6 Ways to be a Better Boss to Yourself

According to recent news release from United States Bureau of Labor, twenty-five percent of all American workers are self-employed.

That means one out of every four of us is our own boss, right?

Wrong.

Everybody is their own boss.

Even if you’re not self-employed.
Even if you’re not employed at all.

You’re still the boss.

Interestingly, the term “boss” comes from the Dutch baas, which means, “overseer.”

Isn’t that what you do everyday?

You oversee your decisions, your career and your self-talk.
You keep yourself going even when you don’t feel like pressing on.
You provide momentum, arouse perseverance and inspire stick-to-itiveness.

But, being your own boss isn’t just about productivity.

It’s about freedom.
It’s about ongoing self-care.
It’s about setting boundaries.
It’s about making smart decisions.
It’s about treating yourself as you wish to be treated.

THE PROBLEM IS: Most of us are sucky bosses.In a recent blog post, Seth Godin riffed on an idea that inspired me to rethink my own self-bossing practices:

“If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they’d fire her. And if an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.”

If that describes you, consider the following strategies for becoming a better boss to yourself:

1. Declare a moratorium on the unimportant. Have you ever worked for a boss who, on a daily basis, invaded your workspace unannounced and talked your ear off for three hours about absolute meaninglessness – when you could have been executing something that mattered – then later yelled at you for not being productive?

The amount of time wasted on such stupidity could fill the Superdome.

Your challenge, as the boss of yourself, is to assure that interruption doesn’t dominate you. If what you’re doing – right now – isn’t consistent with your number one goal, politely walk away. If what you’re doing – right now – doesn’t matter, peace out.

Next time you look up and realize that you’ve been purposely distracting yourself for the past twelve minutes, pause for a moment, then gently return to the work that counts. What’s your philosophy on personal productivity?

2. Stop saying it’s not about you. Doing so invalidates yourself. Besides, part of being a better boss to yourself is being more selfish with yourself. For example: Are you whining about the failing economy – or focusing on your economy?

Hopefully the latter, because your economy is how you manage yourself in relation to the world. In fact, the definition of economy is, “The disposition or regulation of the parts and functions of any organic whole.”

Maybe it’s time to start asking yourself a few boundary questions:

*Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?
*Who in my life is chronic abuser of my time and attention?
*Am I being asked to create a future that I’m going to feel obligated to be a part of?

Remember: It can’t be about you all time – but it can’t be about you none of the time either. Are you ready to hold a courageous conversation to reinforce your boundaries?

3. A diploma isn’t the end of education. A good boss wouldn’t let you get away with that kind of thinking. Instead, she’d challenge you create a learning plan. To expand your expertise. To form opinions on relevant issues. And to build a school of thought around your unique philosophy.

Besides: When you stop learning – you stop earning. You stop living. And you stop growing. Not exactly the best employee, huh? Consider asking yourself: What’s your personal development gameplan? What’s your method to sustain lifelong education? And what’s your system for retaining relevance in the eyes of the people who matter most?

These are the questions that will help you create an environment where learning is stressed and build a space where you can assimilate, internalize, master and move on. What are the obstacles you create that hinder a full engagement with your learning?

4. Detect the collective conditioning inside yourself. Ten years ago, I told my parents that I wanted to wear a nametag. Everyday. For the rest of my life. Sure enough, they responded with a four-letter word. But it wasn’t the one I expected. Instead of saying, “What?” “Crap!” or “Putz,” they just smiled and replied, “Cool.”

And I never looked back.

I wonder what would happen if more people had bosses like that. I wonder how much positive change could be created in the world if people practiced healthier self-talk. Especially when it came to the issue of risk.

Because in my experience, if you don’t honor yourself for the bravery of taking risks, the paralyzing self-consciousness negates your developmental progress. And your annual performance review will be a joke. Except you won’t be laughing. Because you’ll be both the boss and the employee.

Remember: The biggest risk is the one you don’t give yourself permission to take. Think about the last time you said, “Screw it – I’m doing it anyway,” how did you feel afterward?

5. Raise hell against redundancy. Recently, my friend Amy told me she’d rewritten her fifty-five page book proposal two-dozen times. Two. Dozen. Times. That’s over than thirteen hundred pages. Of just the proposal – not the actual book.

Seriously? War & Peace wasn’t even that long. And the sad part is: She wasn’t even done yet. “I’m still ironing out the wrinkles,” she said.

Tragic. With the time Amy invested in that project, she could have written and shipped six real books. If only she’d known that finished is the new perfect. If only she’d known that planning is the gateway drug to procrastination.

You think her crime of redundancy would survive in a traditional boss situation? Hell no. Somebody would either get fired or quit.

Lesson learned: Next time you find yourself stuck on the treadmill of the inconsequential, consider the possibility that what’s consuming your time (a) makes no sense, (b) doesn’t need to be done by anyone, and (c) isn’t making you any money. How many built-in redundancies could you eliminate?

6. Maintain your motivational equilibrium. As the boss of you, self-motivation is the lifeblood of your success. Without it, getting out of bed will become a chore rather than a celebration.

The tricky part is: Nobody’s ass is harder to kick than your own. Anyone who’s ever gone out on their own or worked from home can attest to that. Fortunately, everybody has the capacity for self-motivation.

The challenge is twofold: First, remembering that energy follows priority. Because if you’re not doing it, it’s not important to you. Period. But if you know what matters, you’ll be able to motivate yourself anytime, anywhere.

Second, becoming a master of your own disinclination. Allowing discipline to trump desire. And learning to love what’s good for you and your career. What would it take for you to wake up excited tomorrow?

REMEMBER: Being your own boss demands unremitting effort.

And with increasing levels of self-employment, newfound entrepreneurship, mobile offices and global telecommuting, self-care has never been more essential.

But it’s part of your job.
It’s part of everybody’s job.
Even if you don’t have a job.

You are overseer.

Treat yourself as you wish to be treated.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you need to fire yourself?

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For the list called, “194 Books in Scott’s Success Library,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

You Don’t Have to be Steve Jobs to be Ahead of Your Time

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Computer visionary Alan Kay coined that phrase in 1971.

At the time, he was working in the research department of Xerox. But, as innovative as he was, he failed to convince the higher-ups that his new programming ideas would revolutionize computing.

Until.

Eight years later, pioneers from Apple Computers used Kay’s ideas to develop a revolutionary, user-friendly computer called The Macintosh. In the end, Alan’s vision for the future changed the face of technology forever.

Take that, Steve Jobs.

That’s what happens when stop predicting the future and start inventing it: You don’t just make money – you make history.

THE COOL PART IS: You don’t need to be a computer scientist to be ahead of your time. You just need to bear the daily fruit of an indomitable spirit of innovation.

Here’s how:1. To be cutting edge, live on the edge. When Barbie hit the scene in 1959, she was the first adult doll. And she allowed girls to do more with a doll than just change pretend diapers and feed pretend bottles. Barbie was all grown up. She was mature. And she could do real things with her friends. Which meant playtime was endless.

Is it any surprise, then, that ninety percent of all girls in America between the ages of three and ten have at least one Barbie? Or that three Barbie dolls are sold every second somewhere in the world?

Nope. Hell, Barbie was Miss Astronaut in 1965 before women were even allowed in the space program. Our country didn’t send another woman to space until Sally Ride in 1983. Talk about being ahead of her time.

Barbie wasn’t just a hunk of plastic – she was a hell of a pioneer.

And if you want to learn from her example, here’s my suggestion: Envision a future most people aren’t ready for. Then, spend your days bringing it to life. Tackle untouchable issues and revolt against the orthodox doctrine of the day.

Whatever it takes catch the public by surprise. You’ll be ahead of your time in no time. When people play with you, how does their world change?

2. Do more experimental work. Few musicians were – and still are – more ahead of their time than Brian Eno. As the former frontman of Roxy Music, and as the principal innovator of the ambient genre, Eno makes enthusiastic use of all that technology has to offer.

He just tries things. He experiments. And his insatiable desire to tinker and toil with every tool available fuels his ability to innovate consistently. In his immortal words, “Art is the one place where we can crash our plane and walk away from it.”

To infuse your creative practice with Eno’s winning attitude, here’s my suggestion: Gently move toward that which scares the crap out of you. Next time you have a radical idea that makes your stomach drop, don’t run from it.

