Category: Economy

Just give yourself a little Fresh PASSION as the Foundation
for Your ‘Fresh Branded Mansion’

While I was in college, I articulated my methodology for creating a successful personal brand (though at that time I hadn’t classified it into this brilliant acronym). I call it Fresh PASSION, a convenient acronym that stands for Preparing yourself, Aspiring to reach your goals, Staying laser-focused, Selling your value, Invigorating yourself, Omitting the negative, and Nailing the brand.

And of course, all the passion in the world won’t enable you to achieve success if you employ an outdated, stale approach to your career, your business or your college matriculation, which is why I make sure to put “Fresh” first! In addition, success is hollow if you do not share some of your good fortune with others, so once you nail your brand, it is time to share your success with others.

Here is a brief look at each of the nine phases that comprise Fresh PASSION:


What exactly does each of these terms mean? “Fresh” means doing something every day to enhance your brand so that it stays fresh—keeping your skills sharpened, packaging yourself well.


Preparing yourself” means continuing your education through classes, professional development, building and contributing to formal and informal networks, and simply maintaining an active intellectual interest and knowledge capital in your career and your life.


Aspiring to reach your goals” means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve your goals—aim at nothing and you’re guaranteed to hit it!

Staying laser-focused…

Staying laser-focused” means intently focusing on each area of Fresh PASSION, otherwise you’ll miss the mark and not deliver your brand.


Selling your value” means understanding your return on investment (ROI), having confidence in your fullest potential, and constantly searching for new opportunities that will help you meet, or even exceed, that potential.


Invigorating yourself” means having the tenacity and discipline to go the distance and secure your personal and professional success—fan the flame within and catch on fire!


Omitting the negative” means learning from the inevitable negative experiences you will encounter without dwelling on them or letting them consume the valuable real estate in your head—you have so much more ahead of you!


And last but surely not least, “Nailing the brand” means successfully packaging your substance (your core) up and putting a bow on it so that you become a fresh brand that can successfully compete and WIN internally and externally (even in this turbulent environment), which will enable you to achieve exponential personal and professional success.

Sharing Your Success…

The goal of exponential personal and professional success is not simply to give yourself a great life (though that is surely a key element!) but to help others enrich their lives and reach their potential as well. Once you have nailed your brand and are competing and winning regardless of the economic environment, it’s time to share some of your good fortune with family, friends and even strangers.

Fresh PASSION sounds great, Michael, but what if
I’m not 100% sure what I’m aiming for?

“Success” can be a vague concept. In general it means “doing well and getting what you want,” but unless you know what you want to do and toward what end, devising a success plan is a pointless endeavor. To help build a framework to support your Fresh PASSION activities, think of building a successful career as building a mansion (after all, buying a mansion is the ultimate symbol of success). What does your perfect mansion look like? What materials is it built from? Is there a solid foundation? How secure is the roof? How many acres is the lawn, and what type of landscaping is featured? Do you have carefully designed blueprints, or are you “winging” construction based on some general ideas and goals? Will you use classic architecture that never goes out of style, or something flashy and hip that will look dated in a few years? Do you warmly open your mansion to the company of others, or do you lock the doors tight and live like a hermit?

Achieving Your ‘Perfect Mansion’

Naturally, building your “perfect mansion” in this case is a metaphor for how you will build your perfect career. Your solid foundation is your passion for what you do, and your secure roof is the fresh approach you take that protects you from unpredictable changes in the economic “weather.” The size and landscaping of your lawn represents just how aggressive and widespread your goals are (“success” does not have to mean world domination!), and the phases of Fresh PASSION are solid building materials that ensure your mansion will not collapse under stress. Building a strong brand based on character and real value (rather than tailoring your brand to whatever is “hot” right now) is using classic architecture. And of course warmly opening your beautiful mansion to others represents sharing your success.

Greed Is Not Good – Fresh PASSION Is Much Better!

In the classic 1980s film “Wall Street,” the ruthless financial tycoon Gordon Gekko memorably states, “Greed is good.” As anyone who has seen “Wall Street” knows, Gekko ultimately winds up in disgrace, exposing the fallacy of these words. I don’t know if today’s real Wall Street titans have seen the film, but perhaps a special screening should be arranged.

Every time you turn on the news, it seems there is another report of a Wall Street institution that has accepted millions or even billions of dollars in federal bailout funds spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on things like Super Bowl luxury suites, lavish executive retreats, corporate jets, and seven-figure executive bonuses. Rather than pump this money back into the general economy through loans or investments, many Wall Street firms seem content to hoard it for selfish uses. This type of short-sighted greed is the antithesis of everything Fresh PASSION stands for.

Fresh PASSION ® (a phrase coined and trademarked by Michael D. Brown in his signature work Get a Brand or Die a Generic ®) is all about finding what you truly love and are best at doing, and then totally applying yourself to succeeding at it. The “A” in PASSION stands for “Aspiration,” but aspiration and greed are two very different concepts. Aspiration means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve your goals. Greed means blindly pursuing personal gain without any thought to the broader impact of your actions.

Beyond any ethical considerations, greed is also a poor long-term business strategy. In the short term, greedy people and corporations often do achieve success. But keep in mind that everything you do and say becomes part of your personal brand. Build your brand through lying, cheating and stealing and eventually you’ll be surrounded by liars, cheaters and thieves – not the kind of colleagues who can take you very far!

Wall Street firms who greedily squander bailout money will soon find themselves looking for more handouts from a decidedly less sympathetic federal government. Wall Street firms who use bailout money to help jumpstart the economy will profit from loan and investment interest, as well as build a positive brand reputation. Which firms are better positioning themselves for long-term success? If you honestly aren’t sure, maybe it’s time to rent a copy of “Wall Street” – all you really need to watch is the final scene.