The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, Part 2

Yesterday we explored five ways to write more honestly. Here are six more:

1. Listen to your body. If your words are felt in the body – your body mainly, but also the bodies of your readers – well done. That’s what honesty feels like. Pings. Blood flushes. Chills. Spine tingles. Neck hair stand-ups. Jaw drops. Eye wideners. Speechlessness. Laughs. ESPECIALLY laughs.

The point is: Emotion is the final arbiter of truth. And your body never lies to you. As my favorite fiction writer Tom Robbins advised, “You should always write with an erection. Even if you’re a woman.” How else will you know if your work is honest?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Parker Palmer.

2. Write early in the morning. I do most of my writing between four and ten in the morning. Not because I’m a morning person. But because when the world is cold, dark and quiet, there’s nothing left to listen to but your truth.

Not your dogs. Not your phone. Not your email. Not your self-constructed crazybusy schedule. Not the voice of perfection. Not the echoes of people you’re trying to please. Not the endless demands of your readership. Not the scars of your past desperately trying to prevent your truth from surfacing. And non your ego scrambling to remind you that you’re not good enough to publish this thought.

Just quiet. Which means all you can hear is yourself. Which means there’s nothing or no one to stop you from bleeding your truth all over the page. Ultimately, when the sun isn’t up yet, you ALWAYS extract truth from the deepest parts of yourself. Superficiality not included. You unveil the truth that doesn’t require thinking. The truth that doesn’t require editing. You can’t edit blood anyway.

Remember: The darker it is outside, the more honest your thoughts are inside. As Henry Miller once wrote, “Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.” What time did you start writing today?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Dan Brown.

3. Go there. Good lord. Did he really just say that? Yes. Yes you did. THAT just happened. You went there. You took a chance and told the truth. Good for you. Keep it up. That’s the acid test: If you can picture your readers being moved, getting disturbed and squirming in their Snuggies.

If you can take them somewhere they didn’t want to go (or never thought they’d go) and make them grateful that you did by the time they got there. Remember: No reader will ever put a book down and say, “Screw this book. This author is just WAY too honest. I wonder if Law & Order is on…” Where are you willing to take your readers?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Brad Warner.

4. Ask penetrating questions. If you’ve ever read my work before, you know I ask a lot of questions. Always in italics, usually in the past tense, mainly at the end of paragraphs. That’s my writing style. And I do it for two reasons. First, I love questions. It’s not a punctuation mark; it’s a way of life. I have a collection of 7000 of them, to which I add new questions daily. What can I say: I’m incurably curious.

Second, I insert them into my material intentionally to challenge, inspire, penetrate, disturb and confront the reader. I want to toggle their brains. Ideally to the point of being pissed off. Not at ME, but pissed off at what the material elicited. I call this Strategic Urination. More on that later. How many questions did your last blog post ask?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Jeffrey Gitomer.

5. Commit to self-disclosure. My mentor once told me that good writing is like walking across a stage naked. Vulnerable. Open. Honest. Would YOUR readers use those adjectives to describe your work? If not, maybe it’s time to ditch your skivvies and show the world your giblets.

Take it from someone who wears a nametag 24-7: Self-disclosure is a healthy, beautiful and approachable thing. As long as you’re doing so to make a point – not just to get a laugh, or to use your readers as group therapy. TMI only applies if you don’t stick the landing and make your material actionable.

Remember: The more personal your writing is, the more your readers relate to it. How are you leveraging your vulnerabilities to earn readers’ trust?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: William Jenkins (my mentor).

6. Speak from experience. As hard as it is for me to admit it, reading thousands of books is (still) not experience. Knowledge, yes. Wisdom, no. Experience comes from doing. Your challenge is to speak from practice, not from pretension. Readers can tell the difference.

A writer who does nothing but quote a bunch of dead white guys isn’t an honest writer. A writer who interviews a bunch of successful people and then adds a few sentences of marginally insightful clichés at the end of each chapter isn’t a very honest writer.

And a writer who goes out of his way to use clumsy, twenty-five cent words to compensate for his sub-par creativity is not a very honest writer. Honesty is writing a book about the lessons you learned from the stupid mistakes you made and the actionable steps attached to them. Are you delivering knowledge or wisdom?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Larry Winget.

REMEMBER: Honest writing scares people.

Good. That’s your job. The Boogie Man’s got nothing on you.

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the advice of Tennessee Williams, who said, “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a bloody writer?

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For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

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The Bloody Writer’s Guide to Crafting More Honest Material, Part 1

My definition of writing is as follows:

“Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.”

KEY WORDS: Vein, blood and truth.

As opposed to “brain, ink and bullshit.”

Let’s explore eleven ways to write more honestly – five today and six tomorrow.

1. First, honor yourself. All the techniques in the world won’t make you an honest writer if your attitude and intentions are misguided. So, before reading on, ask yourself this question: What is your compelling reason for wanting to write more honestly?

Because you want to make a difference? Because you want to disturb people? Because your boss told you that every time he reads one of your reports, his office morphs into a house of lies?

Why. Is. Honesty. Important.

Figure that out first. Then, try this: Be genuinely committed to honoring reality. Feel the existence of what you’ve been evading. Allow yourself to experience what you feel. Then write it down. Are you courageous enough to extend honor TO yourself so you can make a name FOR yourself?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Alan Weiss.

2. Morning Pages. First thing in the morning. Three pages. Non-stop. No editing. No deleting. Every single day. I absolutely guarantee that after two weeks, this exercise will transform your life in numerous ways.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way series, says it best:

“Morning Pages help you develop honesty in your relationship with your words. They free yourself from the tendency to edit, which pays off in REAL writing. They help you listen to yourself. They are gateways to inner and higher selves. They galvanize your days and make you acutely attuned to your personal feelings. They help you get down on the page whatever it is you are. And finally, they risk honesty on page, which make it easier to be honest elsewhere.”

Start them tomorrow. Never stop. Your writing will become increasingly bloody every day. Are you puking?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Julia Cameron.

3. Assess the risk. There’s an inverse relationship between risk and honesty. If what you’ve written isn’t very risky, odds are it isn’t very honesty either. Your willingness to be unpopular, make wave, rock boats – and, in general, piss people off – makes your writing bloodier.

Hey. You’re nobody until somebody hates you anyway. From now on, ask these three questions of everything you compose: “What do I risk in writing this material?” “Who would this piss off? and “On a scale of 1-10, how much is this material drenched in my own blood?” Are you assessing the risk of your material?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Curious George Carlin.

4. Be specific or don’t use it. Unspecified attribution is the hallmark of dishonest communication. It’s also my biggest pet peeve. Seriously, next time I read a book that says, “Studies show…” I’m going to tear the page out and slowly paper cut each of my nostrils until the living room rug is completely stained in red.

If your writing contains any of the following phrases, you are lying to your readers: Research proves. Scientists say. Psychologists report. Experts believe. They say. There’s an old story that says. I’ve heard. Most people agree. It is said that. Critics say. Statistics show. Somebody once said. The reviews say.

No, they don’t. They never did, never have and never will. Honesty comes from specificity. If you can’t back it up, shut up. Is your attribution specified?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Orvel Ray Wilson.

5. Trash the stats. Conversely, don’t go overboard on the specifics. Namely, statistics. It’s fine if you say, “In a March 2009 issue of FastCompany, Mark Vamos wrote…” But don’t overload people’s brains with numbers you’ve intentionally manipulated to satisfy your own agenda.

In the history of literature, no reader has ever thought to herself, “Wow, this writer sure speaks the truth, what with all those statistics and such.” Be careful. Statistics are usually lies. Of course, that’s only true 57% of the time. Are your percentages causing readers to puke?

READ THIS BLOODY WRITER: Gay Hendricks.

REMEMBER: Honest writing scares people.

Good. That’s your job. The Boogie Man’s got nothing on you.

In conclusion, I’m reminded of the advice of Tennessee Williams, who said, “If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”

Slice open a vein and bleed your truth all over the page.

That’s honest writing.

Stay tuned for the next six ways tomorrow.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you a bloody writer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

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6 Ways to be More Creative than Thomas Edison on Acid

1. Brainstorming is the great time-waster. You don’t need another meeting. You don’t need another conference call. And you don’t need to spend another afternoon talking the life out of your idea. You need to take massive action. Today.

Otherwise you’ll get hooked on the addictive power of brainstorming – when what you REALLY need is to smoke the sweet cheeba of execution. What consumes your time but isn’t making you any money?