Listen to your body. It’s trying to guide you. Lean into your worry with all your might. And remember that if you’re not scaring yourself – you’re not stretching yourself. Comfort zone? Pshht. Are you willing to set up basecamp in uncharted territory?

3. Don’t be selfish with your brain. You can’t keep your thoughts to yourself. Ideas weren’t meant to stay ideas. And the people who change the world never do so with their mouth closed.

Don’t worry – nobody is going to steal your thunder. That is, not if you’re smart enough to be so identified with your work that nobody could steal it, and if they did, people would know it.

What you have to remember is, when you share your expertise generously, people will recognize it, became addicted to it and eventually depend on you for it. Hell, they might even have something to add to improve it.

Whether you increase your creative openness, ramp up the frequency with which you publish your ideas or solicit more feedback from the people who matter most, your efforts will not go unrewarded.

You just have to be willing to share. To trust that the more you give away from free, the wealthier you will be. And to have faith that the world will pay you back. Who have you shared your creativity with today?

4. Hack the rules. Don’t break them – hack them. Huge difference. According to the bestselling Trust Agents,

“Hacking is about finding alternatives for the traditional uses of a system. It’s about modifying the conditions of the system you’re in. Hacking isn’t cheating. It’s changing the rules or the game and using a system in a different way than it was designed.”

The way I see it, you have three options: Change the rules so you can win at your own game, change the game so there are no rules, or play the game but become the exception to every rule.

Easier said than done, I know. The secret is to constantly ask rule-hacking questions, i.e., “What corners can be cut here?” “Can this rule be ignored, modified or changed?” “Is this a rule or just a recommendation?” and my personal favorite, “What could I do in this moment that would be the exact opposite of everyone?”

Over time, hacking will become second nature and your idea will become first rate. Either that, or you’ll get arrested. What are the exceptions to the rules that helped you succeed?

5. Offer a complete deviation from old school style. That’s how the greatest musicians expanded the boundaries of their genre: With broadly sweeping scales, rapid changes of register, unusual divisions of beat, extremes of tempo and dense chordal textures.

Even if you can’t play a lick, the lesson is universal: Always retain contempt for imitation and mediocrity. Don’t wait for the advent. Establish your own industry standards. Test the definitional boundaries. Transcend the medium. Make it your goal to be able to finish the following sentence:

After encountering my work, people will never thing about (x) the same way again.

That’s how you become a vital force. It starts with believing that you were designed to make a distinctive difference. Otherwise, if you don’t operate from that place of worthiness, you’ll never execute anything that’s ahead of its time. Are you distinct or derivative?

6. Never shut down your curiosity. Amazed at his ability to be one step ahead of his enemies, Watson once asked Holmes, “How is it that you always see everything?” To which Sherlock replied, “Because I’m always looking for it.”

That’s what most people don’t realize: Curiosity might have killed the cat – but it also makes you a lot of money. And history proves time and time again that the most successful, most celebrated and most ahead-of-their-time people in the history of planet were the ones who asked dangerous questions despite overwhelming efforts to silence their enthusiasm and deflect their curiosity.

If you want to become one of those people, here’s a few questions to keep your curiosity in check:

*Do you keep a running list of questions?
*How often are you flexing the muscle of huh?
*Do you dare to be dumb and refuse to discard hunches?
*Have you commenced an unrelenting quest for continuous learning?
*Are you studying ordinary things intently and finding interesting?

That should morph you into a giant question mark in no time. Are you making time to be curious?

7. Do your own thinking. You’d be amazed how many people delegate this task. They wimp out and let their friends, their company, their family or the media think for them.

Yes, it’s easier and faster – but it’s also stupid and dangerous. And if you’re not willing to ask yourself what you think before adopting the perspective of the masses, you’re not an innovator – you’re a sheep.

Look: People will try to define who you are and then make you believe that definition. You can’t let that happen. Take a hint from novelist Ayn Rand. She was more ahead of her time that most of her literary contemporaries. Not only because she grappled with questions most people didn’t even have the guts to ask, but also because she asked people to ask her about her thinking.

That’s how she stayed sharp. That’s how she stayed relevant. And that’s the lesson we can all learn: You can’t be ahead of your time if you’re behind in your perceptions.

You must strive to reevaluate commonly held ideals. You mist stick closely to the shape of your truth. And you must exhibit intellectual toughness and uncompromising progressive character. No matter how many haters opposes you. No matter how many times you’re hit by the snarls. Are your thoughts 100% your own?

8. Study the anatomy of innovative talent. I’m obsessed with documentaries. Doesn’t matter what the subject is. If I can invest ninety minutes dissecting the world of someone smart and cool, count me in. I even keep a journal on my coffee table to document powerful lessons learned from people who were ahead of their time.

You have to make time in your schedule to saturate yourself with inspiration from those who dared to challenge the odds. Whether you watch, read or listen, the process always invites a few cool things.

First, you’ll get into their heads. That’s the best way to understand the innovative mindspace. Second, you’ll get into their process. That’s the best way to learn how people make decisions that matter.

And finally, you’ll get into their lives. That’s the best way to find out how to embody an innovative spirit. Look: Success leaves clues. Everywhere. What’s your learning plan for finding them?

REMEMBER: You don’t need to be a computer scientist, bestselling novelist, corporate conglomerate or hall of fame musician to invent the future.

But you do have to answer the call to adventure.

Do that, and you’ll be ahead of your time in no time.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is the future a place you’re avoiding, going or inventing?

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For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking dates for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

What To Do When You Feel Like You Don’t Matter

When was the last time you were paralyzed by the threat of insignificance?

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Myself included.

THE REALITY IS: The human need to feel valuable to the world runs deeper than just about anything.

THE SECRET IS: How quickly do you recognize, overcome and leverage that that looming threat into something positive?

Not sure what to do when you feel like you don’t matter? Try this:1. Delete people from your life who make you feel invisible. Success means surrounding yourself with people who don’t just look at you – but actually see you. Huge difference.

It’s like in Avatar: When the Na’vi people meet, they greet each other with, “I see you.”

That was my favorite part of that movie. Because their phrase is more than a simple greeting – it’s an acknowledgment. It’s a form of namaste. It means I understand who you are. And according to creator James Cameron, it’s an alternative way to say, “I love you.”

You need people in your life who will greet you that way. No matter how insignificant you think you are. This provides a foundation to sustain your spirit during times of perceived non-mattering. How many of the people you interact with on a daily basis leave you feeling seen?

2. Ritualize your life. In his book Reflections on the Art of Living, Joseph Campbell suggests that ritual introduces you to the meaning of what’s going on. It properly puts your mind in touch with that you’re really doing.

Personally, I perform a ritual every morning: It’s called a Daily Appointment with Myself. And it’s exactly the same, every day, no matter where I am in the world, no matter where I am in my life.

Unfortunately, I can’t share all the details or I’d have to kill you. Sorry. Personal policy.

However, my experience with this ritual has proven countless times to be the single best daily reinforcement of mattering I’ve ever practiced. And I challenge you to think about the rituals you practice every day, and how they might reinforce your ability to matter. When was the last time you made an appointment with yourself?

3. Reframe perceived meaninglessness. Think of it this way: Moments of non-mattering are positive reflections of your inherent desire to make the world better. After all, mattering wouldn’t be important to you if you were a loser.

Look: I’ve been there. Inconsequentiality is a bitch. It’s a form of spiritual bankruptcy that feels like an earthquake to your heart.

The good news, it’s also a wake up call that mattering is like oxygen to your soul, and your tank is just a little low right now.

No problem. You just need to refill it.

As long as you start with that baseline level of awareness. Otherwise mattering will feel miles away. As Joseph Campbell also said, “Everything is a possibility, everything is a clue and everything is talking to you.” The question is: Are you brave enough to listen?

4. Normalize your fear. It’s a beautiful moment when you understand that you’re not the only one who struggles to matter. It’s not fair, however, to commandeer other miserable people just so you have someone to sulk with.

Misery might love company, but mattering loves positivity.

