Reinventing your Brand

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We all have to reinvent ourselves. Whether it’s getting back up from a failed business, a friend or colleague who gets laid off and wonders “now what?” or suffering the slings and arrows of day to day life.

And it seems like there is a whole lot of reinventing going on for people – given the state of the economy.

The saying “survival of the fittest” though isn’t always true – it’s sometimes “survival of the stubbornest.”

As a university professor and entrepreneur, it always fascinated me the students who quit – either those in my classrooms, or my fellow students in my masters or doctoral programs. I never considered myself smarter by any stretch of the imagination. Those kids in my classrooms weren’t always the ones with the easiest lives where nothing ever went wrong.

They just couldn’t bring themselves to give up.

A lot of really crappy things (love that highly academic term there!) are happening to a lot of really great people in the US today. For no fault of their own (ok, sometimes maybe a bit of fault in certain circumstances) people are exeriencing some of the worst blows life can hand them. Some will not recover from those disasters.

But I’m always reminded of my doctoral adviser when I think some of the horrible situations people are living through. He said, “when you’re doing a doc program, it’s all about the marathon. During some parts, you’re going to seem like a rock star. In other parts,  you’ll be sucking wind just to try to get up the hill. And in the end, you likely won’t care whether you “won” or not – you’re just thrilled you survived.”

Or, as he later would say “you can’t walk across the stage at graduation if you didn’t finish.”

We all have tons and tons and TONS of things have happened to us. Reasons why giving up is the less painful route. Life can be a bit like giving birth – but without the epidural.

But people rarely remember that Edison “failed” at inventing the lightbulb 10,000 times. People  rarely remember ALL the shots Michael Jordan DIDN’T hit. People rarely realize the self doubt, misery and worry Abraham Lincoln stressed over as he was trying to do the right thing and win the Civil War.

They remember the success. They remember the end result. They remember how what YOU did changed THEIR lives.

Action Steps:

  • Life is going to dish you plenty of obstacles in your business. Are there any you can anticipate? Can you devise a “Plan B” for those situations?
  • Do you have a confidant? A mentor who can help you keep perspective?
  • What is your long game? What is the longer vision of your business? Do you have this vision in sharp focus?

Class dimissed. No homework required – the only grades though are the number of zeros at the end of your paycheck. 😉


Category: Branding, Self Promotion

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