Start With You

Start With YouWe live in amazing times. Today, with high-speed internet and mobile connectivity, we have access to ideas and people that far exceeds what we ever could have imagined, not so very long ago! We spend more time on line than ever – surfing, shopping, and socializing. We read reviews, get news, and even manage our finances!

Of course, we also make use of online resources to better manage our careers and business lives, as well. And if you’re like most people at mid-career, you already know there is no shortage of advice available. Maybe at times it’s too much. Don’t you think?

Regularly read career and business blogs or points of view in LinkedIn Groups, and you soon see that even the simplest of business practices have become complicated. A good example is introducing yourself. Today, preparing to present yourself to others seems to take almost Herculean effort, as you sort out the best structure for your elevator pitch. And for some people, maybe even you, the result is to get lost behind a flurry of words that leave other people baffled.

Part of the reason that people are trying harder to show their value is they realize it’s now more critical than ever before to stand out against the competition. Ironically, in their efforts to be unique,  people often seek out a template or formula to follow. You know. Things like the parts of an effective elevator pitch. Or making sure to use the right key words in LinkedIn profiles. That kind of thing.

Seems to me that most people are desperate to be more successful, and ready to follow whatever advice is served up on online business networking sites or over other social media. And immersed in so much distraction, I think they’re overlooking the one platform that can truly can support future success. Maybe you’re one of these folks. If so, my suggestion is to find a better road to success, start with you.

In my work, “being you” is a recurring theme. The whole idea of helping people discover their personal brands is to bring them to the point where they have permission to be who they really are.  Still, over the past 18 months, there has been a new idea that has continued to resonate for me. Maybe it will for you too. It’s this: “Be Yourself, Only Better.”

It’s an idea that comes from Japanese sporting goods company Mizuno. It is part of their core philosophy. And one of the most striking statements in it is this:

“Inside each of us is a better us trying to get out. Trying to make the most of what we’ve got. Trying to be more than we think we can be.”

When I first learned of this philosophy, I loved it. For me, it means, start with you. Stop hoping for success delivered by the implied magic in someone else’s formula. Start by getting to know the “better you” that’s trying to get out. I think you’ll surprise yourself.

# # #

What do you think? I’d love to know Just leave a comment.


  1. says

    Hi Kimberly!! Thanks for your terrific comment!! I really appreciate your kind words! I do think Mizuno has a great philosophy!! In particular, I think in a world of “personal-brand-by-template” discovering our better self is the best way to feel fulfillment as we serve others!

  2. says

    Thanks, Walter, for a great post. I also resonated with the “Be Yourself, Only Better” phrase. In coaching school, we were trained to do a visualization called “Future Self”, which helps the client see a more mature, better version of themselves. After the visualization, I tell the client that they wouldn’t have been able to see their “future self” if it didn’t already exist inside of them.

    And still it’s a hard concept to *live* each day. I am still discovering my best self, after many years of personal growth work.

    • says

      Thanks, Carol for your terrific comment!!

      I too love the “Be Yourself, Only Better” idea. My Japanese friends tell me that striving always to be better is grounded in their culture. It is expressed as 限界挑戦. When I posted an Instagram photo with those characters it really resonated. Up to that point, the closest I’d ever come to this is the improvement idea of Kaizen, which actually means simply “good change.”

      The idea of “future self” and “better self” are definitely aligned! And I’m happy to hear that you emphasize it in your coaching. From my perspective in personal branding, I think “future / better self” provides a powerful reminder that a strong “brand” and successful career is really grounded in being your best self in serving others.

      And yes, it is a hard concept to live each day. Interesting too, that Mizuno acknowledges that in their philosophy: “Every day you make promises to yourself. Be tough, only tougher. Be strong, only stronger. Be yourself, only better. And, above all, never waver. Never quit.”

      Glad you had a chance to see my new blogging project!!

  3. says

    The level of intensity has increased in today’s world, and people sense that pressure when they are trying so hard to introduce themselves or to deliver that perfect “being you” elevator speech.

  4. says

    Thanks for your comment, Doug!!

    Yes, I agree that the intensity has really increased!! I know people want to be heard, so feel so much rests on having the perfect elevator pitch. As I see it, the perfect pitch really is one that reflects what YOU can do that no one else does quite like you.

    Put another way, I think you need to dig deeper for true differentiation … the kind of differentiation that makes YOU the obvious and preferred choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *