You probably know Robin Roberts as the warm, relatable and ever-positive co-host of “Good Morning America” who rose in recognition following her public battle with breast cancer. But, unless you’ve researched her further, you probably don’t know a whole lot more about her backstory. At last week’s Salesforce Connections in Atlanta, Roberts shared her career climb, challenges and lessons during a candid keynote address. As she spoke, I couldn’t help but notice: Roberts’ story isn’t unlike the story of a successful business.
I know it sounds a little crazy, but bear with me.
Here are four things you and your brand can learn from Roberts.
1. Be Flexible
Seeing Roberts’ today, bursting with charisma and confidence, you’d never guess there was ever a point in which she didn’t have a hard-lined path. But as a child, Roberts dreamed of competing at Wimbledon and in the Olympics. But while she recognized she was good, she also recognized she didn’t have what she needed to go pro. So she pivoted. Instead of pursuing a career as an athlete, she instead pursued a career in sports journalism-a choice that eventually led her to cover both Wimbledon and the Olympics.
As a business, you have to be ready to pivot. If things aren’t working as they are-perhaps your service is becoming outdated or your audience is drying up-you must be prepared to explore other opportunities to achieve sustainable business growth.
2. Surround Yourself with the Right Crowd
Roberts explained that one of the most critical aspects of her success is her commitment to surround herself with like-minded, positive people. She seeks out people who lift her up and distances herself from those who undermine her dreams.
As an entrepreneur, it’s imperative you get in with the right crowd. Whether your business is a fledgling startup or established corporation, there will always be people telling you something can’t be done. The best you can do is ignore them, and find people who support your dreams and your business growth.
3. Be Patient and Persistent
After graduating college, Roberts applied to many jobs. She was offered a few full-time positions, but none of them aligned with her career goals of sports journalism. Instead, she accepted a part-time job with a local news station, and then a position covering local sports in Atlanta. Her patience and persistence eventually led her to a 15-year career with ESPN and, of course, “Good Morning America.”
Often, we expect that by doing the right things, success will come quickly. And if we don’t experience positive results immediately, we abandon our attempts. This is especially true when it comes to marketing campaigns. But by exercising patience, persistence and re-strategizing as necessary, success is inevitable.
4. Be Authentic
In 2005, ABC assigned Roberts to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Roberts accepted without question-she hadn’t heard from her mother and sister, who lived in New Orleans, and wanted to find them. After making sure her family was safe, she proceeded with her broadcast. At the end, an anchor asked if her family was OK, and Roberts began to cry. She was worried, at first, fearing she was showing too much emotion on air. But her response struck a chord with viewers. Her raw emotion was something nearly everyone could relate to, and gave her, and ABC, a layer of authenticity.
Much like her battle with breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), Roberts has a knack for transforming her personal struggles into a shared journey. “Make your mess your message,” she says.
As a business, revealing your struggles can seem mortifying. But, in reality, it can humanize your brand. Whether it’s owning up to a mistake or sharing wisdom gained from a difficult experience or failure, making your mess into a message can help earn your audience’s trust and loyalty, and create a more positive brand reputation.
Today, Robin Roberts is a shining example of success-the quintessential self-made woman. But she didn’t reach these achievements overnight. By remaining flexible, surrounding herself with champions of success, being patient and persistent and sharing her authentic side, Roberts continues to triumph. And by following these examples, your brand can, too.
It’s time to be real with your customers and show you’re listening to what they want. Learn more about the people behind the email addresses with a free trial of InstantData today!