Yes, I’ve made an entire career out of wearing a nametag.
(I know. Sometimes I still don’t believe it myself!)
Still, many of my readers and audience members continue to ask the obvious question: ‘How?’
I wish I had a short answer for you. I really do.
But alas, it’s not that simple.
So, bear with me here as I take you through my long answer.
How to Make an Entire Career Out of Wearing a Nametag
ATTITUDE. Stay positive. Stay friendly. Stay fun. Especially because 10% of the people you meet will think you’re out of your damn mind. And remember: it’s not about the nametag; it’s the person wearing it, and the attitude OF that person. Turn hate mail into great mail. If at first your idea does not sound absurd, there is no hope for it. If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong.
BOLDNESS. Stick yourself out there: physically, emotionally and psychologically. Be willing to be humiliated, embarrassed and stared at. And keep in mind: the more often you throw yourself into the sea, the less likely the waves are to bother you. Grow thicker skin. Find out where you suck, but don’t let someone who has no right to criticize you to upset you for more than five minutes. And if you turn off someone who’s not in your target market, who cares. Can’t please everybody.
CREATIVITY. Study it. Practice it. Enhance it. Hang with other creative people, business or otherwise. Practice regular moments of solvitas perambulatorum. Never think ‘outside of the box,’ because ‘outside of the box’ is a very ‘inside the box’ saying. Interestingly, the word ‘creativity’ literally means, ‘to make something out of nothing.’
DISCIPLINE. Always carry extra nametags, prewritten and blank, with you at all times. Wear one nametag on every layer. Even at weddings, funerals, strip clubs (cringe) and while playing pickup basketball. Write for two hours every single day. Work hard. Work long. Work smart. Read everything. Rehearse all night so it looks like you didn’t rehearse all night. Practice discipline in ONE area of your life and let it transfer over to other areas.
EARS. Listen closely to the world. It will give you countless ideas, tips, lessons learned and inspirational moments/people. Write everything down when you hear it. Grow bigger ears daily. Read books about listening. Take furious notes. Shut up when people are talking. Listen to lots of music every single day from various genres. Pump beautiful music through your veins for at least two hours every single day. Don’t you dare watch or listen to local news. Listen to every audio tape known to man before you go to bed.
FUN. The day my job stops being fun is the day it stops, period.
GO. To every networking event, conference, seminar, book signing, self-development seminar, association meeting and cocktail hour. Don’t throw your business cards to everybody, but make yourself known. Be known FOR something and be known AS something. Come early; stay late. Find the people who clearly don’t know anybody, walk up and say, ‘Hi, I don’t know anybody here!’ Get your ass out of the house every single day for at least one meal, coffee or event. Remember: small business isn’t a category; it’s a lifestyle.
HANG. Out with other super successful businesspeople, that is. Success leaves clues. Ask lots of questions, find out what they did right AND wrong and emulate the good stuff. Glean whenever, wherever and from whomever, notwithstanding age, level of experience or personality type. Look for people who are 30 years ahead of you and decide if that’s where you want to be in 30 years. Also, DON’T hang out with the following types of people: bloodsuckers, piggybackers, negatives, complainers, time abusers, drug abusers, emotional vampires, people who aren’t doing jack with their lives, people who don’t listen and talk WAY too much, people who are just trying to use your time, money, resources and brain power.
IDENTITY. Figure out who you are, bother personally and professionally, how you roll, what you’ll stand for, what you won’t stand for you and what your personal philosophies and policies are. And remember: your identity is your most valuable possession. Read every book ever written on branding. Ask yourself lots of questions over and over. Make a Personal Mission Statement and read it to yourself every single morning. Know your values and beliefs. Make a Philosophy Card and pass it out to everyone you meet. Be the world’s expert on yourself. And never surround yourself with anyone who makes you second-guess yourself. Validate your existence, do something cool and be yourself – every single day.
JOKES. Especially about yourself. Self-deprecating humor disarms people, beats them to the punch and lays a foundation of approachability. Only take a few key things seriously. Never stop laughing. Find something funny every day.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Say one thing. One word. One idea. Don’t make people have to remember more than that. That’s how stuff spreads. When people come to your website, make sure they know THE ONE THING you want them to do. Make your book, your idea and your business about one thing. One word. Make sure people can go onto Google and type in ONE WORD and get your website as the first five hits.
LOVE. Poured out into every blog post, speech, chapter, article, video, conversation and webpage. Authenticity. Consistency. Commitment. All tied together with love. Love what you do, what you don’t do, what you write, what you sell, whom you sell it to and why you sell it.
MAKE THE MUNDANE MEMORABLE. Phone greetings, introductions, business cards, company names, website domains, email signatures, email ‘from’ lines, personal greetings and blog posts. Do that, and people will not only remember it, they’ll spread the word, in addition to coming back themselves.
NETWORKING. Except don’t call it networking. You’re making friends. With everyone! Work hard at it, but work even harder at keeping it alive. Every time you travel, ask yourself, ‘Who else lives in this city I can hook up with?’ And don’t forget to network online, aka, INTERNETworking. And remember: there’s a time and place for networking. ANY time and ANY place. Because you never know! ‘Fear not to entertain strangers for by so doing some many have entertained angels unaware.’
