Great brands have a point of view, not just a product or a service. And so do great people. That’s what I call Brand YOU.
You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to draw a line in the sand that says, “This is what I’m willing to fight for”. And then you need to show the world.
Because standing for something isn’t just about writing it down. It’s about believing it and living it. That’s Brand YOU in action. There’s a world of difference between truly standing for something and having a mission statement that says you stand for something.
When you don’t know what you believe – when you don’t stand for something, and you do stand for anything – everything becomes an argument. Everything is foggy, unclear, unsure, and debatable.
But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious. There is no argument to be had because you just ‘know’ what to do, and why to do it. That is an amazing way to be.
Unfortunately for you, in this era of social media driven popularity (“Look how many friends I have” and “Look how frickin amazing my life is”), a strong stand will not make you popular. Strong opinions aren’t free. A lot of people will call you arrogant or a know-all. That’s life. There will always be haters.
Furthermore, consider that if someone isn’t upset by who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re saying, you’re not pushing hard enough. I used to worry like crazy when one person out of an audience of one hundred hated me and my talk (Score 1/5. “What a crock of shit”). Now I worry like crazy if I don’t have at least one hater – at least one person who I have mildly offended or rubbed up the wrong way by just being myself.
And while you may lose many fans because of your point of view, consider that having a strong stand is how you attract superfans and supporters. These are people who point to you and defend you.
My whole business is built like this. There are a heck of lot of people out there who don’t like me, and who will never give me any work. Because they find me intimidating. Or rude. Or too South African. Or too in-your-face. And I literally don’t give a fuck about any of them. I am who I am, and I’m not going to change that for anyone.
And then there is a handful of Brand Guy superfans. People out there who call me when they want to do epic shit (what I stand for); who call me when they want to create the future they want to succeed in (what I do); and who call me when they want it done in a way that is fun, a little crazy, inspiring and exciting (how I work).
It took me a while, but I have drawn a line in the sand. And I live and work above that line. And if anybody doesn’t like it, I choose not to work with them and lie on the beach instead 🙂