2. Creativity the best therapy. Tell your shrink you won’t be coming in today. Next time you feel anxious, sick, frustrated (insert negative emotion here), don’t TAKE something, i.e., pills – go MAKE something. Anything. Doesn’t matter what. When you channel your energy into the creative process and enter into flow state, you’ll forget all about that pesky stomach cramp.

Try it. Every single day, spend at least fifteen minutes making something out of nothing. I absolutely guarantee you will feel better. And if you don’t, draw a picture of how stupid I am, then send it to me. What are you turning your problems into?

3. Creativity without innovation is useless. Sure, creativity is fun and cool and healthy for the soul, but there comes a point when you need to stop thinking and start executing. To make that crucial transition from brainstorming to brain monetizing.

Because there’s a HUGE distinction between creativity and innovation: One is a state of being – the other is a practice of doing. Both are essential, but neither can sustain you alone. Are you an “idea guy” or an “execution guy”?

4. Inspiration is the great illusion. If you sit around waiting for inspiration, the only thing that will ever come to you is lower back pain. That’s not the way creativity works. You can’t force inspiration.

You can only live your life in a conscious, creative and adventurous way – listen carefully to everything that happens to you through the filter of your Theory of the Universe – and then render what wants to be written in a disciplined, organized way.

You’ll soon discover that venturesomeness truly is the best idea-generator. And you’ll never have a creative block again. When was the last time you made the choice to be inspired?

5. Lack of discipline atrophies creativity. Inspiration is overrated. If you want to make Idea Lightning strike, you need to make yourself a more strikeable person. And the primary technique for doing so is to cultivate creative discipline. To make yourself sit down at the workbench at the same time, every day, ready to create.

As a writer, I call this being “due at the page.” That way, every morning at 5AM when I sit down to work, lightning strikes. Because everything yields to diligence. What awaits you in the refining fire of discipline?

6. Wisdom without distribution is wasteful. What you scatter is more important than what you gather. And hording wisdom without circulation is a dangerous act of selfishness. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to publish or share every single thought you’ve ever had.

But if you’re debating whether or not to tell the world, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I distribute this idea?” Odds are, the answer won’t be as detrimental as you think. Are you being selfish with your wisdom?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you listening to?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

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You Can Laugh at Your Writer’s Block Worries if You Follow this Plan

Here’s a question my readers, audience members and clients often ask me:

“How do you decide what you’re going to write about each day?”

You don’t.

Creativity doesn’t come FROM you – it comes THROUGH you.

The challenge when you sit down to write every morning isn’t DECIDING what you’re going to write, but rather, LISTENING for what wants to be written.

Naturally, this approach is tricky for a lot of writers. After all, it suggests surrender. And it requires you to relinquish creative control.

But that’s the best part about creativity:

It’s nothing more than active listening followed by active rendering.

Can’t decide what to write about today? Consider three practices to help you listen for what wants to be written:

1. Morning Pages. Along with physical exercise and daily appointments with yourself, Morning Pages are the single most important component to a profitable writing practice.

Here’s how they work: For the first thirty minutes of your day, just sit down and start writing. Whatever is swirling around in your brain, get it down. No structure. No stopping. No grammar. No spelling checks.

Just puke your truth all over the page. No matter how stupid, incoherent or terrible your words sound. Give yourself permission to write three pages of nonsensical garbage. Nobody will ever see it but you.

WHY IT WORKS: When you honor your first awakening thoughts, two things happen. First, you clear away all the crap floating around in your inner world. This is akin to spending an hour at the driving range before playing 18 holes. It’s all about getting the shanks out.

Secondly, you open the floodgates to whatever ideas and thoughts hold the most importance in your brain at that moment. By relaxing into the page, this form of meditative freewriting allows the self-organizing system of your brain to prioritize its best stuff.

2. Invocation. Creativity hinges on your ability to listen (then render) whatever your heart is currently whispering to you. So, approaching this process with a posture of humility and honor is the best way to open yourself to receiving inspiration.

The secret is to introduce a ritual of invocation. Calling on The Muse. The Great Spirit. God. The Collective Unconscious. Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you call it; it only matters THAT you call it. Personally, I found the invocations from Eric Maisel’s Ten Zen Seconds to be easy, relaxing and effective.

