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?


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.

Do you need to fire yourself?

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to be Timeless, Part 2

“What scares you?”

That was the question I asked my group.

The first answer came from Cameron. And I remember feeling my gut drop to the ground as soon as the following two words came out of his mouth:

“Becoming irrelevant.”

Good lord. What a terrifying concept for any entrepreneur to entertain.

Especially in the minds of your clients, in the eyes of the media and in the opinion of the marketplace – I can’t think of anything that poses a greater threat to the profitability, equity and longevity of your enterprise.


What’s the answer?
What’s the antidote to fading away?

TWO WORDS: Being timeless.

Like a Picasso.
Like a black dress.
Like a Beavis & Butthead tattoo on your left ass cheek.

That’s timeless.

And even though it’s typically a subject comment, there are still a few universal principles that apply to everyone.

Here’s the second part (read part one!) of how to increase the timelessness of you, your brand and your organization:1. Speak with a transcending tongue. Take Shakespeare, for example. His work is ambiguous enough to fit any context – yet still specific and personal enough to remain universally relatable.

Example: “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.”

I don’t care what time period in history you come from – that’s powerful. And it will always be powerful. Because Shakespeare transcends time.

Your challenge is to isolate what it is about you, your brand and your organization that is transcendent; and what, specifically, it transcends. Age? Geography? Gender?

Either way: Allow the theme behind what you do to speak louder than the era in which you do it. What lines are you beautifully blurring?

2. Speak straight to the heart of human experience. Every day I post a question on my Facebook page. Recently, I ask, “What makes someone – or something – timeless? As usual, my friend Dixie chimed in beautifully:

“Timelessness comes from the deep connection to human experience – the themes, rhythms and currents of what it means to be human – and a willingness to be fully and unreservedly part of that experience.”

That should get you started. How human are you willing to position yourself as?

3. Draw attention to the universal. I once attended a seminar on male/female communication hosted by author and pastor Mark Gungor. Not only was it hilarious. Not only was it fun. And not only was it educational for my single-minded male brain. But Mark managed to share a message with over a thousand people that was impossible not to relate to.

No heroic adventures of climbing Mt. Everest. No amazing tales of overcoming adversity. Just a guy talking about something universal, i.e., relationships between men (morons) and women (superior alien counterparts).

That’s how you become timeless: You make your audience your accomplice. And you give them permission to plug themselves into your equations. Which important people are you accidentally alienating with the content, structure and delivery of this message?

4. Make a melody, not a groove. Consider a few famous songs: “Yesterday” by the Beatles, “Satisfaction,” by the Rolling Stones, “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen and “Over the Rainbow,” by Judy Garland.

What do they all have in common? According to The Independent, they’re among the most covered songs of all time. Why? Because they contain melodies that ring in our hearts forever – not just groves that ring in our heads for five minutes.

That’s the difference: Melodies stand the test of time – groves end up as catchy jingles for deodorant commercials. What’s more, the word “melody” comes from the Greek meloidia, which means, “a song on a limb.”

That suggests risk. That denotes uniqueness. That means art. “Groove,” on the other hand, comes from the Old English graef, which means, “a long, narrow rut.”

Just another word for a grave. Yikes. Does the music of your life contain timeless melodies or just a bunch of catchy grooves?

5. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Not perfection. Not flawlessness. Not mistake-free work. Just consistency. Interestingly, the word comes from the Latin consistere, or, “state of being in agreement and harmony.”

That’s how you stand the test of time. That’s how you endure.

When your on-stage performance is congruent with your backstage reality.

When the message you’re preaching is the dominant reality of your life.

When you’re courageous enough to smoke what you’re selling.

Do that, and you won’t be forgotten. What kind of structure can you place around yourself to make sure you remember to do that consistently?

REMEMBER: There’s nothing more frightening than the prospect of irrelevancy.

Whether you’re an individual, a brand, or an organization – it’s always worth investing the time in making yourself a little more timeless.

What are you doing to keep from fading away?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors,” 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

Who’s quoting YOU?

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


How to be Timeless, Part 1

“What scares you?”

That was the question I asked my group.

The first answer came from Cameron. And I remember feeling my gut drop to the ground as soon as the following two words came out of his mouth:

“Becoming irrelevant.”

Good lord. What a terrifying concept for any entrepreneur to entertain.

Especially in the minds of your clients, in the eyes of the media and in the opinion of the marketplace – I can’t think of anything that poses a greater threat to the profitability, equity and longevity of your enterprise.


What’s the answer?
What’s the antidote to fading away?

TWO WORDS: Being timeless.

Like a Picasso.
Like a black dress.
Like a Beavis & Butthead tattoo on your left ass cheek.

That’s timeless.

And even though it’s typically a subject comment, there are still a few universal principles that apply to everyone.

Here’s the first part (read part two!) of how to increase the timelessness of you, your brand and your organization:1. Simplicity isn’t just eloquence – it’s endurance.. The only challenge is: Simplicity is hard. It requires more energy, more brainpower and more courage that pursuing complexity. Especially when that son of a bitch shoulder devil incessantly whispers into your ear, “If you keep it complex, people will think you’re smart.”

Wrong. Simplicity is a fashion that never goes out of style. Fight for every inch of it. Stop creating riddles that take too long for impatient people to solve. Stop making things bigger than they need to be. And stop complicating your message.

Constantly ask yourself questions like, “Is this simple enough that a kindergartner could understand it?” “How easy will it be for people to repeat this?” and “How much more could I distill the essence of this?”

Remember: Simplicity isn’t crushing the complicated – it’s eliminating the extraneous. Start eliminating the non-essential so the necessary can speak. People will listen. Are you backpedaling your way into needless complexities?

2. Resist conforming to short-term trends. Every morning when I sit down to write, one of the questions I keep asking myself is, “Will this sentence be relevant to my grandchildren?” If not, I usually cut it. Because if there’s no hope of my work living after me, what’s the point?

I came to this planet (from some other galaxy, I assume) to leave a literary footprint that leads future generations to the land of executing what matters. Can’t exactly accomplish that goal if the material I write does nothing but gush about the latest fad, complain about the crudest celebrity or whine about the worst sports team.

Not that timely issues aren’t important. The challenge is to avoid getting caught in the seductive undertow of low-level inconsequentialities that have reached the end of their product lifecycle. How much timelessness are you sacrificing by being irrelevant?

3. Choose to champion the beautiful. Seth Godin once wrote, “Beauty is a signaling strategy. Even the most hard-hearted people are suckers for beauty. We treat people and products differently when we think they’re beautiful. The reason people and organizations have invested so much in beauty over the years is that beauty pays off.”

Lesson learned: Design matters. No matter what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and whom you do it for, beauty – however you define it – makes you timeless. Period. How much energy are you investing in being a beautiful organism?

4. Don’t grow so much that you get away from the fundamentals. Continuous improvement, personal evolution and complacency prevention are essential elements of success. But your foundation is there for a reason: So you don’t forget who you are.

My suggestion: Don’t let go of the original idea that made you successful. And don’t leave things behind that never should have been left behind. I just learned this (yesterday!) from Mark, another participant in my facilitation group. His comment was that if you forget the rudiments – you forgo the revenue.

Instead, be like Larry Bird. Shoot your hundred free throws, every day. You won’t be forgotten. Are you regularly reinstating your brilliance of the basics?

5. Free yourself from the chains of conventional structure. Break beyond the mold of the generic. And refuse to live anywhere that’s not outside of the normal linear progression. My suggestion: Change the rules so you can win at your own game, become the exception to every rule in the game, or change the game entirely so there are no rules.

That’s how you upset the status quo. That’s how you become timeless.

Take Quentin Tarentino. His post-modern, non-linear movies like Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction broke brave new ground in the world of film, thus securing Tarentino’s name among the film elite. And even though the medium might be different by the time future generations view it, his message will still remain.

Remember: The best way to become timeless is to create your own clock. How many rules are you the exception to?

6. Leave an abundance of room for debate. Regardless of your personal beliefs, you have to admit: The Bible is about as timeless as it gets. Doesn’t mean you have believe everything it says. Doesn’t mean it’s better than any other work of fiction. The fact is, it’s the most printed book in history: Six billion copies.

Interestingly, The Bible also happens to be the most debated book in history.

This is not an accident. And if you want to apply this principle of timelessness to your world – be it personal, professional or organizational – here’s the secret: Increase mental flexibility. Constantly elicit feedback from people whose unique experience can contribute new dimensions to your ideas.

Then, remain open to those new ideas – even if they scare you. Especially if they scare you. Otherwise arrogance clamps obstruct the nourishment required to feed your timelessness. How are you creating an environment that enables, supports and rewards authentic dialogue?

REMEMBER: There’s nothing more frightening than the prospect of irrelevancy.

Whether you’re an individual, a brand, or an organization – it’s always worth investing the time in making yourself a little more timeless.

What are you doing to keep from fading away?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors,” 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

Who’s quoting YOU?

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


How to be a Hack

Winning is for losers.

AFTER ALL: Why be successful when you could be a hack for half the price, a third of the work and triple the ego?

If you’re sick and tired of making a difference, working with purpose and putting forth focused effort that matters, consider these eight suggestions for becoming a hack:

1. Buy a lower score. In the same way that wanker golfers spend thousands of dollars on fancy clubs, balls and periscope night vision range finding binoculars, your mission is to spend as much money as possible on similar tools that will convince people you’re successful.

Buying an IPad is a great start. Or, if that’s not cool enough for you, I hear the Apple store now offers wifi cranial implants that enable you to check your email while waiting in line to upgrade to first class for your thirty minute flight to Dallas.

That way you can board the plane first and spend the next twenty minutes updating your Facebook status with irrelevant life details that your non-friends don’t care about.

As long as every other passenger passes you buy and sees how important and demand you are, it’s all worth it!

2. Always talk of the future. Screw the present moment. Save all that new age, power of now crap for Eckhart Tolle and his cushion-sitting cronies. Your focus should only be on what’s next, what’s new, and what exciting project or endeavor you have coming up that you’re probably never going to execute anyway.

Never tell people what you’re doing right now, or what you’ve successful executed in the past. Rather, only talk about what you plan to do. Proof is the enemy. Action is the allergy. Talking your ideas into the ground is the only thing that matters.

Why make progress on things that count when you could make motion on things that nobody cares about?

3. Treat every phone call as a 911 emergency. Even if it’s just some random housewife who read your mediocre ebook and wants to find out more about your valueless six-month coaching program.

The secret is to address all callers as if you were talking them down from the edge of the Chrysler Building. Also, be sure to check your IPhone at least forty times an hour. Especially while the people you’re having meaningful, face to face conversations with want nothing more that a friend to listen to them.

Not only will your insulting multitasking solidify your inflated sense of self-importance; but people will also walk away from conversations with you feeling unimportant and unheard. It’s a twofer!

4. Have loud cell phone conversations. Also, when you take unimportant phone calls from people who don’t matter (that are never going to hire you anyway) speak clearly and with enough volume and emotion so anyone within twenty yards can hear.

They’ll be instantly seduced by your mystique. Just remember my mantra: It’s not a phone call – it’s a performance. Listening to the person on the other end of the line isn’t nearly as important as the impressing dozens of strangers around you who never liked you in the first place.

5. Attend every networking event in town. That way, people will never actually see you doing what you. All they see is you, working the room, forever maintaining a veneer of marginal success.

What better way to become memorable for the wrong reasons!

The point is: You don’t (really) need to be successful – just successful at looking like you’re successful. After all, who needs to be an entrepreneur when you can be mannequin?

6. Props are essential. Another way to convert yourself into a Woody Woodpecker sized float in the non-stop parade of self-importance is with props. Make sure you never leave home without your arsenal of unnecessary technologies that lower productivity and annoy everyone around you.

Especially hands-free blue tooth headsets. After all, you wouldn’t want to have a phone conversation without the ability to multitask, right? Duh.

How else are you supposed to offend the person on the other line while simultaneously adding additional stress to your life that drives your unloved children farther away from you?

7. Become a casual mentioning expert. Next, never let a conversation sneak by without casually mentioning one (or more!) of the following items:

Your legions of fans, your platinum status, how you never could have made it this far without Jesus, or your infinitely supportive husband, Winston, who actually works a real job while you spend his hard-earned cash on Google Ad words for your Amazing New 6-CD System that teaches people how to leverage social media into paying clients.

The point is: You’re always on stage. Every conversation is an interview. And you need to be camera-ready sister!

8. Save downtime for the afterlife. Finally, never let anybody see you pause, breathe, slow down or, God forbid, stop. Busy equals successful. And the moment someone spots you doing anything other than handing out business cards, money will slowly start to seep out of your bank account.

Walk fast and purposeful everywhere you go. Even to the bathroom. Chop-chop! No time to waste. You’re very important. Also, consider having your virtual assistant, Kyla; book at least five meetings a day – all within ten minutes of each other.

That way you can arrive to each new appointment out of breath, sweating and stressed out, thus convincing people that you’re in high demand all the time.

This reminds them that your time is valuable, billable and could easily be filled by somebody more important at any time.

REMEMBER: Mediocrity is only a blue tooth away.

I challenge you to begin incorporating these practices into your sub-par life today.

Who knows? Perhaps one day you, too, will join the ranks of inconsequential cogs whose work doesn’t count.

How are you hacking success?

For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Give the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

7 Ways to Execute without Remorse

Finished is the new perfect.

You’re never fully ready.
You’re never completely done.
You’re never entirely sure of yourself.

What matters, what counts, is that you execute – without remorse – every single day.

Here’s how:

1. Battle the excuse barrage. Instead of getting ready to prepare executing your plan for formulating your strategy to begin the initial stages of brainstorming your pre-launch, just start. Less aiming, more firing.

Otherwise your bullets will rust, your gun will crack and your trigger finger will atrophy. And those sons of bitches from your biggest competitor will coast right past you, waving their hands in the air, grateful for your endless excuse-making. What lies are your excuses guarding?

2. Send your guilt to the guillotine. Remorse comes from the Latin remordere, which means, “to bite back.” Translation: When the inevitable guilt caused by the execution process starts to creep in, bite back. Show that chump who’s boss. Refuse to be held hostage by guilty feelings like, “What if people hate this?” “What if I bomb?” or “What if someone finds a bug?”

The reality is: All of those things are probably going to happen anyway. No sense getting acid reflux over minor eventualities. Instead, be shameless. Be an imperfectionist. And remember that flawless execution doesn’t exist anyway. Off with the head! What do you need to murder to pave the way for exquisite execution?

3. Get comfortable with the risk of failure. If you screw up early enough, quickly enough and quietly enough – then make a conscious effort to extract lessons learned from those biffs – only a few people will notice. Truth is: Mistake is the mentor of man.

The challenge is attending to your failures with a mindset of personal growth, life-long learning and never-ending improvement. Do this, and disappointment will slowly dissipate. Do this, and discomfort will become less threatening.

Then all you have to do is ask the two big questions:

*Why did the universe want me to make this mistake?
*What would I have to learn about this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

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

4. Build in accountability. In a recent blog post, Seth Godin said, “Make shipping an obligation. Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.”

Here’s how: I suggest pairing up with a fellow entrepreneur or creative professional. At the end of each day, call, text or email each other with the question, “What did you execute today?” If you can’t come up with an answer, lunch is on you.

Better yet, sign a series of blank checks for each other. And if someone fails to ship, the other person reserves the right to fill in – and cash – that person’s check in with any amount he wants. Think that would your execution ratio?

5. Intentionally surround yourself with obstacles. Great way to challenge yourself. Helps keep your chops up. It’s also good practice withstanding external pressures that attempt to deter you from your productive path. I learned this from the United States Tennis Association:

“Systematically practice with distractions present,” they suggested in their 2002 guidebook. “Otherwise, training under ideal conditions won’t mentally and physically prepare you to cope with unusual events.”

Remember: Resistance is healthy. Make friends with it. How are you using pushback to strengthen your capacity to execute?

6. Constraints kindle execution. As a writer, my favorite feature of Twitter is the 140-character constraint. This structural limitation expedites execution in several ways.

With 140 characters, content is easier to manage and deploy.
With 140 characters, creativity and conciseness is challenged.
With 140 characters, you’re forced to minimize extraneous clutter.
With 140 characters, writers don’t trap themselves the purgatory of wanting to add more.

Ultimately, Twitter’s character constraint crushes the single biggest barrier to creative execution: Staring at a blank page. So, with every tweet you publish; your executional victory bank grows incrementally larger.

Then over time, those minor victories accumulate. You start to believe in your ability to ship. And before you know it, you’re executing bigger and bigger projects that are way more than just 140 characters.

Remember: Constraints provide focus, and focus paves the way for execution. How are you using structural limitations to execute faster?

7. Build executional capacity into your idea from the beginning. “It’s hard to stay motivated and excited about executing crap,” wrote Guy Kawasaki. “But it’s easy if you’re changing the world. If you and your team are having a hard time executing, maybe you’re working on the wrong thing.”

The secret is to run an Execution Audit at the onset. Ask your team questions like, “Will the time/money/energy investment required to execute be less, equal or greater to the benefits of executing?” “How well does our team represent idea people and execution people?” and, “If we don’t end up executing this, will anybody even notice?”

Questions like these save time, save face and save money. How are you entering into your project with execution on the brain?

REMEMBER: Execution isn’t an action you take once – it’s a mindset you maintain for the rest of your career.

As Seneca once observed: “There is no person so severely punished as he who subjects himself to the whip of his own remorse.”

Go ship something.

What did you execute yesterday?

For the list called, “8 Ways to Out Give the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

The Smart Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finishing What You Started

Anybody can start.

Starting cost little money.
Starting involves limited risk.
Starting requires minimal stamina.

But starting isn’t how you win.

You only win when you execute to completion.

And that’s the big problem: Execution is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Today you’re going to learn how to finish.

