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Ep 199: Creating Distinction in Your Personal Brand with Scott Mckain | Recap Episode

Listen to the episode below

In today’s special recap episode, Rory revisits his conversation with Scott McKain, one of the world’s leading thinkers on what it means to be distinct.

Tuning in you’ll hear Rory share his top three takeaways from their conversation and elaborate on why being distinct as a brand is reliant on your unique perspective.

Rory reflects on the fact that no one is loyal to ‘generic’ and discusses why it’s necessary to do tough internal work in order to identify and refine the core ideas that inform your personal brand and business.

Hear how Brand Builders Group is constructed to help entrepreneurs do meaningful internal work and why making a decision is the toughest part of taking action.

For all this and much more, tune in today!

Key takeaways from this episode

  • Rory shares his top three takeaways from his interview with Scott McKain.
  • How every conversation Rory has with Scott drives him to grow and move forward.
  • Why it’s so important to identify and refine the uniqueness of your brand.
  • Why you should be innovating to make your competitors irrelevant rather than spending your time being defensive.
  • How to do internal work by asking difficult questions and how to apply it to your brand and business.
  • You need to ask yourself what your unique perspective can bring to the world.
  • How Brand Builders Group uses pressure-free persuasion.
  • Why the decision of who and what you’re going to be is the toughest part of taking action.

Tweetable Moments

“No one is loyal to a generic, right? The concept of being generic is indistinguishable, like indistinct or un-unique, which means you are replaceable, it means you’re transferable, you’re interchangeable.” —  @roryvaden[0:03:38]

“Tell us what you’ve done. It’s why we say all the time that you are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were because you have walked down a path that gives you all the credibility.” — @roryvaden [0:05:26]

“Only you can give us your story about how you did it, only you can share with us your insights about what someone else needs to know to help them on that same journey.” — @roryvaden [0:05:46]

“What do I think has never been done before? What am I interested in learning? What am I interested in saying? What do I think people need? What do I think is missing from the world that I somehow feel uniquely called or equipped to serve? That’s innovating, right?” — @roryvaden [0:08:15]

“The decision to make it work is more important than the decision about what should I make work?” — @roryvaden [0:16:18]

About Scott McKain

Scott McKain is a globally recognized authority on how organizations and professionals create distinction to attract and retain customers — and stand out in a hyper-competitive marketplace. Scott’s recent book, ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Ultimate Level of Distinction,” was recently named on Forbes.com as a TOP TEN BEST BUSINESS BOOK for 2018. The first edition of his book, “Create Distinction: What to Do When ‘Great’ Isn’t Good Enough to Grow Your Business” was named by thirty major newspapers (such as the Miami Herald) as one of the “ten best business books of the year.”  

Scott’s expertise has been quoted multiple times in USA Today, the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and International Herald-Tribune. His commentaries were syndicated on a weekly basis for over a decade to eighty television stations in the U.S., Canada, and Australia – and he’s appeared multiple times as a guest on FOX News Network. Arnold Schwarzenegger booked him for a presentation at the White House with the President in the audience, and Scott played the villain in a movie named by esteemed critic Roger Ebert as one of the “fifty greatest movies in the history of cinema,” directed by the legendary Werner Herzog.  

With a client list that represents the world’s most distinctive companies – like Apple, SAP, Merrill Lynch, BMW, Cisco, CDW, Fidelity, John Deere and literally hundreds more – Scott McKain was honored with induction along with Zig Ziglar, Seth Godin, Dale Carnegie and just twenty more in the “Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame.” After thousands of presentations in all 50 states and 23 countries, he was honored with membership in the “Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.” 

