Two questions that made me laugh OUT LOUD

I collect questions.

At current, my database contains about five thousand of them.

Some I read in books.
Some I overhear in conversations.
Some I just come up with out of thin air.

And, regardless of their origin, the best part about collecting questions is that initial moment when you first come across one that profoundly penetrates you.

Because you’re never the same again.

Questions make us bigger. They’re bridges. They’re fuel. They contain energy. They invite dialogue; enlist introspection and ensue honest appraisals of our personal Truth.

And SOME questions are so powerful, so confrontational and so thought provoking that they actually cause a physical reaction. You might gasp, drop your jaw, nod your head, or even say, “Wow…”

These physical cues are windows into our worlds. They help us pinpoint and excavate what’s REALLY going on inside our heads.

Me? I tend to laugh when I see great questions. Almost as if to say, “Touche, sir. A fair and noble inquiry indeed!”

This happened to me the other day…

I was compiling some notes from a recent NametagTV module when I came across two questions that literally caused me to laugh – out loud. That’s how moving they were.

The first question was:

What are you doing that makes NO sense at all?

I CRACKED up. Absolutely hysterical.

And not because the question was, like, Ha-Ha Funny; but rather that the question made me realize, “Wow, there is so much stupid crap I’m doing in my life right now that makes NO sense at all.”

You gotta love questions like that.

And then, not five minutes later, another question made me laugh out loud:

What consumes your time that isn’t making you any money?

I chuckled to myself in that shifty-eyed, collar loosening, “yikes,” sort of way.

“Wow,” I laughed, “I wonder what daily activities I could ditch because they’re not producing any income?”

Yeah. That is just HILARIOUS…

So, that’s why questions are – in my experience – the most important things in the world. Here’s why:

A question SENDS you off to the races. Stretching your mind into unexpected, unencumbered territory. Challenging your soul to expand and grow and mature. And the BEST part is, once you’ve asked a question, once your mind has danced with that little beauty for a few songs, your mind never quite returns to its original size.

A question FORCES you (and others) to confront yourself. As if to say, “Alright. Cut the shit. Let’s honestly assess what’s going on here. Let’s hold ourselves – and each other – accountable for our actions.

A question FUNCTIONS as that little nudge, push, tipping point or last straw you needed. Helping you to surpass that threshold level of understanding that so desperately tried to hold you back. Helping you meet your own eyes in the mirror and confront yourself.

A question CRACKS open a new world. And all it takes is one. One question – either something you read or hear or write (or even accidentally utter yourself) – that makes you stop dead in your tracks, freeze the moment and say, “Wow. Now THERE’S a good question.”

A question ENLISTS your creativity. It’s impossible to be asked a question and NOT start looking for an answer. The human brain simply can’t resist. The good news is, when your mind is fixated on finding a solution; new ideas and possibilities start coming out of the blue. Almost like the universe KNEW you were looking and granted permission to your unconscious mind to go on a manhunt. Er, question-hunt.

A question can FORGE a path. Asking the right questions is the ONLY way to uproot Truth. Your words are mental machetes that clear the cabbage out of the way. And when I say “cabbage” I mean things like denial and procrastination. Fear and motivation. If you drop the right question at the right time, and you’ll slowly create space to see the entirety of the landscape.

A question VISUALIZES ideal conditions. You inspire people to paint a compelling, detailed picture of the desired future and make meaningful strides toward it. You also empower people to speak FROM the future so they can look back to identify the steps that led there.

A question PREDICTS the future. It lets you imagine the road before you have to travel it, discarding any maps that don’t go where you need to go. You enable people to act as if the desired changed already imagine what they need to become in order for their goals to manifest.

A question can CUT deeply, yet therapeutically. These are the best questions in the world. They almost make you smile, nod your head and say, “OK. Fair enough. Good point.” These are my favorite questions to ask coaching clients.

A question EMPOWERS others to turn inward. Instead of having all the answers, instead of “fixing” people, you ask certain questions to encourage people to tap and trust their inner resources and figure out the answer on their own. Because you’re a midwife, assisting others in giving birth to their own understanding.

A question ENABLES learning. At the root of the word question is the word quest, which means to SEEK, DESIRE and ADVENTURE. So, questions forward the action. All it takes is one and everything can change. Forever.

A question EXPLODES people’s brains. Because it’s not about the answer but what the answer POINTS to. Ask ridiculous questions that stretch people because what they say will represent something bigger, better and brighter.

What questions did you ask yourself today?

For the list called, “8 Ways to Out QUESTION Your Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Nobody talking about your business?

Bummer. Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

When people start talking ABOUT or get on the topic OF their passion, it’s interesting to note the changes in their communication patterns.

They get excited.
Their eyes light up.
They become more engaged.

Their emotions heighten.
Their energy level increases.
Their defensiveness decreases.

They become more comfortable.
They seem more relaxed.
Their posture grows sturdier.