Of course, you’re free to customize this practice around your own preferences. For example, satanic rituals are perfectly acceptable, as long as you wipe the goat’s blood off your keyboard.

WHY IT WORKS: No matter what you believe – or don’t believe – creativity is spiritual. Period. Not religious, but spiritual. I triple dog dare you to prove me otherwise. So, to listen for what wants to be written, all it takes is a little trust.

Trust that your inner resources will provide for you. Trust that you are richly supported. Trust that when you expect nothing, failure is impossible. And trust that whatever truth needs to be expressed at this very moment will eventually stand up and say, “Here I am! Write me!”

3. Listen to your body. The stupidest mistake a writer can make is to sit down at his desk and stare at a blank page until something comes. I guarantee this will (a) scare your brain, (b) stress out your body and (c) piss off your Muse. Look: You’re making it too hard on yourself. Don’t attempt to start from scratch.

Instead, spend a few minutes in your Content Management System searching through your collection of module ideas, words, phrases and sentences. See what jumps out at you. Listen to your body, not your brain. Listen for reactions, not opinions.

For example, if a particular sentence causes you to react physiologically in any way – a ping in your stomach, a chuckle under your breath, a gasp of amazement – write about that. Heed your physiology. Whatever manifests in your body is probably what wants to be written.

WHY IT WORKS: The idea of “staring at a blank page,” as romantic and classical as it sounds, is not a smart move. By doing so, you significantly decrease the probability of discovering what wants to be written.

On the other hand, when you flood your brain with hundreds of (seemingly unrelated) ideas – even the ones with remote relevance – you allow the unconscious integration process to cognitively distribute those ideas in ways a blank page never could.

You enhance your ability to be inspired and find the one sentence that absolutely defines the moment. And that’s when you think, “Ooh! That’s the one. That’s what I should write about today…”

REMEMBER: Creativity comes through you, not from you.

You can’t decide what to write.

You can only listen for what wants to be written.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you listening to?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “9 Things Every Writer Needs to Do Every Day,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

Do You Fulfill This Six-Part Definition of a Thought Leader?

“A trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas.”

That’s the definition of a Thought Leader.

Let’s unpack the six elements of that definition:

TRUSTED
Which means you become a Thought Leader because the marketplace recognizes you as such – not because you just decide to be one. Remember: Trust requires evidence. What are you known for knowing?

SOURCE
Which means you have to be The Origin, not The Echo. The Initiator, not The Imitator. What long-term dialogue are you leading in your marketplace?

MOVES
Which means your job is to inspire, influence, challenge and disturb. How are you spurring people to purposeful action?

PEOPLE
Which means you are responsible to the individuals that comprise your constituency, regardless of who, where and how many there are. How are you building a following?

INNOVATIVE
Which means you deliver actionable lessons that passed through the test of your personal experience; not regurgitated wisdom or plagiarized insight. Are you speaking with Meaningful Concrete Immediacy?

IDEAS
Which means your mission isn’t just idea generation – but idea proliferation and idea execution. What did you create, manage or deploy today?

“A trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas.”

I hope that describes you.

Because you have the choice to be in the Thought Leadership business.

Or, you have the choice to BE ignored and, therefore, BE broke.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you fulfill this six-part definition of a thought leader?

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For the list called, “17 Reasons to Write a Free Ebook,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

You Don’t Need to be Tom Peters to be a Thought Leader

Are you a trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas?

If so, then you’re a Thought Leader.

You don’t need a PhD.
You don’t need to be Tom Peters.
You don’t need to manage some huge consulting company.

You just need to think.

AND: You need to capture, organize, deploy and build a following around your thinking.

Consider this collection of tools for increasing your perception as a Thought Leader:

1. Create a Visibility Plan. When attention is currency, anonymity is bankruptcy. As the book On Being a Thought Leader explained, “It’s impossible to change minds or challenge hearts unless you own SOME of the spotlight.”

Remember: Nobody will be inspired BY you until they’ve heard OF you. Stop winking in the dark and start commandeering attention. Because the more attention you attract the more people your thoughts can touch. How much more visible are you than you were a year ago?

2. Create enduring content. Anchor your expertise in that which is timeless. Democratize and genericize your thoughts so they outlast you. Always be on the lookout for ways to increase the shelf life of your material. Ask questions like, “In five years, will this idea still be irrelevant?” “Is this a fad, a trend or an evergreen?” and “What is a bigger, more stable theory of the universe that I can attach this idea to?”