Links Mentioned

Scott McKain

Scott McKain on LinkedIn

Scott McKain on Twitter

ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

Welcome back to the influential personal brand podcast, special recap edition. We are breaking down the interview with my longtime friend, Scott McCain. AJis not with me here today, so I’m rolling. Settle on this. And I, I love the conversation with Scott because over my career I’ve probably had, I don’t know, maybe maybe 15 or 20 conversations with Scott and like dedicated conversations and every single time I do, I feel like it moves me forward. Like it moves my understanding forward. I feel like there’s, there’s these really great insights that I have drawn. And so it’s fun to get a chance to share some of those with you coming off of this most recent interview, which was just, it’s just solid. I mean, he’s just got such solid expertise, such solid insights, such a great example and model of both someone who’s tremendous on stage, you know, the world world the hall of fame speaker designation and then just such a long track record and a career of, you know, diving in to this one topic area of distinction and helping companies create more distinction. So I think there’s a lot to learn from watching just excuse me, the way that Scott has built his career and, and modeling what he’s done in his own career to really carve out that expertise. But anyways, let me give you my, my three big takeaways in terms of what I heard, what I’m applying in my own life in my own career as part of our team at brand builders group. So number one, he said this, which is funny, cause I don’t, he’s probably said this before, but it’s one of those things where you go, ah, it doesn’t quite, you know, every time you hear it, you, you hear it differently. And this was just such a simple line. He said, no one is loyal to a generic, no one is loyal to a generic, right? Like the, the concept of being generic is, is indistinguishable, like indistinct un-unique, which means you are replaceable. It means you’re, you’re transferable, you’re interchangeable. There, there is no specific value or no specific thing that somebody can get from your brand that they can’t get from somewhere else. And I think this is one of the things that we talk about a lot at brand builders group. And it’s, it’s a big part of what separates our philosophy and strategy about, about branding and even like content. So our, our, we have 12 courses in our core curriculum, 12 events and in our phase one course, two it’s called captivating content. And we talk about extrapolating your uniqueness into a body of work. It’s extrapolating your ideas. And one of the things that people get so hung up on is is they, they think, oh, well, Bernay brown already said that. Or Tony Robbins already said that, or Stephen Covey says it this way or whatever, like pick your, pick your person, Seth Godin says it like this, or Simon Sinek or, you know, like it, they just, they rattle off or they, they, they, they think of, they think that what they say doesn’t matter because someone already said something like that, or somebody said something about it. Who was who, who is like, what more well-known than they are. But the whole way you become unique is sharing your viewpoint. It’s your opinion. It’s your story? It’s your path? What have you done? And, and I think one of the great mistakes, it’s, it’s not bad to quote other people here and there, but I don’t need you to tell me what so-and-so thought I can go read their book. I can go listen to them. Speak. What makes you irreplaceable is you sharing with me, with us, with the world, what you think and not even what you think, tell us what you’ve done. It’s why we say all the time that you are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were because you have walked down a path that gives you all the credibility. You need to speak to that person. And you know, everything you need to know to get past that problem or that obstacle that they are facing. And because only you can give us your story about how you did it. Only you can share with us your insights about what someone else needs to know, you know, to help them on that same journey. No one else is you. You know, AJ had these t-shirts printed for our company that says your uniqueness is your super power. And, you know, she believes so deeply in, in that. And, and she just draws that out of our think our team and our clients in such a beautiful way, because she’s always talking about you. Tell me about you. Tell me your stories. who are you? What do you believe? What do you know what you have been through? That is unique? I can’t get it anywhere else. I can’t get it in someone else’s video course. I can’t get it in a book. I can’t get it on any other YouTube channel. I can only get that from you. And that makes you irreplaceable. It makes you one of a kind. It, it, and, and yet, most people won’t do the deep work of figuring out what do they think? What do they believe? And then do the work of polishing it because they write that they write it off. They write themselves off as insignificant. They write their own experience, their own education, their own insights. They write them off as trivial or insignificant, and somehow over estimate, an overly weights or overly attribute the significance and the weight of other people’s opinions. But we can get those from them. We can’t get you. We can’t get yours from anyone except you. So no one is loyal to a generic either. That was, I was so good. Relatedly, I definitely had never heard Scott share this quote, which apparently is from the CEO of Fairmont. And I loved this. And he said, every moment that I was playing defense against the competition, wasted a moment where I could be innovating to make them irrelevant every moment where I was playing defense against the competition, wasted a moment where I could have been innovating to make them irrelevant. That’s so good. And again, it’s the same thing of like setting your strategy or doing things in your company based upon what other people are doing and going, I want to emulate, and I want to form what I do based on what others are doing either, because I want to be like them, or I want to be