Mike excels at discovering what sets brands apart, so it shouldn’t surprise you that his business – Resound – specializes in building authentic brands and helping them to communicate their value to the world. That’s often a process that requires overcoming obstacles, but you can do it!
Now is the perfect time to take decisive action, but Mike and I can’t make you see yourself as remarkable. We hope this episode gives you an edge when it comes to prioritizing your identity by discovering what sets you apart.
So, let’s get after it! Check out Mike Jones on the full episode right now and find your frequency!
You’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing [email protected], but if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it’s even easier! All you’ve got to do is scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a review for the show. That said, be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts to be notified every Monday when new episodes drop!
Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller – and this is Ignition Point.
We’ve got another great episode for you today, but before we kick it off, I want to remind you that while this is the last episode of our month on Identity and Communication, it’s also the last episode of 2019! I’m taking a week off for the holidays, but I’ll be back on the first Monday of 2020 with another special guest to get you fired up and ready to win the week. So, follow the show wherever you get your podcasts to be notified when new episodes drop.
For over 10 years, his team of designers and strategists have helped dozens of companies and non-profits tell their unique stories through digital marketing and brand development; making an impact locally and collectively around the US.
Under his leadership, Resound has continued to grow year over year; so much so, that Mike was named one of Arizona Republic’s Top 35 Entrepreneurs under the age of 35 in 2014.
Because he excels at discovering what sets brands apart and helps them to communicate their value to the world; I think he’s the perfect person to join our ongoing conversation about communicating from an authentic identity.
I can’t wait for you to hear his perspective, so let’s get after it! Here to help you find your frequency, this is Mike Jones.
THE WEEKLY MONOLOGUE WITH MIKE JONES
You're the culmination of a one of a kind combination of biology, history, experiences, skills, aptitudes, and cultural influences. This makes you uniquely suited to serve others and make the world a better place to live.
But here's the rub: Like a carpenter who tries to shape a piece of wood against the grain, you too will find yourself splintering if you go against your own grain as a person. Finding your natural purpose will allow you to bring your remarkableness to bear in the most impactful and fulfilling way possible for those you serve. So, let's dig in and find your frequency, amplify your identity and resonate with the people that you serve.
I've spent most of my life figuring out my own identity and telling stories, not least my own. Whether it was making up board games as a kid, learning to design for companies or now building a world-class brand agency called Resound, I've always been obsessed with identity and maximizing it to serve others.
Over the last 11 years, I've had the privilege of building a company around one core concept; that every person and every organization formed by people is remarkable. The challenge is that many don't know what makes them remarkable and thus they can't tell their remarkable story effectively.
We each have a unique identity - or "frequency" that we resonate at - but finding it can be hard. It's often the unique combination of values, biology, experiences and cultural influences around us that make us who we are. Breaking down these foundations and diving deep into each will help us understand who we are, and in turn, how we can best serve others.
Values and personality are often at the core of nearly all of our behaviors but understanding them can be difficult. I recommend observing your behaviors and then asking yourself, "why do I act in these kinds of ways? What drivers are moving me to make decisions and react in different situations?"
You'll likely find patterns that emerge that will indicate your own core values. Things like teamwork, security, independence, influence, power or creativity; and a whole host of others.
There are some tips and tools to help aid and speed up your discovery process - I highly recommend personality assessments like DISC, Myers Briggs, and StrengthsFinder - and then also, ask close friends and family to evaluate you and your behavioral styles as well as what they think motivates you in decisions and in different situations.
Values and personality are major components of identity, but I don't think you can stop just there. Consider also your past experiences, especially in your most formative years growing up with your family and your ancestral history. Even your own biology and the context in which you find yourself now like where you live, the interests that you've been drawn to over the years, skills and talents you've built up, and cultural influences that you surround yourself with.
As you research and think about yourself in all of these different contexts, consider the patterns that emerge. What passions and interests build on each other? What experiences from your past and even your family's past have had a major impact on your own thinking, your choices, and even your decisions? Are there threads of continuity that you can start to pull? These threads become the foundation of your story. Your unique purpose, that you can begin to amplify your unique frequency.
So now you've done your homework. You've dug deep and researched your behaviors, your values, your history, your passions, your interests, your skills, your influences, and even your own biology; and now the stories becoming clearer: Who you are and how you're uniquely suited to serve others.
Alright, let's amplify that remarkable identity! But wait, there's something missing.
Yes, we understand the why and the how of your purpose, but the "who" is still not there. Who are you uniquely suited to serve?
Amplifying your identity must start here, by finding the right people to serve who will get the most value from your intrinsically remarkable identity.
But don't get discouraged! If you're unsure of how to start, starting is the first step. Start serving.
Each opportunity to serve someone else is an opportunity to discover whether this is the right fit and they're the right person for you to serve. But as you do so, don't be unthinking. See how your identity matches up - or doesn't - with those whom you serve. See how the role or the tasks and even the ways in which you communicate work for you or against you. This gives you the opportunity to fine tune your next role or your next communication.
