Twitter comeback kid Jack Dorsey has gotten more flack than respect lately, as critics are eager to stop him from comparisons to his idol, fellow double CEO Steve Jobs. One op-ed put it bluntly: "Comparisons between Dorsey and Steve Jobs are so overused they've become cliche."
Dorsey has tried to embody the Steve Jobs mythology like a modern-day Joseph Campbell, which has very likely helped him succeed twice over with Twitter and Square. In fact, you should be creating your own mythology. Here's why:
It drives you forward: As Twitter rose in popularity, Dorsey was unceremoniously kicked out of a company he helped found. The book Hatching Twitter argued that he began plotting to take over the company again to get his revenge, but it may have been simpler than that: His idol, Steve Jobs, went through a similar experience and then returned triumphantly to save Apple (sound familiar?). In other words, Dorsey knew that his fall from grace was part of a bigger, better narrative.
During your most difficult times, how do you know that you'll survive? For me, it is the belief that the story isn't over--that this will be another chapter in a series of many, a cliffhanger I'll linger on when I tell people about it years from now. In my hardest times, I knew that moment wasn't how the story was supposed to end.
It makes you distinctive: Gary Vaynerchuk is The Wine Guy. I'm the intimacy and technology guy. Your mythology should be the one thing you own that no one else can possess, a personal narrative that is unique, yet identifiable to others.
Consider Uber and Lyft--two transportation services that once seemed interchangeable, but now have voices and cultures as distinctive as their respective slick interfaces and pink mustaches. And, like any business, these two company cultures are outsized versions of their leaders. When people talk about my company, what do I want to be the first thing out of their mouths?
It is your brand: Things tend to fall apart when you don't have your story straight. The higher you rise, the less you'll be able to hide any contradictions you have between what you say and what you do. Creating a mythology is taking your core beliefs and crystalizing them into a narrative that reflects where you want to be. The grand idea then plants the seeds of the decisions you make today.
Your authenticity then comes through in your networking, while you connect online, in how you end projects--across the board. A unified idea of whom you are and what you want can save not only energy, but help save your brand itself. How can I create a narrative that reflects not only what I care about, but what I aspire to represent in the future?
So, what is your mythology?