Instead of boo-hooing, start brainstorming. Ask each other, “What was in play the last you felt an overwhelming sense of mattering?” As my coach, Dixie Gillaspie explains in Anatomy of a Brick Wall,

“Figure out what inspired you and find another way to design that outcome. Reframe it, repaint it and redesign it. You can achieve your purpose, but sometimes you’ll have to rethink your method.”

This exercise – which I’ve done before – will help you commit your whole psychological pitch to believing in your ability. And that will exert the necessary energy to effect the transformation from wah-wah to wow-wow. With whom could you greet and leverage your fear together?

5. Rewrite your definition of mattering. Many of my readers are unemployed. Still, despite their job search struggles, they’re some of the most driven, intelligent and amazing people on the planet.

And here’s what I’ve learned after a few thousand of their emails: A principal struggle of the unemployed is, “How can I matter when I’m not making money?”

Good question.

Fortunately, mattering doesn’t come from money, power or responsibility. Mattering is the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living.

Let me run it by you again.

Mattering is the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living.

The hard part is believing you can actually fill it. As Benjamin Hoff wrote in The Tao of Pooh, “No matter how useful we may be, sometimes it takes us a while to recognize our own value. But in order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to learn to believe.” Have you put unadulterated self-belief at the apex of your value system?

6. Surround yourself with visual evidence of why. The two biggest challenges of being a writer are (a) the crippling fear that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, and (b) the existential agony of not being read.

That’s why I keep the following email on my desk. I received it about five years ago, and I look at it every day:

“Dear Scott. My name is Karen Tarrentine. I’m sixty-five years old, and lately, I’ve been having a very difficult time with my bowel movements. However, now that I read your blog every day, I have become regular again. Apparently hysterical laughter is just what the doctor order to get things moving along. Thanks for everything you do!”

That’s how I reinforce my why, that’s what reminds me that I matter: Because my writing helps old ladies poop. Validation of my existence? Check.

Any time you feel like you don’t matter, physically keep something in front of your face to remind you why you do what you. After all, you can’t spell “matter” without “why.” What will you hang on your wall to remind yourself that your life counts?

7. Mattering is a choice. Feeling insignificant sucks, but refusing take responsibility for your perceived insignificance is just plain stupid.

However you look at it, it always turns out that you are chiefly to blame for everything. That’s what Dostoevsky wrote in Letters from the Underground. And that’s what you have to take ownership of: That you are the result of yourself. That the feeling of insignificance floated downstream of yourself.

Now, that doesn’t mean other people didn’t play a role in influencing the way you feel about yourself. After all, human beings craft their identities based on how people react to them in the past.

Still, you can’t absolve mattering to someone else. My suggestion is to make a list called, “One Hundred Reasons Why I Matter.” The first third will be easy. The second thirty will be challenging. But the last third will be revelatory. If you still feel insignificant after that, email me. Have you decided to matter?

REMEMBER: It doesn’t matter if you feel like you don’t matter.

What’s important is how quickly you recognize, overcome and leverage that that looming threat into something positive.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you were paralyzed by the threat of insignificance?

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For the list called, “8 Ways to Move Quickly on New Opportunities,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

“Engaging in email mentoring with Scott was an amazing experience! Not only was he incredibly responsive but his advice was clear, concise and thought provoking. Based on clearly agreed areas I wanted to focus on, Scott worked through them with me systematically and at my pace.”

–Donna Rachelson, Branding & Marketing You

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8 Proven Strategies to Make You, Your Brand and Your Company a Game Changer

The best way to win the game is to change the way it’s being played.

That’s how you dwarf the competition.
That’s how you reach the people who matter.
That’s how you solidify your place in the history books.

AND THE SECRET IS: It not important what game you change.

It’s important why you want to change it.
It’s important who you become while you change it.
It’s important how the world improves once people start to play.

Are you ready to roll the dice?

Consider these ideas for being a game changer:1. Provide an alternate platform. Hulu changed the television game twice. First, in 2007. Their website began offering ad-supported streaming video of shows and movies from NBC, Fox, ABC and later Disney.

And viewers could watch their favorite shows, anytime, anywhere – for free. Lesson learned: Find out where the door is already revolving. Then let the wind carry you across the threshold.

The second game-changer occurred three years later when they launched Hulu Plus, the first ad-supported subscription service to offer full current season runs of hit programs across multiple Web-connected devices. According to CEO Jason Kilar, “With Hulu Plus – your favorite TV shows love you back.”

Lesson learned: Don’t fight the current. Match your deliverables with your people’s preferred channel. Ultimately, you have to remember that your customers are making music already. The question is: When are you going to join their drum circle, and what type of instrument will you bring?

2. Change the interaction model. I contribute to around fifty different publications, both online and offline. And as a writer and speaker, doing so is essential element of my visibility plan and a crucial component to my listening platform.

What’s more, the reader interaction model I’ve created makes my editors love me. Here’s how: Each of my modules concludes with a unique response mechanism, or call to action.

It’s become a trademark of my writing style and a calling card of my brand. And it’s helped me change the writer/reader game, albeit on a small scale. Inspired by Scott Adams’ idea to include his email address on every Dilbert cartoon, my daily posts take it one step further.

Not only do I give people my email – I offer them an additional resource to supplement the piece of content they just read, watched or listened to. The cool part is, the bonus resource changes every time. There must be hundreds of lists. All of which are free for anybody.

And every day, I receive thirty to fifty emails from readers worldwide who not only want the list – but also want to offer feedback on the piece of content they just read. Which, I later feed back to my editor. Which, they love.

Result: The readers win. The writer wins. The publisher wins. How are you interacting with your people in a way nobody else is?

3. Blow the barriers to powder. Jason Fried is the cofounder and president of Chicago-based collaborative Web-application company, 37signals. He’s also the author of my favorite book of the year, Rework.

“Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features, less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential. And most of what you think is essential actually isn’t.”

Love it. Love it. Love it. Now, the reason Jason’s a game changer is because his software company sells a suite of web tools architected around open-source programming frameworks. According to his interview with Timeout:

“When you lower the barriers of entry, powerful applications (that formerly might have taken months) are executed in a matter of days.”

Lesson learned: To change the game, first pave the way for a new era of players. What about you? How will your organization make it easier for people to participate in your process?

After all, it’s not about technology – it’s about extending usability to new industries. And you don’t need to write software – you just need to surrender a little control. How are you enabling people to take your idea into their own hands?

4. Tip the balance of power. My friends at Brains on Fire have been changing the customer engagement game for years. In their eponymous book, authors Gino Church, Robbin Phillips and Greg Cordell write:

“Participate in people’s lives – not just the conversation about their lives. Because it’s not about you talking about your product. It’s about people celebrating how your product fits into their lives and how you enable them to use it.”

That’s how you tip the balance of power: By asking your fans how they prefer to connect. By giving fans the ability to participate in your message. Otherwise you’re just in love with your own marketing. The door opens both ways.

Like my mom once told me, “Always doing just what you want and making the decisions unilaterally is a sure fire path to destruction.” How are you deeply engaged with your people?

5. Change the basic metabolism. That’s how YouTube trumped television: It was no longer just about watching the videos. Now it was about uploading, sharing, rating, tagging and cataloguing the videos. As a result, they transformed the entire medium. They changed the basic metabolism.

If you want to execute the same for your organization, I challenge is to rethink the way people consume. Take mobile content, for example. Remember when cell phones were used to make phone calls? Pshht. Thing of the past.

Now, because of hyper-connectivity and built-in payment options, the game has changed. Cell phones are no longer cell phones – they’re pocket portals into people’s lives. Not to mention, their wallets.

And if you’re not befriending that current, the crumbled remains of your message will wash up along the mobile shore. Are you trying to put books on people’s shelves or people value in people’s pockets?

6. Become fans of your fans. Take Pearl Jam, for example. After twenty years of rocking, they no longer care about the labels. Or the radio stations. Or the record stores.

All that matters is the music. Giving the fans that love it something to believe in, according to Eddie Vedder’s 2007 Rolling Stone interview. And not surprisingly, Pearl Jam has outlasted most of its grunge rock counterparts.

They’ve sold sixty million records worldwide, many of which were bootleg recordings of live shows to give people a chance to relive their concert experience. All because Pearl Jam was a fans of their fans.

