Brands are Contagious: Is Yours Worth Catching?
A brand so powerful it crossed oceans and reached millions…. If you were to guess which brand, you’d probably say Coke. Apple. BMW. Maybe Gucci. That’s usually how it goes – we always think of the big names first. But sometimes, an individual creates a brand so impressive that the world has no choice but to sit up and take notice. There’s a great documentary highlighting the power of one individual’s personal brand.
Interestingly, the story unfolds through unlikely enterprise: a 10-seat restaurant in the basement of an office building adjacent to Tokyo’s subway system. But Jiro Dreams of Sushi is far more than another chapter in a Japanese ‘how-to’ book on kaizen… it’s a meaningful example of what happens when you choose values such as honor, excellence, and personal satisfaction in your job… every single day.
THE STORY BEHIND THE PERSONAL BRAND
Jiro Ono was 85 at the time the documentary was filmed in 2011. Having entered the working world at age 9 as an apprentice in a sushi shop, he has never strayed from a career path that ultimately led to a 3-star Michelin rating, and a Guinness World Record as the oldest 3-star Michelin chef.
Accolades aside, how does an establishment that serves a limited menu to such a small number of customers continue to be so highly revered? The answer lies within the man.
While Jiro advocates the value of replication, he also stresses an inner drive to be better than the time before. He said, “I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is!”
THE NOT-SO-SECRET INGREDIENT
Much of the film speaks to Jiro’s vigilance and dedication to quality, but what sets him apart is his passion for what he does. This man literally dreams about his job! That may seem extreme, but maybe we should reconsider Jiro’s perspective; after all, more than 99,000 hours are spent at work over the course of an average lifetime. Shouldn’t we make the most of it, and shouldn’t passion be the foundation for our own personal brand?
Absolutely! Here are a few tips that Jiro (and I) can offer to do just that:
"Immerse Yourself in Your Craft"
On certain days, or even at certain points in our career path, it’s easier to feel connected to and energized by our work. Those are the times our personal brand almost creates itself. But even when we find ourselves in difficult situations – wrong company, wrong job, wrong project or wrong boss – it’s important to behave and perform in a way that builds the brand we desire. Our attitudes, habits and behaviors – our brand – got us to where we are today, and will guide us into the future.
"I am Never Satisfied with My Work"
This is a tall order, but we should continue to strive for that something more. Being open to continuous improvement allows you to have a greater impact at work – regardless of co-workers, environments and bosses. We need to retain the joy for what we do, because that provides the framework for the brand we take with us, no matter where we go. Sure, we all have those days that make us want to throw our hands in the air, but don’t give up on that pursuit of excellence; continue to make that investment into your personal brand, and reap the benefits well into the future.
"I Don't Like Days Away From What I Love"
Except for Mondays, right? Kidding aside, Jiro’s sentiment is simple, yet potent. We should all be fortunate enough to earn a living doing something we love, but even in the best situations there are difficulties. Instead of focusing on the complaints and shortcomings, I encourage you to remember what drew you to your career in the first place. Even the best career opportunities have rough patches, but working through and overcoming those produces growth and newfound strength – personally, and professionally.
Even if we do everything right, most of us won’t be the subject of a documentary… but that should not stop us from being the star in our own story! Regardless of circumstances, always strive to build a powerful brand, and inspire others to do the same. Because when it comes to your personal brand, I believe you should always dream big.
For a small taste of Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you can watch the documentary trailer here: http://bit.ly/Jiropersonalbrand
Personal Brand Thought Exercise
Identify four or five characteristics you believe others would use to describe you. This is your brand. If you are happy with it, awesome… well done!
You are likely aware of, and intentional about, building the personal brand you desire for yourself. If you’re not entirely pleased with your brand, then identify the characteristics that you would like others to associate with you, and start to behave and perform in a way that would earn that particular reputation.
You can also do this exercise with your team once or twice each year; this will ensure everyone has clarity regarding their own brands, and encourage all members to be intentional about building the brand they desire.
If hearing the particulars of this story would help you or your partners, send me a note or give me a call: firstname.lastname@example.org and (414) 315-0523. You can also get on my calendar directly for a free discovery call here: https://pmydlach.youcanbook.me/.
My career path started out at IBM before I moved on to found, build and eventually sell two technology service companies. From there, I’ve progressed to become a global channel development partner and personal/corporate achievement coach who helps leaders and teams break through to the next level.
If you or your team need help breaking through to the next level of performance, or if you have a friend who’d appreciate having access to me as their personal and/or corporate achievement coach, please reach out for a free discovery call or email me at email@example.com