They talk with more speed and less effort.
They get on a roll, on a rant or on their soapbox.
They seem like they could go on forever.

Passion. It’s a beautiful thing!

As my hommie Curt Rosengren says, “Passion fuels your career success, strengthens your confidence in your abilities and inspires the persistence it takes to make your dreams reality!”

Well said, Curt.

AND, HERE’S THE BEST PART: Asking about passion is a MILLION times more approachable then asking someone, “So, what do YOU do?”

(As my eyes roll…)

Because of COURSE, we’ve been programmed to default to that question as SOON as we meet someone. That way we can quickly, easily (and usually inaccurately) compartmentalize that person into a neat little box.

BUT, HERE’S THE REALITY: Most people don’t care.

See, it doesn’t really matter what you “do.”

It matters who you ARE.

And in my experience:

Who You Are = What You’re Passionate About

Because passion is everything.
Because passion is what (truly) connects people.
Because passion is the most approachable thing in the world.

THEREFORE: A successful conversation is one in which PASSION is discussed.

Especially if you’ve just getting to know somebody. Steering the conversation into the territory of somebody’s passion is the perfect way to create an engaging, unforgettable encounter.

The challenge, however, is making the transition.

See, if you’re too deliberate with your questions, it may come off as rapport seeking, as opposed to rapport attracting.

Or, you may sound like an unappointed career counselor or a motivational speaker.

And that’s no good.

That’s why you need to be careful. Because if someone gets the impression that you’re only asking passion-finding questions to “fix” or “coach” or manipulate them, they probably won’t open up fully and authentically.

So, without trying to hard, without probing and without being over-determined or over-intentional, here’s your three-word assignment: Ask about passion.

After all, your questions WILL differentiate yourself in the minds of the people you meet.

That is, if you ask the right ones. At the right time. And in the right way.

Hence, today’s list:

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

1. If you could do just one thing all day long and get paid well for doing it, what would you do?
2. If you could only give one speech, for one hour, for one million people, what ONE WORD would that speech be about?
3. If you could only have one section of the bookstore to visit, which section would it be?
4. If you could only subscribe to ONE publication for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. If you could only work 2 days a week, what would you do?
6. If you could only work 2 hours a week, what would you do?
7. If you could take a sabbatical for one year, where would you go and what would you do?
8. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do all day long?
9. If you were the last human on Earth, what would you still do every day?
10. What activity always makes you lose track of time?
11. What activity gives you the most energy?
12. What brings you to life?
13. What could you talk about forever?
14. What things are you able to do, without even trying?
15. What do you like to do, just for the fun of it?
16. What do you love to do that (you can’t believe) people actually pay you money to do?
17. What do you love to talk about?
18. What do you most enjoy making?
19. What have you always found to be easy?
20. What is the one thing that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do?
21. What pictures or wallet items do you ALWAYS show to people?
22. What questions do you look forward to be asked?
23. When you don’t know what to do, what do you find yourself doing to find your way?
24. Why do you admire the people you admire?
25. You, yourself, are at your best when you’re acting HOW?

– – –

OK! Think you’re (now) ready to start asking some of these Passion-Finding Questions?

Not so fast, Oprah.

Before your start spouting off a bunch of unusual questions to complete strangers, remember a few things:

o Make the right call. Some of these questions are more penetrating and personal than others. So, be sure your timing, context and wording are appropriate. You don’t want the other person to question your questions!

o Don’t overdo it. Now that you’ve read this monstrous list, choose 3-5 of your favorite questions to incorporate into your lexicon. (Any more than that will be too much to remember!) In fact, you could even write your questions on a little card to keep in your wallet as a handy reference.

o Keep it real. When asking PFQ’s, be careful they don’t sound too calculated, rehearsed or unnatural. I suggest you practice asking your favorite questions a dozen or so times until you’ve routinized, internalized and normalized the dialogue.

Ultimately, when you ask someone about her passion – ESPECIALLY a customer – it pays off BIG time in the world of service.

Here’s how:

1. The customer starts talking about her passion.
2. That passion becomes intertwined in the sales conversation.
3. The customer builds and customizes her product or service WITH you.
4. The customer takes ownership since she helped create it.
5. The customer buys it.

Passion! It’s a beautiful (and approachable) thing.

So, next time you meet someone, avoid asking, “So, what do YOU do?”

Instead, invite them to talk about what they love.

If you were the last human on earth, what would YOU still do every day?

For the (full) list called, “86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love,” you know the drill! Send an email to and I’ll give you enough PFQ’s to last a lifetime.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

What’s YOUR approach?

Join The Nametag Forums! Share stories, best practices and connect with a like-minded community of business professionals who stick themselves out there!

62 Types of Questions and Why They Work

So, I have this running list of about 4000 questions.

Questions to ask yourself.
Questions to ask your team.
Questions to ask your customers.

And I update it whenever I’m asked, hear, read or think of a good question. Probably about twenty new ones a week.

Fortunately, they’re sorted by category, i.e., “Creativity,” “Sales,” “Leadership,” and the like.

Otherwise, going through that list would (as my girlfriend says) make my eyes bleed.

Anyway, a few months back I heard a question that has become one of my new faves:

“What words govern your questions?”

A question about questions. Imagine that 😉

Interestingly, when I first read that question, I thought it might be cool to go back through my list of 4000 to look for some language patterns.

Pretty neat exercise. Teaches you a lot about yourself.

So, here’s what I came up with:

62 Types of Questions and Why They Work

1. Are you saying…?
Identifies someone’s language patterns.

2. Are you willing to…?
Tests someone’s limits.

3. Can you give me…?
Encourages examples and specifics.

4. Can you remember…?
Taps into someone’s memory.

5. Did you ask…?
Questions someone’s questions.

6. Have you considered…?
Non-threatening proposal of options.

7. Have you given any thought to…?
Suggestive, yet doesn’t sound like advice.

8. Have you thought about…?
Forces someone to think!

9. How are you constantly…?
Promotes consistency of action.

10. How are you creating…?
Proves that someone has a choice.

11. How can you become…?
Future oriented, motivational.

12. How can you make…?
Enlists someone’s creativity.

13. How could you have…?
Focused on past performance improvement.

14. How do you feel…?
Feelings are good.

15. How do you measure…?
Clarifies and specifies someone’s statement.

16. How do you plan to…?
Future oriented, process oriented, action oriented.

17. How do you want…?
Visualizes ideal conditions.

18. How does this relate to…?
Keeps someone on point, uncovers connections between things.

19. How else could this be…?
Encourages open, option-oriented and leverage-based thinking.

20. How long will it take to…?
Clarifies time specifics.

21. How many different ways…?
Enlists someone’s creativity, explores various options.

22. How many people…?
Clarifies and specifies.

23. How might you…?
All about potential and possibility.

24. How much energy…?
Identifies patterns of energy investment.

25. How much money…?
Identifies patterns of financial investment.

26. How much time each day…?
Identifies patterns of (daily) time investment.

27. How much time…?
Identifies patterns of energy investment.

28. How often do you…?
Gets an idea of someone’s frequency.

29. How well do you…?
Uncovers abilities.

30. How will you know when/if…?
Predicts outcomes of ideal situations.

31. If you could change…?
Visualizes improvement.

32. If you had to…?
Possibility thinking.

33. If you showed your…?
Imagining what others would say.

34. If you stopped…?
Cause-effect question.

35. If you were…?
Ideal situation.

36. In what areas…?
Searching for multiple answers.

37. Is anybody going to…?
Deciding if something even matters.

38. Is there any other…?
Challenges someone to find ONE more answer.

39. Is there anything else…?
Yep, there probably is. Answers are rarely absolute.

40. Is your idea…?
Forces someone to think objectively.

41. On a scale from 1 to 10…?
Putting a number to an emotion clarifies it.

42. What are some of the…?
Encourages list making.

43. What are the biggest mistakes…?
Negative based for preventative measures.

44. What are the keys to…?
Searching for best practices.

45. What are the patterns of…?
Uncovering commonalities.

46. What are the things that…?
Because there’s probably more than one answer.

47. What are the ways…?
Freedom (not) to resign to one solution.

48. What are you currently…?
Assesses present situations.

49. What are you doing that…?
Assesses present actions.

50. What are you willing to…?
Explores limits.

51. What can I do to…?
Demonstrates a desire to serve.

52. What can WE do to…?

53. What can you do right now…?
Focuses on immediate action being taken.

54. What can you do today…?
Focuses on daily action being taken.

55. What causes your…?
Uncovering true motives without the dreaded, “Why?”

56. What challenges are…?
Identifies barriers.

57. What did you learn…?
Because people don’t care what you know; only what you learned.

58. What do you need to…?
Needs assessment.

59. What does that tell you about…?
Encourages someone to figure out the answer individually.

60. What else can you…?
Because there’s always options.

61. What evidence…?
Because specificity is persuasion.

What words govern your questions?

Share your list of question prefixes (and why they work) here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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.

Creativity is about NOTICING

NOTICING … ancillary answers.
Because their unintended, incidental nonchalance might be exactly what you didn’t realize you were looking for.

NOTICING … anomalies.
Because NOT questioning or challenging standard scripts is dangerous.

NOTICING … happy accidents.
Because making mistakes has proven to be a leading cause of creative breakthroughs.

NOTICING … how quickly people understand your idea.
Because if they don’t “get it” right away, they never will.

NOTICING … how people respond to your idea.
Because if everybody loves if, or nobody wants to steal it, or if you continuously get shot down at “Why?” it’s probably not that good of an idea.

NOTICING … internal comments.
Because creativity is about listening to your heart, your gut and your inner voice.

NOTICING … what’s around you.
Because innovation is all around an ideas are just WAITING for you to capture them.

NOTICING … when things don’t work.
Because then your mind can search for solutions.

What do YOU notice in your creativity practice?

For a list called “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to and I’ll give you the write stuff!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Want to learn more about pumping up your creative prowess?

Cool! Perhaps I could help on a more personal, one-on-one basis. Rent Scott’s Brain today!

How to Kill Two Stones with One Bird, Part 2

I don’t believe in luck.

Even when I did the piece for 20/20, I explained my philosophy on the subject:

1. Luck is about being in the right place at the right time – so, therefore, be in a LOT of places.

2. L.U.C.K is an acronym for “Working Your Ass Off”

3. Luck is about leverage.

Today, I’d like to talk about #3.

As you’ve read before, I’m a big believer in killing two stones with one bird.

And in my experience, the ULTIMATE “Leverage Question” goes a little like this:

Now that I have this, what else does this make possible?

Let’s explore a few examples:

Now that you have A NEW WEBSITE, what else does this make possible?

o How about a valid reason to follow up with all of your prospects?
o Or a new place to send people who want to find out more about you?
o Maybe a new pool of customers you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach?

Now that you have THIS NEW BOOK, what else does this make possible?

o Perhaps an “entrée” into a particular niche?
o Maybe an increase in your fee?
o Or an amendment to your bio that includes the title, “Author”?

Now that you have 500 BLOG POSTS, what else does this make possible?

o How about compiling them into an ebook?
o Or maybe even a REAL book?
o Perhaps a “Top 10 Posts of All Time”?

Now that you’re WORKING WITH AN INDUSTRY LEADER, what else does this make possible?

o Maybe credibility to work with its competitors?
o Or clout to work with anyone in the same industry?
o How about using their testimonial to beef up your credentials?

Now that you were FEATURED ON THE NEWS, what else does this make possible?

o One of those “AS SEEN ON” stickers for your front door?
o Perhaps an “in” with similar stations?
o Maybe a reason to send an email every single person you know?

Now that you WON THAT FANCY AWARD, what else does this make possible?

o Charging a premium?
o How about a plaque for the lobby?
o Maybe a reason to be more selective with your customers?

Now that you have (x), what else does this make possible?

For a list called “61 Leverage Questions to Kill Two Stones with One Bird,” send an email to and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Come to the St. Louis Business Expo!

See Scott LIVE and a get a free copy of his new book with admission! See ya next Tuesday…

18 Myths about Creativity That Are Holding Your Inner Artist Hostage

MYTH #1: Creativity is about making something out of nothing.
REALITY: Creativity is about making connections between existing things.

MYTH #2: Creativity is something you DO and HAVE
REALITY: Creativity is something you ARE.

MYTH #3: Creativity is about making the material come to you.
REALITY: Creativity is about unblocking the flow of what’s already there. (For the best way to relieve artistic consipation, read this.)

MYTH #4: Writer’s block is the greatest enemy to creativity.
REALITY: Thinker’s block is the greatest enemy to creativity. (If you want to avoid Thinker’s Block, read this.)

MYTH #5: There is an official “process” to creativity.
REALITY: There are many processes to creativity, each of which has many different layers.

MYTH #6: Creativity comes (primarily) from hard work and (partially) from inspiration.
REALITY: Creativity comes equally from forcing yourself to create AND harnessing inspiration when it crosses your path. (Read more on The Paradox of Inspiration.)

MYTH #7: You can teach people to become more creative.
REALITY: You can ONLY teach people how to harness their inherent creativity AND create an environment that fosters creativity. (To create that environment, check this out.)

MYTH #8: Creativity is a skill.
REALITY: Creativity is a skill AND an attitude AND a lifestyle AND a thought process AND a way of being.

MYTH #9: Creativity is about getting your “one big idea.”
REALITY: Creativity is about constantly having lots of ideas, big and small; good and bad.

MYTH #10: Creativity is something you apply to your work.
REALITY: Creativity is something you apply to EVERYTHING, as it is a way of approaching and encountering the world.

MYTH #11: Creativity is about thinking.
REALITY: Creativity is about thinking AND listening AND observing AND watching AND surrendering AND noticing patterns AND combining AND asking AND plucking AND scanning AND receiving.

MYTH #12: Creativity is something you control.
REALITY: Creativity is something that you received from a higher power because you selflessly listened and surrendered to it.

MYTH #13: Creativity comes from chaotic, unstructured, non-linear thinking.
REALITY: Creativity comes from chaotic, unstructured, non-linear thinking COMBINED with small touches of occasional structure.

MYTH #14: Creativity is something you just turn on when needed.
REALITY: Creativity is a muscle that gets stronger with increased use and must be practiced as a daily non-negotiable that is as regular and normal as breathing.

MYTH #15: Creativity is about completing specific pieces.
REALITY: Creativity is about contributing to a lifelong body of work. (To see some HOT bodies – of work, that is – read this.)

