I watched an interview on PBS of the fashion designer and humanitarian Kenneth Cole. It was quite fascinating. But he said one thing that really stuck with me. He was asked about branding and how he feels about promoting the Kenneth Cole brand since things are changing so rapidly and drastically globally. His response was something like this…
He said that branding has taken a huge turn. Now, because of the internet, each person is his or her own brand. Each person can decide what their brand looks like and promote it at will for free all over the world. Each person can determine who sees their brand and who doesn’t. They can choose their market and audience. So Cole… and I thought this was the cool part… feels that now as a famous brand himself that the best he can do is humbly ask to be invited to contribute to a person’s individual brand. He can no longer expect people to promote his brand, but that he might participate in the promotion of each individual’s personal brand.
I think Cole has a lot of wisdom. He recognizes that the world is changing and becoming more and more global and at the same time more and more individualistic. He never complained about this. He just acknowledged it. He even, in a way, respects it, and has decided to work with it. Of course, he runs a business and wants to succeed in this new rising culture. But part of his success is his respect for the individual’s personal authority as well as the influence of the global village.
I immediately applied this to our spiritual selves. Something that TLS promotes is spiritual independence. That is, personal authority. I remember when I first started promoting TLS as a safe space to explore, discover and exercise your spiritual independence, I got a lot of kickback from Christians who felt this was inherently wrong and unbiblical. In their minds, we need to be dependent upon God and be able to depend on each other. The fact is, like a good marriage, it takes two healthy, independent people to come together interdependently rather than codependently in order to make the relationship work. The same here. I need to be independent. I need to possess my own personal authority in order to be mature, healthy and wise.
You are your own brand. Your spirituality is yours. Your religion or philosophy is yours. Your way of being spiritual and living spiritually is yours. And all those ideas and truths and realities and theories etcetera are there for you to consider adding to your brand or not. This is not to say that therefore everything is true or everything is not. But it is your right, privilege and responsibility to explore, discover and exercise what is true. True for you. You might even get lucky and discover things that are true for all. Universally true. All the other brands out there are at your disposal to incorporate into your own personal expression of who you are, a manifestation of your inner self, your own personal brand!
This takes courage to claim and live. But once you do take that step, the courage seems to immediately show up. And once you’ve been doing it for a while it will be natural and you will wonder why you made yourself live under the expectations and opinions of others.
You’ll wonder why you were used to promote someone else’s brand to the detriment of yours.
You! You are your brand. Wear it. Be it. Now, let us see it.