There’s a popular commercial running these days about why The Ohio State University has kept their helmets the same for decades. The commercial explains the logic (in short) behind how and why their student-athletes earn buckeye leaf stickers to be placed on their helmets.
If you were to look up symbolism in the dictionary or online you will learn that symbolism is defined as:
“the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities.”
Qualities. Ideas. Symbols.
Symbols can be very powerful. If you have any doubt about their importance, look no further than how popular emojis, avatars and bitmojis are. Symbols are incredibly persuasive because they take complex ideas and simplify them. In the world we live in, I believe we all are looking for more simplicity.
How can we apply this to our businesses? It’s easy. Stop trying to put your mission, vision, and values into words and think about its essence. If you cannot define what you aim to do and why you exist by creating a symbol, there is a very real possibility that your teammates and consumers of your products/services have no idea why you exist.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, can you recite your organization’s Mission Statement? Can you recall your vision without looking it up? When you make your organization’s purpose easy to understand, you create a common language. You create opportunities for your brand ambassadors to understand your purpose, but you also allow them to express your purpose in their own unique way.
People do not buy products. People buy relationships. People buy “stuff” that they can relate to. Even if everyone within your organization did memorize your Mission Statement, would it resonate with your target market? My guess is that it would for some, but it wouldn’t for most.
Simplify your messaging. Empower your teammates and watch the results. You will be amazed. There IS some value in “doing things the way we have always done them” if what you are doing is truly meaningful and memorable.
Just my thoughts. What are yours?
Mental illness is very serious. Unlike most health issues, where you can provide treatment and see immediate results, most mental health issues exist without many people knowing their friend, family member or loved one is dealing with more than they could ever possibly imagine.
Four days. Four days before Chester succumbed to the overwhelming feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, anxiety and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, I I would bet my life savings that no one in this car had any idea the tragic event that would unfold four days later was even a remote possibility.
Stigma keeps so many people from seeking help. Stigma exists because, for decades, men like Chester have been told to “suck it up” or “be a man”. Excuse my language, but that is complete bullshit. Depression can be crippling. It also can be treated, but it can’t be treated until people feel safe seeking the help they need.
Last thing. While Chester was smiling, laughing and singing his heart away, he also said some pretty amazing things.
“This is the best day of my life.”
“I just want my children to find something that they love and are passionate about.”
Not my words: “Often, the people who appear to be the happiest are dealing with things other people cannot fathom.”
Four days before the world lost Chester Bennington, no one would have ever expected that what he was carrying around was so heavy that he would take his own life. Rather, mental illness would cause him to take his own life.
Something needs to change. I am blessed that my family understood how serious mental health is and helped me get the treatment I needed and still need to manage my depression and anxiety, but not everyone is so fortunate. If you know anyone who is struggling, please let them know you care and you are available to listen. It could be the difference between waking up and connecting with a loved one or waking up and the world losing another amazing person.
I’m guilty. I put famous people up on a pedestal. I think we probably all do more than we should. The world is a gigantic business and most of what we see and hear is very well rehearsed. Most of it is scripted. Every once in a while we see who these “heroes” of ours are. It’s the times when you see or hear or read something that resonates deep within you. It’s a moment that you realize that the people you have put up on a pedestal are human just like you.
Nowadays, many of us are divided. It is my hope that we can return to a civil society focused on liberty and the best interest of all someday soon.
About this video… For me, this was one of those moments that I realized an artist I admired was human. He has the same emotions as me. He has the same tipping points as me and he is comfortable with being vulnerable.
This song, Why Not Me, pretty much sums it up. Our world lost a lot of innocent people this week. People who were out to have a good time and enjoy the music that gave them the special moments we all seek.
This video moved me and I hope it moves you to see how much more we all are alike than we are different. If you are a man and reading this, I hope you know that it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to feel and it is okay to share your feelings.
I’m thankful for moments like these that I will never forget, but I wish this moment would never have had to happen. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people we lost, all of the people who were wounded and every single individual affected by this horrific tragedy. All of my respect goes to the brave men and women of the LVPD who risked their lives to limit this unimaginable event.