Are you giving your people a reason to ditch the mainstream and follow you into the sunset? After all, love is a circular transaction, says the aforementioned Robbin Phillips. And if you want to change the game, you stop making war on the competition and start making love to your customers. Whose jersey are you willing to wear in public?

7. Access trumps ownership. Google eliminates the need to buy and own books. Pandora eliminates the need to buy and own music. YouTube eliminates the need to buy and own a television. Online storage removes the need to buy and own external hard drives.

That’s been the biggest cultural shift over the past five years: Nobody owns anything anymore. Everything you need is either available for free or shared for cheap. Like landlines and online privacy, owning things is a thing of the past.

“Consumers have more choices, more tools, more information, and more peer-to-peer power,” says Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh:

“Smart companies create, share and use social media, wireless networks, and data crunched from every available source to provide people with goods and services at the exact moment they need them, without the burden and expense of owning them outright. And there is real money to be made and trusted brands and strong communities to be built in helping your customers buy less but use more.”

Take Zipcar, for example. They changed the game of personal transportation by making it easy and affordable to have a car whenever you need one, without actually owning one. Brilliant.

Therefore, because access trumps ownership, your challenge is twofold. First, to make friends with free. Identify which of the many models of free your organization is going to leverage. Otherwise The Rapture will leave you behind with the rest of the dinosaurs.

Second, deploy assets your customers don’t have to buy, but can easily access. By reducing the burden of ownership and offering wider access to your value, you can change the game forever. Are you (still) trying to charge customers for a cow they’re already milking electronically for free?

8. Shatter the limitations of size. Shawn Fanning never made a billion dollars creating Napster. But do you think he cares? Doubtful. His game-changing program became the pivot that altered the landscape of music industry for-better and for-always.

Screw making money – that guy made history. And he was just some dude in a dorm room. Who’s to say you couldn’t do the same?

Sure, it’s not probable that you’ll disrupt an entire industry. But it is possible. More possible than ever before. And that’s the great part about the Web: All that fluff you were force-fed as a kid about how one person could change the world has actually become a glimmering reality.

Advances in technology have (finally) made changing the game financially viable. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of thing that makes me get out – no, leap out – of bed in the morning. Do you think it’s time to pursue your goal with a more modern vehicle?

BOTTOM LINE: You can’t just sit there waiting for the revolution to begin.

You’ve got to extend your arm.
You’ve got to transform the tempo.
You’ve got to deploy an unconventional strategy.
You’ve got to shake people out of their complacencies.
You’ve got to blend the conventional with the contemporary.
You’ve got to carefully observe problems that fall through the cracks – then solve them.

That’s how you change the game.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s the nametag of your service process?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

8 Ways to Make Yourself, Your Brand and Your Service More User-Friendly

“How do people feel about using your system?”

That’s the question that matters.

Whether you write software, own a retail store, run a non-profit, counsel married couples – even if you’re trying to land a job in a down economy – everyone has users.

Everyone. Even if you don’t call them users.

And if you can’t deliver your value with an abundance of user friendliness, you lose.

HERE’S THE REALITY: We live in an experience economy, a commoditized marketplace and hyperspeed culture.

That means people are no longer satisfied with good, fast and cheap – they want it perfect, now and free.

Today we’re going to explore a list of ways to make yourself, your brand and your service more user-friendly:1. You aren’t your customer. It doesn’t matter if you like it – it matters if users get it right away. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s cool – it matters if users enjoy using it. And it doesn’t matter if you get excited about it – it matters if users tell their friends about their positive, friendly experience of using it.

My suggestion: Stop superimposing onto your users what you think they should want. You may as well be winking in the dark. Instead, just ask people what they need. I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you. Like Jerry Maguire, learn to say, “Help me help you use me.”

Without solicitation of user feedback, you end up sitting in an office having a love affair with your own marketing. And the intangible asset known as your brand decreases in equity with every transaction. How have you made it easier for people to interact with you?

2. Never underestimate the profitability of findability. If they can’t find you, they can’t use you; and if they can’t use you, it won’t matter how friendly you are: Visitors will leave before they get a chance to become customers.

Peter Morville is the father of findability. He first defined the term in 2005 in his book Ambient Findability, as “The ability of users to identify an appropriate website and navigate the pages of the site to discover and retrieve relevant information resources.”

Ease and comfort. That’s the secret. Relevancy and realness. That’s the next secret. And demonstrating to users that you’re worth being found. That’s the final secret.

Then, the only thing issue left to consider is: “What happens after users find you?” Because what your users experience isn’t as important as the friendliness with which they experience it. Findability enables approachability. How findable are you?

3. Respond to the idiosyncratic needs of each user. If you force everyone to conform to the same style, you run the risk of losing people who matter. Instead, position your offerings in ways that make it easy for all types to access you.

For example, I recently made two changes to my accessibility options by offering users a menu of mediums. First, I changed my cell phone voicemail to say, “Here are the three ways to get in touch with me the quickest: Leave a message, send a text to this number, or email scott@hellomynameisscott.com.”

The second change was made to the contact page of my website, which reads, “Everybody communicates differently. I am available and at your service and via whatever channel you prefer to use the most: Phone. Text. Email. Instant Message. Skype. Twitter. Facebook. Face to face.”

Remember: It’s not that users don’t like you – it’s that you’re not speaking on their frequency. If you want your message to be heard in a friendlier way, you have to also consider how people hear. Are you customizable?

4. Preserve people’s sense of control. In the psychology manual, The Handbook of Competence and Motivation, the research proved that human beings operate out of a model to feel autonomous and in control of their environment and actions.

Thus: The feeling of being in control is a basic human need. And your challenge is to make sure your users don’t lose that feeling.

For example, at the beginning of my presentations, I give my audience members my cell phone number. And I tell them that if they have any questions, comments or feedback, to text me. Then, time allowing, I’ll address as many of them as I can.

This approach wins for three reasons. First, it’s a cool way to interact with audience members, aka users. Secondly, by introducing anonymity, it creates an askable environment that makes people feel comfortable speaking up. Finally, the option of texting allows users to offer feedback at their own pace.

Ultimately, these three things reinforce people’s sense of control over the direction of the discussion. How will you do the same?

Remember: The two things that matter are how people experience you; and how people experience themselves in relation to you. And if “in control’ isn’t part of that equation, the only people who win are your competitors. How do you keep the ball in your user’s court?

5. Pamper people’s memories. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from wearing a nametag twenty-four seven for the past ten years, it’s that most people suck at remembering. Not just names, but everything. Partly because they don’t pay attention. Partly because they don’t write everything down. And partly because human memory is a mysterious beast.

The point is, if something as simple as a nametag can increase interpersonal friendliness, consider how you might pamper people’s memories within your user experience.

For example, the human memory can handle about seven bits of information at a time. Do everything you can to accommodate that capacity. Make it easy for people to organize and remember material.

The friendliness of their user experience will skyrocket. Even if they don’t realize it. Do your users’ brains love you?

6. Boring is bankruptcy. A friend of mine recently purchased an online sales training course for his employees. When I asked him why his salespeople liked the program so much, his answer surprised me: “Because it’s fun,” Don said. “Look, we can get good content anywhere. But the personality of this program is what makes it so cool.”

Lesson learned: Nobody buys boring, nobody notices normal and nobody pays for average. As my friend Rohit so eloquently suggested in his must-read book, Personality Not Included, “People don’t sue doctors they like.”

Your challenge is to figure out which unique attribute of your personality, life experience and expertise you can leverage in a remarkable way. That means: Values before vocation, individuality before industry and personality before profession.

After all, people buy people first. How are you leading with your person and following with your profession?

7. Reward people for making mistakes. User errors happen. Every day. My suggestion: Acknowledge them. Affirm them. Reward them. Correct them. And do it in a fun, brand-consistent, unexpected way. This humanizes people’s mistakes and makes for a more user-friendly experience.

Speaking of my website, the error page is my favorite. It’s a picture of me with a giant, broken nametag crushed over my head. And the text reads:

“Whoops. The page you were looking for no longer exists. Try searching Scott’s brain using the form to your right!”

You can view this at www.hellomynameisscott.com/error. It’s playful and relaxing, makes the mundane memorable and rewards users with an exclusive message when they make a mistake. Twitter popularized this same concept with their whale/bird graphic, which, in and of itself, became a powerful word of mouth marketing too. When your users screw up, how do you positively respond?

