Are You Building YOUR Brand or Following a Formula?

Wendy Williams
Wendy Williams

Have you heard of Wendy Williams? If not, you can find her at The Wendy Williams Show.

I used to catch the end of her talk show while driving home from work. I would usually end up turning to something else as her platform was celebrity gossip and I couldn’t stand the cackling and didn’t know who she was talking about most times. Something about her, though, was appealing. She was funny, sassy, giggly, girly and genuinely reminded me of myself in some ways. Still, I turned her off.

Awhile back she had a 6-week trial run for her TV show and I recorded every episode. I wanted to see how she’d flip her talk show persona to television. I was hooked and for more than one reason. For one, she is over 40 and to break into daytime television with her persona and make it work would be a rough haul. Also, I’d never seen a personality like hers do it and last. Sure enough, she was picked up, and now she’s all the rave. She’s still loud, laughs at her own jokes and even shows her bunions (??) but it works for her and the following she’d already developed. She was also recently inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. She was just too cute when she found out she was selected. Wendy’s Radio Hall of Fame Surprise. She’s so appreciative of it all, because she realizes, just as I do, that this was a long shot. She won’t be Oprah, but she doesn’t want to be and I love that about her.

I hope none of us are aiming at a cookie-cutter model of success that isn’t authentic to who we are. I push the envelope in what I say and how I say it, but I don’t care to do otherwise. Yes, I weigh what I say and even how I say it, but I will never try to water down who I am to get what I want. We shouldn’t have to. It’s a balancing act.

I had a phone call once with a LinkedIn member and joked, “Don’t you dare reveal this to the other members! They don’t know I’m crazy!” She responded something to the effect, “I think they already know you’re special, Patricia!” I couldn’t stop laughing, and then I paused, weighed what she said for a second, and went back to cracking up. Good! So what? Ya got me; I’m not the cookie-cutter version of what success might look like, but I’m also more than some might expect. I’m not trying to shape myself to fit the world, I’m finding where in the world what I have to offer fits! It may take longer my way, but it’s a more pleasant trip. I’d die to find I redesigned who I am to find it didn’t work. I couldn’t live with that.

Look at Sade, the singer. She is notoriously shy. Rarely does an interview. Still, 10 years almost to the date, she released a new CD and it was number one. I imagine her publicity agents scolding her for not being out everywhere, like all the other artists we become numb to. Those who love what she does don’t need her to do what everyone else does. She does it her way and it works.

Are you clear about what you want and how you want it, but struggling with changing who you intrinsically are or how you are going to get it? I don’t have the master key, but I’ll bet the best way is to do it the way only you can. Yes, a good tip is valuable, and there’s something to be said for following in the footsteps of the great. Still, maybe more needs to be said about those who dare not to consider all that and go out on paths in brand new ways. Who needs another cookie anyway?

Know what I mean?

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