Remember: If you’re not current, you’re not credible. Always run your expertise through the wringer of WHEN. How stable is your philosophy?

3. Dedicate yourself to building a HOT body. It’s not about writing one book. Or one article. Or one blog post. You’re a thinker. And as such, your goal is to constantly add to and strengthen your body of work. Don’t be a One Hit Wonder, One Trick Pony or One Anything Anything.

As Julia Cameron said in The Artist’s Way, “Each day’s work is part of a larger body of work, and that body of work is the work of a lifetime. Unless we are able to take this long view, we will be derailed by rejection.” Edison registered 1,800 patents. The Grateful Dead played 2,318 shows. Stephen King published 480 books. How hot is YOUR body of work?

4. Develop an ongoing relationship with your market. Combine outreach with attraction. Make it easy for readers, subscribers and audience members to engage with you, every day. Ask for their feedback. Take heed. Take notes. They will tell you how to serve them better. They will also tell you how to sell to them better. What’s your listening platform?

5. Everything you already know about “leadership” still applies. You’re still attracting followers. You’re still a perpetrator of inspiration. You’re still superior article. And you’re still a composite of all you’ve experienced. The only difference is, the medium through which these attributes are experienced by your constituency is your brainstuff. Your thoughts. Your words. Your philosophies. Your writings. Your presentations.

You don’t need a title, a corporation or a gavel to be a leader. There is no leadership. Leadership, shmeadership. There is only being and expressing yourself truthfully and passionately. Does that describe you?

6. Have a paper memory. Your brain is a moron. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, the secret is simple: Take a serious inventory of your thoughts. Chronicle your thinking. Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. Develop a unique process for entertaining ideas. What’s your Content Management System?

7. Make your ideas more accessible. Accessibility doesn’t just apply to interpersonal communication. Ideas can be accessible too. Here are four examples along with a helpful article on each one:

a. Don’t just tell a story. Stick the landing.
b. Don’t just write a blog. Be a great date for your reader.
c. Don’t just deliver a presentation. Engage every audience instantly.
d. Don’t just give an interview. Craft a listenable, unforgettable telepresence.

Remember: Accessible means easy. Open. Relaxed. Attainable. Understandable. Relatable. Is that an accurate description of your ideas?

8. Mold a beautiful thought atmosphere for yourself. This space looks different for everyone. For example, my thought atmosphere includes hot tea, a rising sun, sticky notes, dry erase boards, flip charts, note cards on the floor, instant access to my content management system and hours of relaxing music by All India Radio, Marc Cohn and The Buddha Lounge. What does yours look like?

9. Smart is overrated – be an intellectual. My mentor, Bill Jenkins, is one of the great intellectuals I know. He explained the difference between the two as follows: “Smart people study content for the purposes of memorization. Intellectuals entertain ideas for the purpose of democratization.”

Look: The world has too many smart people and not enough intellectuals. So, stop accumulating knowledge and start becoming an explorer of ideas who can extract universal truths from his experiences and apply them to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Are you an intellectual or just really smart?

10. Syndicate your expertise. Deploy, deploy, deploy! Go public with your words, ideas, philosophies, expertise and School of Thought. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever. And considering the sheer volume of diverse social media tools available, there is NO excuse for not getting your ideas out there and creating more opportunities for people to say YES to your expertise.

Remember: Be out IN the marketplace with your ideas or be out OF the marketplace completely. What’s your system for shipping your idea off to battle?

REMEMBER: You don’t have to be Tom Peters to be a Thought Leader.

Think. Capture. Organize. Deploy. Listen. Repeat.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How strong is your Thought Leadership Platform?

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For the list called, “17 Reasons to Write a Free Ebook,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

8 Ways to Make Your Name More Invokable

“I invoke your name a lot.”

Now THERE’S a compliment.

If people start telling YOU that they’re telling others ABOUT you, congratulations.

That makes you invokable.

Not in a religious way or anything. I assume your clients, friends and fans aren’t setting up candle-lit shrines with pictures, newspaper clippings and locks of your hair in their bedrooms.

Wait. ARE they?

Nevermind.

THE POINT IS: Having someone “invoke” your name is exponentially more powerful, more memorable and more valuable than having someone just “say” it.

