What’s YOUR alarm clock?

The other day, one of my coaching clients emailed me an article from Reader’s Digest called, “What If You Said Hello to Everyone In Your Path for a Month?”

Journalist Joe Kita attempted this 30-day experiment and found great success.

“Reaching out focuses you,” Kita said. “The simple act of saying hello continually pulled me back from wherever my mind had wandered and forced me to be more aware. It’s social Zen.”

So, that got me thinking.

About speed. About mindfulness. About being present.
About how we’ve become so goal-oriented in our daily actions.
About how we’ve become obsessed with achieving, getting, adding and striving.

And then I asked myself, “How has wearing a nametag pointed the way to greater awareness?”

Reflecting back upon the past eight years, these are the four things I came up with:

1. Nametagging slows me down. If I’m in a rush and someone says, “Hey Scott!” or “Dude, you’re still wearing your nametag…” I have no choice but to stop (or at least S-L-O-W down) to acknowledge that person. Their greeting – in jest or not – has acknowledged my existence, and the proper, HUMAN thing to do is to reciprocate.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you slow yourself down throughout the day?

2. Nametagging brings me back to the present moment. When standing in line or waiting for something, I often find myself daydreaming. Or brainstorming. Or thinking. Or writing something in my jotter. Or playing on my iPhone. Either way, when the cashier or person behind me says something like, “Scott, you’re next in line!” it’s a gentle nudge away from La-La Land and back into the present moment. Get out of your mind and into the now.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How do you find your center of gravity at the moment?

3. Nametagging trains my intuition. Remember the creepy kid from The Sixth Sense who famously said, “I see dead people”? Well, the spookiest thing about wearing a nametag 24-7 is that I’ve developed sort of a sixth sense of my own. See, every day I encounter approximately three to five new people.

The weird thing is, about a half-second before someone says, “Your name must be Scott!” or “Do you know you’re still wearing your nametag?” I can feel it. I can sense it. Like, in my gut, RIGHT before it actually happens. It’s almost scary. But, I guess after 100,000 hellos, my intuition has finally caught on.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: How are you training the butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation?

4. Nametagging paints me into a present corner. The other function of a nametag is its ability to keep me accountable for my behavior. Interestingly, after eight years, my likelihood to do things like: litter, tell little white lies to strangers, or, in general, be a jerk to people, has significantly decreased. Not that I don’t mess up here and there. And not that I don’t sometimes feel the desire to want to punch certain people in the throat.

The point is, when I feel the urge to impatiently snipe at someone, I always notice that little red and blue sticker in my peripheral vision. “Easy, Scott. Just breathe,” it whispers to me. Like The Incredible Hulk’s heart monitor, the nametag calms me down.

WHAT ABOUT YOU: What personal bell of awareness keeps YOU on point?

IN SHORT: Nametags are alarm clocks.

My aforementioned coaching client, Aaron McNaught, is a perfect example. He’s known as The Wakeup Guy. In his books and programs called “Waking up to Life,” he says:

“Much of humanity spends its waking hours with eyes open, yet in a state of greatly diminished awareness as the natural beauty and magic of life goes by unnoticed and unlived.”

SO, THAT’S THE CHALLENGE: Finding a tool, a technique, or a practice, that slows you down, brings you back and keeps you present.

It might not be wearing a nametag.

It might not be saying hello to everyone in your path.

It just needs to keep you here … NOW … in this moment.

What’s YOUR alarm clock?

For the list called, “12 Dangerous Doozies to Avoid in 2009,” 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

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