For those of you focusing 100% of your time on getting your personal brand 100% perfect, this is for you.

For that voice in the back of your head that gets in the way of releasing your creativity out in the world, this is for you.

Dares and challenges

And if you’re struggling with any hint of personal brand anxiety, this is for you, and it’s all because I spoke to Clay Hebert on NY Brand Lab Radio recently. Clay is Chief Engagement Officer of Tribes Win. He got his MBA from marketing genius Seth Godin and now helps brands lead their tribes. I’m inspired to help spread the word and, in particular thing, one thing he dared our listeners: Dare to Ship.

The expression apparently comes from Steve Jobs who said ‘real artists ship’ at an off-site retreat in Carmel in January 1983. In fact, Jobs began the retreat with three “Sayings from Chairman Jobs.” They were meant to set the tone for the meeting, no doubt:

1) Real artists ship.

2) It’s better to be a pirate than join the navy.

3) Mac in a book by 1986.

I’m only addressing Chairman Jobs’ #1 saying here. Here’s your First Challenge:

Challenge number one: dare to ship

In his book, Linchpin, Seth Godin urges all artists to push past their fear and resistance and just “ship.” Get the job done. Clay challenged entrepreneurs and artists on NY Brand Lab Radio  that if they have something to say, it needs to be shipped. If not, your creativity –  ideas, message, products, services – are not being shared with the world. It’s being wasted. Note: If you’re shipping out and it feels too easy, it’s not considered shipping. Go outside your comfort zone. So what’s your job now? Ask, What am I going to ship today?

But, of course, what’s that voice you’re hearing in the back of your head? Or the one sitting on your shoulder! Let’s face it, most of us (no, all of us) experience a desire to do something – plan something, launch something,  finish something – but something gets in the way, right? Resistance gets in the way. The fear of not getting it perfect. Not getting it right. Or, worse. What will people say?

The one way to overcome that resistance? Here’s your second challenge.

Challenge number two: identify & defeat the resistance

Resistance is the enemy within. Clay talked about  the best-selling author Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle. In the book, Pressfield says, “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” (The initial cap R for Resistance is Pressfield’s.) So here’s to spreading the word: I’m quoting from Pressfield’s chapter, Defining the Enemy, listing his first 10 pointers. (Pressfield’s words are in bold.)

  1. Resistance is Invisible The first thing to remember is that your Resistance has a job to do. Clearly, that job is to stop you from doing your work and whatever truly drives you.
  2. Resistance is Internal You can’t fool yourself into thinking Resistance comes from the outside. It’s the enemy within. You can’t blame anyone else here.
  3. Resistance is Insidious Your Resistance is seductive, fickle. It will do whatever it takes to trick you into not doing your work.
  4. Resistance is Implacable It has one job to do: To get in the way of what you need to do.
  5. Resistance is Impersonal Never forget for a minute that Resistance is not out to get you personally. It just has that job to do.
  6. Resistance is Infallible Its job is to get in the way of whatever calling or action you most desire. It’s that simple.
  7. Resistance is Universal Remember everyone struggles with Resistance. You’re not the only one.
  8. Resistance Never Sleeps In a nutshell, you’ll never see the back of Resistance. The fear is here to stay.
  9. Resistance Plays for Keeps Resistance plays dirty. Our most unique and priceless gift is its most favorite target. Nasty business.
  10. Resistance is Fueled By Fear Resistance is not fueled by its own rocket fuel. It comes from one source: You.

Ready to overcome your resistance? Then, ship? Excellent.

  • First, get a copy of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art  (Grand Central Publishing)
  • Then, go to Seth Godin’s site and Clay Hebert’s site:
  • Want the free mp3 of  Clay’s interview on NY Brand Lab Radio?


Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter