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  • Writer's pictureMark

A Real Champion

During this most recent January holiday weekend, it was all about my youngest son's hockey tournament. It was a bit of a road trip, so planning and reserving a hotel was in order. The Pikes Peak tournament kicked off on Friday, at noon. A school day. The round-robin tournament games, played at four different arenas, were also on Saturday, Sunday, and early Monday, with the Championships games for the different ages later on Monday.

There was a lot of logistics to plan, organize, pack, reserve and consider. We decided our hockey player could miss school on Friday because he had gotten very good grades, and his mom and I wanted to reward him, as not all consequences are negative. Excellent grades, and placing his academics first throughout the year without any nagging from us, earned our trust.

His team played very well, and went through the 14U division earning top seed and a spot in the Championship game on Monday afternoon.

The reason we had this holiday weekend, and could play hockey on a Monday, was because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Like many, it isn't hard to look on the calendar and see the various Mondays of the year that are holidays, and be thankful and plan for the time off.

This hockey road trip was a mini-vacation from working hard on my branding business, and time to relax, get to know the other hockey parents and coaches better, and watch the kids skate hard and have fun at the pool during down time.

MLK was a selfless hero who fought for the rights of people of color. He was bold, yet peaceful. He stood up for what he believed in. He had a voice. He had no fear.

But it occurred to me that I should really take the time to actually think about and remember why we had this Monday off.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Baptist minister and social rights activist in the United States in the 1950s and '60s. He was a leader of the American civil rights movement. He organized a number of peaceful protests as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including the March on Washington in 1963 where he delivered his beautiful I Have a Dream speech. (from

MLK was a selfless hero who fought for the rights of people of color. He was bold, yet peaceful. He stood up for what he believed in. He had a voice. He had no fear. He gave a damn.

And for this, he paid the ultimate price.

I've recently begun to be bold with my visual identity and branding design and consulting agency and work with businesses who give a damn. It might sound crass. Maybe unprofessional. I'm fired up. I'm passionate about helping conscientious businesses and organizations who have a soul, who care about the impact they have on the community they are part of, find and attract their mission-minded, sustainably-sensible, purpose-driven tribes.

But as I get older, have growing kids and become wiser (and a bit jaded), I've decided to get off the sidelines and become more involved in what's going on around me and my family. I want to declare my values more as a human, while surrounding myself with responsible, like-minded people and businesses.

I give a damn about my personal impact, so why not weave that idealistic standard into my business identity? I want to speak up. I want to help be a part of the obvious change that needs to happen.

Give a damn. You know who you are.

Does your business's identity shout that you also give a damn about the place you occupy in the world? Does it need a refresh because maybe at one time your identity blended in with everyone else's and you played it safe?

Stand out from the crowd. Speak up to your perfect audience about what you believe in. Be bold.

My son's team ended up winning the 14U tournament. They are champions on a day we had off because Martin Luther King, Jr. was the real champion who really gave a damn. Let's not forget.

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