MYTH #16: Creativity is about coming up with lots of ideas all the time.
REALITY: Creativity is about maintaining a healthy balance between idea creation AND idea judgment.

MYTH #17: Creativity is about making something nobody else has ever made.
REALITY: Creativity is about giving people new eyes, not new landscapes.

MYTH #18: The purpose of creativity is to make stuff.
REALITY: The purpose is to grow your soul.

What’s holding YOUR Inner Artist hostage?

For a list called “The 10 Best Books on Creativity You’ve Never Heard Of,” send an email to and I’ll gladly motivate your melon 😉

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Tired of waiting around for new customers?
Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on!

Watch video lessons on getting them to come to YOU!

13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking

Questions are differentiators.

With prospects.
With customers
With total strangers!

So, if you want to become That Guy – and if you want to own the MAXIMUM amount of mindshare in your customers’ minds – start by asking better questions.

Now, by “asking BETTER questions,” I mean:

Asking dangerous questions.
Asking disturbing questions.
Asking dumb questions.
Asking guiding questions.
Asking judicious questions.
Asking killer questions.
Asking challenging question.
Asking penetrating questions.
Asking smarter questions.
Asking unexpected questions.
Asking upside-down questions.
Asking well-crafted questions.
Asking well-timed questions.

AND I PROMISE YOU: If you ask questions like THAT, your customers will form an impression of you as someone who is creative, intelligent, observant … and has BIG ears.

That will ENABLE them to buy from you.
That will ENTICE them to come back to you.
That will ENCOURAGE them to tell their friends about you.

Sound good?


So, I suggest you start by making a list called “Top Ten Most Common Questions Asked by a Salesperson in My Field.”

Whether it’s during a sales presentation, over the phone or at a networking event, identify the types of questions every other salesperson just like you is asking their prospects.

Examples might include textbook, unoriginal questions like, “How much are you currently spending on…?” or “How happy are you with you present suppliers?”

HERE’S WHY YOU DO THIS: Knowing what questions your prospects are used TO and tired OF being asked is a powerful sales weapon.

Because now all YOU have to do is NOT ask those questions!

(Well, that’s not all you have to do.) You ALSO need to keep an arsenal of killer questions yourself. And those questions need to be easily accessible.

So, that leads to the next step: creating another list.

Title this one, “Killer Sales Questions My Competitors Aren’t Asking.”

Think of the best, most creative and most original sales questions you’ve ever used or heard.

Questions that made customers smile.
Questions that caused customers to stop in their tracks.
Questions that enabled customers to share their needs and wants.

MY SUGGESTION: Spend a few hours searching through your notes, old emails, training manuals, on Google and in the books of your personal success library for the BEST questions you can find.

Over time, edit, update and review your list regularly. Keep it handy on your laptop, bulletin board and in your briefcase. (Or, if you want to be supremely dorky and O.C.D. like me, type out your best questions on a laminated card and keep it in your wallet for easy access.)

THE POINT IS: Cherish that list. It will become a powerful tool for differentiating yourself that will only get stronger over time.

And it will help you make sales forever.

And soon, people will be asking YOU for YOUR best sales questions!

Now, you probably noticed that the title of this article was “13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking.”

Well, I am a man of my word.

So, to finish up today’s post, I’m going to share my personal list with you.

NOTE: These questions were purposely left incomplete.

I did this so YOU could individually tailor these questions to your industry, customers and products.

So, think of them more as “prefixes” to your own unique questions. Fill them in however you wish. And feel free to use and share them with customers and coworkers today!

13 Killer Sales Questions Your Competitors Aren’t Asking

1. How are you making it difficult for your customers to…?
2. How are you making it easy for your customers to…?
3. How many customers are you losing by…?
4. What are the benefits you’d like to see as a result of…?
5. What are the bottlenecks in…?
6. What are the three biggest mistakes being made by…?
7. What do you think makes the difference between…?
8. What excuses are preventing you from…?
9. What one word do you want customers to use when describing…?
10. When someone comes to your website, what’s the ONE thing…?
11. When someone walks into your store, how do you want them…?
12. When was the first occasion you noticed…?
13. When was the last time you actually…?

REMEMBER: Questions ARE differentiators.

What’s your #1 killer sales question your competitors aren’t asking?

Post your question here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

How to become your own consultant

You probably don’t have the money to hire McKinsey.

But you still want to make your company more equitable, more profitable and more successful, right?


Well then, if you’re willing to invest your time and mental energy (but not so much money!) consider this option:

What if you became your OWN consultant?

I know. It sounds impossible.

After all, the whole point of hiring a consultant is to bring someone ELSE into your company, right?

Well, to a certain extent, yes.

However, the word “consultant” stems from the Latin consultare, which means, “To deliberate or consider.”

And you don’t necessarily need some MBA in a suit to do that for you.

Now, sure, I believe in The Outsider Advantage. And I believe there are lots of AMAZING consultants out there.

Heck, I even have a consulting department myself.

