Alina Wheeler has a doppelgänger named Blake Deutsch
Today’s guest is Alina Wheeler, best known as the author of Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, now in its fifth edition. One of my favorite memories of this book is seeing it on a desk when I arrived to my first day on the job at Labbrand, where I worked in Shanghai. I already knew the book, but seeing it in use, so far from home—that’s when I really understood how influential of a book it is. In fact, it’s been translated into Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, French, and other languages—and it’s used by brand, marketing, and design teams, undergraduate and graduate students, and brand and business consultancies all over the world.
I wanted to get an idea of why Alina wrote the book and what she was doing beforehand (around 2003). Along with being an author, she’s a designer with over 40 years of experience working with teams in the public and private sector. She’s led the development of integrated brand identity programs, sales and marketing strategies, and design and communications systems.
I was excited to have the opportunity to talk to Alina about her career, the book she’s created, and what the future holds for Designing Brand Identity. During the conversation, I learned that there will be a sixth edition but she won’t be the author (!!!), how she gets case studies and quotes for the book, and the true identity of the mysterious Blake Deutsch. (It’s hilarious—listen to find out.)
Toward the end of the conversation, I asked Alina whether there’s anything she’d like to support and ask that others check out, and she talked about Simon Charwey, a brand identity designer and anthologist on indigenous African design systems and African symbology. Simon’s work includes the African Logo Design book, a compendium of 1,000 unique symbols inspired by indigenous African design systems, symbols, and culture. And off the air, Alina also mentioned Certified B Corporations, something else she’s passionate about and recommends everyone checks out.
I found the conversation both enlightening and inspiring, and I hope you do too. To learn more about Alina and Designing Brand Identity, visit designingbrandidentity.info. Of course, the book is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Alina’s also active on Twitter and Instagram.
Below, you’ll find the full transcript of the episode (may contain typos and/or transcription errors).
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ALINA WHEELER EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
ROB MEYERSON: Alina Wheeler, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.
ALINA WHEELER: I’m really thrilled to be part of this. Thank you for the opportunity to meet you and to meet your listeners.
R: So, the first edition of your book, Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, came out in 2003. So, what were you doing prior to 2003? What was your career like and what was it that led you to write this book?
A: Well, I was a partner in a design firm, that solved a number of complex brand and identity problems for some really amazing clients in a whole variety of sectors—banks to biotechs, foundations to family-owned businesses, city services to cultural landmarks. And I wore many hats from the design director to the business development person to the project manager. And as projects got bigger and the stakes got larger, we needed to spend a lot more time educating our clients about the fundamentals. You know, why rebrand? Why is design important? Why should I make this investment?
So, at the time, most of the CEOs that I worked with didn’t have MBAs, had never studied marketing, certainly did not understand the power of design. They were lawyers and engineers.
A: And so I realized that I wanted to, number one, demystify branding for them, give them a disciplined process. And demonstrate that there was a big ROI.
So, you know, why did I really write the book? I really wrote because it didn’t exist. I wanted it on my shelf. Yeah. And the speed of a big project.
R: I love that idea. I love that as a motivation to write a book, and the same thought has occurred to me, I should say. I think just feeling like there is something that should exist and then not being able to find it is sort of a good enough motivation to write it, but in this case, and hopefully in most cases, this proved to be maybe even more useful than you expected to lots of people, not just your prospective clients, but designers and brand strategists all over the world. So now, you know, now 17 years later, how do you hope people will use the book? What is your intent for when people buy this? Are they supposed to read it front to back? Or is it a reference that sits on a shelf?
A: No, this is not War and Peace. You know, I love the thing that Woody Allen said about speed reading. He said, “I took a speed reading course. I read War and Peace. It was about Russia.” But that’s getting off the [inaudible], isn’t it. It’s for anyone that is about to embark on the branding process whether they’re on the creative team or on the leadership team. And it’s for people who are really, really busy and they don’t have the time to read 400 pages on usability testing. Or another 600 pages on market research. They don’t have the time. And what I’ve found with really smart people, if you can provide kind of the essence of what they need to know—the headlines—they can move forward and be more successful.
And, and that’s really what I care about is that people would trust the process. And when they trust the process, I believe regardless of what business they’re in, that they will achieve remarkable results.