Whatever project you’re working on, whatever endeavor you’re committed to and whatever idea you’re drumming up, here’s how to lean into the tape. Here’s how to finish:

1. Develop a relentless bias toward action. This requires a major attitudinal shift. Consider these ideas for initiating the change. First, surround yourself with reminders of the beauty of action. Post sticky notes, messages or signs that read, “Action is eloquence,” or “Those who ship, win.”

Second, surround yourself with people whose bias toward action inspires you. Build edit-ability (not just accountability, but edit-ability) into your relationships. Ask each other what you’ve finished recently. You could even each other every Friday at five with a list of the things you’ve finished that week.

Finally, surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. Post your goals where you can see them every day. Then, once you finish, grab a Sharpie and write, “I did it!” atop each one. How will you develop an attitude of action?

2. Flex the muscle of why. Customers buy why – not what or how. The final product merely gives life to your cause, your mission and your currency. Sadly, too many entrepreneurs begin with a flawed assumption. They don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. Or, they know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and it’s the wrong why.

Either way, starting with the wrong questions means even the right answers will still steer you in the wrong direction. Without flexing your why muscle, you set the whole process in motion into the wrong direction. And with ever step you take, the finish line fades farther and farther away. What’s your strategy for keeping your why alive?

3. Silence the voice of no. People and companies with a history of not finishing need to lower the volume on the voices inside their heads. In a recent presentation, Seth Godin illustrated this point perfectly, “People don’t ship because their lizard brain says, “They’re all gonna laugh at you!’”

Your challenge is to recognize those voices and devise a strategy for overcoming their primal powers. My suggestion is to smile every time your lizard brain takes the stage. Nothing will piss it off more. Except maybe when you finish. What voice are you listening to that’s causing you to swiftly abandon things?

4. Breathe through the pain. During some of the longer postures in Bikram Yoga, I frequently find myself struggling to finish. It’s amazing how long sixty seconds feels when you’re doing a full backbend in 110° heat.

Fortunately, I discovered the secret to finishing. And you can apply this principle on the yoga mat, in your life struggles or to your business ventures. Let your body do the one thing it naturally does best: Breathe. There’s no better way to recenter yourself.

Plus, breathing helps you reignite momentum from a relaxed, non-destructive space. Most people lose touch with their breathe. Then they clumsily plunge forward from a place of contraction and fear. No wonder they never finish. How’s your breathing?

5. Adopt agile development. I read an enlightening blog post on How to Finish Big Projects. They used the software industry as the quintessential example:

“All software developers use a method they crazily call Agile Software Development, aka, ASD. They build a releasable product within weeks. Then, they build outward to create successively bigger product releases. The first releasable product has the most important stuff done. They’ll term it Version 0.1. Next, they’ll expand that version outward with additional features and term it Version 0.2. Gradually, the successive small releases ultimately form one juicy-good completed software item. Completo.”

Lesson learned: Focus on the most important component of your project first. You can fill in the holes later. Is enough as good as a feast for your company?

6. Limitation is the springboard to completion. The word “finish” comes from the Latin finire, which means, “To set boundaries.” Call it a deadline. Call it a limit. Whatever floats your creative boat. The point is to have a definite moment when you give yourself a swift kick in the ass and declare, “The hay is in the barn.”

Otherwise Parkinson’s Law – that work expands to fill the amount of time given to accomplish it – will eat you (and your idea) alive. Remember: Finished is the new perfect. How much longer are you going to wait before shipping something that’s never going to be perfect anyway?

7. When the finish line is in plain site, look out. Every time I go swimming, I conveniently develop a burning cramp during my 40th lap. Right in the calf muscle. Hurts like hell. But I always laugh it off. I know it’s just resistance coming to get me.

Nice try. Too bad I learned my lesson from The War of Art: “The danger is great when the finish line is in site. At this point, resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It marshals one last assault and slams us with everything it’s got.”

Don’t get complacent. No high stepping with ten yards to go. Stay focused. Otherwise the resistance will slap that pigskin out of your hand and cause a fumble at the one-yard line. Are you giving up one percent too early?

REMEMBER: Woody Allen was wrong.

80% of life isn’t showing up – it’s following through.

I know it’s inconvenient.
I know it’s uncomfortable.
I know it’s harder than starting.

But those who ship, win.

Go finish something.

How are you executing to completion?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” 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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Make Ideas Happen at an Alarming Rate

Marry Poppins was an entrepreneur.

She summarized business execution in six simple words:

“Enough is as good as a feast.”

What about you? How skilled are you at executing?

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you make ideas happen at an alarming rate:

1. Convert your workspace into a progress-rich environment. It’s emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. What’s more, keeping past progress in front of your nose stimulates focus – even if it’s incremental.

As I learned in Making Ideas Happen, “As a human being, you are motivated by progress. When you see concrete evidence of progress, you are more inclined to take further action. Surround yourself with it. Celebrate it.” What’s on your wall?

2. Take massive, rapid and consistent action. That’s how momentum accumulates. Just like Newton said: A body in motion stays in motion. My suggestion is to shoot for five High Valuable Action Steps. Every day.

Even if you take an occasional step backwards – at least you’re still stepping. Movement (backwards or forwards) is necessary to prevent atrophy. Some people just stand there. They’re called nouns. Verbs, on the other hand, move. Which one are you?

3. Increase executional velocity. As a writer, my biggest advantage is that nobody can keep up with me. I am dangerously prolific. Nobody who does what I do can do what I do as fast as I can do it. And, nobody who does what I do can do what I do in the quantity that I can do it.

Lesson learned: Making ideas happen is less about intellectual property and more about executional velocity. Contrary to what your lawyer tells you, there’s very little you need to protect. If somebody wants to steal your ideas, fantastic! Let them.

First of all, that’s a great compliment. Robbery is the sincerest form of flattery. Secondly, by the time they execute your idea – which they probably won’t – you’ll already be ten ideas down the road. Screw ‘em.