But I also believe that successful entrepreneurs learn how to practice objective deliberation on their own.

Because (most of) the answers lie within.

– – –

So, even though it’s not the same thing as brining in some suit from a Fortune 500, your company still can reap the benefits from a little self-consulting.

Especially if you do it regularly.

NOTE: I’m not suggesting you abandon your relationships with mentors, advisors and other members of your professional support system. Nor am I suggesting that self-consulting is a replacement for that support system.

I merely implore you to consider yourself as your company’s most valuable consultative resource.

That being said, let’s explore a list of five practices to help you become your own consultant.

1. Begin with objectivity. The primary value of hiring an outside consultant is BECAUSE she comes from The Outside. This means she has little or no bias. This means she can deliver independent thought. And this means she can recognize patterns immediately.

Obviously, this is a LOT harder to do when it’s just you. Especially since you’re so close to the situation.

So, your challenge is to operate on multiple planes of consciousness. To avoid emotional reactivity. To detach yourself so you can objectively and honestly consider your own criticism.

Kind of like Michael Gerber suggests in The E-Myth: “You need to be the creator, the manager and the technician … simultaneously.”

ASK YOURSELF: Are you willing to step back and examine your company’s challenges calmly and objectively?

2. U-NEED-2-READ. Every single day, spend at least fifteen minutes reading, annotating and studying books that facilitate self-exploration. Books that ask you questions. Books that challenge you. Books that make you sit back and think.

Consider these titles to get your success library started. I’ve personally had breakthrough moments of company knowledge with each one:

o The Aladdin Factor
o Flight Plan
o The Mentor’s Spirit
o Ordering Your Private World
o Questions that Work
o Thinking for a Change

Also, once you’ve marked up your books, the next step is to customize a personal system for transcribing your thoughts. I suggest recopying or summarizing your notes, keeping them in a folder – physically or virtually – and revisiting them regularly. This will keep those self-consultative thoughts fresh in your mind.

ASK YOURSELF: How many books did you read last month?

3. Ask the right questions. Questions are the basis of all knowledge, understanding and creativity. And if you want to be your own consultant, remember that questions are the answer.

So, I suggest doing three things.

First, consider 3-5 vital areas of your business. Everything from marketing to sales to blogging to managing employees.

Next, make a list of pointed, specific and penetrating questions that correspond to each “department.”

Then, ask away!

Now, each book mentioned in the previous example has a WEALTH of great questions. But, if you’re still not sure what to ask, no worries! Here are a few mini lists to get you started:

o How much are you promoting your own personal agenda?
o Can you clearly define what you are a steward of?
o Have you considered other alternatives to this value and explored them fully?

o How are you creating a non-threatening workplace?
o How are you creating a question-friendly atmosphere?
o How do you create an environment in the workplace that encourages the generation and application of your best ideas?

o How are you allowing customers to participate in your brand?
o How are you building a following?
o How are you building a permission asset?

o Are you using informational, value-added follow-up?
o Do you know where your leads are coming from?
o Are you spending more time educating potential customers on the benefits of your service, or telling them why you are better than the competition?

o What “little things” made a big impact on your business?
o What are the best people in your field doing?
o What are the most important things for you to work on that will grow your business the fastest?

4. Hit the page. If you are TRULY serious about becoming your own consultant, the most important practice you can undertake is writing. Especially since you’ve already been reading great books and asking great questions, writing is the logical next step!

“Yeah, but I’m not a writer,” you say.

Yes you are. Everyone is a writer. Writing is the basis of all wealth.

So, here are my three best suggestions for using the practice of writing to become your own consultant:

o Learn to do Morning Pages, the best writing/creativity exercise in the world!

o After asking your questions from example #3, put each your answers in writing. Store your document according to topic in a folder called, “Consulting Me.”

o For any other form of writing you do (as it pertains to consulting yourself), make lists. Lists for everything! And why? Well, consider these 43 reasons.

ASK YOURSELF: What did you write today?

5. Let everything mentor you. OK, we’ve talked about detachment, reading, questioning and writing as four effective practices to help you become your own consultant. For our final example, here’s another self-consultative exercise you can use throughout your day when you’re NOT reading, writing or questioning.

Let’s go back to that list of books for a sec. One in particular, The Mentor’s Spirit, has a FANTASTIC philosophy about self-consulting. Author Marsha Sinetar suggests that you “search out the mentor’s spirit in everyone and everything.” A few other great keepers from her book include:

o “Don’t be afraid of being a little unreasonable with yourself.”
o “Value silence for creative discovery and personal renewal.”
o “We grow by living with our questions, not by having all the answers.”
o “Search each current and particle of existence for truth.”

ASK YOURSELF: How can I let this experience, person or thing mentor me?

– – –

REMEMBER: If you’re willing to invest your time and mental energy, acting as your own consulting CAN pay off BIG time.

It will increase your self-knowledge.
Which will increase your confidence.
Which will increase your company’s equity.
Which will increase your company’s profitability.