R: Yeah, one of the things I love about the book is that it’s good also for reminding yourself of things. So, some of these things are, even for those of us, with some experience, it’s not that we’ve never done a usability testing or included it in a project, but maybe it’s not something we do every week. And so, having a really quick way to flip to a page and just get a quick refresher is another really nice use for the book.
A: I’m really happy that you made that point because I will never ever forget going—and I won’t name the company, but—I remember meeting with a director of marketing and my book was on their table. And it had like 30 Post-it Notes in it. I was kind of astonished, like, look at all the work you’ve done. You know, you’ve done some really important responsible work. You understand the relationship between strategy and design and what she said is, “You know, it just reminds me, it reminds me to kind of stick to the basics and not get ahead of everyone that I’m talking to.”
A: So that was a great compliment.
R: So, like I said, you wrote it in or it published in 2003. I understand I had a different subtitle back then, but the, the title was still Designing Brand Identity. You wrote a second edition of it that came out three years later. So. Was that your intent? I mean, did you know going in, “I’m going to update this every few years”? Because I should say you’re now on the fifth edition. So, what made you decide to come out with another edition and how do you know when it’s time that you need to start working on a new one?
A: Yeah, well, you know it’s time because basically everything in the world starts to change really quickly around you. So the first edition, I mean, imagine this: websites were glorified brochures. There were no smartphones. There were no apps. People really didn’t talk about content. People didn’t talk about experience and the hot—I hate to say “hot new brand”—but the brand that really had a spotlight on it as being very forward looking was BP. And, you know, so that was before the big oil spill.
R: So, it was before the oil spill, but that was after the Landor rebrand with the yellow, green flower. Okay. The Helios.
R: That was a big deal at the time.
A: Yeah, it was, it was a big deal because it, it had gone into kind of new new territory.
So, with each edition, there are things that we have to talk about this, or there are new new best practices, or, I mean, just think about what’s happened in the digital space. First, obviously when Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore started talking about experience, that was a major paradigm shift. And then after that people started talking about digital experience. Well, what does that mean? You know, how does it affect the branding process?
R: So, five editions later, what’s the structure of the book? And has it changed a lot over the years or has it remained the same and you’re just kind of fleshing out different chapters or sections within that same core structure?
A: The structure is exactly the same. It’s three sections. The first section is about fundamentals. It’s about ensuring that there’s a shared vocabulary between the client team and the creative team. It’s fundamentals everything from what is brand strategy to what are stakeholders? What is brand architecture? What is brand governance?
The second section is about process. Everyone wants to know, why does it take so long? And part of my agenda was to really deconstruct all of the aspects of the branding process so that people would understand all of the thoughtful considerations that are necessary. I cover things that no one has ever talked about before. Decision-making, which is the hardest part of any branding engagement. You could do the most brilliant thoughtful work in the world and it doesn’t matter if you have a dysfunctional decision-making process, right.
A: Collaboration, building trust. How do you use the process? To build trust. How do you use the process so that brands make the right decisions for the right reasons? So, the process begins with research and onto strategy onto design. And of course, it ends with what I call “creating an asset.” So, brand governance and creating those tools so that everyone moving forward can participate in building the brand.
R: Right. And then what’s that third section of the book?
A: The third section is best practices. So, I try to, I think there are about 50 different case studies. And again, what hasn’t changed in the book is everything is one spread. Because I’m focused on that notion of “You’re busy. You’ve got to look it up and you’ve got to leave and do what you need to do.” So, the case studies, some of them are recognizable brands that are global and some of them are local brands. I also wanted to kind of demonstrate that there are a lot of different kinds of firms doing this type of work. And so there are a range of practitioners as well.
R: Yeah. And, and I’m sure—well, I want to ask you about how you collaborate with others to create this book. I’m sure the case studies, I guess that’s one of the most obvious places where you must at least get permission, but I assume even get some of the content from those agencies? Is that how you put those together?
A: Well, number one, the permissions are the hardest part. The permissions are almost what kill me.
R: I would think that everyone would want to be in this book. It seems like an obvious win for them.
A: Yeah, no, no. So, number one, anything that any visual assets that I publish needs a written permission. Number two, my case studies. So, you know, the first edition, life was different back then. I could talk to the director of marketing at FedEx and talk to the people at Landor. People were just more accessible. And also what I found out is you could talk to the client about the work and you could talk to the consultancy about the work, and sometimes they weren’t even telling the same story.
