your engine of credibility.

Here are five practices for doing so…

1. Study the origin. The word “credibility” comes from the Latin creditum, which means, “a loan, thing entrusted to another.” That’s interesting. Credibility is on loan.

Which mean your stoppage in action will make the engine sputter. Which means your credibility might take years to assemble, but only seconds to annihilate. Yikes. How are you marring your own credibility? What is diminishing the perception of your expertise? And how might you be (accidentally) making yourself appear less trustworthy?

2. Close the credibility gap. A few months ago I turned my radio to NPR to listen to the daily news show, “All Things Considered.” I’m not sure whom they were discussing, specifically, but the quotation was, “I couldn’t listen to his testimony because there wasn’t a shred of credibility in his being.”

Wow. Kind of makes you wonder: (1) whom the talking about? And (2) what that guy did to warrant such a gap? Zoinks. How could YOU make credibility disappear completely? What if you wrote a list on how to do so, printed it out and looked at it everyday? Think that would help close the gap?

3. Take daily steps to strengthen your foundation of personal credibility. In the (totally awesome!) book Credibility, authors Kouzes & Posner explain, “Credibility is a foundation built brick by brick. It’s earned through human contact, gained in small quantities though physical presence.”

That’s what being an approachable leader IS. You don’t have to work for some huge company. You don’t need thousands of followers. One person is enough. (Which, I suppose, makes us ALL leaders.)

And so, in that simple encounter, you listen, you transfer passion and you demonstrate emotional reliability. And over time, your foundation grows more robust. That’s how credibility is earned. How are you using your interactions to earn trust? What action have you taken (specifically) in the last 24 hours to boost your credibility? And how many other people witnessed it?

4. Learn to regain credibility after a failure. Fine. You screwed up. Big deal. Happens all the time. The secret is the way you respond to it. To quote the book Managing Up, “The bigger or more far reaching the consequences of your idea, the more you should expect to have your personal credibility examined.”

So, here’s how to regain credibility: Recognize it. Own up to it. Ask your people to help your rebuild it. Make a commitment to doing so. Visually remind people of your progress toward that commitment during the process. Maintain consistency until they trust you again. Thank them for sticking with you. Never stop building credibility in everything you do. And make sure that credibility is relevant. How will you use action to bounce back? What have you done (specifically) in the last 24 hours to boost your credibility? And how many other people witnessed it?

5. Create a credibility-strengthening plan. I suggest physically writing it out, signing it and posting it in a visible location in your office. This not only allows you to clarify your plan on paper, but also serves an effective tool for keeping yourself accountable.

Now, in terms of what your plan consists of, that’s up to you. Just remember: Make it daily, make it specific and make sure it involves one-on-one interactions with people. Those encounters are the soil in which your credibility will grow. What’s your plan? How will you stick to it? And what will stand in your way of sticking to it?

In summary, I’d like to quote a great song called “When You’re Traveling at the Speed of Light” by one of my new favorite bands, These United States. In the final refrain, there’s a lyric sung repeatedly for about two minutes before fading out. It goes like this:

“If the thing that drives you onward is your heart, you must not let that engine die.”

Great line. And when I was listening to that album this morning, I started thinking: What would happen if I plugged that lyric into today’s topic?

It might go something like this:

“If the thing that drives your credibility onward is your action, you must not let that engine die.”

Is your credibility engine dying?

For the list called, “12 Ways to Get Potential Employers to Open Your Email FIRST,” send an email to me, and you win 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 a Governing Document for Your Daily Decision-Making

Ever seen people sport those bracelets that read, “W.W.J.D?”

They stand for “What would Jesus do?”

I remember when they got big in the 90’s. In fact, they’re still popular today.

Interestingly, I recently found out that this well-known phrase, deriving from the Latin imitatio dei, or “the imitation of God,” didn’t gain cultural popularity until 1896.

Credit goes to Charles Sheldon’s book, In His Steps, in which the subtitle was, “What Would Jesus Do?”

