The 365 Commitment

Using the Bully Pulpit

There are probably two characters this last century that used the Bully Pulpit to drive their agenda. Both of them had ambitions to clear out the Riff Raff in American Politics. Teddy Roosevelt and Donald Trump. Now history looks a lot more favorably on Mr. Roosevelt. Interesting that one was president in the early 1900s and the other was President in the early 2000s. Regardless of how we feel about either personality, the one thing we have to agree with is how effective it was. TR gained favor over time, but there was a time when he was hated by a lot of people, especially within his own Republican party. I suppose there are a lot of similarities there as well!

Anyway, I am not writing this blog to talk about either former President. What I am thinking through is using opportunities where we have them to send a strong and consistent message to people within our influence. First question to ponder, do you have people in you influence? You may not realize this, but you actually do. Quite a few actually. In every aspect of their lives there are people you interact with and talk with. What is the message you are sending them either deliberately, or in inadvertently? People are getting a message from you – whether you like it or not – every interaction, every discussion, every conversation people are getting a message from you. Is it the message that you want to send? So believe me, you have an audience, even if you do not immediately recognize that.

Second thought to consider. Why was the Donald and Teddy so effective? I mean these were both rather obnoxious men that were considered outsiders in their day in age. You could argue that Teddy was more altruistic in his nature, but the one thing they had in common was the simple, effective and very consistent message they delivered at every opportunity. They would change what they were working on, certainly, but once they did you knew it. That is because every time you heard from them you would hear the same message repeated and covered until they got what they wanted. This is a powerful trait, even though we might consider it annoying. There is absolutely one thing for certain, neither of these two Presidents will ever be forgotten. McKinley got assassinated but no one even remembers what he looked like, but almost everyone knew that Teddy Roosevelt wore glasses and kacky pants. Every one knows what Donald Trump looks like, there is no debating that. I doubt most people even remember the names of most of the Presidents of the last 100 years, but those two, forever implanted in our culture.

They used the bully pulpit of the Presidency extremely well. We can also use whatever pulpit we are granted extremely well, but we have to stay on message. Consistent, disciplined and focused. That is why people like Trump or the Roosevelts were so darn successful in life. They are insanely focused on what they are trying to accomplish. Many people will call that greedy, self serving, manipulative. Or you could call it dedicated, passionate, and disciplined. Either way, people who stay on message tend to get what they want. So the next question to ponder, do you stay on message?

Most of us rattle around our days and weeks like a plastic bag being blown around by the wind. We go to one topic and then another controlled by the influences of other agendas. There is no doubt in my mind that there was not a single person on this planet that could influence Donald Trump on what message he was focused on. If they did not agree with him, he fired them. The White House was a revolving door of people that all thought they could influence the Donald’s thinking. Good luck with that. The man has no other way to behave then then focusing on the current issue, problem, or project he is working on. He is one of the perfect examples of the individual power one can gain by staying consistently on message. So powerful that the majority of Americans thought of him as a laughable side show, right up until the point he became a serious contender for the Presidency. Why? The message was consistent, simple, and powerful.

There are hundreds of other examples. Some of the best marketers in the advertising business have learned this time and time again. Any attention is good attention and when you get it, have a consistent message. This is such a powerful concept around personal power over your own challenges in life that you cannot forget it. You can, you must, figure out what message you want to deliver, and then consistently, ad nausea, stay on message with any and all people you influence. By so doing, you will have an impact. It is amazing when it happens, but happen it will. The people you influence will have an effect on the other people that surround you and pretty soon you will hear that message being echoed back to you. I have ran experiments in my own company with this. I start saying a certain thing, repeatedly to everyone that I can, and in about 3 – 4 weeks time, I will hear other people start to use the same phrase. They do not even know why they are using the phrase – they just heard it and it sounded appropriate, so they adopted it. The same thing happens with ideas. Ideas are extremely powerful when you are consistently and repeatedly on point with them.

Guy Reams

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