Here’s why: The word “invoke” derives from the Latin invocare, which means, “to call upon for help.”

Therefore:

When people invoke your name, they’re building your credibility.
When people invoke your name, they’re advancing your mindshare.
When people invoke your name, they’re enhancing your personal brand.

Ultimately, being invokable is a combination of being quotatable, remarkable, referable and aboutable.

THE CHALLENGE IS: How can you continually boost your invokability?

Because straight-up ASKING people to do so won’t work. Nobody is going to invoke your name just because you put in a request. Word of mouth is casual, unsolicited and authentic. It’s just like referability: The minute you try to force it, you lose it.

So, let’s look at eight ways to become more invokable:

1. Purple cows MUST give milk. Building remarkability into your products and services before they’re released isn’t enough. Baseline remarkability is only the beginning. You need preserve originalness by assuring that your unique value proposition has (some) transformational purpose connected to it.

The secret is advancing your name to the second level: Enduring remarkability. Here’s what that looks like:

(Remarkable) + Relevant + Worthwhile + Marketable + Substantive + Consistent.

Any name connected to those attributes will become impossible NOT to invoke. Are you remarkable but inconsequential?

2. Free is your friend. Speaking of purple cows. Seth Godin and Jeffrey Gitomer are two people whose names I invoke almost daily. And it’s not just because they’re my friends, but also because they freely distribute their wisdom. Everywhere.

Lesson learned: Don’t come off as someone with a sense of scarcity. It’s hard to invoke people who are selfish with their knowledge. Are people working energetically to favorably and publicly mention YOU?

3. Consider your own invocations. Next, think of the three people whose names you invoke most frequently. Ask yourself: What have they done – or what do they continuously do – that makes YOU so willing to drop their name? Is it because of their attitude and actions; or more of a foundational component like character?

Either way, your job is twofold: (1) Pinpoint that which drives their invokability, and (2) Challenge yourself to achieve similar standards in your own life. People will notice, and people will talk. Whom do you invoke regularly, and why?

4. Put yourself in invokable positions. In 2000 when I began wearing a nametag 24-7, I was a college student at Miami University. One of the first trends I noticed – other than the weird looks from strangers and the inability to get a date, EVER – was that my professors started calling on me during class a lot more.

And the strange thing was, I didn’t raise my hand more. I didn’t sit in the front more. I didn’t even study that much. But, by virtue of being the ONLY student in the entire class whose name was visible FOR the entire class, my invokability instantly doubled. Literally. Professors called on me for everything. Especially during those awkward moments when none of the students raised their hands. Professors would think, “Well, I guess I’ll just call on Scott again.”

Huh. Maybe that’s what happens when you put yourself in an invokable position: It’s sheer probability.

In fact, you wanna hear something kinda spooky? Fast forward to today, ten years out of college. The exact same trend of invokability happens to me when I take yoga class. Instructors – who have never had me in class before – will use my name constantly. And I’ll get these weird looks from the other students because they think I’m, like, sleeping my way to the front of the room. Which I’m not. Hell, I’m not even that good at yoga.

But the role of the instructor is to challenge and support the student’s practice. And it’s just easier to do so when there’s a guy with a nametag tattooed across his chest staring back at you. Lesson learned: If you want to be in the right place at the right time, you need to be in a lot of places. How many places are YOU in?

5. Stick yourself out there. My favorite Law of the Universe is, “Whatever you want to get, just try GIVING that thing first.” It works for pretty much anything: Love. Trust. Kindness. Referrals. Occasional dirty looks. And the cool part is, the same principle applies to becoming more invokable: Do it for others, and they will do it for you.

Start by becoming an invoker yourself. Period. Now, one word of caution. Steel yourself against the temptation to become one of those incessant, name-dropping bottom feeders who spends WAY too much time hitching free rides on the coattails of others. People will assume you can’t think for yourself, and you will lose. Are you willing to ante up first?

6. Become a known entity. The next way to boost invokability is to create a game plan for remaining on people’s radars. This helps you achieve what I call “Radar Equity.” And it begins by asking yourself five questions:

a. Whose radar do I want to be on?
b. What do I want to happen as a result of being on it?
c. Who do I know that is already on that person’s radar?
d. What steps have they taken to get there?
e. What actions could I take to emulate those steps?

Remember: The secret to Radar Equity is that you have to EARN the right to be on it. That means publishing. That means social networking. That means OFF-line networking. Whatever it takes. How can you position yourself so thousands of people whom you never met will get to know you instantly?

7. Stop occupying the middle. People will recall and invoke your name if the philosophy attached to it is unexpected and non-template driven. Your challenge is to build an original, fertile and uncommon Theory of the Universe. Your strategy is to maintain contrarian positions to as many subjects as you can. And your action item is to make a list of all the conventional wisdom, traditional principles and standard operating procedures you disagree with or oppose to. Is your thought leadership position a waffle?

8. Thank your invokers. When people invoke your name – either in person, during a presentation or somewhere online – ALWAYS thank them. Send an email, instant message, wall-to-wall on Facebook or tweet them a direct message. Tell them you appreciate the kind words.

And, in your daily Gratitude Journal, be sure to write down the invokers you’re thankful for that day. I do it every morning. EVERY morning. And it works. Remember: What you appreciate, appreciates. Who did you thank today?

Ultimately, becoming more invokable is about achieving mindshare, not marketshare.

Start executing these strategies regularly. Find the ones that work best for your business model. And I promise your invokability will start to build PROFIT-ability.

Then maybe you can FINALLY finish that Scott Ginsberg shrine you’ve been working so hard on.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How invokable is your name?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” 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
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!

9 Secrets REAL Thought Leaders Know

My official definition of a Thought Leader is as follows:

“A trusted source who moves people with innovative ideas.”

Does that describe you?

If it does, cool. You probably know a lot of this stuff already.

If it doesn’t, that’s cool too. You’re about to learn what REAL Thought Leaders know.

1. Be a world-class noticer. When you notice more, you learn more. And when you learn more, you earn more. The cool part is, every single day; your environment gives you small nudges. And you have a choice to either to let them pass you by, or leverage them into new dimensions for your Theory of the Universe.

Check out my system for doing this called Freeze, Reflect and Identify. And remember: Opportunity never stops knocking – only YOU stop listening. What are you noticing?

2. Be prepared to express yourself. Not prove yourself, but EXPRESS yourself. That means not trying to look good for others. That means not playing to the crowd. Instead, start BEING. More specifically, start being … on paper. Start being … on stage. Start being … online.

To build the strongest possible Thought Leadership position, people need to experience YOU—BEING—YOU … in as many different media and dimensions as possible. Remember: Proving = Doing. Expressing = Being. Bring all of who you are to the statement you make about the world. Are you filling up your time with mindless efforts to prove yourself?

3. Become the world’s expert at learning from your experiences. You are a sum of all that you’ve experienced. Now it’s time to become a master at the individual integers that comprise that sum. FACT: You don’t fully own your experiences until you’ve thought about, written about and talked about the lessons you learned from those experiences.

Your challenge is to create your unique system for entertaining ideas. That way you profit from EVERY experience, so your followers can do the same. How are you letting your experiences change you?

4. Bring a new view into existence. Not even world-class eloquence can rescue a shallow, unsupported, unactionable point of view. Instead, establish a new approach. Pioneer in obscure areas. Maintain contrarian positions to as many subjects as you can. How original, fertile and unexpected is your Theory of the Universe?

5. Differentiate yourself by defining a process your competitors haven’t. This is how you develop a competitive mental angle. By NOT following predictable lines of inquiry. By defining problems differently than anyone else. That way, you differentiate through your diagnosis.

Now, I’m not suggesting you ONLY keep a hammer in your toolbox and start seeing everything as a nail. Rather, I challenge you to clarify, trademark and become known for your unique approach to solving problems. What equation do you use that nobody else knows?

6. Formulas are the enemy. They’re non-updatable, unshakable and inelastic. They’re inflexible, choreographed, canned, insincere, inauthentic and preplanned. They’re often resisted, debated and creates defensiveness. And their rigid, rote learning limits people’s possibilities and stifles their creativity.

PRACTICES, on the other hand, work. They come in the form of simple, doable and human actions. They insinuate instead of impose. They’re adaptable and apply to various situations and people in their own unique way. They’re also easily digested, self-evident, non-threatening and encourage people’s creativity. Which of the two are YOU teaching?