Anyway, that got me thinking. Not about Jesus or Christianity or religion.

But about making decisions. And HOW and WHY we make those decisions.

What about you? Have you ever thought about how and why YOU make decisions?

Here’s the secret…

If you TRULY want to convey a thorough understanding of yourself…
If you HONESTY want to create a good working model of your own identity…
If you SINCERELY want to maintain consistency and alignment of your actions

You need to consider how you decide.

From the minute choices you make throughout the day, to your annual goal setting activities, to your major entrepreneurial or career decisions.

All of these choices fall under the umbrella of your Personal Guidance System. Your Opportunity Filter. Your Decision Tree of Life.

Now, you might not CALL it any of those things. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that less than 10% of the population has ever sat down and physically mapped out how they decide.

And for that reason, my challenge for you today is:

Physically create a governing document for your daily decision-making.

I just stumbled upon this process about six months ago myself. And I assure you it’s one of – if not THEE – most powerful exercises I’ve EVER executed for creating a good working model of my own identity.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Retrace your steps. Start by making a list of every single choice you made yesterday. What you ate, how you listened to people, which tasks your invested your time in, EVERYTHING. From the moment you woke up to the moment you went to bed. Now, obviously, you won’t be able to record EVERY choice. Just do the best you can.

2. Evaluate your process. For each item on your list, go back and think about HOW you actually made that choice. Ask yourself questions like:

a. Why did I make that choice?
b. What alternatives did I decide against?
c. Whom or what did I model my choice after?
d. What questions did I ask myself before choosing?
e. What thought processes did I take myself through?

It’s just like being a contestant on Millionaire: Four answers. Three lifelines. And you explain your decision-making process in real time to the host and audience so you can make an informed decision. “Well Regis, I know the answer’s not Lithuania because I’ve visited that country before … and I don’t think the answer is Latvia because I did paper on their government when I was in college, so…”

3. Dig for values. Once you’ve uncovered the HOW for each of yesterday’s decisions, it’s time to find out WHY. Ask yourself questions like:

a. What values were those choices rooted in?
b. What commonalities did all of my choices contain?
c. Where did I learn how to make that kind of choice?
d. And what words governed the questions I asked myself when I made those choices?

4. Categorize and document. OK! At this point, you should have a pretty solid idea HOW and WHY you make decisions. The final step is to map out your Official Governing Document. You can name it whatever you like, i.e., “Sara’s Personal Guidance System,” “Mark’s Opportunity Filter,” “Deb’s Decision Tree,” whatever.

Now, in terms of design, that’s entirely up to you. Depending on your learning/personality style, you might try mind-maps, decision trees, self-talk scripts, affirmations or visual thinking diagrams. Personally, the structure I used was twofold:

FIRST: Extract the ten core philosophies/values/virtues behind all of my choices, i.e., “Writing is the basis of all wealth.”

SECOND: List all the questions I might ask myself that reflect such values, i.e., “Is everything you know written down somewhere?”

5. Reinforcement and accountability. Cool. You’ve assembled your governing document for daily decisions making. Now, keep in mind – this WILL change over time, as your values will change over time. So, be sure to think of it as a draft.

Meanwhile, if you really want to blow people away, I challenge you to keep a copy of this document in your wallet or on your office wall. Look at it daily. Share it with those who inquire. Do this exercise with a partner or team if you want.

Not only will these measures keep you accountable and consistent, but they will also inspire all who see it to make a similar self-assessment of their own decision-making.

REMEMBER: The ONLY thing in this world you have ANY control over … is your choice.

So, doesn’t it make sense to map out HOW and WHY you make those choices?

Doesn’t it make sense to start asking yourself, “W.W.I.D?” or “What would I do?”

Maybe we should be wearing bracelets like that.

How do you make decisions?

For the list called, “29 Pieces of Simple, Easy Advice That Will Change Your Business Forever,” send an email to me, and you win 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.

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