Your brand story starts with 'why'

My friend Ben once sent me an email: "Have you seen Trombone Player Wanted?" He was referring the film by acclaimed author Marcus Buckingham. Marcus has created an empire of empowerment since I first saw him speak at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Convention in Cleveland in the summer of 2006.

That convention was where I met Andy Stefanovich, and had dinner with the then-Mayor of Detroit. That was when ACCE had asked me to help give out sales awards and introduce sales expert Hal Becker. That was the year the welcome reception at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame turned into a karaoke showcase on the big stage.

6 years ago? Feels like yesterday. Being in the right place and meeting the right people at the right time can change your life. Problem is, we never know where these intersect.

In the summer of 2012, the intersection for many chamber of commerce professionals was at the ACCE Convention in Louisville. Any time the exhibitors are as insightful as the keynote speakers, it's a great experience.

Many of the 1,000 attendees were just finding out that I had recently left the employ of my chamber and taken the next step in my career, no, life... getting back to my strengths. This path started long ago, perhaps with Marcus or Andy or the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or Trombone Player Wanted.

When you open yourself up to new opportunities, you may just find your strengths aren't what you were once told they were. Great leaders allow their people to be their greatest asset; they don't just talk about it.

Empowering your people--or yourself--starts with a story, and the story starts with why.