Today, pursuing wealth comes with a lot of judgment. Ever since Michael Douglas' character, Gordon Gekko said, "Greed is good," in the movie Wall Street, society's been focused on the negatives of being rich. At the most extreme, wealthy people are often portrayed on screen and in print as narcissistic, soulless, and out of touch with humanity. And, the media loves to spotlight when wealthy people do bad things. It's a way to reinforce the stereotype. However, while it's well-documented becoming rich can lead to actions that are deplorable, there are others focused on spotlighting the good that can come from pursuing wealth.
Like, Mark Cuban...
"Being rich is a good thing. Not just in the obvious sense of benefiting you and your family, but in the broader sense. Profits are not a zero sum game. The more you make, the more of a financial impact you can have."
As Cuban so simply explains, creating wealth to help you and your family is a noble and important goal. So is creating extreme wealth so you can use it to change the lives of others. If you have the capacity to become richer, why not? It would enable you to be more generous too. That said, if you choose this path and are in the spotlight, personal branding around how you use your wealth for good is equally important.
That's why Cuban is honest about his thoughts on philanthropy:
"I'm not a fan of giving to charities... I have a few I support, but the overhead and inefficiencies really bother me.
Instead, I pay people's bills and help solve problems. I don't know the total or if it's a lot or a little, but I think I'm able to more readily and directly help people who need it and not pay for the commercials and administration of all the duplication that exists across charities."
Whether you agree with his strategy or not doesn't matter. At least he's taking control of the conversation and being clear about how he chooses to impact others. Which leads to the secret to smart personal branding...
Personal Branding Is About Revealing Values & Beliefs (Knowing Not Everyone Will Agree With Them)
One of the biggest lessons we learn in life is we can't please everyone. However, what many people fail to understand is there's power in being honest about your views of the world so that those with similar views can align with you. Just as you can't get everyone to like you, you don't have to like everyone. Knowing this, ask yourself, "What am I doing to make my beliefs known so that the right people can find me?" As you climb in your career and become more visible (and possibly, more wealthy), personal branding is the way you can articulate your thoughts and define your views. The more you share, the easier it is for the people you want to work with to know and trust you.