Your business brand is your reputation. It’s what helps you stand apart from your competitors. Your brand is what you stand for, what your business stands for and the values you uphold. It creates an image that you are perceived by.
Do you have a reputation for kindness? Or do you have a reputation for competition, for winning no matter what?
In December 2012 a rare public act of kindness occurred. The occasion was a cross country race in Burlada, Navarre. Leading runner Abel Mutai, the bronze medalist in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the London Olympics, was set to win. But ten meters from the finish line, he suddenly slowed down. He thought that he had already finished, and his strength was spent.
Mutai’s nearest competitor, Iván Fernández Anaya, was coming up behind him. Anaya had been behind Mutai all day and knew there was no way that he was catching up to him. Now he had a chance. If he pushed himself, he could overtake Mutai and win the race. So what did he do?
He pushed onward and ran right up to Mutai – but he did not pass him. Instead Anaya pointed Mutai to the finish line and allowed him to win the race. Anaya said, “He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake.”
In the world of competitive sports, mistakes are costly. A simple mistake can cost a the championship. As spectators we have seen it again and again. One person or team makes a mistake, and the other side takes advantage to win. This time the opponent did not take advantage. Instead he chose to honor his competitor’s endurance and guide him to the win.
What can we learn from this event? We don’t always have to win. In life and business, it can be easy to think that you have to take every advantage that you have to succeed. That’s not the case. Sometimes it pays more to show kindness and not exploit a mistake. As you develop your brand, cultivate an image of kindness. You don’t have to put down competitors to succeed. Instead foster a community of support and encouragement.
Remember Iván Fernández Anaya and his simple act of kindness. He said: “I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I won.” Be known as a person or business that shares kindness and helps others when they need it. It’s a reputation that will stay with you.