“You are the future!”
That was a statement that was told to me when I didn’t know the difference between up and down, left and right. Yesterday was past, and tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough. I was a bit lost and tangled. I had went through a good amount of my life, just taking what life gave me and not making much sense about it. Like a floating light bulb, suspended above the floor, I was just along for the ride and happy to be here. It was like that until one day when I woke up and it all made sense. I remember it clearly as day. It was December 6, 2011.
I had lost all faith in humanity at that point. It was when I was at my lowest that my brightest came out. Shining through like a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
I am the future because I am able to create the future. No matter what happens, I am able to make tomorrow different. I am able to forge a future in any way, shape or form.
As marketers, we create the future daily. The brands we represent, and the products we sell, constantly put their best foot forward to try and live in the hearts and minds of their audiences and customers. Always looking for trends to hop on, and the latest in buzz-marketing, we marketers need to disseminate fact vs fiction. Real vs. Fake. Tried & Test vs. Trend.
But let us not forget about the cobbler's son for a second. The cobbler, as busy as he is supplying the town with shoes, always forgets to give his son the very product he is selling; shoes. The son, who one day will carry on the tradition and legacy of his father goes shoeless while his father, the shoe-maker, goes about selling his fine products to everyone in town.
The cobbler forgot about the rising influence of his son. His son is the greatest advertising campaign that can be created. Nowhere else will you be able to have a more authentic story than your flesh and blood.
Today is no different than 1350 AD. Sure we have cell phones and computers. Sure Chipotle is revolutionizing lunch. And the iPhone… Well, the iPhone has changed the world. But a core concept remains the same. Before we can be anything to anyone else, we must be something to ourselves first. Socrates said “Know Thyself”, and that is exactly what I mean by saying “the rising influence of you.”
So how, as marketers, can we truly realize our potential in regards to influence? Just like building a brand, stick to a formula:
- Set a concrete foundation. Skyscrapers are not built in the sand, and neither should you. Find your line in the sand and keep with it. Having an unwavering opinion on life, work, and personal endeavors will allow you to grow in ways you never knew possible.
- Once that foundation has been set, don’t be afraid to light fire to it. We need to be nimble enough to “go with the flow”. Being influential, even to the smallest sample size means that we are looked up upon. Being ignorant and not allowing for the natural ebb and flow of life can often lead to losing influence.
- Don’t be the smartest person in the room. If you are, you are most likely in the wrong room. Allow yourself to always up-the-ante. You are influenced by other influencers, and so on and so forth. It is the cycle of influence that allowed Tesla to be influenced by Edison, and Edison to be influenced by Tesla.
- Know that when it all comes crashing down, and it very well could, that facing adversity alone could be “influence-shattering.” Allow for humility to take over and help get your feet back on the floor. We all fail at some point. Make it habit not to avoid failing, but to use these moments to “know thyself”.
- Be authentic! Influencers in it for the fame and fortune will end up falling by the wayside and being forgotten. The idea is to always be honest and truthful and allow your natural character to be the hero. Nothing lasts or lives forever, but if we can live forever in the moment, then we have succeeded.
The rising influence of you is a concept that we can all bring to life. Through effective and inexpensive techniques such as social media, blogging, and having a brand built on a solid foundation, we can all realize our full potential as influencers. The same can be said for the brands we work with. The parallels to me is what makes the game of marketing/advertising/branding so amazing.