Don’t Quit on Your Brand!

In the world of bicycle racing there are three letters on race results that racers dread – DNF – “Did not finish.” A DNF could be the result of a mechanical problem, an injury, or worse yet that evil voice inside your head telling you to just quit! Your legs are cramping, your head is pounding, and your lungs are burning. Pain has settled in and taken over. Before you know it, you pull of the course and give up.

The video above reminds us that “Pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever.” Lance’s battle with cancer more so than his 7 Tour de France victories epitomizes this philosophy. Here was a cyclist in the prime of his career taken out by a fatal disease, and yet he had an unyielding focus to not quit. He simply refused to get that DNF in his race against cancer and he won.

4 Actions to Avoid Quitting on Your Brand

Personal branding is not a race and there is no finish line. However, in the face of pain it is possible to quit believing in our brands. Here are 4 actions you can take to quiet that evil voice telling you to quit.

1. Stay focused on your ‘Why’

Your vision, purpose, values, and passions energize you.  They are the bedrock of your brand and  remembering why you do what you do will always reinforce a strong belief in your unique promise of value.  Guy Kawasaki reminds us that purpose and passion ‘enchants’ others.  Your ‘Why’ is your brand differentiator and pulls people in. ‘What’ you do and ‘how’ you do it is likely the same or similar to many others. Simon Sinek refers to this as the ‘Golden Circle’ in his TED Talk and tells us that “People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  Keep your sights on the ‘Why’ and you will have that strength to power through the pain and pedal onward.

2. Be selectively famous

Personal branding guru William Arruda says that “personal branding is not about being famous, but rather about being selectively famous.” Focus on just the target audience who need to know you and avoid trying to be all things to everyone. This may seem counter-intuitive as you do not want to turn away possible business, but the more selective and targeted you are, the more focused you become and the more successful you will be. Spreading yourself too thin will begin to dilute your brand and your ‘Why’ will no longer be clear to those who are making decisions about you. Your passionate ‘Why’ will transform into a painful ‘Why am I doing this?’ and the desire to quit will prevail.

3. Keep Your Goals to Yourself

To realize your ‘Why’, you need goals. So set your goals, make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound), write them down, post them in a place where you can see them every day, and internalize them. Then keep them to yourself and don’t tell anyone! Psychology tests have proven that the simple act of telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen. Announcing your goal to others and receiving praise for it satisfies you just enough so that you are less motivated to do the hard work needed to complete your goal. Your goal now has a DNF!  Once you have actually achieved your goals then tell the world.

4. Thank Your Champions

A champion believe in you and your ‘Why.’  Of course fans, followers, and subscribers are important members of your brand community, but your leap of faith is not theirs as well. Your champion’s support runs deep. When that inevitable nagging voice inside your head is telling you to quit, your champion will remind you that your pain is temporary and you are riding on the right road to success. Whether your champion is your husband, wife, business partner, life partner, parent, teacher, or friend, make sure to thank them every day for believing in you and giving you the strength to continue riding down that road to follow your dream. The simple act of thanking them is a powerful force.

How have quieted that voice inside your head telling you to quit?  Share your comments below.


Peter Sterlacci, Founder of BeYB – Believe. Become. Be Your Brand, combines personal branding strategy with cycling imagery to empoweron-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan to shift gears, get out of the saddle, and sprint to career success



  1. Great post, Peter.

    Your four ideas are very rich, and very powerful. And I love the connection to not giving up on your brand. Still I think the single most important element of your four points is their grounding in “your why.”

    Knowing why you do what you do is the ultimate differentiator. The clearer you see it for yourself, the better you communicate it to your community…and ultimately, the more attractive and successful you become.

    I think Simon Sinek makes a powerful point in saying, “ the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” Ultimately, I think it’s important to realize that people are actually buying a desired end result that improves their life in some way.

    What your “why” establishes is the reason to choose you.

    Seeing that you share common beliefs sets the foundation for the know, like, and trust of doing business. It let’s people know you “get it” and predisposes them to choose to buy from you.

    Getting to your “why” is always an exercise in gaining personal clarity; and getting to that is what I think distinguishes our Reach Personal Branding process.

    • Thank you Walter for your comment. As you are familiar with the power of your brand story, I often tell people that the WHY is your story. Nobody else has it, it is unique to you. I love Simon Sinek’s TED talk and ever since I first saw him speak it became a motivation force for unearthing my own Why. Thanks again for your insightful comment!