“Be yourself.” We hear it as wide-eyed, innocent kids. We hear it as gawky, awkward adolescents, as self-assured teens, and as doubtful adults. It sounds like a no-brainer. It’s a command that carries over into a myriad of situations - from first dates to business ventures.
We all want to be unabashedly ourselves, but we also want others to like us.
That’s where the friction comes in. We want people to like us, like our businesses, and get behind what we're passionate about. We want to do what we love, but we also need other people to love it too. Everybody’s gotta pay the bills. But, where's the line between catering to the masses and being yourself?
There is courage in being yourself. This doesn't discount research, marketing tools, and advice - but at the end of the day, it should always come back to one question: Why? What is the why behind your business, behind your dreams and goals? No amount of research can tell you that.
If your vision is compromised by your desire to cater statistics about people, you’ve missed the point.
Trust in your vision.
Don’t ask your audience who you are. Tell them. Let them love you for your honesty and confidence in what makes you unique. Be the Jay Levinson (Guerilla Marketing), the Andy Warhol (pop art), the Howard Schultz (Starbucks), or Philip H. Knight (Nike) of your time!
“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
–Jack Welch, Retired Chairman and CEO of General Electric