So, the challenge that I gave myself was that I would not publish a case study unless it was approved in writing. So the content needed to be approved. So, my dream is that other people would use this format and other people would realize that the experience or the memory that a client has of a project, isn’t what necessarily you as the lead practitioner remember about it.
So, I wanted to focus on what were the goals, what was the process, and what were the results. And the case studies are a little challenging because a lot of the results are confidential and I can’t, I can’t publish them.
R: Right. And even if the agency wanted to share them, the client might not want to.
A: Yeah. And this is really about every client has signed off on those case studies.
R: Yeah. I can see how that would be quite an undertaking.
R: So, I alluded to this a second ago, but aside from or in addition to the case studies, one thing that I really like about the book is it’s filled with tools and points of view and quotes from not just you, but other industry experts. So outside of the case studies, how do those collaborations happen typically? Do you, are you just calling people that you’ve heard of that are experts in certain topics and asking them if they will provide a quote? Or, I imagine at this point, fifth edition, people are contacting you and saying, “Hey, how can I get into this book? I’m an expert in such and such. And I really think my point of view deserves to be shared in the book.” How does that go down?
A: Yeah. So, um, don’t fall off your chair, but nobody’s ever contacted me about being in the book or being quoted.
R: Alright. Let me be the first. I want in, I want in in the next edition. I’ll come up with something really smart to say, and you can…
A: I wish I had known you earlier on in my career. I’m really being sincere about that.
R: I wasn’t around in 2003 and in the branding world to have contributed, but yeah, could have come in for the third or fourth edition. That’s that’s for sure.
A: Right? Right. So number one, I’m a sleuth and you know, there was a part of my career where a lot of my career where I would read everything that I could get my hands on. And, this is kind of an old-fashioned term, but I’m a “clipper.” So if you go to my bookshelf and you pull out a Dan Pink book or a Seth Godin book, or a David Aaker book, you’ll find that it has highlights and Post-it Notes in it.
So basically there are subjects that I didn’t know anything about. So, for example, usability testing. I felt that, you know, usability testing in 2003, no one was doing that. So by the fourth edition, I found someone named Dana Chisnell who had coauthored what I consider the book on usability testing. I contacted her and we collaborated. I wanted to publish something about the process. I wanted to publish something about the benefits and she’s a fascinating person. She was actually on digital team USA—Obama’s digital team.
R: Yeah. Yeah, they were cutting cutting edge at the time.
A: Yeah. So, so phenomenal. She’s done a lot of work around voting, so she also introduced me to someone else named Dr. Ginny Redish. And again, I would actually, it was very much of an iterative process. So when you think about, someone’s written a 350-page book, how do you synthesize that into the things that people really need to know? So that’s kind of a back and forth process, very much of a collaborative process. Sometimes I’ll see a quote and I will actually contact the person. I try not to quote anyone without their permission. Obviously I don’t have—I can’t reach out to dead people like Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Or I might hear a great song like Bonnie Raitt, “Let’s give them something to talk about.” Well, if that isn’t about social media, you know, what is?
So, I’ve kind of clipped and saved. Here’s what’s so amazing: Almost anyone in the world will respond to you if you communicate with them. My only big sadness is that I never had a conversation with one of my big heroes, Wally Olin. So yeah, I dedicated my fifth edition. He was one of the people that I dedicated my fifth edition to.
R: Yeah. He’s also made some, some beautiful books about branding.
A: His first one that he did with Harvard I think was the best one. Did you ever read that one?
R: What’s it called? I’m not sure. I don’t think so.
A: It’s called Corporate Identity? It’s brilliant. It’s way out of print. It’s brilliant. It’s probably 30 years old.
R: Oh, that’s great. No, I think have Brand Handbook and On Brands, but no, I don’t have that one.
A: The other thing that I didn’t talk about, what happened before I wrote the book. I mean, one of the best things that I ever did was to be a national board member of the AIGA. And through that organization, I met design and thought leaders all around the country. And if it had not been for those relationships, I don’t think I could have ever even started to write the book.
R: Right. Right. That’s how you built that network. So, another question about the collaboration and that network that you built and asking other people for their points of view: What do you do when you get, or if you get, different points of view on the right way to do something? Any kind of process, whether it’s usability testing or the naming process, or, you know, or even just what makes a good logo or some of these fundamental questions—if you have people with diametrically opposed points of view, do you, I mean, I assume you just use your own best judgment? Or what goes into figuring out what actually makes it into the book?
