“If you don’t like the word history, substitute reputation.” We often suggested that to prospects and clients in the early years of CorporateHistory.net. Some 18 years later, it’s truer than ever. Building a great brand or reputation—a history—can take years. Destroying one can take just moments. Ask Will Smith! Ironically, his 2021 memoir Will (written with Mark Manson) is excellent. I’m glad I read it before Smith self-destructed at the Academy Awards. (That’s an ancient story. See the myth of Icarus, whose wings melted when he flew too close to the sun.)
This piece of advice resonated: “It is so painful when people I care about miss the opportunity to elevate. … Whether they don’t see the grander vision, or can’t take the heat of the fresh challenge, or they’re trapped by some hidden, self-defeating narrative, over and over I have suffered the pain of waving from the bow of the new ship as they’re left behind, standing on the shore.” Yes, we’ve had the same experience with a few prospects and creative partners. But only a few, thankfully. The rest have made the history journey and remain grateful for it.
Later in the book, Smith adds: “Our minds abhor abstraction—from the beginning of time, humans have used character and story to make sense of the mystery of life. What we call memory and imagination are essentially just stories that we program into our minds as a survival mechanism to protect ourselves and to help us thrive. We need our lives to mean something.” CorporateHistory.net is honored to have helped dozens of companies, organizations, and business founders tell their stories and make meaning of their existence.