8. Uniformity is beauty. After wearing a nametag twenty-four seven for the past ten years – and then, somehow making a career out of that – I’ve learned that consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. First, consistency between: Your actions and your attitude. That’s what enables your users to listen to you.

Second, consistency between: Your choices and your core. Your decisions and your dominant reality. Your message and your mentality. That’s what enables users to trust in you. Third, consistency between: Your practices and your principles. Your projects and your philosophies. Your vocation and your values. That’s what inspires users to follow after you.

And finally, consistency between: Your ventures and your visions. Your situations and your strengths. Your terminology and your truth. That’s what impels users to talk about you.

If you want to achieve the beauty of uniformity, write the following question on a sticky note and look at it daily: Is how you’re behaving right now consistent with the user-friendly experience you strive to provide?

REMEMBER: Everyone has users. Everyone.

And because people buy people first, the organizations that win are the ones who make the collective experience of their users friendlier.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s the nametag of your service process?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Position Yourself as the Answer

People use the Internet for one thing – and one thing only.

Pornography.

Just kidding. (Actually, not really.)

TRUTH IS: People use the Internet to solve a problem.

That’s it.

That’s the number one thing typed into Google: A question.

How do you hunt elk?
How do you write a book?
How do you start your own membership website?
How do you successfully stalk your ex-girlfriend on Facebook with her finding out?

Hypothetically, of course.

Besides, she ain’t going to find out. Stalking isn’t illegal if you change your name, right?

Anyway. People use the Internet to ask questions and solve problems. Got it.

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS: What are you the answer to? What pervasive, expensive, real and urgent problem does your business solve – better, faster, smarter and cheaper than the other guys?

Because if you can’t answer those questions, you lose.

When you’re the answer, you can name your price.
When you’re the answer, you enhance your referability.
When you’re the answer, you position yourself as a Thought Leader.

When you’re the answer, people come to you.
When you’re the answer, people talk about you.
When you’re the answer, people come back to you.

Today we’re going to talk about how to position yourself, your brand and your organization as such:1. Ask people you trust. Find ten people you trust – whose opinions matter – and ask them to reflect your value back to you. Specifically ask them, “What do you think I’m the answer to?”

The cool part about running this exercise is, their impressions might not be what you think. That’s the tricky thing about self-awareness: It’s rare that you define your own value. You’re simply too close to the subject to make an objective assessment.

“Sit in the assembly of the honest,” as The Bhagavad-Gita instructs. Then, ask people to reveal what you’re too close, too in love, too blind or too proud to see. Are you standing on a whale fishing for minnows?

2. Nothing beats raw experience. If all you’ve done is read a few hundred books and morphed yourself into a walking vending machine of quotations from a bunch of dead white guys, you’re not the answer – you’re a parrot. A hack. A ditto.

The only thing you’ll ever be the answer to is the occasional question during a drunken game of Trivial Pursuit. Which is great for parties but useless for profits.

Instead, you need hit the streets. Walk the factory floors. Scour the company warehouse. Get into people’s living rooms. Whatever displacement strategy will school you in the ways of the world.

The point is: You can’t solve people’s problems sitting in your office all day. Poet John Lecarre was onto something when he said, “A desk is a dangerous place to rule the world.” Are you interactive, reactive and proactive – or just googling all day?

3. Focus groups are amateurs. Don’t just learn about your customers’ business – learn about their brain. Try their heads on. Learn to think like them and you’ll be able to provide more customized service.

Fortunately, social media provides you with an all-you-can-eat buffet of options for doing so. That’s the biggest misconception: People assume social media is for selling. It’s not – it’s for solving. It’s a perpetual listening platform that will give you more insight into people’s brains that a hundred focus groups combined.

The hard part is, using social media for that purpose forces you to face reality with an open mind and even more open heart. But that’s the only way to hear with clean ears.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn that you’re spending millions of dollars positioning yourself as the answer to a problem nobody’s trying to solve. Are you fulfilling a compelling need for your target market or projecting onto that market what you think they should want?

4. The speed of the response is the response. If you plan to position yourself as the answer, you need to get back to people quickly. Especially if their problem is expensive and urgent.

And, even if you don’t have the answer right away, ping people back anyway. Let them know you’ve taken ownership of the problem and they can relax.

If possible, do this personally. Give people no choice but to deal directly with you. Either in person, over the phone or via email. But not with some bullshit autoresponder that lies to people, informing them that their call is very important to you, and that you’ll get back to them in the order in which their call was received.

Instead, use their first name and tell people you’re personally on the case. Doing research, making calls, uncovering stones, kissing babies, licking toads – whatever it takes to find the answer.

Then, once you strike gold, don’t just reconnect – reinforce the fact that you kept your promise. This reminds people of your ability to deliver answers consistently. How many unread emails are currently sitting in your inbox, collecting virtual dust?

5. Even when you say no, you’re still marketing. Let’s say someone approaches you with a problem. And you know you don’t have the solution. No worries. Respond by saying:

“I have no idea. This is outside of my scope of expertise. Fortunately, here are three people I trust who have answers for you.”

By doing so, you’re still the answer. Maybe not the answer people were looking for. But you still pointed them in the right direction. You still positioned yourself as a resource.

What’s more, your willingness to divulge your ignorance demonstrates honesty, character and approachability. People will notice. Are you willing to defer when you’ve surpassed the perimeter of your competence?

6. Audit the answer-ness of your platform. When I redesigned my website, I made a simple request to my web team, “The first thing I want users to feel when they arrive on my homepage is: They’ve to the right place. The search is over. My site is going to help them get unstuck.”

The result was beautiful. Seriously, if it were humanly possible to have sex with a website, I would totally bone www.hellomynameisscott.com.

For you, gather every marketing piece you have out there: Websites, collateral materials, social media profiles, business cards and the like. Then, ask yourself:

*Is it a website or a destination?
*Does it leave the impression of value or vanity?
*When people first arrive, does it scream, “Look at me!” or “This is for you!”

Ask these questions today. When was the last time you audited the answer-ness of your platform?

7. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In Larry Winget’s book, The Idiot Factor, he makes a powerful point about being the answer:

“Don’t give me instructions on how to build a watch – just tell me what time it is.”

People screw this up all the time. They have no restraint when it comes to dispensing answers. And instead of cutting to the chase and solving the problem that was presented to them, they pontificate. The monologue. And they parade their storehouse of wisdom around the room like a trophy wife at ten-year reunion.

Meanwhile, the poor sucker who asked them the question in the first place thinks, “Dude, I just needed one letter – not the whole alphabet.”

Lesson learned: Brevity is eloquence. No need to deploy every weapon you have. Like my mentor says, “Pastors need to learn how to preach one sermon at a time.” Are you vomiting when spitting would suffice?

8. Publicize your ability to recognize patterns. That’s what makes you a recognized thought leader – not just a random expert. If you truly want to radiate usefulness, if you want be the answer, learn to recognize patterns before anyone else.

Notice things and give them names. Create a new glossary of terms to be melded into your industry’s lexicon. And then, sign your name to it and share it with the world.

That’s the missing piece for most people: They’re too selfish with our knowledge. And if you want people to remember you as being the answer, you’ve got to give yourself away.

Don’t worry: The greatest things given away always multiply. And the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be. What patterns do you excel at recognizing?

FINAL NOTE: Positioning yourself as the answer only works if you commit to living up to that label consistently.

The most notable example comes from the world of basketball.

When Allen Iverson was traded to the Philadelphia 76er’s, his nickname became “The Answer.”

Why?

According to an ESPN article, Iverson was the answer to all of the 76er’s questions:

*When will we be good again?
*When will we have another superstar?
*When will we win another championship?

Now, according to a Sports Illustrated article, Iverson’s nickname of “The Answer” is a clear reflection of his many talents and dominating performances on the court.

In fact, he lived up to his moniker throughout the first year of his career, averaging 23.5 points per game for Philadelphia. And as a result, Iverson captured the Rookie of the Year.

Since then, he’s become an eleven-time all star. AI still averages 26.7 points a game, making him one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history.

LESSON LEARNED: If you want to position yourself as the answer – online or off – it requires a dedicated effort.