A: Well, number one, I’m a good researcher, but number two, I’ve been in the trenches.
A: So, I don’t think I could have written this book had I not been involved in a lot of complex branding projects.
So, obviously I’m not a naming expert, but early on for me, everything was more than design. It was the marriage of design and strategy and it was the marriage of language to strategy. So in my career, I’ve worked on naming projects for mergers and acquisitions, for large companies, for entrepreneurial companies. And yes, you know, you’re absolutely right. Like, there are 30 different methodologies out there. And basically, at the end of the day, what I had to do is I had to kind of close my eyes and think back to those situations that I had been in with the 20 CEOs around the table or the board around the table, or, the worst situation, which happens a lot, you’re at the end of the project and all of a sudden a new decision-maker walks in the room. You know?
R: Oh yeah. That’s a good way to derail, especially naming. That’s a primary lesson for, as you put it, working in the trenches is, and I think that’s one thing that a lot of amateurs or people from the outside looking in don’t quite get is that—you mentioned strategy, but creative too, right? It’s not just about the most amazing quote unquote logo design or how cool or catchy or creative is the name. It’s about choosing. It’s about the decision of getting the right name or visual identity. And, and so much goes into that. I mean, how bold are you willing to be? How much are you going to let consensus drive the decision-making versus having one person or a much smaller group that’s more decisive and wants to pull the trigger on something? Really, a lot of it comes down to that. So I couldn’t agree more.
A: Right along with what’s the competition doing? And you know, I’ve been in a lot of meetings with grown men. More women recently, thankfully, but grown men who say, “What do we want to be when we grow up?”
So, everybody thinks naming is going to be so easy, like naming your baby. Well, it’s a highly charged, highly political process. The stakes are big. I mean, you know, there was a point at which I had this old boyfriend that showed up and he was in a Lamborghini and he threw open the hood and said, “Isn’t this magnificent?” Well, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I had no clue. So that, to me, that’s kind of like the CEO that just really has no clue. I mean, look around the room. Everybody is wearing something different. They live differently. So you can’t unify them, you can’t get them to agree on something that is visual. You need to get them to agree on a strategy and idea—a strategy for differentiation. It’s hard.
R: Yeah. And then trust someone like you to bring that strategy to life.
Well, speaking of which, and you mentioned being in the trenches, I’m just curious, you’re not just an author. In fact, you said, prior to this book, you weren’t an author at all. You’re a designer and a consultant. How has your work over the years been influenced by the fact that you’ve been working on different editions of this book? Do you feel—it must keep you fresh and kind of with your finger on the pulse, but has it changed the way that you do things at all?
A: Well, it’s, I guess it, it has given me in some respect, more respect so that, you know, I remember being at a meeting and someone said, “Fred, No, don’t disagree with her. She wrote the book.” I mean, that, that was kind of funny, but you know, since I started writing the book, I’ve done a lot more experimentation, so I’ve never had a really big office. I think my biggest office was maybe 14 people, but I had the courage to look at a lot of different business models for doing this type of work.
And one of them was Inside/Outside Brand Lab, where you actually create a laboratory inside of a corporation and you bring in outside people. But you also use people on the inside. Did something for a credit card company once in which we created this lab and it was phenomenal. I mean, we had this room that was about the customer. It was like walking into the customer experience. We had another room that was a strategy room. We had these two great orange chairs in which we would interview people from the company and all of the audits would take place there. And I’ll never forget, like the CEO would just love to come there and just kind of wander and look at the walls.
Yeah. It was phenomenal. And we did same for really large global investment management firm, but this notion of inside and outside teams—I don’t think I would’ve ever done that if I had not written a book.
R: Yeah. It gave you the courage maybe to—or gave you the confidence to do that.
So last question about the book: I did a little math here, and we’re on the fifth edition. New editions have come out about every three or four years, and the fifth edition came out about three years ago. So, obvious question: Is there going to be a sixth edition? And, if so, can you share anything about what you have planned?
A: Well, there will be a sixth edition and I will not be the author of that edition. My husband, whom I love very much, said to me, “Sixth edition or marriage.” And I’m going for the marriage.
I’m in another chapter of my life and I’m going for more adventure. And I feel that the book really needs someone—needs a new leader that can take it into the future. Things are changing so dramatically every day.
R: And have you figured out who that new author will be? Or is that up to you? How does that work?
