remember who you are: seth godin

[This is the first of a series of guest blog posts, based around the “Remember Who You Are” riff I’m always going on about. Today’s post comes from my friend and mentor, Seth Godin, the great marketing author.]

Forget who you are

When most people say, “remember who you are,” what they’re really saying is, “remember who we think you are, remember who you were born to, don’t overreach, wait your turn, don’t get uppity.”

They rarely mean it the way Hugh means it. Hugh, I think, is saying that you are whomever you decide to be. That’s a statement of astonishing audacity, one that could only be said by an artist and understood by one as well.

I have no illusions about the mobility of our society. While it is far more flexible and open than some societies in the past, there are huge impediments to entering a different class.

And yet…

And yet art in all its forms belies that. Art, whether it’s the drawing art that Hugh does or the business art that a great Wall Street trader does or the customer service art that Tony Hsieh at Zappos espouses… that sort of art isn’t limited by social boundaries. When you connect and change another human being, when you create upside wherever you go, then who you are is decided by you, not by them.

Let’s change the mantra, then, from “remember who you are,” to “decide who you are.”

Decide to be the generous, change-making, scarifying, delighting, over-the-topping dreamer you’re capable of being.

-Seth Godin

[Download the high-res “remember Who You Are” poster here.]