7. Have a paper memory. Your brain is a moron. And if you don’t write it down, it never happened. So, the secret is simple: Take a serious inventory of your thoughts. Chronicle your thinking. Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. Because, as George Carlin once said, “What good is a good idea if you can’t find it?” What’s your Content Management System?

8. Perfect your philosophy. As a Thought Leader, you don’t need some cutesy shtick – you need a philosophy. Poverty of philosophy prevents profitability. What’s more, confusion over where a leader stands causes stress in his followers. So, here’s the ONE question to ask yourself:

“If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like?”

This distills the essence of your approach and becomes the architecture to help people see your philosophy more clearly. What’s more, once you’ve uncovered the 5-7 bullet point answers to that question, you now have a framework to guide your Thought Leadership practice. All you have to do is keep yourself accountable every day by asking this follow-up question: Is the message I’m delivering right now giving people the tools to build that world?

9. Practice questioning answers instead of answering questions. Answers are overrated. Answers are what “experts” provide. You’re a Thought Leader, and as such, your job is to have more questions and fewer answers. Here’s why: Questions are bridges. Catapults. Fuel.

Question earn respect, invite dialogue, reveal character, earn respect and transform organizations. Any moron can spew out an answer. Only a REAL Thought Leader can bust out a question that disturbs people into action. Which do you provide?

REMEMBER: Be out IN the marketplace with your ideas or be out OF the marketplace completely.

That’s what REAL Thought Leaders know.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you establishing a sustainable Thought Leadership Position?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!


5 Strategies for Establishing a Sustainable Thought Leadership Position

1. Don’t try, seek or set out to be a Thought Leader. You earn this honorable designation when the world dubs you so. Furthermore, being a Thought Leader isn’t an intentional goal – it’s an incidental consequence.

As leadership professor Warren Bennis say in On Becoming a Leader: “People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves freely and fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So, the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself. To use yourself completely. All your skills. All your gifts, and energies – in order to make you vision manifest.” Are you trying or becoming?

2. Build an enrollment. That’s your mission: To enroll people in your thinking, vision, dream, philosophy and theory of the universe. Then, on an ongoing basis, to deliver unique value in a respectful, permission-based way.

Now, I understand that the idea of building an enrollment may sound too grandiose, too celebrity-ish and too impossible to the average businessperson. “Who am I to build an enrollment?” you think. Wrong question. Instead, ask yourself, “Am I being selfish with my knowledge?” Whom are you enrolling?

3. Notice things and give them names. Everyone has heard everything before. So, if there is nothing new under the sun, what do you say? Here’s your first clue: Create names, designations, acronyms and titles for the things you notice. Make them original, creative and consistent with the branding of your philosophy. These names are your content, your products, your branding, your expertise, your marketing, your technology, your philosophies and your differentiators.

As Thought Leader Seth Godin says, “Part of the challenge in breaking through is finding a niche you can overwhelm.” Remember: When you name something, you can do something about that something. You can begin exploration and working with that something. You can help people talk about that something. You can change people’s thinking about that something. I named “approachability.” What are you naming?

4. Take contrarian stances to as many ideas as you can. Try this: Make a list of all the conventional wisdom, traditional principles and standard operating procedures you disagree with or oppose to. Then explain why their way is stupid and yours is better. Here’s an example from one of my blog posts from earlier this year:

“Customers are overrated, clients are useless and prospects are for amateurs. You need FANS, and you need to give them megaphones.”

The best part is, when you 180 existing ideas and express them in a new way, you challenge people to think in a new way. You toggle their melons. That’s what leaders do. They walk with a constant posture of challenging the process. Do you pattern your thinking in ways that are inimical to conventional wisdom?

5. Constantly strrenghten your platform. Platform is EVERYTHING. It’s the single most important attribute of Thought Leadership. It’s a combination of your intellectual assets, visibility, network, notoriety, permission assets, credibility and positioning.

And the best part is, proper positioning through powerful platforming prevents the need for prospecting. Because clients come to YOU. On the hand, if you don’t have a platform, you may as well be winking in the dark. Because no matter how smart you are, you will be the only one that notices. Yikes. How strong is your Thought Leadership Platform?

REMEMBER: There is no finish line.

If you want to be a Thought Leader, you’ve got to work at it every single day.

Your followers are waiting.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you establishing a sustainable Thought Leadership Position?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the (full) checklist called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” 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
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!


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