“Don’t let anyone or anything compromise the foundation of who you are.”
This has been resonating in my head nonstop since I heard it from a good friend of mine. We were chatting about a situation and this was her advice when it came to me choosing what action to take. It is rock solid guidance and made so much sense when I applied it to the current state of affairs.
The unexpected surprise was how much this simple statement applies to literally everything — both personally and professionally.
As a communications advisor, I talk nonstop about the importance of a strong foundation. We guide clients through a process of being smart and strategic with their communications outreach, and sticking with what they can sustain. We focus on brand guidelines and messaging that are the core of what the company stands for. Who are you? What are you? Why are you here?
However, one thing that is not often discussed is the amount of pressure you get and feel as a business to just “take the work.” It could be taking on a project that doesn’t align with your core values and your brand, simply because you want to get your name out there. Or you may find yourself working with a client that isn’t the right fit, just because they are willing to pay top dollar.
But is it worth it?
As soon as you start to compromise your values and your brand, your foundation weakens.
Externally, it could be something as simple as a confusing social media platform where the visuals don’t connect and people don’t understand what you do. Internally, there’s a break in confidence.
In a former life, I worked somewhere where the philosophy was “say yes, and we’ll figure it out later.” There was no thought given to whether it made sense for the team, the brand, the company. They just didn’t want to say no. As the internal team told to execute, it got extremely difficult to trust the leadership and to understand the why behind anything we were doing. It eroded confidence in the corporate culture.
It’s always tempting to be the “yes” man and to be all things to all people. But it’s not realistic, nor is it sustainable. This is why you take the time to create a brand and build the initial foundation. It may take longer than you want to form, but it will pay off in the long run.
With that strong foundation in place, you can build and expand on top of it, without worrying everything will crumble beneath you. Whether you want to open up a new wing of your company or build (literally!) a skyscraper, if the foundation is strong, then you are all set.
Trust in the foundation that you have established with your company and your brand. Stay true to that culture you have created and elevate it as you engage your team and chase your dreams.
Above all. Don’t compromise.