From the desk of Dr. Melodye Hilton
Branding is an important concept in the business world. A brand communicates what others can expect to receive from a company, product, or service; it differentiates one organization from another based upon its unique purpose and values. An organization’s brand is good, but only as good as the people and their ability to deliver what is advertised.
I love the factual accounts of courageous American pioneers as they settled and developed western territories. I learn from the brave instruments of social justice throughout history as well as the behind the scenes stories of present-day leaders who actually care for society’s good. No matter what time in history, pioneers face fear’s tyranny; they also embody a determined belief that they can accomplish more while serving humanity in a greater or more significant way.
A monument was never erected to the average, mediocre, or lazy. If you think about it, skilled marketers would never promote a product giving you the opportunity to become second-rate or run-of-the-mill. Our culture flocks to superheroes to connect vicariously to the fantasy larger-than-life protectors and saviors of the planet. At the same time, sports figures, actors, and pop stars become role models because of skills, beauty or popularity. What is also happening is that our mindsets are being unconsciously manipulated as to what it really looks like to be successful.
I am a forward thinker always looking ahead to where we can go, what we can do, and who we can reach. I love vision-inspired strategy and building relationships to accomplish great things together. Though thankful for what I have, I live with a healthy dissatisfaction propelling me to productivity and advancement in every area of my life and influence. I’ve got a fight inside of me to confront the things I hate and to establish the things I love.
There were times in my life’s journey that independence was my mantra. The words from Simon and Garfunkel’s, “I AM A Rock” were an emotional reinforcement and justification of my self-contained philosophies. They penned phrases like, “I’ve built walls, a fortress steep and mighty,” “I have no need for friendship because friendship causes pain,” “I touch no one and no one touches me. I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain and an island never cries.” I embraced them as my own.
Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge. This is so because when we assume we view situations, make decisions, and lead others from a basis of what may not be entirely true. My assumptions become my bias and are the foundation of my decisions, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings.
Disappointment and unfulfilled expectations are experienced by every person—young and old alike. Though common to all, every disappointment is a seed planted in our minds; each one—either subtly or obviously—bringing emotional pain and laying a foundation for fearful mindsets to take root and grow.
There may be great vision, a noble cause, and great potential but a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Shamefully attacking self or others will not bring resolution. However, honest consideration is needed to stand face-to-face to the elephant in the room.
Authentic leadership is determined by living a life congruent with who we genuinely are; it is the true values we hold and the real purposes for which we sacrifice. Being an authentic leader is upholding truth expressed through a life well-lived both in public and in private. It is not what you appear to be, but who you really are!
I’m not naïve to the fact that we live in a fear-driven world; you don’t have to look far to see that it is sorely infected by an epidemic of mistrust. With that being said, I cannot allow my highest and best to succumb under the weight of pessimism and cynicism…
Success is not defined by the amount of money we make, where we live or the power to skillfully manipulate the circumstances of life. Success cannot be quantified for it touches the depth of who we are through our highest and best contributions.
Every leader has survived seasons of life when they have invested large amounts of energy with small rates of return. It is in those seasons that many grow discouraged and believe “this is just the way it is” or they give up completely.