Lastly, if people want to hijack your brain, tell them to go right ahead. Just remind them: “You can steal my ideas – but good luck stealing my initiative and execution.” William Wallace never thought of that. Remember: The creations of innovative persisters will always dwarf the accomplishments of the copying and surrendering masses. Who’s faster than you?

4. Structureless environments paralyze. Not that you need to regiment every element of your creative process. But structure allows growth. And the impact of an idea is directly proportionate to how well it is organized.

My suggestion: Preserve the sanctity of your workspace. Not an office – a workspace. Call it an office and slice your creativity in half. Call it a workspace – a factory of creativity – and you make ideas happen. Is your content as brilliant as the system that manages it?

5. It’s not what you do – it’s what you avoid. People frequently ask me how I manage to be so productive. My answer is very logical and simple:

No meetings. No employees. No interns. No busywork. No filing. No copying. No excuses. No hurdles. No bullshit. No asking permission. No begging for forgiveness. No memos. No status reports. No kids. No television. No surfing the web. No mass media. No coworkers. No putting out fires. No gossip. No worrying. No headaches. No managing people.

No walking on eggshells. No task requests. No micromanaging. No useless planning of things that don’t matter. No processes to weigh me down and diminish my energy. No waiting for people. No endless list of people trying to reach me. No distractions. No decision-making hierarchy. No distance between the owner and decisions that matter. No awkward staff lunches. No committees. No socializing. No compromising.

No doing activities that aren’t focused on my #1 goals. No doing activities that don’t leverage my gifts. No doing activities that aren’t income generating. No office politics. No office. No clothes. No shoes. No commute. No traffic. No interruptions. No paperwork.

After deleting all of that noise, what are you left with? Work. That matters. Think about it. If that were your daily environment, you’d make ideas happen at an alarming rate too. Remember: Productivity isn’t about what you do – it’s about what you avoid. How many of your amazing ideas will never see the light of day because they’re gasping for air under the weight of irrelevant time-wasters?

6. Align your action with accomplishment. Bob Parsons, CEO of www.godaddy.com, recently published a helpful productivity module on his video blog. In order to keep productivity at bay, he suggests asking two questions: Is this conversation directly leading to what I need to accomplish? Is this immediately relevant to my success?

If the answer is no, respectfully remove yourself. Focus on finding what matters instead. What questions do you ask yourself to stay on point?

7. Commission you inner doodler. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said in a recent presentation, “Start drawing your idea. Get it out of your head and see it from a completely different perspective.” Even if you suck at drawing. Even if you’re more left-brained than a computer science professor at MIT. Draw it anyway.

Tap into the unused creative faculties collecting cobwebs in the back of your brain. Produce visual understanding by letting the idea hatch before your eyes. My promise is that you’ll get so jazzed about the organic growth of your idea, that the thought of (not) executing it will give you indigestion. What have you drawn today?

8. Attitude is soil. And if it’s saturated with too much fertilizer, anything that grows in it – not matter how big and beautiful and profitable it may be – will always have a stinkshit core. I’m reminded what Seth Godin wrote in a recent blog post:

“No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book. If your attitude at the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.”

Lesson learned: Exquisite execution doesn’t last when underscored by an excremental attitude. When you make ideas happen, how does your breath smell?

REMEMBER: Many of your execution failures are not due to poor planning but to your timidity to proceed.

Mary Poppins was right.

Enough is good enough.

Go make your ideas happen.

How are you increasing your capacity to execute?

For the list called, “27 Ways to OUT the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

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

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Last

Imagine you’re a California prospector panning for gold in 1852.

One morning, you spot something glinting in the pan.

Naturally, the first thing you do is look around to see if anybody else noticed.

They didn’t. Whew.

You take a closer look, thinking to yourself, “This is it! This is my payday!”

Sadly, upon further exploration, your hopes and dreams are crushed when the rock turns out (not) to be gold.

Just a mere flash in the pan.

Damn it!
That’s where the phrase “flash in the pan” originated…

Interestingly, a century and a half later, it has a different meaning. According to my trusty Urban Dictionary, a flash in the pan is:

“A project, person or idea that enjoys only short-lived success; something that disappoints by failing to deliver anything of value, despite a showy beginning.”

How many of those have you encountered over the years?

MY GUESS: Too many.


Well, sustainability is hard.

As an artist.
As a partnership.
As an entrepreneur.
As an organization.

The long haul isn’t just long – it’s laborious.

And if you want to last (and who doesn’t?) you’ve got to start planning to do so today.

Here’s how:

1. Identify your absolute baseline. In a relationship, love isn’t enough. Sure, love gets the job done when you’re in high school – but not when you seek sustainability. Not when you’re trying to build a life together. As much as we’d like to buy into the fairytale, life isn’t a Beatles song. Love isn’t all you need.

Sustainability is a function of: (1) compatibility through common constitution, (2) mutual vulnerability and respect through radical honesty, and (3) shared commitment through the willingness to (not) get lazy with each other.

I know this because I once ended a four-year relationship with someone that I loved more than anyone on the planet. But that was precisely the danger: All there was – was love. And it wasn’t enough to sustain us.

Your challenge is to figure out the minimum requirements for the survival, for the lasting, of whatever endeavor you’re engaged in. Whether it’s a personal relationship, business partnership or entrepreneurial venture, somewhere there is a baseline. Define it. Memorialize it. Reinforce it. Otherwise the soundtrack of your failure is going to be all Beatles, all the time. What isn’t enough for you to last?

2. Passion can be seductive. Passion without purpose is pointless. Nothing but a beautiful, blazing fire that burns you and everyone you touch. What’s more, passion without relevance, marketability and a foundation of skill to support it, won’t last.

My suggestion: Before you empty your entire bank account for (and re-orchestrate your entire life around) your lifelong passion for baking blackened raccoon testicle cupcakes, consider two additional questions:

*Will the thrill of your passion dissipate once it becomes a daily task?
*If you (did) end up making a business out of your passion, how long would it take before you feel robbed of your true talent because you’re wasting most of your time and energy on menial, soul-sucking activities that have nothing to do with your passion?

Remember: Passionate doesn’t (necessarily) mean profitable. Be careful. Are you confusing passion with infatuation?

