Friday, April 25, 2014

Your Actions Define Your Personal Brand

Your Actions Define Your Personal Brand

The 1st Engineer Battalion
Unit Insignia
When I read the article, "The Brand Artists," in the April 2014 issue of Inc. Magazine by Tom Foster it reminded me that branding is a universal concept. It applies to products, businesses, events, etc. Mostly, it applies to people because it takes people to build businesses, to make products, to plan events. The article focused on communicating that branding is no longer about what we say, it's about how what we say and what we do align with each other. A quote jumped out at me which evoked memories of the mottoes of some of the military units I'd served in, or alongside and how they helped the people who belonged to them develop their own brands.

The 91st Engineer Battalion
Unit Insignia
When I was a Combat Engineer Officer in the U.S. Army, I served with the 1st Engineer Battalion. Our motto was, "Always First!" These words helped convey our "brand" as a military unit, that's for sure. However, what was more compelling was the fact that we could also say that the 1st Engineer Battalion was the oldest, most decorated engineer battalion in the United States Army. The unit's long list of decorations awarded throughout 165 years of history reflected the bold actions the battalion had taken in the past and they created a legacy for every Sapper who served in it to fulfill. The motto compelled us to be better. We wanted to be better for each other so that, together, we could do great things when we were called to do so.

There was another motto which had made an impression on me even though I never served in the unit. The 91st Engineer Battalion must have liked their motto so much that they put it on their unit insignia, "Acts Not Words!" Their branding message, I think, said it all.  

Ranger tab- A symbol of bold leadership!
Motto: "Rangers Lead the Way!"
I didn't serve in a Ranger battalion, but I did earn the right to wear the Ranger tab, which means I graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School at Ft. Benning, GA. The motto of the Rangers is, "Rangers Lead the Way!" What I learned from the experience is: Bold thinking leads to bold action! Bold action comes from conviction! Conviction comes from thinking about what you believe in. Find conviction and you can do things you never thought possible. You can "lead the way!" 

The point is, all three mottos create a compelling message, a compelling brand. They have the potential to inspire! The reason? Because each needs to be proven in order to have any meaning. The legacy needs to be fulfilled and perpetuated through actions in order to continue to be true. The people who wear these insignia must take action to define the brand in the way they want it to be perceived! They must think! They must find conviction! They must take action to accomplish their mission, regardless of the situation!

When Acts Personify Words There is Meaning. 

The quote Foster provided in his article was provided by Kelly O'Keefe, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Brandcenter advertising school, who was illustrating how American Express's message about wanting to help small businesses didn't have any meaning until they launched Small Business Saturday, an annual national campaign intended to drive business to small businesses. As O'Keefe put it, "That's a physical manifestation of corporate behavior. It's not a message, it's an action- and that action shows intent."

Here's The Logic: 

Intent = Purpose.  
Purpose is created by values. 
Actions show Intent.
Actions show your Values to the people in your World!

Three critical questions:

What Values are you branding yourself with to the people in your World through your Actions?

What Values do you WANT to brand yourself with?

What Actions will close the gap between those two answers?
The difference between the first two questions creates your To-Do List for Continuous Improvement.

Do You Know What to Do?

Isn't it about time to resume your journey on the path to:
There is no cost. Everything you'll get by clicking on those links is free. I do ask you to make the investment of time and effort necessary to:
  • Live the life you truly want!
  • Create the culture you envision your organization can become!
If you want easy, look somewhere else. I cannot help you.


Tom Eakin
Success Engineer, BoomLife

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

"We Must Be Bold"


Back in December, I met Hugh Weber from OTA + Pollen. Hugh and his partners are working to create a "world class network of individuals + organizations + communities and ideas" to "transform" the OTA Region. The OTA Region consists of the three states ending with the letters "ota", Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. I live in South Dakota, and if you've read anything I've written about how each of us can change our lives and our "World" in significantly positive ways, then you can understand why I'd want to share their audacious theme: "We Must Be Bold".

A Bold Idea That Has Spanned Generations 

That first time I met Hugh, he was giving a presentation in which he told a story about the profound and lasting impact the last four words in President John F. Kennedy's "We Choose To Go To The Moon" speech had on him. As the crowds applause at Kennedy's final words builds into a crescendo, he ends his speech with, "and we must be bold." It almost gets lost in the din of the crowd. It didn't get lost on Hugh.

President Kennedy's bold vision to put a man on the moon within a decade came true because he created the time and place where the idea became possible in the hearts and minds of all Americans. The community of people who needed to work together was vast and nation-wide in its scope.

A Bold Idea for Today and Future Generations

On Friday, April 4, 2014, I attended OTA 14 in Sioux Falls, SD, an event Hugh and his partners put together to share stories about how "connections and collisions of people and ideas have impacted our largest and smallest businesses, organizations and communities," and to gather together people in the region who want to do great things. In other words, they shared stories about "intersections" and created a time and place for them to happen. It was an inspiring event! It made for an inspiring day because of the people who shared their stories about the "connections and collisions" that created opportunities for them to make their difference: Antonio Neves, Kash Sree, Roman Mars, Jamie Millard & Meghan Murphy (from Pollen), Nathaniel Schachter, Paul LaRoche (who put on an amazing musical and visual performance with some of his family members and musicians from Brule), Jennifer Reedy, Baratunde Thurston, Tina & Ryan Essmaker, and Bryant Cryder who introduced the final speaker of the day. I'd love to tell you more about each of those speakers and the powerful messages they shared. But, this is an article, not a book. I'm going to just ask you to trust me when I say, these are people who truly believe they can make a difference in their "Worlds," strive to learn how, and have proven they are willing to try. 

A Bold Assignment

When we walked out of the theater of the Washington Pavillion after the final speaker of the day, Scott Harrison, finished moving us to tears through the story of Charity:Water, event volunteers were lined up at the exit handing out tubes of "mystery" gifts. I opened mine as soon as I got home after an hour-long anticipation-filled drive. In the tube, there were a few of the giveaways you typically receive at events like this one. But, I also found more inspiration in the form of two high-quality prints confidently and enthusiastically calling out the message, "WE MUST BE BOLD".

There was another flyer in the tube which said, "Now, we need you to take the next sharing one of the enclosed prints with someone that inspires you or someone that you hope to inspire." I'll gladly take on this assignment. I will find someone who I hope to inspire and give them one of the prints. But, I want to inspire as many people to do great things as I possibly can! And, I'm going to do that in the best way I know how, with my current capabilities. I'm sharing a photograph I took of the print (I'm not a very good photographer) with my network of blog readers, my clients, my newsletter subscribers (I'm not the greatest networker but I'm doing my best). 


A photographic rendering of the print
OTA + Pollen gave me as a gift
and which I am sharing with you in
the best way I know!
What does this statement mean to you?

What BOLD way do you want to make a difference in the world?

What values inspire you to want to do it?

How will those values drive your decisions to do what it takes?

Not one of us can do it alone.

Who do you need to share your vision with to make it your BOLD thing happen?

How can I help you?

  • Share your vision, your plan, your message by responding in the comments, below. You never know who will read it and want to connect with you! Take a chance, share it! If I see an opportunity to help you directly, or connect you with someone else who can, I will.
  • Plan and implement why & how you will make your BOLD vision happen? I'm providing free tools to help you "Know" why it's so important to your life-long success so you will find the conviction to "Do" what it takes and "Be" the person you want to be. 

My Bold Message:

Your VALUES are your WHY!

I believe "GPS Theory" can help you find HOW you can get WHAT you want and BE the person you want to BE! 

Whether you live and work within the OTA region or outside of it. I want to help.


Success Engineer