Be the Original
My younger older brother was bigger than life He wa the coolest kid in the neighborhood. I was 8 and half years younger. I watched him all my life and I learned.
He was instant community. He was kind of like Tom Sawyer. He could smile around a corner.
- He had 5 girlfriends before he was 10.
- If he said “baseball,” the team formed before he finished the word.
- If he said, “hockey,” the ice was cleared and smooth.
- Kids called him “Bugs” and I never knew whether it was because of the famous bunny or the Las Vegas gambler. They were always too busy laughing to tell me.
- He’s the one who had me trained to come when he whistled.
- He still has a magnetic personality.
Grownups, teachers, kids, … everyone enjoyed his company.
Problem was some kids tried to be him.
Maybe we all did.
It never worked. Our voices were different. He was taller or his smile had a different tilt. We just became bad copies of my younger, older brother, instead of the really cool kids that we were.
So Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up trying to be Chris Brogan. He’s as magic as my younger, older brother … but only Chris Brogan can be Chris Brogan. Tell your babies to be an original.
Everyone has our own magic.
I know. I’ve been watching all my life.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
Sonia Simone | Remarkable Communication says
LOL, I love it.
I admit, I’d love to be Brogan when I grow up. But a) I’m unlikely to actually grow up, and b) guess you’re right, I’ll just have to be Sonia.
Zeeshan Ahmad says
Sheila Scarborough says
I thought this would be a writeup about his new clean-shaven, baby-faced visage. 🙂
He’s still the only Brogan, wearing a Van Dyke beard or not, and you’re absolutely right!
Michael J. Carrasquillo says
Yep everything here is spot on. Being a Dad-O-Matic writer, all I saw in the email was Dad, blog, Brogan & I said “AHH, I WANT IN!” LOL.
It’s ok to isolate & implement qualities that inspire you about a person such as Chris Brogan but you have to sit back and ask yourself, “How do I make myself unique?” Let’s not forget those that try to out shout Gary Vaynerchuk or the endless Zefrank’s on youtube. Good people in their own right but they haven’s sat and searched out who they are.
Ha! This is great!
Very cool story – nails the message.
Whats the saying…imitation is the biggest form of flattery?
That may be true – but as you pointed out, that may not work when it comes to social media and the like.
I’m having enough trouble trying to figure out who I am – let alone trying to be Chris Brogan.
Don’t worry about doing it right – be original first!
Thank you for this reminder!
ME Liz Strauss says
Brogan can’t do you either. I love reading what you write. Stay true.
ME Liz Strauss says
You would make one funny Chris Brogan. I like you so much better as you are. 🙂
ME Liz Strauss says
I think your voice is getting clearer by the minute. You’re the real deal.
ME Liz Strauss says
Yeah, exactly. Find what they do that we like and make it our own. Bring it inside, internalize. My brother and Chris both smile from their hearts, they don’t paste one on.
We can’t paste things on either. 🙂
Love that you took the time to comment. You’re not a stranger anymore.
Hey, did we have the same older brother? Mine is the older, older brother and he is 7 years older, the legend. My husband has the same brother, only he is younger. Sometimes I want to be Chris Brogan or Liz Strauss, but mostly I’ll try to be content figuring out how to be anna, something Chris Brogan could never do no matter how hard he tried.
I really love this post because it emphasizes to me the fact that each of us our individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses. Chris Brogan has all the strengths that make him a social media rockstar and though some may want to be like him, no one will be able to “be” him.
I’ve learned over the years, that we do need to truly know ourselves, which is something that you write about a lot, Meyers-Briggs, Enneagram, are both tools that will allow us to discover more about our personalities and our individual strengths and weaknesses.
I wouldn’t want to be Chris Brogan or Liz Strauss, but I do want to learn from them. I think it’s important that we listen and apply the practices that best fit our business/social/nonprofit goals, emphasize our strengths, stay true to our morals and beliefs, and appreciate the wonderful qualities in others as an ‘addition’ to our own knowledge base.
Go Chris! Go Liz! I hope I will always take away from your posts, my best version of what I can be and implement them in my own special way.
Travis Campbell says
Excellent advice Liz. I think it’s easy to see that some of your younger older brother has rubbed off on you as well.
Here’s to being comfortable in our own skin, and encouraging others who may not be there…yet.
Connie Reece says
I don’t want to be Chris Brogan but I sure would like to have 1/10 of his energy. How does he (or you, for that matter) manage so much quality output?
Amie Gillingham says
This has to be the best title for a post. Ever. Not to mention, a great lesson behind it. Of course, it’s hard to not want to be Chris Brogan some days. Or at least, covet his energy!
Richard Reeve says
This reminds me of the Vice Presidential debate where Benson told Quayle “your no Jack Kennedy.” The challenge within this space is to accept the demand for authenticity which in and of itself precludes the scam, sham, or copy-cat postures many think they need to adopt in order to get noticed.
Learn to use the tools, learn the strategies that work, but above all be willing to scrape your knees a few times risking what it takes to be authentic.
Michael Bailey says
Who’s Chris Brogan?
Was he in a movie?
Barry Moltz says
Unfortunately my son already looks a little like Chris Brogan. What do I do now?
Lacy Kemp says
I wouldn’t say I want to be Chris Brogan, but I sure do want to learn from him.
Hendry Lee says
Does wearing a cap like his make me a “Chris Brogan”? Ok, it is impossible for me to have beard. 😉
Great point, and I was just thinking about this exact thing earlier today. People need to just be themselves-the Chris Brogan’s of the world are human just like the rest of us.