And you won’t even need to hire someone from McKinsey!

How do serve as your own consultant?

For a copy of my Top 100 Self-Consultative Questions, send an email to and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

How many unsolicited referrals did YOU get this week?

Tune in to The Sales Channel on!

Watch video lessons on enabling customers to buy!

How to Kill Two Stones with One Bird, Part 1

THE essential word in entrepreneurship is leverage.

It means, “To increase the rate of return from an investment.”

And it’s not just something you do.

Leveraging is an attitude.

A lifestyle. A pattern of thinking. An approach to business.

Always thinking about what’s next.
Always creating with the end in mind.
Always transforming your thoughts to things.

AFTER ALL: Ideas are free. But execution is priceless.

That’s what makes entrepreneurs successful — they learn how to transform even the smallest events, situations, experiences or ideas into breakthroughs.

IN SHORT: They always kill two stones with one bird.

That’s right. You read it correctly. Two stones, one bird.

So, today will be the first in a series of posts about leveraging. I’ll do my best to write a new one (roughly) once a week.

NOTE: For future reference, you can keep up with this post series at

– – –

Now, in my experience, I’ve found leveraging to be a function of QREATIVITY; that is, asking yourself constant, creative questions.

So, here’s your list of Leverage Questions for today:

1. Where can you create the most leverage? This basic question lays a foundation of expansion and growth that will help you kill two stones with one bird with every idea, situation or experience.

Again, the word leverage means, “To increase the rate of return on an investment.” So, whether it’s an investment of time, energy, capital or attention, there’s always SOME way you can leverage it.

REMEMBER: Ideas mean NOTHING without leverage.

2. Are you recognizing when life is giving you a gift? Part of being the luckiest person you know realizing that you’ve been lucky. Paying attention. Plucking from the world around you. Noticing when opportunities are presenting themselves and immediately responding to them.

So, from ideas to people to situations, never forget to give thanks for all these great gifts life gives you! That way, life gives you more of them! See, the universe is participative. That which you appreciate appreciates.

REMEMBER: Success doesn’t come unpartnered. Recognize that you’re not alone and show appreciation for the gifts you’ve been given.

3. Are you saving your bad ideas for later? Bad doesn’t mean always “terrible.” It COULD simply mean “bad timing.”

Keep your unused ideas around, just in case. Revisit them regularly. You never know, something that sucked five years ago might be GOLD today!

REMEMBER: Even bad ideas have their place.

4. Did you buy the domain first? The word domain comes from the Latin dominium, which means “property.”

LESSON LEARNED: The minute you get a great idea, register the website.

Even if you’re totally broke.
Even if you’re not sure if your idea will work.
Even if you’re years away from the final product.

Buy the domain.

Websites are the new real estate.

REMEMBER: He who owns the domain owns the idea.

5. Did you google it first? Before you get too carried away with your new idea, you should probably google it first. Just to make sure someone else hasn’t already thought of it. Cheapest and most effective market research in the world!

REMEMBER: If it doesn’t exist on Google, it’s yours for the taking.

6. How can you do the work once and benefit many times? This is the key to duplication, multiplication and ultimately, replacing yourself.

You need to build a foundation.

Now, maybe that means writing. Or setting up systems. Or making a business process self-sufficient. Whatever you do, constantly ask yourself, “How can I do the work once and benefit many times?”

REMEMBER: Take yourself out of the equation.

7. How can you make this into your own? Because there’s nothing new under the sun, the key differentiator is process.

Delivery. Voice. Medium, not message.

That’s why you need to “notice things and give them names,” as Seth Godin explains.

Observe, watch, read, pluck and listen to your environment. Content is just BEGGING to be captured! You need to create names, designations and titles for the things you notice. They must be original, creative and consistent with the branding of your content and philosophies.

REMEMBER: Don’t copy, don’t imitate – put your own spin on it.

Read part two of this series!

What’s your best Leverage Question?

Share it here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…tomorrow goes ON AIR!

7 Ways to Prime Your Brain for Constant Creative Insight

OK, so, you want to be more creative.

You want to become a Thought Leader.

And you want to make REAL changes in the world.


Cool! You sound like my kinda guy. (Or gal.)

So, here’s the plan. Because before you start changing the world, there’s something you need to do first:

Prime your brain.

See, the word “prime” actually means just that: FIRST.

As in, “The First Step of Creativity.”

SO, THAT’S THE SECRET: Before you start concocting the next great business idea, your first move is to motivate your melon.

Here’s a list of seven practices to help you prime your brain so new ideas will start flowing like water!

1. Maintain an expectant frame of mind. Before sleeping, exercising, brainstorming or any other extended periods of heightened creativity, first take a few minutes to invoke The Muse. Focus your thoughts and expectations on receiving insight. Try affirmations like:

o “I am creative.”
o “I have many ideas.”
o “I am a brilliant artist.”
o “I am willing to create.”
o “I love to play with everything.”
o “I am flourishing with creativity.”
o “I am confident in my creative work.”
o “I am a receiver for creative inspiration.”
o “I have a constant flow of interesting and creative ideas.”

