My five year old daughter came home from school crying the other day. It turns out they had been learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and she was upset he had been shot. After consoling her, we talked about how courageous King had been. Of course, my daughter was too young to understand why it took courage for King to speak his mind. However, as adults we know the huge amount of courage King had to possess to espouse his dream of hope and equality for all people.
Courage can be defined as “the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.” I love the part about “without being deflected from a chosen course of action.” King knew the danger he was in by continuing his vocal campaign, but he kept on because he believed in the power of his message. He knew there were people who needed him to be their voice.
Having a strong personal brand also takes courage. When you brand, you take a stand. You do not endorse all things, all ways of thinking and all courses of action. You are discriminating, choosing only those things which have meaning and value to YOU. As result, there may be people who feel left out or even threatened by your brand. This can be a scary feeling. However, the one thing you must remember is there is a specific group of people who want and NEED what you have to offer.
Think about this quote “Even a 4th grader is a god to a 3rd grader.” If you have knowledge or expertise in a certain area, there are people who need you. Whether they want advice on how to discipline their kids, how to lose weight, or how to get their finances in order, people are all looking for someone to lead and guide them. The key is to remember everyone is different. Some people want a gentle, nurturing approach and others want a firm push. Some people respond to fringe philosophies and others want traditional methods. However, they will never find the help you are uniquely qualified to give if they cannot FIND OR HEAR YOUR MESSAGE. You must have a STRONG VOICE AND PRESENCE in the marketplace.
Where would we be now without Martin Luther King Jr.? What if he had kept his message to himself? The world needs your message too. So be bold and find your courage. Take a stand and be your brand!