When your brand becomes formidable

When you meet me, I might be quiet.

At a networking event, I’ll be drifting out on the edges, watchful. Not unapproachable, just separate.

Maybe it’s yankee reserve. I’m Connecticut born and bred—and in New England, you assess and then you approach. And I’m by nature quite private.

But here I am in Queens.

It’s fitting that New York is home.

In another life, I would’ve been a civil engineer. I’m a nerd for traffic patterns. The interwoven medley of the street wafts through my window as I write this, and I smile.

The delivery guys on their mopeds, driving against traffic, up on the sidewalks, dodging baby carriages, cyclists, and pedestrians. They’re getting a job done. Regardless.

The taxi drivers surge forward, slam on brakes, switch lanes, honk horns, realllllly honk horns. They’re getting a job done. Regardless.

The inevitability of the subway. That may be late or slow or crowded. But that exists as a testament to persistence, engineering, and ingenuity. How the elevated train miraculously dips below the East River after Queensboro Plaza—and suddenly you’re on an island—under buildings and stuff.

I’m fascinated by all of it. Still.

But what interrupts the rhythm of the taxi driver or the delivery guy or the subway? Usually: one guy making a life choice, one guy having a bad day, one freaking guy.

But sometimes there are upsets.

A true entrepreneur knows that you may be riding high, but the memory—and the reality—remains that this is on you. Inevitably: Your staff can leave, clients can shrink, people can irk, you work past exhaustion and despite illness, you hyper-caffeinate, you make lists, you pour another glass of wine, you work out, you read for 20 glorious minutes, you check the news, you pass out.

You wake up 5 hours later and do it again. Gladly, no less.

Yet one person making a life choice or having a bad time—one freaking guy—might interrupt your rhythm for days.

If you falter too long, you lose: self-respect, stability, confidence. The ego takes over (because we’re most of us quite vain), and nothing good comes from that headspace.

So you pivot and move.

You summon that fierce independence that got you here all on your own. That brazen—sort of nuts—spirit that made you an entrepreneur. That knows you’re not finished trying to do it better.

In that spirit, after smacking into a few roadblocks, you summon a voice. It might have grown rusty when it comes to your own brand because you’d been renting your energy to everyone else.

You need to use that voice to twist discomfort into action. To abandon the safe inner dialogue on the fringe and preach boldly from the center. 

Did I mention I don’t know how to swim?

Despite my tendency to cling to the walls of the pool, after a few recent roadblocks, I dove deep.

I coddled social media.

I created memes.

I conditioned webpages.

I constructed landing pages.

I campaigned and challenged.

I used emoji. And hashtags. And fucking exclamation points.

I wrote. And wrote. Online but mostly offline.

I reconnected with what drives this business—my art, my rhythm, my emotion. (Who’m I kidding? My mania.)

I blasted our President for being a liar (then soothed my mother that I would not disappear in the night).

I called out Zuckerberg for his bizarre anti-social mission to capitalize on people’s depression and diminish businesses’ outreach.

And I’m not done yet.

I’ve been told:

I don’t think you’ll ever be happy. You’ll spend your whole life being dissatisfied, looking for the next thing to achieve.

The interruption disturbs my peace—the thought, “You might never be happy,” and the subsequent time to reach the truth: “Your definition of ‘happy’ is different from theirs (i.e., you’re fine, do the work).”

They can’t see intentional being—pushing through to that space between limits and purpose where some shattering force exists: an idea, an awareness, a connection. Where greatness is.

The people who resonate with that message are our people. Period.

Those roadblocks force you to reassess the pool you and your business are floating in. (Yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors.)

To challenge you to do your business better. Fiercer. Prouder. Greater. To attract the right people and block out the chatter. To speak your message and perform the work with purpose, foresight, and intelligence.

Even if it means you have to toss out a few exclamation points—the realllllly honking horn of the business world.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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