Brent Leary says
Some people will lie right to your face and say you can do something just because someone else did it. Then they’ll say that they can help you do it…by joining their coaching program….
I am SO GLAD you are not one of those people!
Keep telling it like it is Liz!
Jim "Genuine" Turner says
Telling them to be Genuine are we? This is a great post not because we don’t want to be like Chris Brogan but I see the admiration for your sibling and it makes me warm inside.
Stacey / Create a Balance says
I just want to be me…who has been inspired by many wonderful people in this world. I don’t want to be these people, but in a way, they are already a part of me.
(Does this mean it’s okay to grow up to be a cowboy?)
I wouldn’t want to be Chris. I like watching him from where I sit. Who’d I watch if I were him?
Deb Ng says
As a mama, I have to say I want my baby to first be himself. And thankfully he is.
However, if he were to look for a role model, he could do a lot worse than Chris Brogan.
Juile Roads says
So good, so smart, so apropos, so kind while still driving the hard message.
Love it! What a great way to get a message across. And of course, who can’t help but not love Chris Brogan! *hugs*
Tiffany Monhollon says
Who doesn’t struggle with wanting to be Chris Brogan?
Seriously though, I think you’ve tapped into something powerful here, because one thing I am constantly learning online is how successful Other People are.
It can be daunting if you spend all your time thinking how you wish you’d thought of that instead of investing time into confidently sharing your own ideas.
ME Liz Strauss says
My answer to everyone.
The Internet is overwhelming with messages about how we’re less, slower, not good enough, outside, forgotten, missing something, and so much that we can’t keep up with.
It’s why I wrote this post.
We’ve got to hold up the people we esteem and love. And we have hold ourselves up among them.
Debra Snider says
Nicely done! This is such an important message, and it can so easily get lost. Suiting yourself – knowing yourself & making decisions that square with who you truly are – is the only way to go. And it leads to fabulous results, too. Thanks for the inspiring post!
Steve Woodruff says
You mean all those infomercials promising BroganTonic are a sham? I was just about to order, ’cause they were going to throw in a David Meerman Scott makeover ABSOLUTELY FREE if I ordered in the next 10 minutes…
Tiffany Monhollon says
@ Liz – It’s amazing how something that has the power to connect and build also has the power to deflate and destroy.
But we are the ones who choose which we accept and which we deny of those options.
So thanks for writing this reminder. We all need to hear it, every once in a while.
Chris Brogan... says
For the record, there are plenty of people I want to be:
* Christian Bale
* Gary Vaynerchuk
* Chuck Palahniuk
* Annie Proulx
* Brian Michael Bendis
* Mike Mignola
* Rob Zombie
But, I can only be me. So far.
Heather Rast says
Oh, Liz, what a practical observation with an encouraging undertone! Clearly, Chris has worked long and hard for his stronghold in the communications arena and so many of us covet just a pinch of his magic for ourselves, whether for the leg up in business or an enhanced “cool kid” factor. Maybe it’s hard to outgrow some insecurities of our childhood and be comfortable in our own skin and the knowledge of what our unique selves have to offer others.
It’s easy to envy Chris; he has the eye of so many. But the beautiful thing is what he does when those eyes are watching…he points them to others, newbies and experienced folks alike. In effect he says, “Yes, I’m good. But let’s go see what these guys are doing, I think they’re good.”
I’ll thank you for the encouragement to both be my best and be confident in what I personally can deliver as a marketer, and well, a mother too.
I love Chris’s advice, and follow it to the best of my ability. He’s taught me a lot and continues to each day. I learn from so many people, like you Liz.
To me, being original means taking what you learn and putting your own spin on it. So, instead of being Chris Brogan or you, Liz, I can take parts of each of you with me.
Another wonderful and inspiring message, Liz. Coming from our broadcast, blockbuster, big star culture, we Digital Immigrants have a greater tendency to emulate and aspire to be like our icons than our Digital Native counterparts do and will. The cultural instict to copy is changing as more have avenues for their voices to be heard.
Maria Lavis says
The mythological Brogan…
My son, you thought it was the amulet, you thought it was the wizard Brogan (or Strauss),
it was you all along. 🙂
This post is contemporary, folkloric and archetypic all at the same time Liz.
Great reminder. Thanks!
For myself I’d have to say that I have learned much from Chris. I think it is natural to gravitate to someone like Chris, especially when one is new to a medium like social media.
When one steps into an arena, with a master, it is natural to watch that master like a hawk, pick up some of their moves, learn how they do that thing they do…
And in that way Chris is like a Black Belt karate social media master. So, I think it is natural for many to watch and copy, but then, as you point out, after you’ve observed, and tried out his method, then you have to go out on your own. You have to stand in that cave or mountain top, carve out your own ground and practice practice practice. It’s in this doing it yourself, application, attention, and dedication, that you yourself earn your own black belt, that you too can make it look like it’s easy, that you too can expand the field, and be an original contributor. Even if someone is not a “natural” like Chris (or Tom Sawyer) one can move mountains in this way, so thanks again for the great reminder.
Wish you a very Happy New Year!
I liked the encouragement to be ‘ourselves’.
Here in the comments I liked what Maria Lavis said. It is so generous advice to newbies to practice, practice and practice.
Thanks for the post!
ME Liz Strauss says
Every person brings a different song. Every person add something that would missing if that person wasn’t here.