Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to Become an Icon

Inherently, most products and services strive to become icons. No one really wants to spend the rest of his or her life attempting to convince individuals of the merit surrounding an idea. Detergent X is better for clothes because it not only gets the dirt out, it restores clothing to its original luster. If Detergent X can take on iconic or mythic meaning, than Detergent B does not stand a chance. Detergent B is not only challenging a product, but a way of life. Imagine you or your product being a way of life. Most people, products or services never become icons because there are certain criteria necessary to graduate to this level. The same notion is applied for graduating from Star to Superstar to Megastar to Legend.

Legendary status qualifies for becoming an icon. Becoming an icon is a process requiring a concerted effort with relentless determination. Establishing icon status requires certain steps to be achieved, which require:

Revolutionizing/changing the thinking of a particular idea, product or service-- It isn't the "me-too" mentality that brings about revolutions, but the "never been done before" mentality. If you see voids within your industry that experts say are necessary, you have just embarked on an opportunity for innovation. What opportunities exist to expand worldviews or differentiate a product or service being offered? Answers to this question, brings forth watershed events. It is much more challenging to revolutionize an industry than it is to follow the status quo. Largely, complacency and mediocrity are the nemesis to becoming an icon.

Capturing imaginations through constant and consistent imagery--Quite often, you may capture the imagination of individuals through graphic depiction or acute profundity. In other words, you get their attention through the pictures you create from the words you utter! Once the mind has been elevated, it creates perceptions from stimuli that stretches and ultimately influences thought and behavior. If you can spark the imagination of others to see the world from your viewpoint, you can impact behavior, which enhances iconic status.

Maintaining innovation over a long period of time--Longevity is the hallmark for becoming an icon. "Quick buck artists" and "Overnight sensations" are not the model for icons. It is a long, arduous process that withstands the test of time. While there is no set time, icons usually span two or more generations. Each generation is influenced differently, because the icon evolves to reflect the relevancy of that age group. While the icon may curtail its innovation, its track record is sufficient to draw on for an indeterminate amount of time. An icon often has enough reserves to continue to influence generations to come.

Creating stories and fables around exploits-- Icons take on mythological forms by the aura created around them. Fables are created out of real life triumphs that become bigger than life when sparked by the imagination. Many great stories are based on some truth that becomes legendary though exaggerated repetition. What was once a simple act of perseverance takes on epic proportions of insurmountable feats. Every icon has a story of trial, defeat and final triumph that encapsulates the human spirit.

At the height of frenzy, become elusive and inaccessible--Humans as icons often stay in the limelight too long. The iconic idea is that of a good performance--always leave audiences wanting more! An icon preserves a memory as he or she preserves an image. It is essential to exit or become elusive while still on top. Once you stay too long and human frailties emerge, the icon diminishes. By becoming elusive and inaccessible, the crowd craves you more when all that's left are the innovations, images and stories.

Becoming an icon requires a concerted effort steeped in relentless determination. The scarcity of icons is not because of its impossibility. The scarcity exists due to the time, dedication and energy needed to excel to such a level. A life committed to an undying desire to achieve the ultimate within an industry is open to all.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can President Obama Lead a "Re-Birth" of the U.S.?

At the end of the day, human nature prevails over lofty ideas, vainglorious notions and religious fervor. Do people intend to go back on their word and show themselves hypocritical? They wouldn't see it that way, because they feel angelic about their sense of human nature or dare I say "delusion" about who they really are. President Obama's call for rolling up our sleeves and taking personal responsibility for the "rebirth" of the United States is ideal, but I wonder if he even believes the feasibility of what he proposes. After all, as a community activist in Chicago, there had to be frustration on his part as to the effectiveness of people who have less "skin in the game" transforming and permanently encouraging the "Have-Nots." I suspect that he opted to become a beacon of hope as an easier means of contributing rather than subject himself and his family to the long, arduous, sacrificial requirements activism often calls for. In the cold dawn of reality, President Obama discovered that he couldn't redeem the people he wanted to serve; they had to redeem themselves. What's different about his role as activist versus his role as president is that he occupies a "win-win" position. If the American people don't do the heavy lifting for their own good, the Obamas won't face the plight of many activists who grow old and delusional from fighting the good fight. With one masterstroke, President Obama has sealed the future fate of generations of Obamas. President Obama opted to do "good and well"--simultaneously. This is the subtext the American people should follow.

Related: Charisma

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Knowledge Is King

William Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage and we mere players….". Transforming this statement into contemporary usage, we are all playing some role that is either strengthening or weakening our ability to being more charismatic, empowering or focused. Are we the "go to" person when people need information or something done? We have all heard, "Education is power." Yet, very few of us position ourselves to be experts on a subject matter. When we hear of someone purporting to be an expert within a field, we grow intimidated, viewing this individual as being supremely extraordinary. On the contrary! An expert is a person who has a high degree of inquisitive interest in a particular subject, in which she has opted to thoroughly investigate the subject fusing her analysis with practical experiences.

The Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus American Edition define an expert as "Having special knowledge or skill." That's it? Yes, merely finding a subject that interests you, which you deeply investigate and make some determinations about
makes you an expert. I make this point to tear down the myth that an expert is surreal, so that you can begin positioning yourself within your own expertise. This specialty will be more important in the coming years than it ever was. In the past, you could be a "jack of all trades, master of none" and become the person everyone called on for everything.

However, the Information Age has made general information passé and specialized information more desirable and sought after. Brainpower rules the day, which has truly become a sequel to "Revenge of the Nerds."

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Insecurity Within The Charismatic Personality

The Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute defines charisma as "The creating of perceptions that impact the mind and emotions of others through flair, finesse and glib language." Since the philosophy of charisma has been largely underrepresented and underdeveloped for nearly a century, there have been attempts to qualify the charismatic personality. Deborrah Himsel, author of "Leadership Soprano Style: How to Become a More Effective Boss", describes four components of a charismatic leader utilizing the fictional character Tony Soprano of the HBO hit show " The Sopranos" as having:

• Strong beliefs and values relating to the work and "our thing"
• Self-confidence and competence, balanced with authenticity
• Strength and the perception of invincibility
• Comfort with power

As we begin to compose a profile for charismatic leadership, the challenge isn't what the individual appears to be on the outside, but what's going on inside. Although Himsel's description paves the way to greater understanding of charismatic traits, it falls short in how charismatics get that way. An argument can be made that some charismatics have confidence, while others may not. Quite often, confidence is seen as an essential trait for charisma, but there are examples that suggest that some charisma may emerge from insecurity. Eminent psychologist, Alfred Adler (1870-1937) in his book, The Meaning of Life, said "To be a man means to suffer from an inferiority feeling which constantly drives him to overcome it." President John F. Kennedy did not necessarily exhibit raw charisma in his earlier years. In fact, he was seen as a wayward rich boy who lacked drive and focus. It appears that his father, Joseph Kennedy, began looking for greater contributions from him after the death of Joseph Kennedy, Jr. during World War II. If Joe Jr. had not died, we don't know where John Kennedy would have ended in the annals of history.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Lifestyle of Charismatic Personalities

Charismatic leaders try to become the embodiment of their message and image. They typically are honest and therefore strive for consistency. It is important to them that they attempt to "walk their talk," although this is very challenging and sometimes they fall short. The charismatic leader's lifestyle is often ordinary, not necessarily the excitement that we might guess. It is their simple lifestyle that allows them to excel and become more in tune with who they are. While the more affluent charismatic individuals may have greater activities in their life, they still remain grounded in simplicity.

While married to Marla Maples, real estate developer, Donald Trump, reportedly tried to be home each night at 6:00PM for dinner. Statesman Benjamin Franklin outlined a daily regimen that surrounded work and moderate leisure. Trace the lifestyles of the most successful people and you will observe a pattern of simplicity, productivity and relaxation. It is a simple lifestyle that allows them to excel. A lifestyle that fuels excellence for the individual is the breeding ground for charisma. Abuse of drugs and alcohol as well as an undisciplined life does not make for charisma nor bring about great contributions. It goes without saying that we all have challenges in our lives, but those who persevere overcome these challenges without attempting to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Charismatic leaders maintain a high degree of composure and poise. It is almost unthinkable for them to act contrary to their ideal of themselves. They are consistently aware of their environment and the people in it. They do not believe in "letting it all hang out". This is not to imply that they do not have a good time. That's the fun part of being charismatic! There are more perks obtained by charismatic people than those who lack it. They are often invited to the most popular places, they frequent inner circles that others merely dream about and opportunities seem to present themselves, because of the value they bring to the occasion. They are great to have around! They know what to say at the right time. They move about the room effortlessly. They often add to the ambience of an occasion by making everyone around them feel relaxed with their engaging conversation and light banter. Whether they actually meet everyone in a room or not, they are remembered for being there. This air of distinction sets them apart from everyone else. The magic of being charismatic is the result of a concerted and methodical approach to understanding people.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Art of Selfishness

1. Conditioning yourself to take as much as you give

If someone tells you that they only want the best for you without a personal agenda attached within the proposal, walk in the other direction. Generally, people look into most situations with a "What's in it for me" mentality. Whether it's love, family or job, people want to gain from the situations they experience. The object for achieving success is not to take so much so as to hurt the next person. It is understood that we will take what we need, but we should leave enough for the other party or risk creating an enemy.

2. Realizing that you are the center of your universe

You see the world and everything in it from your vantage point! Consequently, your world revolves around your viewpoints and perspectives. Your experiences, beliefs and environment help define your reality. Since your world can only change by expanding your level of awareness, it behooves you to do so. By reading, traveling and living vicariously through others experiences, your universe expands, so as not to be totally consumed by your individual "finite" world. By expanding yourself, the residual effect extends to the world.

3. Being accountable to your commitments . Whether you are entering a marital or business contract, you can never become "one" with the contractor. In the agreement, you still bring your worldview as the other party brings theirs. As such, you may agree on the terms in the hopes that all parties will abide by their commitments, but nothing is guaranteed with people naturally acting in their own interest. At best, we must compile all the facts insuring that it "feels" right with our sensibilities in upholding our agreements. The best deal is one where both parties feel that their interests were served!

For more information, visit: Charisma