Project: Northstar

Who I am. What I do. Why I work. How I live. This is the John Gorman Brand Platform.

Yesterday I asked myself (in the form of Facebook post):

When you take it all away, the fame and the notoriety, the money and the possessions, the accomplishments and the missteps, the kids and the pets, the husbands and wives, your god and your country, your family and friends, your job and your hobbies, your health and your wealth … When it’s all ripped away (and it will all be ripped away) … can you sit with yourself? Can you look at yourself in the mirror and not want to break the glass?

For what you are is not the sum total of what you have, but the sum total of how you feel. How do you feel? Did you climb every mountain? Open each door? Did you wake up with the crows and sleep with the owls? Did you stay true your values? Do you even have values? Did you create a world you could love under all your creations?

Was it enough to beat back your delusions of inadequacy? Enough to earn your keep? Enough to warm your soul before your body turns cold?

I hope so.

Heavy stuff with unclear answers.

I’m plenty accomplished in my 32 years of gallivanting around this rock, but much of that journey has been remarkably haphazard — a collection of journeys that meandered in a general direction of wherever felt appropriate (and occasionally inappropriate) at the time. I’ve toggled between personality types, sometimes over the course of a months-long evolution and occasionally from hour-to-hour, on a day-to-day basis. There was no guiding force for my actions beyond what I’ve previously been and whether or not I wanted to stay true to it.

I have a day job in Branding. It is my duty to ensure that the company I work for carries out its business and makes people feel the way we want it to and the way it should. I have never attempted such an exercise on a personal level.

I started this piece about two months ago and rolled out bits of it in a canon of 14 pieces posted to this very site. I named it “Project: Northstar” because it’s all about finally finding my aim and my bearings.

I had a good set of sharpies, a spiral notebook and fits and spurts of spare time, so I took inventory of who I’ve been up until now, who I’m striving to become and applied some 360 feedback from a cross-section of people close to me. Together, this helped me cobble together something resembling a personal brand platform — something I can use to gauge whether or not I can sit with myself when it’s all ripped away except my thoughts and memories. Without further adieu, this is the roadmap to my tomorrow.

Brand Vision

To be a builder, a maker, a creator who strives for excellence. To live well and swing for the fences. To eat, sleep and breathe storytelling. To write words and music to move the masses.

Brand Mission

Be good. Be well. Be interesting.

Brand Essence


Brand Promise

Allocate as much time and capital possible doing and creating super-cool shit with super-cool people.

Brand Pillars

Health. Wealth. Happiness. Integrity. Altruism.

Brand Attributes

Ambitious. Creative. Charismatic. Empathetic. Fit. Joyous. Thoughtful.

Brand Tagline

Always be happy. Never be satisfied.

Brand Commandments

  1. Create value.
  2. Say “fuck yes” or “no.”
  3. Challenge yourself.
  4. Ask for what you want.
  5. Expand your skill-set.
  6. Tell your story well.
  7. Live clean.
  8. Break a sweat.
  9. Have fun out there.
  10. Cut the bottom 20%.

Want help creating yours? Get at me here.

Written by

Essayist and storyteller on life, liberty and the battle for happiness. Several million served. Words at Human Parts, Forge and PS I Love You. IG: heygorman

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