In Wimbledon 2008, Roger Federer found himself down to Rafael Nadal 2 sets to none.  Roger was playing for his 6th Wimbledon title in a row; Rafael was playing for his first – either way, history was going to be made.

Roger was winded, discouraged, and it seemed like a 2 sets to none lead was impossible to overcome.  During a break, Roger’s trainer turns to the champion and says, “Remember who you are.”

Those simple words were enough to motivate Roger to rally back to a five-set, five hour marathon of a match where he ended up losing to Rafael.  Yes, this post might have been a little more exciting if Roger had one, but I can’t change history.

The point is that Roger has a personal brand.
He is known as the God of tennis, an unstoppable force of nature, especially on the Wimbledon court.  In his moment of desperation, all he had to do was simply remember who he was (his personal brand) to reinvigorate himself and start playing like a champion once again.

What does this mean for you?

If you have been building your personal brand successfully, then you are able to leverage it to motivate yourself when you’re feeling down or when all hope is lost.

A clear example in the business world is my partner Yu-kai Chou.  When the company can’t close a client, doesn’t reach a milestone, or fails to raise capital, it can be a very stressful time for all the team members.  In these moments, Yu-kai can choose to stress with all of the other team members, or remember who he is: an emotionally stable, holistically thinking, self-sacrificing CEO.

Yu-kai has branded himself as a leader who puts his team first and his personal needs at a far second.  When the company feels stressed, it would be selfish of him to show his stress because that would just put the rest of the company in a more nervous state.  All Yu-kai needs to do is remember the personal brand that he has been building all these years, and fulfill that personal brand to take the right actions and put the company on the right course.

What kind of personal brand are you building?

It’s great to build a personal brand as an expert in fashion, smurfs, or even ball point pens.  You can be an expert in anything, and I encourage you to build your expertise in a subject.

But don’t forget that a personal brand encompasses much more than an expertise on a topic. Your personal brand is your mannerisms, the way you compose yourself under stress, the way you lead, and the way you treat people.

Roger built a personal brand as a cool, calm, and collected tennis player that never loses his composure on the court.  Because of this, he didn’t stress when he faced what looked like the impossible.

Yu-kai built a personal brand as an emotionally stable leader that puts his team first.  Because of this, he doesn’t stress when times are tough for the company.

You may be building your personal brand as an expert on a topic, but what about the rest of your personality and the way you compose yourself?  You must think about your personal brand as a holistic strategy that encompasses your mind, body, and profession.


Jun is the Founder and CMO of Viralogy, the platform that ranks all of the best blogs.  His personal blog, How to Succeed as a Young Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.