different from them, but it’s using the external orienting your strategy based around in an external dynamic, an external force, an external figure, an external company versus just going, what do I want to do? What do I think would be awesome? What do I think would be cool? What do I think has never been done before? What am I interested in learning? What am I interested in saying, what do I think people need? What do I think is missing from the world that I somehow feel uniquely called or equipped to serve? That’s innovating, right? Innovating. Isn’t going, let me look at what everybody else is doing. And somehow try to like, do something different or better than them. At least not. In my opinion, innovating is going deep inside and saying, how could I do this better? What, what would make this better? What do I think the world needs more of? How could we deliver this in a way that would make it better for our customers, for our team, not what does so-and-so do? What does my competition to, whatever everyone else around me doing, what is the state and the trend of my industry or the world it’s, it’s like, it’s going internally again and, and innovating. And when you do that, you make them, you make other competition irrelevant, not from the standpoint of like, we’re so much better than you than know that nobody needs you. Although maybe that maybe the CEO did mean it that way. But I think of it as like, they’re irrelevant because they can’t get the same experience from other people that they can get from you because you’re not looking at what they’re doing and trying to emulate it or do the same thing they’re doing. You’re doing it your way. And the only place that someone can come get it your way and authentically your way from the original source is from you. Because you’re the only person who does that. You’re the only person who offers that. So why not lean into that? Why not own that? Why not rest in that? Why not settle in that? Why not establish and plant your foundation in that it makes you uncopiable. It’s doing things the way that you would do them. And, and it’s just listening to your own instinct, your own intuition, your own beliefs of going, this is how I would do this. This is how I would say this. You know, we’re I had been working on one of our courses, a new courses called pressure-free persuasion. And it’s about, you know, it’s about sales effectively. I mean, there are so many books written on sales. Like it’s unbelievable. I mean, there’s so many people who talk about sales. Why would I go, I’m going to create a book on sales. Is it, is it because I think I’m going to say things about sales that have never been said before, not necessarily, but I do think that I have things to say about sales and selling and the, and the way that selling should be done, that is markedly different from how other people would describe it. And I know AJ has philosophies that have what she does, which is very different. She does things that you would read in the bestselling, the, what you would read in the best selling sales books of all time. And AGA would say, that’s stupid advice. That’s terrible. I would never do that. I would never say that to my customer and is going, you can’t get that from anywhere, except her from here from our team, like that is our uniqueness. It’s, it’s what we’re saying. What the way we would say it is different. Now are the principles the same? In some cases they are, in some cases they’re radically different, but it doesn’t matter. It’s it’s doing it the way you would do it saying it the way you would say it, being it the way you want to be it. And when you do that, you’re uncomparable, you’re unique. You’re distinguished, you’re different. You have natural differentiation, not, not artificial manufactured differentiation, because it’s coming from you inside the source. And every moment that you are spending time, you know, comparing it to the way someone else does it, or using that as the, as the primary or the sole basis for how you do it is a moment you’re not, you’re not digging in and listening and praying about and thinking about and meditating on and, and just hearing like what the spirit says to you about how you could do it. And you move in that way because they can’t get it anywhere else. They can’t get it anywhere else. But there’s a lot of people who can teach, you know, StrengthFinders. There’s a lot of people who can teach the seven habits of highly effective people. They’re whatever they’re certified, but when you’re building your personal brand and those things aren’t bad, that’s great. There’s value. There’s a lot of value to those things. They’re well-established, but the thing they can’t get anywhere else is what do you believe about productivity? What do you believe about sales? What do you believe about marriage or dating or relationships or leadership or entrepreneurship or fitness or health or diet, or like, whatever your thing is that makes you uncomfortable, but it’s doing the work then of listening to that and then owning it and then, and then doing the work of polishing it and not just sharing random half-baked thoughts, but actually developing it and refining it and working it, all these things that we take you through and captivating content to help you go, okay. So let’s, let’s sharpen your ideas. Let’s make clear what your ideas are. Let’s, let’s tighten them, let’s shape them. Let’s poke holes in them, let’s test them and then let’s come out with something that is beautiful that no one else could ever say, because it’s completely tied to you. Which leads me to my, my third takeaway from Scott and this whole conversation was where he said, it’s the decision is the toughest part, the decision about what you’re going to own and who you’re going to be is the toughest part. And I agree with that. I think one of the things that we wrote in the take the stairs book, which made me think about this, I haven’t thought about this in years, even though it’s in that book is that we spend too much of our time trying to make the right decision. And instead we should spend more of our time making a decision and then making it right. And what that means is too often, we sit around kind of like trying to