3. Multiply your reservoir. In Tom Robbins’s seminal novel, Still Life with Woodpecker, the central question of the book is, “How do you make love stay?” And while he answers the question several times throughout the text, the following passage is my favorite:

“When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.”

For example, as a writer, every day, I’m constantly adding, organizing, updating, tweaking and fortifying the creative inventory of my idea factory – one sentence at a time. That’s my system for making additional magic right from the start. How will you multiply your reservoir?

That’s the key: Whether you’re sustaining a relationship, organization or career, find a way to create a constant surplus position. What’s your secret for making love stay?

4. Determine what you deem meaningful – then disregard the rest. I’m not suggesting you stop caring. Rather, learn to become selectively apathetic. Be honest with yourself about what really matters to and motivates you. Otherwise you’ll end up over-investing in the inconsequential. And that’s when you learn that (not) doing what you love is the most dangerous thing of all.

A helpful reminder is to constantly ask yourself, your team and your organization two questions: Will doing this matter a year from now? Why aren’t doing what matters to you right now?

Remember: It’s easy to persist when you know who you are. Are you, on a daily basis, doing stuff that matters?

5. If you’re not fully engaged, don’t bother. In the book Success Built to Last, Jerry Porras wrote, “You can run a marathon at gunpoint, but you probably won’t win the race.” I would also add: Nor will you enjoy running it, and nor will people enjoy watching you struggle through it. Plus you’ll probably ruin your shoes.

Here’s the reality: To last is to require full engagement of all your faculties. The exciting part is, once you learn to enlist everything you’ve got, every time, ample stamina become freely available to you. What are the obstacles you create that hinder full engagement?

6. Grow thicker skin. I used to work with a guy named James. When we met, he was the longest living employee of the company. And not surprisingly, his life philosophy was, “Nothing shocks me but electricity.” Lesson learned: Don’t ignore criticism – but don’t sit there and take it like a punching bag.

It all depends on the source, the validity of the comment made, plus the context in which it was made. That way, you balance thicker skin with bigger ears. That’s the best part: Criticism keeps you in check when it’s right, and keeps you in chuckles when it’s ridiculous. Are you an alligator or a goldfish?

7. Take risks for the right reasons. Otherwise you’re not being risky – you’re being reckless. And that’s when people start to get hurt. That’s when things start to get broken. The challenge is, sometimes you have to jump off the high board even if you’re not sure if there’s any water below.

Fortunately, if you take a risk for the right reasons – and even if you do fail miserably – the process will still transform you. Which means you didn’t (really) fail, just enrolled in an instant education. Will you evolve your desire into a tale of heroism, or wimp out and buy tickets to the What I Should Have Said Theater?

8. Focus on what you want to build. A platform? A brand? A body of work? A reservoir of knowledge? A family? A membership? A following? An empire? A permission asset? A validation squad? A critical mass of interest? A greater sense of client intimacy?

Whatever. It matters less what you build, and more that you build. Truth is: The people who build are the ones who last. Forever. Did you work on your legacy today?

9. Instigate a process of self-reinvention. Otherwise, complacency grows. And where complacency grows, inertia flows. As I learned in Trust Agents, “Reinventing the space you’re in naturally helps you stand out. And as people who stand out redefine the industry they are working in; they have an easier time making a name for themselves.”

The hard part is, you have to give yourself permission to become known for something else. It’s a form of letting go, and it hurts. Now, I’m not suggesting disregarding your early accomplishments; rather, accepting the past as prologue, as the thing that brought here, and constantly evolving into something bigger, better and more valuable.

Remember: In the ongoing battle of sustainability, reinvention is the trigger of advancement. Will you surrender to the next phase of your own evolution or become a prisoner of yesterday’s success?

10. Those who leverage, last. “To increase the rate of return of an investment.” That’s the official definition of the word leverage, although I prefer to think of it as “killing two stones with one bird.” Either way, in my experience as an entrepreneur, leverage is the single smartest strategy for making anything (or anyone) last.

The secret is asking leverage questions. Try these on for size: What is the movement value of this idea? Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? How does this fit in with my theory of the universe? Ultimately, it’s a shift from your current mindset into an awareness plan of constant opportunity. How will you increase the rate of return?

11. Practice good-hearted stubbornness. Notice: Not terminal certainty. Instead: Resolute persistence, paired with commitment to boundaries through self-control and self-discipline – but not at the expense of someone’s respect.

In short: Standing your ground without stepping on people’s toes. If you approach your decision-making process from this perspective, you won’t just last – you’ll outlast the waffling majority of chameleonic pushovers who couldn’t stick to their guns if they took a bath in Elmer’s Glue.

Interestingly, the word “stubborn” comes from the Old English term stybb, which means, “stump of a tree.” Funny. Tree stumps last for hundreds of years. How much longer would you last if you planted your feet firmly in ground of your truth?

REMEMBER: Sustainability is hard.

It requires patience, stamina, persistence and labor.

That’s why not everyone lasts.

I challenge you to incorporate these eleven practices into your daily life so you become one of the people who do.

Otherwise, you’re nothing but a flash in the pan.

Are you an expression of action?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors,” 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

Who’s quoting YOU?

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


Have You Given Yourself Permission to Do These 43 Essential Things?

1. Give yourself permission to ask for what you need. Expectational clarity is a beautiful thing: It saves time, prevents extra work and lowers the probability of future surprises.

2. Give yourself permission to be a student. Even if you already know everything. Especially if you already know everything. Those who refuse to learn, doth burn.

3. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress. Think of it like a calculus equation: Asymptotic, approaching zero, continuing forever. Never quite hitting the line, but getting microscopically closer every day. That’s a reasonable goal.

4. Give yourself permission to be confused. Being dumb is highly underrated. The challenge is that it requires humility and vulnerability. Not everyone has the courage to muster such forces.

5. Give yourself permission to be disloyal to dysfunctional message-givers. Inherited faith fails. Believe what you believe because you (actually) believe – not because someone told you to believe and you mindlessly followed.

