Yesterday the “greatest of all time,” Muhammad Ali, celebrated his 71st birthday. He is one of the most loved men in the world. Why is he so loved? Sure it’s because he’s the former undisputed heavy weight champion of the world, but it’s so much more than that.

Sure, talent matters, but LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Dan O’Brien and others are undoubtedly super talented athletes, but there’s something about Jesse Owens, Emmitt Smith, Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, even Lance Armstrong, in his now infamy, that draws us to want to believe everything they tell us.

Whatever “it” is, they believe it. The “it” factor is– they believe “it” themselves. If “it” is that they’re the greatest, they believe it, if it’s that they can fly, they believe it and they believe it so deeply, we believe it too.

and I find myself searching for clips of him on YouTube to catch a glimpse of the “greatest”. Muhammad Ali is the master of what John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing calls an astonishing guarantee.  He made such astonishing guarantees that were more than catchy rhymes, they were promises, it became his brand.

“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.” –Muhammad Ali

Sure there are athletes who make astonishing statements, but without the strength of character to back up what they’ve said, it doesn’t matter if they are great because so much about who they are contradict the hero we want them to be, the astonishing guarantee isn’t there.

“Champions aren’t made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them–a desire, a dream, a vision” –Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali spoke like the champion he was and it encompasses the legend he is now. His personal brand, his message, is demonstrated in the way he carries himself. Just as in marketing, when your message is more than just an intelligently crafted positioning statement, when your message is developed out of the character of your business and the promises on which you continue to over-deliver, your message will literally pull people into you.


I’m drawn to Muhammad Ali because how he strives to live speaks to the essence of how I strive to be in all aspects of my life, including my business. We may have different views in certain areas, but his respect and love for humanity is a compelling and magnetic message that speaks to the core of what I too believe.


“Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if just 10 percent of the people who believe in the power of love would compete with one another to see who could do the most food for the most people?” from The Soul of a Butterfly

When you choose to put the needs of others before your own everyday, when you strive to help others reach their goals and be better versions of themselves, when you’re at your happiest when you’re able to bring happiness to others and service is a way of life and not just a mission statement, in my eyes you are the greatest.

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