On April 24th, 2006, I took the day off to celebrate and reflect on the past 2000 days of wearing a nametag 24-7.
I challenged myself to come up with a list of 101 Life Lessons Learned. It wasn’t easy, but I finally finished the list this morning.
I was always told, ‘Don’t tell ‘em what you did, tell ‘em what you learned.’
Therefore, here are 101 life lessons I’ve learned from wearing a nametag 24-7 for the past 2000 days. Enjoy!
1. Friendly always wins.
2. Be the first one.
3. Be the only one.
4. Be a sleeper.
5. Be interesting.
6. Be UNFORGETTABLE.
7. Be the world’s expert on yourself.
8. Be somebody who reminds everybody of nobody else in the world.
9. It’s really hard to beat up a stranger if you know his name.
10. Nametags are NOT about you. They’re about everyone in the world except you. Don’t boycott them. Wear your nametag for other people. Always.
11. Jack Canfield was right: if everybody says you’re out of your mind, you just might be onto something.
12. Everybody is somebody’s somebody.
13. Never wear a nametag into a strip club.
14. Never wash your shirt with a nametag still stuck on it.
15. Never use your older brother’s fake ID to get into a bar and then forget to take off your nametag at the door.
16. If the Washington Post calls you ‘The World’s Foremost Authority On Nametags,’ you may as well take it.
17. Don’t be different, be unique.
18. You are what you charge.
19. Market yourself daily.
20. Nametags will not get you dates. If you’re a jerk, not even a nametag will make you approachable.
21. Find a way to give yourself away.
22. If you want 10,000 free nametags, you can always drop the name of the company that manufactures them on CNN.
23. The greatest compliment someone could ever give you is: ‘Thanks for being yourself.’
24. Do not despise the day of small beginnings.
25. Find a daily ritual.
26. Get a job that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do.
27. Nerds, dorks and geeks rule this world.
28. Give people permission to talk to you.
29. It’s not easy to be yourself.
30. Figure out exactly who you are and then go be that person every day.
31. Find a way to paint yourself in a good corner.
32. Everyone has at least one big idea.
33. Own a word.
34. Be that guy.
35. Confidence is king.
36. If you really want to show (not tell) people that you’re committed to an idea, you can always tattoo that idea on your chest. They’ll never doubt you again.
37. The world cannot resist a man on a mission.
38. Intentional Discomfort is the greatest teacher of all.
39. Everybody should write a book.
40. Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
41. Validate your existence on a daily basis.
42. Do something cool on a daily basis.
43. There’s nothing more approachable than authenticity.
44. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
45. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge.
46. Just because the Today Show sends a camera crew to St. Louis to follow you around all day doesn’t mean they will actually air your segment. Jerks.
47. You don’t know intimidation until you’ve given a speech to 300 people who are twice your age, have three times your experience and know four times as much as you do.
48. You are an empty sheet of paper in the minds of people you encounter.
49. You have less than three seconds to create a first impression.
50. Hate mail is a gift, even if it’s true.
51. Indiana Jones was right: it’s not the years, it’s the mileage.
52. If you don’t have a blog, you’re a putz.
53. If you don’t carry your business cards with you wherever you go, you’re a putz.
54. Make daily appointments with yourself.
55. Everyone has a story. And everyone wants to tell that story. So ask them.
56. Smiling will never get you in trouble.
57. If someone is wearing a nametag, use their name. It makes them feel great.
58. It’s impossible to be too friendly.
59. It’s not cool to be an asshole.
60. It’s impossible to be too friendly.
61. If a strange man named Stephen starts calling you every single day for three weeks, it’s probably a good idea to remove your home phone number from your website.
62. If a strange man named Stephen starts showing up at your office, it’s probably a good idea to get a new job.
63. Tom Peters was right: dull encounters = dull you; cool encounters = cool you.
64. Stop worrying about which side of you chest to wear a nametag. Nobody cares. They only care if they can read your name from ten feet away.
65. You’d be surprised how many strangers will grab, touch, poke and molest your chest (and therefore violate your personal space) if you wear a nametag.
66. When people ask you, ‘So, what do you do?’ make your answer memorable, valuable and unique. If their response isn’t ‘Hmm, that’s interesting…’ or ‘Cool!’ you need to rework your answer. Remember, even the most boring jobs can be explained in an UNFORGETTABLE way.
67. Authenticity, not charisma.
68. Fans, not customers.
69. Never underestimate the power of approachability.
70. People buy people first.
71. Find a way to make people stop, think and say, ‘Wow!’
72. Create encounters that otherwise would not have existed.
73. The best way to make someone feel comfortable is through self-disclosure.
74. Never apologize for your art.
75. Respect people’s no’s.
76. The best swimmers are always in the pool.
77. Find a way to keep yourself visually accountable. Wear a piece of jewelry that symbolizes a personal value; tattoo a credo on your wrist, whatever. Anything to keep you consistent. For me, it’s really hard to be a jerk to someone else when I’m wearing a nametag, which I do 24-7. Which means I can’t be a jerk. (Good!) What about you?
78. Mother Theresa was right: people don’t remember what you said; they only remember how you made them feel.
79. Break the silence. Every day.
80. If you don’t smile, they won’t believe you.
81. If you build it, they (might) come.
82. What’s in a name? Everything. Your character. Your life. Your brand. Your values.
83. If you walk into a hotel on New Year’s Day wearing a nametag on the tuxedo you slept in, people are probably going to say something.
84. If a two year old girl walks up to you in the middle of Starbucks, smiles and points at your nametag, it’s best to peel it off and stick it to her hand. Trust me on this one.85. Boredom is the enemy.
86. In the history of the world, nobody has ever yelled at another person for ‘Communicating too much.’
87. Don’t try to impress. Inspire first. Then people WILL be impressed.
88. Steve Pressfield was right: when people see you begin to live your authentic lives, it drives them crazy because they’re not living their own.
89. If you wear a nametag around Mexico, locals will more than likely smile at you and simply say, ‘Mr. Escott!’
90. If you wear a nametag around Switzerland, locals will more than likely smile and you and simply say, ‘Bonjour Scott!’
91. And if you wear a nametag around New York City, locals will more than likely not smile and simply say, ‘Get the hell out of my way, Scott.’
92. Some people are just not friendly.
93. If you get an email out of the blue from someone who just saw you speak and he said, ‘Your speech changed my life,’ you’re probably doing a good job.
94. If you get an email out of the blue from someone who said, ‘You’re nuttier than a bag of trail mix,’ you’re definitely doing a good job.
95. Coming up with a list of 101 Life Lessons Learned from Wearing a Nametag 24-7 for the Past 2000 Days is pretty hard.
96. Which is why I’m running short on ideas.
97. (Well, almost.)
98. I saved the three most important ones for the end…
99. If a 7 year old kid says he wants to be an author – then 15 years later actually becomes an author – he’s probably doing the right thing with his life.
100. If a 19 year old kid wins an award for ‘The Speaker You Could Listen to For Hours,’ then actually becomes a professional speaker 4 years later, he’s definitely doing the right thing with his life.
101. And if all of that stuff happened to him simply because he decided to wear a nametag 24-7 to make people friendlier, there must be a God.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What was the single biggest learning experience of your life?