do this universal calculus of like, what’s the right move for me to make. And I don’t want to make the wrong move. And we, we think that it’s kind of like we have to choose the right path. And we try to assess based on whatever, some scoring criteria or set of factors and to go like, oh, what’s, what’s the, what’s the right path for me. And I want to make sure I take the right path versus kind of instead, just like taking a general look and going, okay, well, this is generally the way I’m going to go. You know, and I’m going to take out my, my machete and I’m going to chop down the wood and the twigs and the branches. And I’m going to just kind of make the path like this is the path I choose. I’m gonna make this my path. I’m going to make it right. And, and this is such a, such a simple, but, but profound decision point in your career. Because again, if you’re choosing, if you’re waiting for the perfect path, you’re waiting for it’s, it’s based upon the idea that you could choose the wrong path, right. And you know, there are certainly bad decisions you can make, especially in your personal life, right? There are poor decisions you can make that will have consequences, but when it comes to like setting your strategy, I think less of it is about going, oh, what’s the perfect path. And it’s more of going like, okay, let’s make a general consideration of what I’m good at what I like doing the people around me, the skills I have, the skills I don’t, the market, et cetera. And then picking a path and dominating it and saying, this is what I’m going to do. And I’m going to make it work like that, that the decision to make it work is more important than the decision about what should I make work, the decision to make it work is more important than a decision about what should I make work. That’s where we got to get to is, is just going like, okay, this is the path I’m going to make it work. I think about brand builders group, right? And like, we could do all these things we could do. We could do masterminds and we could do live events and we could do video courses and we could do monthly membership sites. And we could do keynote speaking. We could do consulting. Like we could do all of these things. But from when we started the company, we said, we’re going to do one-on-one coaching for personal brands. We feel like that’s something that not a lot of people do. If they do it, they don’t do it at scale. If they do it, they don’t have a lot of curriculum or structure behind it. And there’s not a bunch of people out there in the market doing it, you know, so was this, and we know how to do one-on-one coaching, not in the personal brand space. We’d never done that before, but, but we didn’t know something. We had built a coaching company before. Right. And that’s where AJ and I, and a lot of our team came from is we had some knowledge and said, this is what we’re going to do. And, and we said, our goal is a thousand messengers. We’re going to find 1000 personal brands that we’re going to work with on a one-on-one basis every single month. And we’re going to go get a thousand messengers. And we just had our three-year birthday. And interestingly enough, we just crossed 300 active members. I just got the notification this morning, we’re at 301 active members. We’re making progress. Like we’re on the path. Isn’t because we chose the right path. I mean, there’s something to be said for the fact that we chose something that we thought we could do that we thought we could be good at that maybe there wasn’t a bunch of other people do it, but there’s lots of coaching companies out there. There’s lots of people who do one-on-one coaching in, in, in the personal brand space. It’s more because we made a decision and made the D and then, and then said, we’re going to make it right. And this, this happens with choosing your business model. I think this happens with choosing like what’s the right social media platform to be on. And this certainly has, has this certainly applies to what topic do you choose to talk on? There’s not a perfect topic. There’s not something written in the universe that if you, if you select the right one, then you’ll hit the jackpot and your personal brand is going to succeed. It’s more about just choosing one and going all in on that one problem, all in on that one message all in on that one uniqueness. And you, because, because when you have diluted focus, you get diluted results. And being clear is greater than being clever. And, and it’s like making a decision and making it right is more important than making the right decision. So it’s the decision, that’s the toughest part. And I think what makes it hard as we’re trying to assess, what’s the perfect decision instead of just going, all right, I’ve taken a general account for some factors. This is the decision and boom, I’m going at it. I’m running at it. I’m chasing it down. I’m knocking it down. I’m getting the machete out. If I have to. And I’m cutting down trees and weeds, but I’m going, I’m not just looking for the easy path. I’m not looking for the perfect path and not looking for the path that other people do or don’t do. I’m looking for my path and I’m going to decide it. And I’m going to make a way, and I’m going to figure it out. And maybe that’s what you need to do today. Maybe that’s where you are at. But this whole conversation from one of the world’s leading thinkers on distinction, Scott McCain, it all pointed. At least me back. It all pointed me back to the idea that you gotta dig deep inside. You gotta, you got to go internal and figure out what you want to be and who you want to be. And if you need help with that, you should call us because we’re really, really good at it. So I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you do request a call with our team if you haven’t yet. And at some point we get to meet you, but yeah, more than anything, I hope that whatever your path is today that you make a decision and then you make it right, that you, you choose a path and then you make it the winning path. And we’ll catch you next time on the influential personal brand.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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