So, as you're amplifying your identity, you can also do that in an organizational fashion. We've seen that specifically in Phoenix Startup Week.
As Kate and I - the co-leads for the event - took on the event in 2019, we saw a lot of opportunities. For instance, allowing more people to be involved in the organizing and the execution of the event itself. Which intrinsically gives people an opportunity to serve others and find out: Is this the right place? Are these the right kinds of people for me to be serving based on my own individual remarkable identity?
And we've definitely seen that. We've seen people who've thrived and taken on service and found a unique way in which they can serve amongst other people. And I think that's a great example of how you can approach your own individual identity and take every opportunity - even ones that maybe don't seem right - and say, "look, this is where I'm at. This is the job I have," or "this is the context in which I find myself today and I can't get out of it right this minute. Knowing there might be some conflicts, but what I can do is take it to better understand what are the skills, the talents, the personality traits, the values that I bring to the table, that I can leverage, and I can find a match for?" Or "where do I find real friction? What are the things that in the next role or the next piece of communication that I put out or in the next activity I participate in, that's not going to work well because I've already tried?"
And then I think when you take them, and you apply them to the event itself in how we market and how we communicate about the event - being very specific - what are our core values as an event?
We're all about community. We're all about diversity of people and ideas and we're all about making connections. Our event is uniquely suited to connect a wide diversity of entrepreneurs and startup founders, startup teams and investors across the Valley. That's our unique identity. How do we ensure that those principles are being executed in everything that we do?
I think a great example of that this year has been the start of internalizing this concept around diversity and inclusion. And in particular, bringing in outside experts to say, "Hey, can we help our own team to really better understand what does it look like to be diverse? What does it look like to be inclusive? And then how can we build those principles into our everyday activity in building the event and putting the event on?"
And that internal culture spills out externally. I think a lot of people think branding is a marketing concept. It's an external communication tactic or strategy; and yet branding really is all about your identity as an organization or as an individual. And it's about, how do I take my unique identity and live it out?
When you do that in an organization that requires people to do that together, and there's a wonderful byproduct of that. When you do it internally, you do it externally.
And so sometimes I think we get confused and think that we start with the externals. We start with the messaging. We start with the words that we use. We start with the look and feel of things.
When in reality, if we don't start with those really core fundamentals of culture - which are your values - if we don't have those and we don't agree to them and we don't practice them, then we're not actually building the same thing. We're all building individually.
But when we build together, now we actually produce content. We produce images. We produce communication and marketing and advertising and experiences that are actually consistent and super compelling.
As you serve others with strategic use of your own authentic identity, be clear about your purpose. Be clear about your values and personality. Be ever more focused and consistent in your language, choices of words, and even the messages that you put out into the world. This will naturally refine your opportunities to serve others, who's a good fit and who isn't, who will actually be served well by my unique identity.
And here comes an important point: Focus requires you to start saying, "no." You cannot serve everyone. If you do, you'll soon find yourself serving no one, not even yourself.
Recognize opportunities that fit your identity. These are the ones that have exponential potential to impact others. Opportunities that don't fit will not only lessen your impact but may even have detrimental impact on others.
Like two opposing sound waves will cancel each other out, a bad fit in the role that you put yourself in and your own identity will only fall flat. But when you superimpose two sound waves of the same frequency, they'll amplify each other many times over.
Find roles that will amplify your own frequency as well as consider the ways in which you communicate. Opportunities to serve others are not limited to specific tasks and work, but also to the ways in which you communicate. If you do, you'll soon find your frequency resonates with others. And when we do - in the service of the right people - they'll actually resonate back to us.
This is the power of finding your frequency and amplifying your identity to the right people. You can have tremendous impact on those we come in contact with, and hopefully even beyond them as they resonate with your frequency.
Alright, so there's your three principles of what makes you remarkable. Find your frequency, amplify your identity, and resonate with the people that you serve.
It really is that simple but getting there is a journey. It requires a commitment to dig deep and be honest and vulnerable with yourself. It requires discipline and focus, to say yes to only the right opportunities, and to say no to the wrong ones, but then it requires hard work; to pour yourself deeply into those opportunities - those right ones - and really resonate with the people that you serve.
But remember, you are remarkable.
That's the fuel that will keep you going.
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS
From my point of view, there are two ways to look at Mike’s final reminder. Either you embrace it as an optimist or you resist it as a skeptic, but your perspective determines your next steps, especially if you want to make the most of your identity and get to the point where it can resonate with others.
Let's say you're an optimist. If you’re an optimist – you’ll naturally own the fact that you’re remarkable, which starts you out in the right headspace to find your frequency. That’s the key that unlocks your authentic identity. So, if you’re an optimist, hold on to that key tightly, and give me a second to speak to the skeptics.
