Little did I know when Teri Finneman sent me a last-minute request to speak to her journalism class at SDSU via Skype last week what it would end up requiring from me.
She doesn’t know what it took.
Her classroom of students doesn’t know.
But I want you to know.
Because she asked me to speak Tuesday about how to become a strong brand in journalism.
It’s a good reflection for anyone in business. What is your brand? I’m not talking about how you try to market yourself. I’m talking about who you truly are and what you represent. That’s what generally becomes your brand, anyway.
I rarely prepare notes when I speak to groups. I had thought a bit about this topic, but I didn’t know exactly what I would say.
My mind, though, went to Anna Quindlen, the award-winning columnist and novelist who somewhat randomly helped inspire me to go into journalism.
She gave a wonderful commencement speech in 1999 in which she talked about the importance of embracing your true self and not getting drawn into the wide range of expectations the world can place on us.
Because someday, she said, “something bad will have happened. You will have lost someone you loved or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.”
“And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be,” she said.
When we think about our brand, we need to start at our core.