What we’re thinking about this week: December 18

What we’re thinking about this week: December 18

I was driving down Morehead the other day when I noticed a Ford F-150 with a message scribbled in the dust on the back window. It read: “It’s almost Christmas, y’all!!!” (Yes, with that many exclamation points.)

Well, it’s true – it’s almost Christmas, y’all.

A lot of people know that I wear a necklace every day that says ’12.25.365’ to acknowledge that, yes, Christmas is a season, but it’s also a spirit, energy, force – something we can’t necessarily see every day, but something we can or should feel every day – if we’re paying attention.

So, this week, I’m thinking about a couple of things we can’t necessarily see, but perhaps we feel…



I’m working with a new brand that’s bringing a product to market in early 2018. Right now, they’re self-admittedly in this in-between phase where they need to be talking up what they’re up to, but they’re also not ready to fully go there yet, if that makes sense. (Hint: There are some people I know who have been in pre-branding for YEARS.)

That in-between phase, my friends, is normal – and it’s called pre-branding, and it’s absolutely acceptable to use that language when you’re in the pre-branding phase.

Pre-branding is like packing the car before a road trip – it’s getting everything packed up and in place, getting the right people in the right seats, and figuring out where you’re headed.

A secret of pre-branding that we don’t talk about a lot? Pacing yourself. Sometimes people are too quick to pull the trigger to get themselves or their brand out there and to make sure other people know what they’re up to. In this case, you have to think about what’s best for the brand long-term and what you can support. Can you and your team support five posts a week about the product before it’s launched? No? Then, don’t do it. Hold until you’re ready.

The world needs more brands who are ready to be brands, which are, in fact, forces of nature that we can feel before we see. People will feel your momentum.


Are you in the box?

Jon Davis stopped by my office last week; he was looking through my bookshelf when he then stopped at the book, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box. He read it years ago, and I read it in grad school; neither of us had looked at it or thought about it in awhile though, and it took me a hot second to get back into it and remember what it was all about. I brought it home from the office that day, and I started flipping through it. I landed on one page which was like – AH! THIS is why I Ioved this book.

Here’s that page – which was, of course, highlighted by yours truly years ago:

“’When we’re in the box, what motivates us most is the need for justification, and what will bring us justification is very often at odds with what is best for the organization. Does that makes sense?’” (pp. 108-109)

It continues…

“Exactly, Tom, and as long as I am focused on myself, I can’t fully focus either on results or on the people to whom I am delivering those results. In fact, if you think about it, many of the people typically described as being results-focused are anything but that. In the box, they value results primarily for the purpose of creating or sustaining their own stellar reputations – their who-focus is themselves.” (109)

What’s the box for you? (Hint: The box is something you can’t necessarily see, and it is what YOU think it is – it’s also entirely yours, so you probably knew immediately what it was for you the second you read that.)


Ryan Shazier                

The Steelers-Patriots game on Sunday night just about killed me. I’m not fully ready to discuss it, but I will say two words for you: Ryan Shazier. We didn’t see him on the field, but he was there in a booth watching and waving his Terrible Towel, and he brought it.  (That video brings me goosebumps.)

Just solid proof that magic you can’t see, but that you feel is everywhere – energy, spirit and heart don’t have to be on the field or in the spotlight.


Speaking of magic…

Here’s a gentle reminder this Christmas week from Sarah Lupton of Shift Creative Agency


In the meantime...

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