OPPORTUNITY. It doesn’t knock once – it knocks all day. You need to open your mind and body to hearing those knocks and answering the door. Maintain a positive, expectation-based attitude every single day and more great opportunities are going to be attracted into your life. It ain’t about luck. There is no luck. There is no Law of Attraction. There is no Secret. There is only working your ass off and focusing and being disciplined. That’s how you create opportunities. Also, giving away free stuff helps too. The more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be. Write that one down.
PRODUCT. It’s you. They’re buying you. Because people buy people first. Because people are loyal to people, not companies. But you’re not a commodity. You’re a resource. An expert. The Go-To Guy. The Man. If you want to be a great salesman, follow these steps: sell yourself on yourself, sell yourself to your customer, sell your product to your customer by delivering value BEFORE price, then maintain approachability with that customer FOREVER. That’s it.
QUIET TIME. Do it every day with running, walking, swimming, mediating or praying. This quiet time enable you to stay in tune with the world and listen to what it’s trying to tell you. Take regular vows of silence to let your thoughts steal the show. Shut up more often.
READING. Read every book ever written on the topics that you also write about. Read every book written about your industry. Read at least two books every week. Keep your books religiously as precious gifts. NEVER loan them out to anybody, even family members. Every time you read, take notes and underline and highlight, then transfer those ideas onto your computer. Save them in a folder and refer to them regularly. Don’t even think about reading the newspaper. It’s all crap.
SEEK. Get help, especially from mentors. And get more than one mentor. Get ten mentors. Update them on your progress and make them proud. Find mentors who not only coach you on success, but who have actually HAD success too. Be careful about people approaching YOU to be your mentor. Sometimes they want to sell you stuff. You shouldn’t have pay mentors. Find the ones who will do it for free and it will probably be more effective. Always buy their lunch.
TRUST. Your gut, that is. Because if everyone says you’re nuts, you just might be onto something. Don’t give in when the Sell Out Alarm goes off in the back of your mind. Trust that what you’re doing is right. Also trust your friends and colleagues to tell you when you’ve screwed up. Hesitate to trust publicists, the media, people who PROMISE who they’re going call you back and people who PROMISE they don’t want anything from you.
UNITY. Of all the areas of your brand, that is. Be sure that every touch point is seamless and consistent. Be unconfusable. Be the same no matter what. Be congruent on and off stage, in and out of paper, on and offline. Don’t be ‘a good guy deep down,’ be ‘a good guy up front AND deep down.’ Because people don’t give you credit for what they HEAR you SAY consistently, people only give you credit for what they SEE you DO consistently. Preach what you practice, not the other way around.
VICTORIES. Keep a log of all victories, even if they’re small. Achieve victories daily to build your confidence and hone in your skills. Give thanks for all victories and expect more of them to come regularly. Make a list of 101 goals. Be obsessive about your goals. Carry a copy of your goals with you at all times. Look at them daily and every time you accomplish one, cross it off and say, ‘YES! I DID IT!!!’ (Unless you’re at the airport) Actually, I take that back. Screw TSA. Go ahead and yell at the airport.
WRITE. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. Ask yourself, ‘What did you write today?’ Be sure to write every single day for two hours. But don’t think of your writing as books, chapters, speeches, articles, etc., think of them as MODULES. If you want to become a better writer, just start writing. Stop planning. Just write. Who cares if it sucks? Just write. And don’t wait for inspiration. Combine inspiration with discipline. And remember: if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Also remember to write conversationally. And don’t forget to be a great date for your reader. And don’t forget to study other great writers. Ooh! And be mindful of the ARCHITECTURE of your writing, both online and in print. Keep it short. Write like you talk and people will listen. Be funny often. Journal everything. And do lots of thinking. After all, writing is merely an extension of thinking. So become a better thinker. And write down EVERYTHING. Every idea, every quote, every book, every word, everything! Write, write and write! Did I said write?
XPECT. That great things are going to happen. That great people are going to come into your life. That business opportunities will present themselves when you’re ready. That you will make lots of money. That you will give the greatest speech of your life every time. That you will write from your heart. That you will be amazing. That you will mess up a lot and learn from that. That you need to work hard, long AND smart. That people are going to screw you over. That many of your ‘friends’ are going to stop being your friends when you become super successful, which probably means those ‘friends’ weren’t really your friends anyway.
YOUTH. It’s not the years; it’s the mileage. Don’t be ashamed that you’re still in your 20’s. It’s not a challenge; it’s an advantage. Use your youth, energy and enthusiasm to blow everyone away. Contribute your fresh, new, cool, fun, creative and unique perspective to those old dudes who have been thinking the same way about business for 50 years. And even though all you have are your experiences and what you’ve learned from them, age ain’t nuthin’ but a number. You don’t need a fancy degree or acronym after your name. Results are the only proof that matter. Blow people away with your creativity, knowledge, ideas, enthusiasm, listening skills, observations and writing abilities, and people will forget all about the fact that you were born in 1980.
ZEAL. Just a fancy word for enthusiasm. Energy. Fun. Craziness. Smiling. Laughing. Passion. Love. Ethos. All of these emotions need to be wrapped up in every website, every speech, every book, every article, every business card, every business encounter and every interview and phone call. Zeal is attractive. People will come to you. They will hire you and appreciate you. Because zeal is cool.
So that’s it. How one man made an entire career out of wearing a nametag.
Does that answer your question?
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How did YOU make something out of nothing?