I was out for a morning walk with Peggy today when a gentleman approached asking if he could pet my dog. I said he absolutely could, but beware of her vicious licks. He laughed at my remark, as he crouched down and began to pet her. As he did, I noticed a large ROLLINS tattoo on his forearm.
I have always been a fan of Henry Rollins’ work. He’s a likeable, sensible, talented guy. His earliest band, Black Flag, was certainly a big part of the soundtrack to much of my youth. I always get a little excited when I meet a fellow “grown up” who is a kindred spirit, so I asked him about the tattoo.
I exclaimed, “You have a Rollins tattoo! Cool.”
”Ya,” he replied, “I’m a songwriter and really dig his stuff.”
“You must be a big Black Flag fan?” I asked.
“No, not really.” He replied while continuing to rub on Peg.
“Oh, Rollins Band then?” I inquired.
“No, I don’t really like his music much. I love his writing though, I’m a huge fan of it.”
We both aren’t wrong. Henry Rollins was an amazing singer and frontman as he is an author. But I found this moment awkward because of how we both enjoy the same guy for different talents.
This got me thinking about personal brands and how we can be different things to different people. I sometimes get stuck in my own head thinking about my brand as it applies to my work. By being too many things, I fear this fogs my brand leaving people wondering what it is I do. It’s especially important that everyone knows what I do, so they recommend me or hire me. I am self-employed, so this is crucial.
Rollins is a singer, he’s a poet and an author. He is a photographer and a spoken word artist. He’s an actor, radio broadcaster, record label owner. Rollins is many different things to many different people and he makes his living from all of it combined.
Maybe I should cool the inner thinking and instead focus on my life work. This ramble has me inspired to focus on a new project that has been on my backburner for a bit. Time to shift gears a tad, but also not to forget what feeds my family.
“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.” - Henry Rollins.