Brené Brown famous quote “you can choose courage or comfort, but you cannot choose both” is a powerful mantra. Standing up for values is an important part of personal branding. This ethos has had particular relevance during the 2019 Melbourne Cup carnival as many took a stand, albeit nervously against a much loved event and institution.
Have you ever stood up and taken a stand against popular opinions or well entrenched behaviours embraced by the masses? It’s not an easy thing to do and results in divisive positive or negative responses. You may be ostracised, lose substantial business or bullied. Or you may be greatly admired, gain new business and emulated. Often it has both and covert or overt.
Taking a stand and putting your head above the parapet is always a risk but one that is weighed up against the battles we choose to fight. The battles chosen will have deep significance to us and often gnaw away at our souls and conscience. This is true for both individuals and businesses.
The Melbourne Cup carnival has been a stellar example of taking a stand and sticking the head above the parapet with great alacrity. Many have taken the courage vs comfort path to change financial direction and boycott despite potential backlash commercially, socially and personally.
The debate and issues bring an a icon event and culture to its knees with reflection never seen before of what really goes on that the world assumes is all champagne and designer hats. No longer can ignorance be claimed as the comfort choice.
But it’s always easier in life being an ostrich as much is at stake when taking the courage path. We indeed are faced with our own vulnerabilities, morals and beliefs when we contemplate and investigate the truth behind the mirage. It is a very uncomfortable place to sit when what we have always believed in or done is viewed with a different lens. It means we need to change too and uproot much of what we once took for granted.
The racing industry benefits many commercially and personally and equally harms humans and animals. Awareness of the issues through brave journalists and passionate advocates have shocked and shaken the country. There is much to say about the issue but this is not the purpose of the article. But in the spirit of taking a stand, I can no longer support the sector which is one I have done so up until the last few years.
The purpose here is to shine a thought bubble on the institutions, situations and marketing activities we automatically believe or accept that may in reality be causing harm? That harm could be to ourselves, our business, family or communities. What could we take a stand against that flies in the face of popular opinion and markets?
And how will doing so impact personal and business brands? Is it important enough to stick your head above the parapet?
Mark Schaefer one of the worlds most respected marketers and author of Marketing Rebellion recently admitted in response to the backlash of his thought leadership. “But without question, taking a stand creates awkwardness, and many times I’ve felt like an outsider in my own industry”
Oh how I resonated with Marks sentiments deeply as I too have taken divisive thought leadership against unacceptable LinkedIn activities, plagiarism and personal branding issues. It has not always been popular in my own sector and no doubt lost potential $$. I have been vilified, white-anted and my reputation covertly and overtly attacked. But the upside has been great respect, new clients and followers.
But as our personal brands continue to take up more space at the table of business decisions, standing up to what is meaningful to us is so important. As soloists and small businesses often in noisy competitive sectors our personal brand, values and leadership is our best weapon to slice through the seas of sameness.
Our vibe attracts our tribe and we all prefer to work with people who share in our values and goals . So what issues in your industry are worth making a stand against or for?
If you choose to stand up to an issue in courage keep this quote from Brené Brown close by: ”Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer”