“Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won’t wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.”
– The authors of Rework

We begin our business with inspiration, fueled by passion. Along the way life happens, things change, energy ebbs and flows, focus is lost and reigniting passion is key to finding it again. There is a cycle. Smaller and agile, many younger companies are willing to grab inspiration, to change direction or embrace new ideas quickly. Yet they may still be discovering their footing in a shifting landscape and what message is. Larger, older companies grabbed inspiration and passion, and have seasoned it with years of experience. But in that same time, they may have hardened into the “this-is-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it” mindset and don’t realize that passion is a fire that needs to be stoked not only for their clients, but for their future — the team members who are just starting out.

For both, the issue is being and staying relevant. A little time on the proverbial couch with some brand therapy could be a good thing.

brand therapy

Passion can be like the seasons; sometimes its dormant, and sometimes it’s in full bloom

What is brand therapy?

As in personal therapy sessions, brand therapy is about digging into the root of our marketing and business challenges with the intent to reignite our happiness and passion. There seems to be no end of articles about how to be more productive and stay motivated, but there are far less about passion and the loss thereof. In working top brands on finding new ways to fuel passion, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because passion is more elusive. It’s extremely personal and refueling it takes a lot more than a simple change of routine or implementation of a new planning system.

It’s important to remember that passion doesn’t just go away. It’s energy, and the laws of physics state that something that is in motion remains in motion, in whatever form it might take. And so, to quote Tony Robbins, and many yogis, where our focus goes, energy flows. Time to refocus…but how?

A Brand Therapy Exercise: Reigniting Passion

If you could do anything you wanted and know that you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

I love to ask this question to clients because it immediately gives me so much information about where they are stuck. I can see the full range of emotions cross their faces – shock, happiness, disbelief and then confusion. Next comes a barrage of excuses, a lot of working around the question, and a lot sentences that begin with “if” and “then.”

It’s a simple question. But we make it harder because we get in our own way. And it’s totally understandable — there are bills to pay, mouths to feed, projects in motion. It’s so hard to see the path to that goal.

But what if there was a way just to begin?

Then we’d ask the second question answer: “How could you incorporate what you really want to do into what you are doing today?”

It’s far from impossible as the following shows us.

By anyone’s measure, Beth Helmstetter is a successful wedding producer. But her education was in nonprofit administration and her passion and personal commitment was to philanthropy. In 2016, she created The Good Beginning, an online registry for contributing to charitable causes around the world. In addition to (or in lieu of) a traditional wish list of home essentials, couples can invite their guests to join them in supporting a worthy charity.

In an excerpt from an article she wrote for CNBC.com, Beth says:

I was inspired by the experiences I had while planning weddings in places like Bali, as well personal volunteering missions in Haiti, Nicaragua, Sumba Island and in Los Angeles. I had a strong sense that my clients, and others, may share my personal instincts to give back.

My business has let me marry my business experience with my personal passions while providing couples an outlet to support worthy causes in a way that is accessible, effective and impactful.

One thing I didn’t realize is how adding a social enterprise element to my business would become so essential to our brand, making our services more desirable to those who identified with our charitable mission. As a result, we’ve seen overwhelming growth and have had to adjust our business model for our main business.

People love to support businesses that align with their own values as well as business owners who are doing their part to make the world a better place.”

Reigniting passion is something all business owners must do on a regular basis, whether that’s something small each day, or something large and new each year. After working with so many top brands over the years, I’m excited to be reigniting, and reinventing my own passion for nurturing, curating and guiding companies through Brand Therapy. In late June I’m holding a very small trial workshop on the subject — call it Group Therapy, if you will — in Los Angeles at Warner Bros. Studios. There are still a few seats open. Give me a shout of why you’d like to be there and what you want to work on at liese@liesegardner.com

Here’s to renewal,

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