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Leaders are not able to convert their beliefs and values into a brand just by holding those values close to their heart. They must first understand what those values are internally, translate them into clear language, and then be bold and confident enough to express them. This three steps are not a process. They are a battle.

But here’s the good part. The difference between excellence and mediocrity is one’s willingness to do battle.

Most people may look at that statement and assume “battle” refers to skirmishes with competitors, with constraints internally or externally. But that’s not the case.

The battle is first and foremost within. It’s a battle between you and you. Good news is: you’re in control of it.

Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.

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