If you’re a skeptic – there’s a couple of reasons why you might be resisting Mike’s message. Maybe you don’t like to think in terms of personal affirmation. Which is understandable but getting to the point where you can accept yourself as remarkable, unique or specialized doesn’t require you to force feed yourself sweet thoughts or work your way through the complete positive mental attitude reading list. You can stay grounded and see that you’re remarkable.
Take a look at your goals and ambitions. What skills are you developing that set you apart? What experiences have you had that most people haven’t? In what ways do your end goals and outcomes differ from your peers or those you’re working with?
The answers you come up with make you who you are. They make you remarkable.
That said, maybe the root of your skepticism is even simpler. Maybe it’s just that you don’t buy into the fact that you’re remarkable.
You just don’t believe that.
Well, this might surprise you, but you’re not alone. I’ve felt that way before, and I know plenty of other people who have had to overcome that barrier – especially after listening to someone like Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about our place in the universe. But if that is how you feel, I’ve found that the only way you can turn the tables and get into the right mindset is by changing the way you talk to yourself.
You can’t let those internal conversations be filled with doubt and matters of what you once were or will be. You need to live in the present, find the positives, and flip the script. Once you do that, you can uncover what gives you your authentic identity.
Look, Mike and I can’t make you see yourself as remarkable. It’s a process. It’s never going to be all rainbows and birthday cake. You might have to overcome some obstacles to find what makes you remarkable, but you can do it!
So, trust me. Mike and I see how remarkable you are, but the real question is, do you see how remarkable you are?
Once you’re at that point where you can see how remarkable you are, you’re able to fine tune your frequency by looking inward and following Mike’s guidance. That being said, don’t mistake your work for your identity. Look for the patterns in your life. Determine what values matter most to you, examine your personality, and figure out who you should be serving.
Then you’ve got to live it out and amplify your identity. This is the part that overlaps most with what Chris Ronzio and I discussed on the show a few weeks ago.
You have to collect experiences, try new things, and learn by doing. That’s what allows you to amplify and share your identity in new ways, in new places, with new people.
Just keep in mind that while having a Yes-Attitude can be exciting, that doesn’t mean you should take every opportunity just to see if you can adapt your identity to it. You’ve got to balance the scales with a focused filter that allows you to say, “no.” So, key in on what you do best and get a good sense of where you can make the most impact.
Beyond that, when you discover an experience or an opportunity that doesn’t align with your identity or your frequency – and I do mean when – you’ve got to get out of that situation.
When you linger in what was once an opportunity that you no longer resonate with, you open the door to negative self-talk and you can begin to doubt your identity. That’s not where you want to be.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: stop doing shit you hate.
Don’t just grin and bear it. If something doesn’t align to your identity, you will feel it. Don’t ignore the feeling.
You should feel excited about whatever it is that you do. That’s a big deal when you’re aiming to resonate with the people you serve.
If you want to resonate with others, you’ve got to prioritize your identity by taking decisive actions.
Decide to change the way you practice self-talk.
Decide to discover what sets you apart.
Decide to live out loud and share what makes you remarkable.
Decide to say yes to only the opportunities where you can make an impact.
Decide to start here and now.
Find your frequency. Amplify your identity and resonate with the people you serve.
I would like to give a big thank you to Mike Jones for contributing to this week’s show.
Outside of his business, Mike is a member of the AIGA, he’s a leader within Arizona’s Chapter of Conscious Capitalism, and – as he mentioned – he’s also the co-Director of Phoenix Startup Week – which happens to be where we connected.
So, if you want to meet some of the great leaders in the Phoenix Startup Community, you should come on out to PHX Startup Week in 2020! The six-day event returns February 17th, providing multiple education tracks, daily keynotes, networking opportunities, and support to local entrepreneurs.
This year, PHX Startup Week will feature 50 Sessions at three locations across the valley. So, whether you’re just curious about our local Startup Ecosystem, you’ve started your own business, or you’re already scaling up, you won’t want to miss it! For more information or to get your ticket to PHX Startup Week today, head on over to phxstartupweek.com.
But if you’d like to find out more about Mike, his brand consulting and speaking, go check out his website – remarkamike.com – and be sure to sign up for his newsletter to get early access to his upcoming book on identity and branding, which is set to release in early 2020.
You’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing [email protected], but if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, it’s even easier! All you’ve got to do is scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a review for the show. That said, be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts to be notified when new episodes drop.
As I mentioned at the top of the show, I’ll be taking a week off for the holidays, but Ignition Point will be back Monday, January 6th.
But before we go, if you’ve got questions about Brand Development or you’re fired up about jumpstarting your Brand for the new year, we should connect! I help individuals and businesses with their brands, and I’d love to help you with yours. To reach me directly and discuss your next leap forward, just send an email to [email protected].
Well, that’s going to do it for this episode, so stay motivated and keep moving forward.
If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.
I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.
Now get on out there and win the week!