6. Give yourself permission to be happy. You’d be amazed how many people refuse to do so. Almost like they don’t believe they deserve to be happy.

7. Give yourself permission to be human. To be imperfect. To be wrong. To change your mind. To be emotional. To have baggage.

8. Give yourself permission to be impatient. As important as patience is, sometimes you just have to declare, “Screw it – I’m going to Nashville.”

9. Give yourself permission to be scared. Not afraid, but scared. Huge difference.

10. Give yourself permission to be selfish. Totally underrated. Practicing rational, healthy selfishness is oxygen to the soul. As I learned from Honoring the Self, “Practice selfishness in the highest, noblest and least understood sense of the word – which requires enormous independence, courage and integrity.”

11. Give yourself permission to be the best, highest version of yourself. Anything less is dishonest living. Besides, nobody wants the coach version of you – they want first class, all the way.

12. Give yourself permission to be. Probably the hardest task on this list. We’re just so used to “doing” all the time that the prospect of simply “being” is terrifying.

13. Give yourself permission to breathe. It’s ok for people to hear you breathe. Breathing keeps you present. Breathing keeps you relaxed. And developing a healthier relationship with your breath is one of the smartest moves you could make.

14. Give yourself permission to capture and express any idea. Good. Bad. Ugly. Doesn’t matter. True creatives treat all ideas with deep democracy. Capture first, evaluate eventually. That way you don’t suffer from premature cognitive commitment. Order comes later.

15. Give yourself permission to change your mind. You’re human. And like Gandhi suggested, your commitment is to truth – not consistency.

16. Give yourself permission to completely let down your guard and relax. No walls, no worries.

17. Give yourself permission to cry in front of people. Tears demonstrate alignment and honesty. Who wouldn’t want to be around someone like that? Let the water works flow.

18. Give yourself permission to delete things from your life. And, to not feel bad about deleting them. Productivity is a process of elimination.

19. Give yourself permission to disappear. For fifteen minutes or fifteen days. Doesn’t matter. Engaging the off button on a regular basis is essential to your health.

20. Give yourself permission to disregard the inconsequential. Ending your pursuit of the trivial and focusing on stuff that matters is unbelievably liberating.

21. Give yourself permission to divorce toxic people. If they don’t challenge and inspire you, give ‘em the boot. Your time is too valuable.

22. Give yourself permission to do nothing. Unproductive time is productive time. Recharging is essential.

23. Give yourself permission to do something imperfectly. Better done and imperfect than procrastinated and flawless. Nobody’s going to even notice anyway, so what’s the hold up? Remember: My crap is better than your nothing.

24. Give yourself permission to expect nothing. That way, failure is impossible. Pretty cool how that works, huh?

25. Give yourself permission to fail. Regardless of what your boss says – failure IS an option. Not learning from that failure isn’t.

26. Give yourself permission to feel miserable. People who are happy all the time scare me. Makes me wonder if they’re even paying attention to life.

27. Give yourself permission to feel positive about your accomplishments. Especially when your inner critic tries to take the wind out of your sails. A victory is a victory. Celebrate it.

28. Give yourself permission to get lost. GPS is the devil. I can’t imagine a world where it’s impossible to get lost. How else will you learn to trust yourself? How else will you stumble upon fascinating discoveries that the map doesn’t include? Learn to travel without plans.

29. Give yourself permission to go perpendicular to your current activity. It’s the perfect way to engage other areas of your brain and stimulate creativity.

30. Give yourself permission to have (and follow) your crazy ideas. If it’s not crazy, it’s not worth pursuing.

31. Give yourself permission to have a bad day. Fine, so resistance beat you this morning. Big deal. Don’t beat yourself up. When the world says no to you, the first word out of your mouth should be, “Next!”

32. Give yourself permission to indulge occasionally. Otherwise your admirable self-discipline will morph into intolerable self-righteousness.

33. Give yourself permission to laugh out loud. Especially at stupid things most people don’t think are funny. Don’t worry – nobody will think you’re a horrible person. Just a human.

34. Give yourself permission to let it out, man. Fine, so I sing Whitney Houston in the car at full volume. Sue me. It feels great, releases my stress and entertains other drivers. Bet I’m having more fun on the highway than you are.

35. Give yourself permission to live a life of your choosing. This is the polar opposite of allowing other people to dictate what you want.

36. Give yourself permission to live creativity in every part of your life. Creativity isn’t something you do – it’s something you are. And like humor, creativity isn’t something you “add” or “use” or “apply” to your life like hair gel. True creativity is embodied.

37. Give yourself permission to make bad art. How else are you supposed to uncover the good art?

38. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. As long as you learn three things from each one. That’s how it ceases to be a mistake.

39. Give yourself permission to make taking care of your life your top priority. Put yourself at the top of your own list.

40. Give yourself permission to matter. I wrote a helpful guide on doing so here.

41. Give yourself permission to pause. They. Can. Wait.

42. Give yourself permission to quit for the right reasons. Just ask Seth.

43. Give yourself permission to take off your nametag. No labels, no limits.

Where in your life do you need to give yourself permission?

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

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

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

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How to be a Verb

A verb is anything that expresses action or being.

It could be a word, then again, it could also be an idea.

Or a person.
Or a product.
Or an entire organization.

THE POINT IS: Nouns aren’t noticed.

Verbs are remembered.
Verbs are celebrated.
Verbs are significant.

What about you? Are you a verb?

Today we’re going to explore a list of eleven strategies to transform yourself, your ideas and your organization into a big, sexy, voluptuous verb.

1. Nouns are the enemy. A few years back on Seth Godin’s award-winning blog, he posted the following:

“People care much more about verbs than nouns. They care about things that move, that are happening, that change. They care about experiences and events and the way things make us feel. Nouns just sit there, inanimate lumps. Verbs are about wants and desires and wishes.”

Lesson learned: Refuse to live in a state of low-grade vitality. Save that for the nouns of the world. Since you’re a verb, your only option is to live a drudgery-free existence. Otherwise your muscles will atrophy, hampering your ability to make meaning in the universe.