Otherwise your dominance will crumble.

In which case, pornography might actually end up being your next career move.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What problem do you solve?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Draw a Crowd Without Making a Scene

“They don’t care if you’re good – they care if people come.”

That’s how my friend Judson described the business of booking college comedy tours.

It’s not about aptitude – it’s about attendance.
It’s not about information – it’s about expectation.
It’s not about getting laughs – it’s about filling seats.
It’s not about the ability to perform – it’s about the capability to draw a crowd.

THE BEST PART IS: Every time Judson shows up, the crowd goes wild.

But only because he drew them there first.

Only then could he deliver the goods.

LESSON LEARNED: The crowd can’t go wild if they never make it through the gate.

What about you?

How well do you draw a crowd?
How do people feel when they get there?
After the show is over, how do they feel when they walk away?
And when people get home, how long does it take before they tell all their friends about you?

Whether you’re a performer, artist or entrepreneur…
Radio station, non-profit organization or political candidate…
Company leader, mailroom attendant or cube-dwelling Dilbertarian…

The ability to draw a crowd (in person, online, at work, out in the community) is an essential component to making a name for yourself.

THE COOL PART IS: You don’t have to be the center of attention.

What counts is if you’re a lever. A pivot. A fulcrum point for gathering and leveraging the masses to advance something that matters.

Today we’re going to learn how to draw a crowd without causing a scene.1. Amuse people or lose people. This is the reality of our culture. Whether you’re communicating your idea in person, on the phone, during a presentation or via webinar – you need to be more amusing. Period.

Interestingly, the word “amuse” dates back to 1480 French term amuser, which means, “to divert or cause to muse.” This means your job is twofold: First, to divert. People’s eyes, ears, attentions and minds. Second, to cause to muse. That way, people stop fixedly and begin to ponder. Are you entertaining as you inform?

2. Position your value counterintuitively. In the summer of 1992, the PGA Tour came to my hometown. While watching ESPN with my brother one night, we learned the tournament was being played at Bellerive Country Club – only one mile from our house.

But unlike all of our friends who tried to sneak onto the course to watch golf – then make fools of themselves on live television – we had much bigger plans. We decided to convert the empty field next to our house into a PGA parking lot. The only problem was, every other subdivision within three miles did the exact same thing.

Dang it. Just when you think you have an original idea.

Naturally, we didn’t park a single car on the first day. I know. It was devastating to our entrepreneurial egos. We had to go to therapy until college. Plus, it was August. In St. Louis. Blech.

But, on the second morning, our dad showed up on his way to work – with ten boxes of donuts – and a new parking sign that read, “Free Parking, $10 Donuts!”

We proceeded to make $368, which, when you’re a teenager, is like, a million dollars.

Lesson learned: If you want to draw a crowd, start by drawing interest. Catch people off guard. Be the point of dissonance that breaks their patterns, violates their expectations and hacks the rules. What could you do – in this moment – that would be the exact opposite of everyone else?

3. Consider the rhythm. Let’s say you’re doing a public event on a college campus. And most the students are commuters. Take note: Friday events are losers. Next, let’s say you want to create a memorable presence your next trade show. But it’s the morning after the open-bar karaoke party. Attendance will be low, non-existent or hung over.

The point is: You can’t draw a crowd without a general population to draw from. That’s why you have to be careful about the timing of your event. Make sure it jives with the rhythm of your audience’s immediate environment.

Book smart. Otherwise it’s just you and the crickets. And those chumps never applaud. Have you struck yourself out before coming up to bat?

4. Educate musically – don’t regurgitate noisily. Two homeless men stand on opposite street corners. One yells bible versions at the top of his lungs, informing passerbys that fiery damnation awaits them. The other plays a fifteen-minute drum solo on a kit made from empty paint buckets.

Which one would you give money to? Exactly. Because one made music – other made noise. The cool part is, when you make music, you get more than attention.

As George Carlin explained during his Inside the Actor’s Studio interview, “I received all A’s when I was in elementary school. I got their attention, their approval, their admiration, their approbation and their applause.” And he drew crowds for fifty years. Which one describes the message you deliver?

5. Attract interest immediately – then hold it step by step. Attention is only the beginning. The secret is maintaining it. According to The Psychology of Attention, “All points of attention have three components: Focus, margin and fringe.”

Your challenge is to appeal to each of those components. In my own presentations, I stay aware of this fact. For example: There’s the main audience, there’s the people walking by outside, there’s the camera crew, there’s the venue staff, there’s the people watching online, etc.

Each audience comprises a different element of the attention equation, and they all matter. Like the rock band that acknowledges the legions of drunken, muddy fans in the lawn seats. How do you hold attention – step by step – by appealing to everybody?

ONE FINAL NOTE: As I mentioned earlier, drawing a crowd is a relative experience.

Yes, it can build credibility.
Yes, it can validate your efforts.
Yes, it can demonstrate social proof.

But then again, drug-addicted hobos convinced they’re the second coming Jesus Christ draw a pretty good crowd too.

It’s all about being memorable for the right reasons.

Otherwise you become someone who (only) draws a crowd because people can’t believe what a train wreck and laughingstock she’s become.

ULTIMATELY: It’s not (just) about drawing a crowd.

It’s also about:

Why you want to draw it.
What you plan to do when it’s drawn.
How people feel when they’re part of it.
What emotions are triggered when they walk away from it.
And how quickly those people tell their friends about their experience with it.

Do that, and you won’t need to make a scene.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will people come to see you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

7 Ways to Hustle While You Wait

The Seven Dwarfs never had to deal with a recession.

They suggested you whistle while you work.

Which is a great philosophy, unless you’re not working.

Then what?

SHORT ANSWER: Hustle while you wait.

That’s what Edison preached and, more importantly, practiced. A thousand patents later, his disciplined work ethic paid off and paid well.

THE CHALLENGE IS: Executing what matters while waiting what’s coming.

Here’s how to hustle while you wait:1. Learn to balance total relaxation and complete exertion. Right after breathing, this is the most important practice in yoga class. And while it sounds paradoxical, it’s actually quite powerful.

For example, in standing bow posture, your left arm is fully engaged, outstretched, reaching for the mirror. But your opposite right shoulder relaxes completely, thus opening your chest cavity.

It feels fantastic. And while this move takes some practice, striking the balance between relaxation and exertion equips you to drop deeper into the posture. Not just in yoga, but in life. That’s the cool part. Maybe you’re starting a business. Or creating an art piece. Or beginning a new project at work. Same principle applies. Your challenge is to relax and exert simultaneously.

Learn to ask yourself, “What unused, underleveraged component of this process can I engage while waiting for the paint to dry elsewhere?” Ultimately, this form of hustling starts with an attitudinal shift from effectiveness to efficiency. Are you willing to remain patient in one arena while relishing impatience in another?

2. Give away your talent to the market until they’re ready to pay for it. You can’t sit around waiting for your big break. You’ve got to learn how to manufacture your own big breaks by making yourself more breakable. Interestingly, the term “break” derives from the Old English brecan, which means, “to disclose.”

Interesting. Guess you can’t manufacture your own big break if you’re not sticking yourself out there. And I know you’re hesitant to give it away. I know you need money. But the world must sample your wares. Otherwise you’ll be waiting so long that you won’t feel like hustling anymore.

Personally, I’d rather work for free for a little while than not work at all. Why are you waiting to get paid doing something you love?

3. There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. Or so says our tea-sipping, cricket-playing British friends. They suggest that even when the outcome of an event seems certain, things can still go wrong.

What’s more, many things may happen to prevent you from carrying out what you intend to do. That’s why it’s imperative to keep hustling till the last minute of your wait time. Be strong. Assume nothing. Otherwise complacency will get he best of you.

My suggestion: Instead of taking laps around the anxiety pool, go find something you can throw your shoulder into. Are you confusing patience with idleness?

4. Practice fertile idleness. This term was originally coined in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, a personal journal published in 1906. And even though the idea is over a century old, it’s still applicable today.

Take the airport, for example. It’s the perfect reminder that life is nothing but a series of lines. You’re not trying to get anywhere. You’re not waiting for the next moment. Life is the line. And once you realize that life doesn’t get any better than that, everything changes.

