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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

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  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Substance over Flash

What makes people memorable? What make me memorable?

Those two questions were posed to me this week by Kaye Putnam as I engage with her Brand Advantage online marketing & branding course.

I'll be honest, at first I was a little stumped at how I should answer for myself.

I'm a 6'3", white, male (in a state that is 95% Caucasian), with an average hair cut, and an average-to-athletic build (somewhere between couch potato and body builder). My attire is similarly far from outrageously; my favorite outfit is a pair of jeans with either a simple button down or polo shirt.

As I racked my brain about my most memorable qualities, my thoughts turned to a bit of "comparison envy". I don't have a signature conversation piece like Kaye Putnam's hats, or my former colleague Bert McBrayer's bow ties. I don't have pink hair like my fellow Strengths coach, Jo Self. And, I'm pretty sure I would look really inauthentic if I tried to pull of David Furlong's rocker look. I respect each and every one of these people, but I know I'm not going to be memorable in the same way.

Hoping to elicit some perspectives I could use, I asked those who already knew me well. Their responses were a little underwhelming at first glance; little of their feedback initially stuck out to me as something I could "build a memorable brand" on. Their responses included words like: inquisitive, meticulous, thorough, genuine, well-mannered, respectful, loyal, sharp, serious, persistent, solid, put-together, and capable.

But then a family member said something that I brought it all together...

"You should own those edges, Chad, because they do show up on the "outside." You have an understated confidence that comes across in your simplicity. The way you dress demonstrates that you're put together and serious, but in a way that is down-to-earth and approachable. The way you carry yourself in posture and demeanor shows the respect you hold for yourself and your genuine thoughtfulness for and about others. The serious, thorough and thoughtful approach you take to learning and sharing with others reveals a sense of care."

So what does this all mean to you, my valued reader?

It means that when you see me in jeans it doesn't mean I don't care enough to dress up; rather it means that I want you to feel comfortable enough to approach me.

It means that I may not come with the flashiest presentation to my next workshop, but that's because I've devoted my time to determining what the most meaningful and thought-filled pieces of information are and how I can most readily & understandably share that with you.

It means that when I'm silent coming into a space it's not because I don't have anything to say; it's because I'm more interested in learning and thinking about what you have to say.

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