Every now and then I’ll read something which seems so incredibly profound that it leaves me thinking for days. I found such a passage in a book which was otherwise unremarkable and it’s probably one that I will reference for years to come. I thought I would share it with you …
“Ask yourself, what do I do that I am most proud of? What have I accomplished that I can unabashedly brag about? If you’re going to be a brand, you’ve got to become relentlessly focused on what you do that adds value, that you’re proud of, and most important, that you can shamelessly take credit for. When you’ve done that, sit down and ask yourself one more question about your brand: What do I want to be famous for? That’s right – famous for! I know this might sound like selfishness. But being CEO of Me Inc. requires you to act selfishly – to grow yourself, to promote yourself, and to get the market to reward yourself.” – Tom Peters, 1999
During my career, some of my harshest critics have always taken potshots at me as being a shameless self-promoter. However, the fact is — even when you’re working with a wrestling promoter that has your best interests at heart, nobody is as concerned about you, your bank account, and your legacy as you, yourself. If you aren’t fully committed to your own product, how can you encourage others to buy in. It is increasingly competitive out there for bookings with more and more guys being introduced to the business all the time – competing for the same limited number of spots.
YOU are the product! The buzz that is generated around your product may be entirely initiated by yourself. However, if you want to set yourself apart from the pack, you need to think about what Tom Peters told readers of Fast Company magazine more than a decade ago. How many promoters are aware of you? How many wrestling websites are interested to run a bio or an interview with you? What avenues are available to you to get your name out there? But remember, once you have their attention — WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROMOTE? Look at Tom Peters’ questions again.
In my case, I recognize the fact that I WILL NOT be headlining WrestleMania during my lifetime. In fact, with the U.S. ban that has stolen the prime years of my career, I have had a lot of time to consider what will indeed be the legacy that I leave behind when it’s time to hang up the boots (which is quickly closing in). It could well be that my greatest contribution to this business is not as a performer. Certainly, I have had some impact as a teacher – but as I look ahead, I think I’ll be best known for the work that I am doing (and will continue to do) to document and promote the rich culture of our business and celebrating the careers of those who paved the road for us.
Don’t misunderstand, I am increadibly proud of my two decades in the ring and the lasting memories that I have accumulated along the way. But, my work with pen in hand may be the lasting legacy that I leave behind — both as a writer, researcher, and most recently as a co-host of a weekly wrestling podcast (Inside the CNWA – available for free download on iTunes).
Every day, I consider what I will do in and for the business, and believe that it ADDS VALUE to my own brand, but also to those who have included me in their fold — lending credibility for other wrestlers and promoters as well. To give recognition and increase the market appreciation for our business as a whole in this region. As you think about your business moving forward, ask yourself some of these questions. Consider how the answers to those questions are going to make you money NOW and into the future. Build your brand!
What do YOU want to be famous for?
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