Last week I found myself reflecting a lot about the paths we take in life – both personally and professionally – and what outside influences affect and change them. I interviewed with the Des Moines Business Record for a story on branding/rebranding last week which had me thinking a lot about why businesses do, or don’t, make decisions that can affect their futures (ours, obviously, being the decision to rebrand) .
Additionally, and totally unrelated, our creative director, Adam Jensen, signed himself up for a 10-week intense group fitness challenge that one year ago, he wouldn’t have dreamed of taking on. In a sense, he’s been pursuing some personal rebranding, focusing on his health and fitness for the last year. After watching how hard he’s worked to lose 75 pounds and get into better shape, it was inspiring to see him take on something he’d once thought impossible. Both Love Scott’s rebranding efforts, and Adam’s new undertaking, had me thinking about the one thing they have in common. Making the decision to act on fear or faith.
Decisions aren’t always simple. For some companies, decision-making processes, like whether and how to brand/ rebrand, are daunting. Spending the time and inviting internal and possibly external criticism are not always pleasant thoughts. Likewise, personal decisions such as Adam’s, which require self reflection, motivation and determination, are filled with unknowns around every corner. Think about every decision you’ve ever made in your life. Each and every one was driven by the stronger influence of those two things: fear or faith.
Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Everything (non-life-threatening) I’ve ever not tried, I can attribute to overwhelming fear. Now, fear can also be a blessing, and it’s actually required for faith to even exist. But for many (and too many companies I care to mention), focusing on fear can be tragically prohibitive when it comes to making effective marketing decisions. What if a campaign doesn’t work? What if it’s too radical for their public? There’s no proof an effort WILL work, so why take the chance?
And then there’s my favorite word – faith. Faith in what’s possible. Faith in doing things right. Faith in discovery through effort. Every time I’ve succeeded at anything, I’ve counted on faith. Faith in myself, faith in God, faith in others. And there have definitely been times when I’ve leaned on faith only to fail. But those are also the times I learned the most about what was needed to later succeed. What if I’d listened to the fear and never tried? I wouldn’t have learned how to do it right, better, the next time.
Faith doesn’t mean entering blindly into a situation, counting on a miracle for something great to happen. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary offers this as a definition:
Main Entry: 1faith
Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide
Date: 13th century
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>
Sincerity of intentions. Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Complete trust. With a strong belief in any of these, good things will eventually happen. If your intentions are to market your company right, have faith in yourself and your convictions that it will happen. If you hire a company to do it for you, have faith in yourself to choose the right company, then have faith in them to do what needs to be done…right!
With our rebranding effort, it took faith in the time we’d spend and the system itself that got us through the process. We could have feared what we’d discover from surveying our past and current clients, or that extra time we had to invest might be wasted, but we didn’t. We kept the faith that it would all lead to something great. And it did.
Likewise, Adam let fear rule his decision a year ago and didn’t step up to the challenge he now has faith he can complete. He took some convincing, and had to dabble a little here and there to find his faith-footing, but he found it and is now charging forward.
What drives you and makes your decisions – both personally and professionally? Fear or faith? Which do you want to drive your decisions?