Every individual is a Challenger Brand unto themselves. They/you are tangling daily with better resourced competitors – those who are bigger, stronger, younger, smarter, better-looking, richer, thinner, more famous, better-educated, and generally more successful. We’re all doomed.
As they used to say in the old west, there’s always a faster gunslinger coming in on the next train. Consequently, energy spent worrying about others is energy wasted. We all have our challenges, we are all fighting battles and most of the time, only we are aware of those struggles.
We are indeed Challenger Brands. Accepting the fact that everyone is dealing with something, during this season of reflection, appreciation and gratitude, we’d like to suggest that your personal and professional impact on others should not be underestimated. Your well-timed kind word, your offer to lend a helping hand and your overall willingness to genuinely support another may very well be the positive turning point in some Challenger Brand’s life.
Simply just being there for your colleague, superior, subordinate, friend, acquaintance or stranger is all that’s required to take someone’s mind off of their internal conflicts for a few moments. It helps; I know. Allow me to share a true story that happened to me just a couple months ago that shined a neon light on the impact one can have on another’s life; mostly without even knowing it. Did I mention this was a true story?
One recent Sunday, I was running some errands at a shopping center about 20 miles from my home. It is important to point out that this was a random location, far from my neighborhood. I was leaving one store and walking toward another when I heard some loud unintelligible grumbling coming from the parking lot. I looked over towards the sound and could see about 50 yards away a homeless man making a bit of a disturbance aimlessly screaming meaningless phrases at no one in particular.
I’m a city boy so I know how to deal with these sorts of situations. Head down, pick up the pace, walk away.
I look back and see the fellow has locked on to me and is heading my way. Keep walking, avoid eye contact, nothing to see here.
Wait, what? Did I hear my name? Nah, don’t look back, move quickly into the next store.
What the…? Am I hearing things?
“Craig! From Terra Linda!”
Oh boy, is it possible this transient actually knows me? How could that be? Has he been tracking me? What does he want? What’s going on?
“Yo, Craig, it’s me, Andre. Andre from Marin Lagoon.”
I freeze. I’m stunned and a little light-headed. I know Andre, Andre from Marin Lagoon. Except, I know a 5-year-old Andre from Marin Lagoon, a charming little townhome community in the Terra Linda neighborhood of Marin County. I knew a 5-year-old Andre from 25 years ago.
It was indeed Andre from 25 years ago. But in front of me is Andre from today and he looks nothing like the sweet, chatty kindergartner that grew up next door and played in the driveway with my kids. No, this Andre has been through quite a bit. He is around 30 now with face tattoos, scruffy beard, disheveled, mismatched multi-layered clothing, sweat pants that have lost its elasticity held up by a shoelace, and tattered laceless shoes.
Andre explains that he has been dealing with “demons,” “baby mama drama,” and someone was looking for him. At this point, a police car cruises by; perhaps this is who was looking for Andre?
“It’s been 25 years, Andre, how did you possibly recognize me?”
“I’ll never forget you. You were the only adult that paid any attention to me.”
I know that couldn’t have been true, but he was pretty convincing. Just then, the cruiser slowly passes by again and Andre decides he needs to move on. I quickly pulled a $20 out of my wallet and gave it to him as he pivoted and headed out on his way.
I was paralyzed for a moment; breathless and disoriented. What were the odds that Andre would see and recognize me at that single moment in time? What was he running from? Where is he running to? What is $20 going to do? I should have bought him some new clothes. Too late.
As the blood returned to my brain, I begin to consider the bigger picture of this chance encounter. It wasn’t about randomly running into an old neighbor after 25 years. This was about connecting. This was a life lesson about having an impact on others. This was about paying attention to people. 5-year-old or 30-year-old, just being there for others makes a difference.
If you could use some help being there for the Challenger Brands in your life, just contact us here.