Personal Branding, Business And Life The George Costanza Way

My favorite episodes from the Seinfeld television series were when George Costanza did the opposite to everything he had always done in his life. And when he did this, he got his dream job. He finally got confident with women. It was the George he had always wanted to be…

There’s a lesson here. And I think many could benefit. It is my experience that people want a lot in life. But that too many of us do the exact wrong thing to get what we want. And that’s the message of this post. Here is what I mean:

Want to be influential? The mistake we all make is we think we are influential, and we act as if we are. “Don’t people know how important I am,” we think to ourselves. Don’t tell people you are. This, in fact, lessens your influence. Instead, help people. Serve people. Connect people. Do these things, and you will become influential. The less you care about being influential, the more you will be.

Want to be called an expert? The mistake most of us make is that we lable ourselves an expert, or guru. These days, people see right through that. Instead, do remarkable work, consistently. And let others call you an expert.

Want more comments on your blog? The mistake we all make is that because we just published a Pulitzer-worthy article, people should flock to comment. Doesn’t happen that way. Blogging is not an “if you build it, they will come” situation. The best way to get comments? Is to comment on the blogs of others. Every. Day.

Want more followers on Twitter? The mistake we all make is that we think someone should follow us back if we follow them. Wrong. Or we use automation tools to auto-follow, and build a false following. Wrong. First, more followers isn’t necessarily better. Get that out of your head. But if you want more followers, there are only two things to do: one, engage in real conversations with real people. And consistently share valuable content with your network.

Want to be invited to speak? The mistake we all make is that we think we are entitled to speak. “Don’t they know how much I know?” Like everything, you have to earn this. Well paid keynotes aren’t born, they are made. Just because you have knowledge, doesn’t mean people will automatically invite you to speak. Volunteer to local groups, and share what you know. Add helpful videos of you speaking on your site, providing help to your audience. If people like what you have to say, the paid gigs will come…

Want to be invited to guest post? The mistake we all make is that we sit around, waiting for people to invite us to contribute to their blog. Well, do it yourself first. Invite others to guest post on your blog. And actively comment on their blog, providing value. And don’t be afraid to simply offer. Most will respond positively.

Want more respect? The mistake we all make is that we think we deserve respect. Well, we don’t. We earn it. We must live a life that people admire. And we must expect nothing in return. We do what we do because that is who we are, and the rest of the world will notice…or they won’t. The less you care about getting respect, the more you will get. Oh! One more thing: do what you say you will do. That helps…

Want more responsibility at work? The mistake we all make is sitting around waiting for our boss to pick us. We sit around, thinking we are entitled. But instead of waiting, take initiative. Do something. Start something. And I promise…the next time? You’ll be picked. So poke the box (h/t Seth).

Want to be an overnight success? The mistake we all make is that we think we can read a few books, wish really hard, talk a good game, and achieve “overnight” success. Hooey. To be an overnight success, be prepared to put in your 10,000 hours…

What are some other examples of doing the opposite, and how they can impact your business, brand and life?


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  • Ben Boykin

    That’s beautiful Todd. As a devoted follower of the Seinfeld genre’ I am touched…weeping with happy tears to see how such a character with all his frailties like George Constanza could be used to impart such good ol’ plain, down-to-earth sense like what you’ve shared here. Your right Todd, many roaming this good earth with a sense of entitlement, ie, ‘don’t you know who I am, what kind of degree I have or who I know…’ and so the ‘Me, Monster’ (Brian Regan – Comedian – reference ) rears its ugly head. The takeaway from this for me – shut up Ben, serve well, keeping working hard and do something. I can hear Elaine Benes saying of this post – ‘this is re-tweet worthy’! Keep up the great work Todd and thanks for serving your community as well as you do.

    For not many know the amazing tales of Costanza…

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks my friend. and yeah, if you look close enough, there are lessons everywhere…

  • Karen Mccullough

    I really love this post on two levels… first of course is the Canstanza metaphor…and secondly this idea of instant success. I am a keynote speaker and it took years of reading, going to conferences and workshops, and 10,000 hrs of practice to have the privilege of presenting. I am blown away at how many people think that just because they had a job in marketing, sold cell phones, or believe that divine intervention has given them the credentials and qualifications to get paid to speak. also… Also Tim Ferris doesn’t help…I think that the 4 hr work week concept gives many the wrong impression about success…

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks for stopping by karen…

    and yeah, it blows my mind that people think they can be stars without putting their time in… have you read gladwell’s outliers?