That’s when boredom ends and the fun begins. That’s when you learn to greet idleness with a welcoming heart and figure out how to leverage your wait time into something valuable.

For example, Japanese teens are masters of fertile idleness. Did you know that fifty percent of their bestselling books are written via text message? Believe it. They’re called shŏujī xiǎoshuō, or, “cell phone novels.” Written mainly by high school girls on trains, busses and other school day commutes, this new genre of art has changed the landscape of writing forever.

All because they hustled while they waited. Are you reading the news or making the news?

5. Refuse the path of emptiness. I started my business eight years ago. Since then, I’ve written eleven books. Each was composed, produced, published and distributed through my own company, as opposed to a traditional publishing model. And I’m proud to say, all of the books have been noticed by the people who matter, featured on national media and bought in profitable quantities worldwide.

Now, considering I’m just a one-man show, I’d say my books have done pretty well as an independent publisher. The exciting part is, I’ve been approached by dozens of major publishers over the years. And while I’m always honored by their generous offers, I still choose to hold out for the right one. I’m not worried. It’s only a matter of time before the right one comes along.

Until then, I’ll still be here at my office, cranking books out on my own. Your challenge is to employ the same philosophy: Ride the smaller waves like a champ, then, when the Big Kahuna comes along, pop up on your board and ride that baby to shore. Are you willing to be a patient incrementalist?

6. Aggressively bite into opportunities. I’m reminded of what the book of Zechariah reminds us: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” That statement runs my life. Because you never know. And you never will know unless you maintain an attitude of possibility, openness and leverage with everything you encounter.

It’s about making yourself approachable to the world. It’s about beginning with what is – then make something more beautiful out of it. That’s the best part about waiting: There’s always something to do. And don’t give me that, “But I’m so bored,” excuse.

Look: If you’re bored, you’re a boring person. Period. I haven’t been boring since Finance 301 senior year of college. Why? Because I don’t just hustle while I wait – I aggressively bite into opportunities while I wait. Dee-licious.

Remember: Opportunity never stops knocking – you just stop listening. What opportunity is going to pass you buy if you don’t act on it?

7. Don’t commit solely to one course of action. Focus is profitable, but not when executed at the expense of awareness. As I learned from Oriah’s The Dance, “Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.”

Lesson learned: Beware of being too single-minded in your efforts. Otherwise over-focus fuels neglect, and obsession blocks opportunity. The secret is setting healthy boundaries.

For example, let’s say you plan to be out of commission for the five hours working diligently on your big proposal. Set an alarm. Have a friend call you. Anything to jolt you out of your flow state. Ultimately, by establishing a definitive end to your time deep focus, you can switch gears immediately.

Remember: There’s nothing wrong with hustling while you wait, just don’t lose sight of what you’re waiting for. Are you fully immersing yourself without coming up for air?

REMEMBER: The strong wait, but the smart hustle while they’re waiting.

I challenge you to execute these practices as every unforgiving minute passes by.

And you can leave the whistling to Sneezy.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much money is being too patient costing you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “99 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stay Accountable to Yourself When There’s Nobody Around to Hold Your Feet to the Fire

You can’t beat self-employment.

Working from home.
Working in your pajamas.
Working your own schedule.
Working the way you want to.

No commute.
No office politics.
No pointless meetings.
No bosses breathing down your neck.

Sounds like a dream job, right?

Well, it is. Most of the time.

EXCEPT FOR ONE PROBLEM: You’re the only person who can hold yourself accountable.

And if you don’t hold your own feet to the fire – eventually they’re going to freeze.

And frozen feet don’t make money.

This is about discipline.
This is about self-motivation.
This is about commitment to consistent action.

Whether you work at home, work by yourself or work in an independent role, consider these ideas to make sure you motivate yourself to execute what matters:1. Shake hands with yourself. Somewhere down the line, you’ve had manager, boss or supervisor – that you wanted to strangle with an orange extension cord. And my guess is: You weren’t especially motivated by their words, right?

Lesson learned: People rarely remain accountable to people they hate.

If you plan to be the person holding your own feet to the fire, the first key is simple: You better like yourself. Otherwise it’s going to be extremely hard to listen. And if you think that sounds corny, you’re right – it is. But corny doesn’t mean ineffective.

The second key is to establish expectational clarity with yourself. After all, the enemy of accountability is ambiguity. And a flawed assumption about yourself can set the whole process in misdirected motion.

The final key is to isolate your why. To assess your own motives. Because when you know why something is important to you, you never fail to impose the accountability required to execute it. What kind of relationship do you want to have with yourself?

2. Ask yourself focus questions. If what you’re doing – right now – is not consistent with your number one goal, you lose. Keep asking yourself if it is. And if what you’re doing right now isn’t supporting your own strategic intent, you lose. Keep asking yourself if it is.

This process of self-questioning is the single most effective strategy for self-accountability. It’s confrontational, it’s creative and it’s guaranteed to give you a much-needed kick in the ass.

As long as you don’t forget: Motivation without execution is nothing but consuming empty calories. Like eating seven pounds of iceberg lettuce and a Diet Coke. Blech.

Instead, commit to clothing your resolutions in concrete actions. Are you honest with yourself about what really motivates you?

3. Paint yourself into an accountable corner. When I first started my publishing company, I was still living in my parents’ basement. Not exactly an environment conducive to productivity and professionalism.

Ever try to make a sales call to a Fortune 500 company when your mother is screaming from upstairs to find out if you want broccoli or asparagus with your salmon?

Yikes. That’s why I made the commitment to leave the house every morning at 6AM, dressed and ready to go to work. But I didn’t go to an office; I went to a coffee shop. Just to have somewhere to go. Just to get into the right mindset.

And I’d spend the next two hours reading, relaxing, journaling and prepping my day. The cool part was, I’d see the same people each morning. And if I got lazy and slept in, they’d always ask, “Scott, what happened yesterday? We missed you!”

Over a period of two years, this daily commitment sharpened my discipline and laid a foundation of self-accountability that became essential in my career.

I don’t go to the coffee shop anymore, but I still start work at five. Sometimes four. It’s hardwired into me. What ritual will you build into your daily schedule to convince yourself that you actually have a real job?

4. Design your ideal day. If you don’t impose (some) structure into your otherwise chaotic schedule, the entrepreneurial undertow will carry you out to the sharks.

And when I say sharks, I’m referring to the chorus of meaningless distraction, seductive attention magnets and other ruthless villains of your time. Your challenge is to introduce enough structure to fight that undertow.

After all: Routine is healthy. Routine prevents insanity. Routine curtails procrastination. What’s more, ritualizing your days prevents you from saying, “Why the hell am I doing this?”

Without such structure, you wind up (artfully) creating constant distraction that prevents you from seeing the pointlessness of your activity.

On the other hand, I’m not a proponent of over scheduling.

I’ve been guilty of this in the past. Ruthlessly regimenting every minute of your day might keep you accountable to yourself, but it also might cause an ulcer. Your challenge is learning balance structure with spontaneity. What’s a typical day like for you?

5. Establish metrics that matter. While facilitating a recent leadership retreat, one of my participants said – and I quote – “The other day I cut the grass just to feel like I did something.”

Good lord. But, I guess good for him for executing that task. Too bad that task didn’t matter. That’s the rub with self-accountability: If you’re going to kick your own ass, you better wear a relevant shoe. Otherwise you wind up executing – exquisitely – something inconsequential.

Consider this: First, establish weekly criticals. These are the five key tasks that absolutely need to be executed by the end of the week for that week to be considered a success. Otherwise you’ve just wasted seven days of your life.

Second, develop daily essentials. These are the three highly valuable activities that absolutely need to be accomplished for that day to be considered a success. Ultimately, the effectiveness of this practice comes from the small-scale, non-threatening nature of the metrics.

What’s more, if you focus on small wins, the larger victories will happen by themselves. I’ve been logging these two metrics daily for eight years. It works. Are you winning a game that (actually) matters?

6. Create a nonstick surface. When you used to bake cookies with your mother, what was the first step in the process? Right: Dust the counter with flour. Why? So the dough didn’t stick.

Same thing goes with self-accountability. If you want to avoid getting stuck in trap of self-employed sluggishness, you need to take measures to create a nonstick surface.

My suggestion is to take short breaks every ninety minutes. This helps your body and mind refuel. Especially if, during your break, you go perpendicular to the task at hand.

For example, to break from writing, I pick up my guitar. Why? Because after eighteen years of playing music, I don’t have to think anymore. I just start jamming.

And when your occupation is to think for a living, nothing could be healthier for keeping your schedule on task than to give your break a break. Are you punctuating your day to unstick yourself?

7. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you’re not human. (Except for a few of my robot friends, but they’re probably not reading anyway. Lazy punks.)

Anyway, in your quest to stay accountable to yourself, recognize that you will miss the mark from time to time. Learn to be okay with that. As my yoga instructor constantly reminds us:

“Try not to pass judgment on yourself. When you interrupt stillness or fall out of posture, just notice it.”

Try this: Next time resistance gets the best of you – let’s say you unexpectedly oversleep till ten on a Tuesday – use that moment as a bell of awareness to send vibrations of self-accountability through your bones.

Instead of smashing your head into the maple bedpost telling yourself how much of a worthless, lazy excuse for an entrepreneur you are, brainstorm how you might be able to recoup that missed time later in the day or week.

Could you have a working lunch? Could you read while you exercise? Could you catch up after dinner instead of watching the three-hour finale of “So You Think You Can Dance?”

Look. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It happens. Will you be kind to yourself when you fall short?

8. You are the result of yourself. That’s the thorny, self-confrontational reality of self-employment: If you don’t do what you told yourself you were going to do, the only person around to notice, is you.

Which means there’s nobody to blame. Which means the onus is, was, and always will be, on you. Because even if you work alone, even if you spend every day sitting in your living room wearing your pajamas, you’re always in a relationship with yourself.

You still have to sleep with who you are, every night. Don’t create a reputation for unreliability. As Sir Josiah Stamp once wrote, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

Ultimately, assuming success is somebody else’s fault is the hallmark of an immature mind. And immaturity pollutes practically all behavior. Never forget that you are sole source of your own job security. Have you allowed yourself to fully and confidently face your own responsibility for your career?

REMEMBER: The long-term survivability of your business is dependent on your ability to kick your own ass.

Yes, laziness becomes extremely attractive when you know the masses will never know the difference.

But as an entrepreneur, holding your own feet to the fire is part of the job description.

So, stay committed to being committed.

Because sometimes, you have to administer the medicine to yourself, no matter how bad it tastes.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you willing to open wide and swallow the syrup of self-accountability?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “61 Things to Stop Doing Before It’s Too Late,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Does Your Company Pass The Testicle Test?

“Wow, that takes balls.”

That’s what people tell you.

When you do something crazy.
When you go full time as an artist.
When you take the entrepreneurial plunge.

That it requires balls.

Cujones. Courage. Moxie. The willingness to step up and stick yourself out there.

I agree. I think it absolutely takes balls to change the world.

But.

Having balls (alone) isn’t enough.

As Lawrence Fishburne said in Boyz in the Hood, “Any fool can make a baby – but only a real man can be a father.”

TRUTH IS: Making a name for yourself begins with risk; but the only way to make it last is to blend it with regularity.

Here’s a list of ten strategies to help you hang in there, or, as I like to call it, pass The Testicle Test:

1. Focus is the mobilizing force. In The Tao of Abundance, Laurence G. Boldt reminds us that by learning to do one thing with total focus; you bring a clarity and simplicity to the whole of your life.

The question is: Will you stay focused in the face of incessant distractions trying to pull you away from your dream, or will the beckoning, elusive “door to more” seduce you into walking through?

Don’t let things derail you. Be very careful what you begin. Otherwise, spending your energies on the wrong causes will be the end of you. All that risk will lead to zero rewards, or worse yet, an abundance of rewards that don’t matter. How much money are you losing (not) focusing on your priorities?

2. Call upon untested faculties that await your discovery. Sustainability is a function of adaptability. That is, deploying your gifts in new ways to add new value. A helpful audit is to ask yourself the following questions once a quarter:

*Which of your skills do you rarely get the opportunity to use at work?
*What personal skills have you not tapped into yet to build your business?
*What personal skills have you not tapped into yet to add value to your customers?

Eventually, your arsenal of sustainability tools (backbone) will support your attitude of courageous action (balls). How many new skills have you recently become known for?

3. Mere movement is meaningless. Especially if you’re mistaking movement for progress. On the other hand, if you’re making real advancement – even if you’re moving at a glacial pace – eventually the world is going to notice.

As long as you don’t regret what you have set in motion. Instead, develop faith in the decisions you made. And know every step you take (as long as it’s a smart step) makes the probability of success higher. What are you moving toward?

4. Take personal and proactive responsibility for your own evolution. The first step is learning to recognize and refuse the old image of yourself. That way you’ll know what (not) to regress back into.

Next, be surgical in your improvement. Keep rotation constant. And be willing to trust the process of change. Otherwise, like the phone book, you’ll move closer to extinction with every passing day.

Third, don’t preserve yesterday. Reflect upon it, yes – dwell upon it, no. Learn from it, yes – be shackled by it, no. Remember: No adapt, no advance. You must be a willing participant in that process. What change are you afraid to invite?

5. Deliberately slow down. Success turns into failure when it comes too fast, too early or too abundantly. I experienced this about ten years ago. My career blasted off before I had the chance to get my oxygen mask on. Not surprisingly, my left lung eventually collapsed. Then I really needed oxygen.

That became the lesson about proceeding before you’re ready: Impatience pays off, but only when it’s balanced with intermission. I discovered that all the balls in the world are irrelevant when you’ve got a tube in your chest. Learn to honor what stops you. And if nothing stops you, stop yourself. Are you an expert at pressing the off button?

6. Recognize failure as part of the plan. Otherwise your remarkable inability to learn from past errors will be the seed of your demise. Instead, build the stamina to recover rapidly from disappointment.

Because the question isn’t, “Do you have balls?” but rather, “When the world kicks you in the crotch, how quickly do you get up?” It all depends on your adaptive capacity. Remember: The falling is inevitable – the harm is optional. What gifts have your failures given you?

7. Trust accelerates trajectory. Risk requires trust, and trust requires evidence. That’s the hard part. So, it becomes a process of uncertainty reduction through repeated action. The more venues in which you reveal yourself, the more trust you garner for yourself.

Your mission is to match each moment of risk taking (having balls) with three moments of backbone engaging (sustaining stamina). How did you increase your self-trust this week?

8. Sustaining is a function of restraining. My clients frequently tell me that the discipline that I administer is astounding. To work. To life. To everything. And I’m always grateful for that compliment because most people don’t notice it. They assume boldness solidifies success on its own.

This, of course, is a lie.

Discipline is the hallmark of greatness. The foundation of all creativity. The four-letter word that guarantees success. And it’s the differentiator that will set you apart from all other creative professionals. You just need to ask yourself what you’re willing to give up to get what you want.

Remember: Risky becomes stupid the moment it touches inconsistency. Do it everyday or don’t do it all. What waits you in the refining fire of discipline?

9. Poke savagely away. Genius is a great spark, but rededication is the firewood that keeps that fire blazing. Think Mozart or Beethoven were happy with being one-hit-wonders?

No way. They were hundred-hit-heroes. All because they risked initially, but (also) refused to discontinue the passionate pursuit of their craft indefinitely.

You owe your success to a pattern. Step back from the canvas, step back within yourself and steer clear of complacency. Otherwise you’re just another Right Said Fred: To sexy for your shirt, so sexy it hurts. How many hours did you practice yesterday?

10. Be always planting seeds for the future. Small deposits. Every day. With intensity of desire and consistency determination. And, if you don’t have any options – create some. Map it out. Plan your learning trajectory.

I do this every few years with my own business. I’ll map out where I’ve come, where I am, and where I’d like to be. Then I’ll brainstorm a list of seeds that need to be planted to make my envisioned future a tangible reality. What’s growing in your garden of success?

REMEMBER: Action without consistency always falls short of mastery.

Next time someone remarks to you, “Wow, that takes balls,” silently remind yourself of the following truth:

Yes, it takes balls to stick yourself out there – but it takes backbone to KEEP yourself out there.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Does your company pass The Testicle Test?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the ebook called, “15 Ways to Out LEARN Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

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