Get caught being good

Will your personal brand's story be about the highest title you were given or the good you represented?

My son came home from basketball practice excited to share every detail. As he was giving me the play-by-play, I noticed something on his wrist.

"This is the wristband all the players got," he explained. "Look what it says. ‘Get caught being good.’ Don’t you love that, mom?"

Get caught being good. I kept repeating it in my head. I do love that. It’s not earth shattering and nothing I hadn’t heard before. Even the wristband concept, once wildly popular, has since waned.

Still, I thought, this was a good take on it for kids playing sports — and anyone for that matter. The more I thought about the phrase, the more it resonated on a deeper level.

This year, I’ve lost people dear to my heart. If you’ve ever suddenly lost someone you love and admire, you know it can be gut wrenching. And while I know death is a part of life, one loss in particular has been much harder for me to process.

I’ve been quietly making sense of it for a couple months and remembering the things that made her amazing. I could call out her entrepreneurial drive, her credentials and her many accomplishments.

But truthfully, it was her infectious smile, her radiant spirit that lit up every place she entered, and her relentless approach to exemplifying goodness that will always knock my socks off and hold a special place in the hearts of many.

This girl said, did and believed good things — even when nobody was watching. She said she wanted to be an entrepreneur. And just a few years out of college, quit her job and started an etiquette business becoming a credible face for an industry that, beforehand, very few people noticed.

She said she wanted to help others. She started with the challenge of speaking to one person and then moved to small groups before coaching and educating crowds. She said she wanted to write a book and she did that too.

Tina packed a lot of goodness into her 32 short years because goodness was more than just what she did, it was who she was and what she believed in.

Get caught being good. The phrase played in my mind as I learned about the life of American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur and community activist Nipsey Hussle. I was familiar with him as an artist and businessman, but again, what stands out was the goodness he demonstrated both personally and professionally.

He also seemed to pack in the goodness into his thirty-three short years. I never met him, but I imagine he viewed goodness not as a sprint, but as a marathon.

In this business of spin called PR, we often see brands as vehicles for representing good. Is the work mission or purpose driven? Does the company have a social responsibility platform that connects to bigger meaning?

Are they impacting their communities and being led consciously to care about more than revenue and the bottom line?

All great questions, but consider this. Maybe PR is less about brands doing good and more about people expressing goodness through brands.

Are the people — am I — mission/purpose driven? What if, while encouraging employees to be creative, provide new strategies and pursue awards, you also inspired them to be good to coworkers, clients, vendors and others.

What if every brainstorming session started with the question: what good can we create from this?

When it’s all said and done, what do you want the story of your company’s or client's brands to be? Even better, what do you want the story of your personal brand to be?

Will it be the highest title you were given or the number of industry awards you won? Or will it be the good you pushed for and represented, even when it wasn’t the popular thing to do?

My advice: Get caught being good. Pack it in.

Rashada Whitehead is a reputation, culture and business transformation leader who helps brands consciously navigate big changes.

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