I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon in late December after participating in a yoga class held at a nearby church. From the street outside, toward the end of the session, a voice with a heavy Bronx accent inquired, “Who da hell are ya?” I knew that this question was directed to me!
At the time I was in a pose called “twist yourself uncomfortably far, try not to tip over, don’t grimace, keep breathing, while pulling kneecaps up hard”, though it certainly sounds more pleasing when described in Hindi.
Since the year is new, considering, “who the hell are ya?” both personally and for your business, can be an illuminating exercise. The question is a sidewalk restatement of Socrates’ observation, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.
Fourth Way philosopher George Gurdjieff observed that each person is made up of many “I’s” depending on the context of our lives, sometimes contradictory and in flux. For the evolution of consciousness he taught, unity is a goal.
Similarly, average companies are a great jumble of inconsistent “I’s. A great brand, however, works toward unity. It makes sure that its customers, employees and suppliers have a unified idea of what the brand stands for, why it’s in business, how it designs, treats people, communicates, and makes the world a better place. And, this idea manifests for customers every day, across the entire organization. We may not all get to great, but no matter where you are as a company (or a person), it all starts with taking a step back and asking the question.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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