Now, should you wake up one day and find yourself in noun territory – that is, stalemated and unmotivated – don’t beat yourself up. First, determine why you stopped taking action. Next, apply profitable and productive pressure to yourself. Then, respond spontaneously to the world around you and deploy the hell out of yourself. What are you translating into action?

2. Realize what the drug of inaction cheating you out of. We all succumb to the seductive sirens of inertia. And while plunging immediately into the vortex action is a romantic and simple notion, it’s harder than it looks. Especially if you’re addicted to the sweet, safe and snuggly nectar of idleness.

My suggestion: Start with one foot on the boat and one foot on the dock. Then, as your legs stretch farther and farther apart, think about what opportunities you might be cheating yourself out of by refusing to evolve.

It’s a difficult truth to confront yourself with. But sometimes the only way to embrace your exquisite verbiness is to create a deficit position. Are you a prisoner of inertia?

3. Turn your body into a verb. The richest benefits to practicing yoga are the startling similarities between the studio and the world. I’ve only been a student for three years, but I’ve already found that as my mental and physical flexibility increases, as my emotional stamina deepens, and as my bodily movements become more graceful, so it is with my life. Pretty amazing.

And you don’t read about that kind of stuff on the brochure – you just have to try it for yourself. It reminds me of what my friend Chad, a movement educator, once told me over a bowl of gumbo: “An improvement in movement is an improvement in everything.” Are you ready to step forward into the future and beyond the limits of yourself?

4. Most people will wait until they see you in action to believe you. Fine. Let them wait. The longer they wait, the stronger you’ll be when they finally catch a glimpse. And the best part is, when your visible velocity alters people’s pulses, they’ll wonder why they didn’t believe in you in the first place. Suckers.

That’s one of the leading attributes of people and organizations who are verbs: They strike a balance between patient and impatient. They’re willing to take action immediately; but stick around long enough until the laggards come to their senses. If your life depended on taking action, what would you do differently?

5. Backward progress still counts. Sure, it’s a step back, but at least you’re still stepping. Movement – whether backwards, forwards, lateral or diagonal – is necessary. Some people just stand. Those people are called nouns, and they are condemned to irrelevancy.

Verbs radiate in all directions.
Verbs plant the seeds of movement.
Verbs participate with the action of life.

Be one. Be a man of constant action. Let your inner exuberance erupt through your skin. Shine all of your heart into the world and watch it glow like a gas lamp. Are you worrying about the direction of movement when you should be worshiping the derivative of it?

6. Foot service, not lip service. Winners win through swift action, not swell argument. And although I hesitate to draw another simplistic, narrow-minded chalk line that divides the entire human race into two convenient categories, what the hell. Here goes nothing. There are two kinds of people in the world: People who talk shit, and people who do shit.

In short: Nouns and verbs. Decide which one you are. Remember: True success is a function of action taking, not promise making. Are you investing your time in shuffling your feet or flapping your gums?

7. Strike a passionate pose. At the risk of sounding like (yet another) self-help, motivational fluff artist, a verb without passion is nothing but a noun in drag. However, here are a few thoughts about passion that you’ve probably never considered.

First, passion without purpose is pointless. Otherwise your passion becomes nothing but beautiful blazing fire that burns you and everyone you touch. Secondly, ask yourself the following questions to gauge the relevancy of our passion:

*Is your passion cool, but irrelevant to the marketplace?
*Is your passion inherently interesting, but difficult to sell?
*Is your passion intrinsically appealing, but something you suck at?

Keep these thoughts in your mind and you’ll prevent striking a passionate pose that nobody notices. Are you currently operating out of your passion in the most profitable, healthy way?

8. Resist the pressure to take action inconsistent with core values. Earlier you learned about the “seductive sirens of inertia,” and how idleness is the enemy to being a verb. Which is true.

Just remember: Movement for the sake of movement doesn’t matter if it upsets your non-negotiables. Otherwise you become a verb people delete from their vocabulary. After all, nobody wants to hang with someone whose value system changes quicker than a NASCAR pit crew. Are you negotiating the fine line between stillness and exertion?

9. Surrender to the next phase of your own evolution. Earlier this year when I turned thirty, I made the decision (not) to mope around like most people do when their thirtieth birthday comes around. Instead, I memorialized the shift into the next chapter of my life.

I didn’t celebrate my thirtieth birthday – I viewed it as an upgrade to “SDG – 3.0.” I even ordered a hundred orange silicon bracelets to commemorate this life change, which I plan to wear daily until my next birthday.

It’s been a fun experiment. More importantly, I’ve learned a few cool lessons about being a verb: Stay in stride with the upward, progressive movement of your life. Then, with buoyant spirit, with firm foundation and with immediate intent, reorient yourself in new directions. People will notice. Will you use your situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve, or will you use it to beat yourself up?

10. Find the pivot. In physics, a pivot is the object on which something turns. Which means the pivot has paramount significance on any given situation. Especially when it’s time to change direction.

So, as a verb, your challenge is twofold: First, locate the pivot as quickly as possible. And second, move along crisply. Strike out into uncharted territory, springboard into the unknown and navigate like a pro.

Don’t worry: Life has a way of giving you just enough to move forward. Have faith in that, and every step will be a funky adventure. How are you increasing circumference of your life?

11. Be more vehicular. The earliest translation of the word “vehicle” derives from the 1612 French term vehicule, which means, “a medium through which a drug or medicine is administered.”

Cool. Can you imagine how much change you could create in the world, how much meaning you could make in the universe, if you viewed yourself in that way?

It all goes back to the questions, “What were you designed to cure?” and “What are you the answer to?” Practice answering those questions with your actions, every single day, and you’ll be more of a verb than Merriam Webster. What drug do you administer?

For our final thought on verbs, let’s turn to Buckminster Fuller’s 1970 book, I Seem To Be A Verb:

“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing — a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.”

REMEMBER: The only way to win is to make better decisions that everyone else.

So, make the decision to express action and being.

Embrace your inner dictionary.

Become a verb today.

Are you an expression of action?

For the list called, “11 Ways to Out POSITION Your Competitors,” 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

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