2. Make space in your own mind. For something to enter, your mind must first be empty. So, here are four ways to take a Mental Dump:

o Morning Pages: This stream of consciousness method of journaling is life changing AND life clarifying. Learn how to do them here.

o Exercise: Every single day for at least 20 minutes straight. See, with every bead of sweat you release, more space in your mind is also created. Learn more about solvitas perambulatorum here.

o Walking: Now, although you (could) put this under the category of exercise, taking regular walks – even if it’s just around the block – is a form of moving mediation. It clears your mind and fills your body with fresh oxygen. Plus it’s fun.

o Meditation: No, you don’t have to levitate. You just have to relax. In fact, the word “meditate” comes from the Latin meditatus, which means, “to contemplate.” So, whether it’s TM, focused breathing or your Daily Appointment with Yourself, this practice will be the most effective way for making space in your own mind.

3. Operate on multiple planes of consciousness. Prior to engaging in any activity – whether it’s reading, writing or attending a seminar – consider the various lenses through which you could view that activity. Let experiences change you. This will make your mind actively prepared to observe what your eyes see.

For example, let’s say you were reading a book. Consider reading with these three types of eyes:

o Superficial Eyes: You don’t need to read every word. You don’t need to listen to every line. You don’t need to understand every concept. Just get the key ideas. Figure out the ONE thing you’re supposed to be learning. And when you’re done, think (and rethink) about how it applies to your life.

o Academic Eyes: Observe other people’s styles, vocabularies and voices. Then, think about your own writing style. Pick out little things and trends you noticed from other creative people and adapt them to your own work. (Notice I said, “adapt,” not “steal.”)

o Creative Eyes: Highlight or underline a key passage. Put the book down. Make a list of all the reasons, examples, ideas and stories that come to mind when you apply that idea to your own life. Save that document in its own folder. Come back to it later and expand on what you read.

4. Perpetually hunt for insight. Inspiration is ENDLESS and EVERYWHERE. Anyone who ever claims, “I can’t find any good ideas!” is either lazy, stupid or not looking very hard. So, the secret is to maintain an attitude of curiosity, exploration and expectation … in everything you do. To be constantly scanning.

So, when you’re hunting for insight, ask yourself Filtering Questions like:

o Isn’t that interesting?
o What else is like this?
o What does this have to do with me?
o What’s the Universal Human Emotion?
o How are these issues related to each other?
o How does this have to do with my expertise?
o How could I use this as an example in my work?
o What did you (just) learn from this experience?
o How is this a symbol or example of my expertise?
o How does this fit into my picture of the universe?
o What’s the key idea here, regardless of the context?

5. Write it down! If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know my philosophy on this topic: Writing is the basis of all wealth. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, when it comes to priming your brain, writing is your BEST friend.

See, The Page clarifies, organizes, and best of all, it doesn’t judge you. It just listens. So, if you have a big meeting, conference call or discussion coming up, consider taking fifteen minutes the MORNING OF to write out your thoughts. Voice complaints, ideas and annoyances, even “things NOT to say.”

Oh, and remember to make lots of lists, kind of like this.

6. Soften your eyes. This is more than just a practice; it’s a philosophy. And it’s not just physical, it’s mental and spiritual as well.

See, if you want to prime your brain, you need to slow down and notice the novelties of life. To studying ordinary things intently. To make the mundane memorable and be mindful of your surroundings. Here’s how to soften your eyes:

o You OPEN your mind. This means your optical guard lets down. Which means you’re less likely to neglect key opportunities. Which means you’re more willing to accept multiple perspectives. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You OBSERVE patterns quickly and frequently. This enables you to make connections between seemingly unrelated things. Which enables you to notice things and give them names. Which enables you to have more creative thoughts.

o You ORGANIZE your thoughts with ease and comfort. This helps you filter them through your personal theory of the universe. Which makes them YOUR unique ideas and theories. Which makes them easier to spread.

7. Become a Suspender. Suspend your self. Suspend your agenda. Suspend your preconceptions. Suspend your preoccupation. Suspend your views.

See, when you are willing to watch things in a detached way, you actually see MORE by striving LESS. If you’re also willing to learn something new (and NOT be obsessed with what you already know) there’s no limit to the amount of ideas your brain might attract!

So, strive to maintain openness to possible thoughts outside of what you already have. Become a suspender.

– – –

REMEMBER: You make a living off your ideas. They are the ancestors of your success.

So, if you want to become a creative powerhouse, a recognized Thought Leader and an agent of REAL change in the world, start by motivating your melon!

How do you prime your brain?

For a list called “49 Ways to become an Idea Powerhouse,” send an email to with “Idea Powerhouse” in the subject line, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

…only 7 more days until goes ON AIR!

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