I Sell Sincerity, Just Like John Wayne

This is the John Wayne I remember

This is the John Wayne I remember

I’m not necessarily a fan of John Wayne but we do have something in common, besides our shared tallness. We both sell sincerity, in droves. He still sells it, from the great beyond, with a no nonsense tough guy reputation that resonates 35 years after his passing. As for me, I’m doing my damnedest to sell it here on Mother Earth.

Before we go any further, here is Wayne’s sincerity quote: “In my acting, I have to identify with something in the character. The big tough boy on the side of right – that’s me. Simple themes. Same me from the nuances. All I do is sell sincerity and I’ve been selling the hell out of that ever since I started.” — Time Magazine, June 1967

Consider another of his quotes: “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” It seems clear that he would have hated social media. But he had his talents to sell and a place to sell them, and I have mine.

As I try to sell my online and writing services, and work to produce content that “informs, influences, entertains and sells,” I reflect on this notion of not saying too much. It makes me work harder to be concise with my words, especially on social media, where people tend to get carried away and run off at the mouth. I used to be wordy, a fault that means a quick demise in the journalism world. Now my narrative is crisp, punchy and smart (jeez I hope that’s true). Every word and phrase must have a reason for being there.

I’m not trying to advertise what I do or how well I do it. I only mean to say that I try my best every day to maintain a high level of authenticity, in my personal life as well as my work life. I carry no airs about me and I make no promises that I can’t keep.

Which brings me to another Wayne quote: “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by.”

I work as I live: cleanly and honestly. I don’t lie, cheat or steal. Just the opposite. On the business side of things, I’m always looking for ways to be of value. If someone has helped me, especially without expecting anything in return, I try to at least give a “shout out” on LinkedIn or Twitter. Hopefully this nod of thanks helps their business, at least a little. It’s my way of saying ‘I appreciate what you did for me and I don’t forget favours.’

Sadly, I do forget names. I’m open about it, and I ask people whose face I recognize to remind me of their name and where we met. Often, they tell me that they forgot my name too, and I don’t have a problem telling it again.

Those that know me well will say the Erich you saw on the baseball diamond or at the networking meeting is the same Erich you’ll meet with a month from now at the coffee shop for business purposes. If you hear this about me, I think that’s pretty cool. I’ve never tried to be anything I’m not and I’ve always attempted to live my life in such a way that I wouldn’t have anything to hide nor be ashamed of.

“A man oughta do what he thinks is right.” Wayne said it and I abide by it. A former female colleague once told me I’m the most conscientious person she’s ever worked with. I asked what she meant. She said I was thorough and dedicated and never tried to take the easy way out. Those are kind words, and I think the very same about her, and about everyone on our team at the CBC Digital Archives website. That was the best journalism job I ever had.

About this idea of being thorough: it’s the reason I’m often reticent to start new projects. Sure, I can envision the success I’ll have in completing them. But I also know that I undertake every project with the idea of doing it right and doing it all the way, making sure there is no stone left unturned in the process.

But enough about me already. My next post will be about … well, not me.

I leave you with another Wayne-ism: “Words are what men live by… words they say and mean.” I try to never lose sight of this, plain and simple.

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