A: No, it’s actually not up to me. And if you’re about to sign a contract with a publisher, please read the little type. Basically, or what I call the mouse type. Publishers, they have the ultimate right and responsibility to name a new author. And I, so we’re in the middle of the process right now. And I have made my recommendation to my editor and we’re in the middle of the process now. And the world needs a sixth edition. Look at everything that’s happening now. Oh my God.
R: I get that you won’t be writing it yourself, but I guess two questions: Can you share anything about the type of person that you think—that you would recommend being the author going forward? How are they similar to you? How are they different than you?
And then, what do you expect to be in the sixth edition? Or, if you were writing it, what are some of the main things that you would want to make sure to include?
A: Well, it’s important to me that the new author is respected and that they deeply care around what I call the larger agenda of the book, which is to help all the people on the branding team, all of the organization, to achieve remarkable results.
I feel that someone who has actually been in the trenches is them kind of a needed perspective of why different subjects like decision-making and collaboration are needed. But obviously has to be a person that has her pulse on what’s going on in the business world. What’s going on in the culture. What’s the next big thing.
I hope that person will have a sense of humor and a lot of courage and kind of boundless energy. Because what you’re looking at, I mean, there are some things that go through eight or nine iterations. There are, you know, over 400 quotes, 700 visuals, over a hundred subjects.
So, in terms of in the sixth edition, I think there are a lot of new subjects and new case studies. I mean, think of what’s happening right now with this global pandemic. All these businesses and cultural organizations. Everybody needs to be disruptive. Everyone needs to pivot. There are going to be fewer organization on the other side of this. So, case studies that address how an organization has responded to the pandemic. I started in the fifth edition writing about big data and analytics. I think there’s a lot going on in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Also, quite honestly, I had to keep the book to 320 pages. It could really be like 700 pages because there’s such great subjects, like neuroscience, to write about, or right now there are—the new author needs to do a deep dive on some of the processes that I’ve outlined. Technology. There are so many new tools, right? Technology has changed so much. Brand governance has changed so much.
R: And you mentioned it could be 700 pages. I wonder whether it will always be purely book form, or if there’s a future where some of this lives online and can therefore be updated more easily as things change or something like that.
A: I would love if it would be online. I mean, I would love if you could touch a quote and Paula Scher would talk. Or I’d love if, you know, right now, motion graphics and animation are so critical. How do you show that? Also, every time I come out with a book, by the time it comes off the press, something has already changed.
R: Sure, sure.
A: You know, something has already changed. So yes, I want it to come alive and I have some crazy, crazy dreams. I think there’s an audio—I’d love to do an Audible right now. The publisher—I’m not allowed to do that because of my contract. And, and you’re one of the few people to know about Blake Deutsch. So, Blake Deutsch is my doppelgänger. So maybe Blake Deutsch is like the new Dear Abby, and Blake is an…
R: Wait, explain what that means. Explain who Blake Deutsch is, for the listeners.
A: Right. Okay. So sometimes, you know, I’m always like searching, I’m searching for someone to say the right thing for the right situation. And sometimes I can’t find that person and, you know, I don’t really put a spotlight on myself or my work. I’m not going to quote myself in the book—I’m kind of the author. So, I came up with this person, Blake Deutsch, and occasionally Blake says the most pithy things in the book. I think on the collaboration spread it’s like, “Intellectual property lawyers can be creative. Designers can do math. Investment bankers can have empathy.” And I wanted that quote because I realized, we’re all in these big team meetings and you go in with some biases.
R: And, and no one was saying it. So, Blake had to.
A: Or like, Blake said, like in the brand strategy section, right after you come out of research, “You have one eye in the microscope and one eye in the telescope.” Well, that’s what it’s about. So maybe Blake has a future. I don’t know.
R: Well, if the sixth edition comes out and I see that the author is Blake Deutsch, then I will know what you’ve done. And so will all of our listeners.
A: Oh, I love that idea. Oh, wow. Do you think Wiley will go for it? Wouldn’t that be something?
R: If they’ve been reading her quotes, they…
I have a few wrap up questions for you. Is there a brand or just something in the branding and design world that you’ve been keeping track of or that you’ve noticed that you think is just fantastic or making a positive impact on the world that you want to share with people or encourage people to look up?
A: Yes, and I’m so glad that you asked me this question. So, I have met a young designer visionary named Simon Charwey in Ghana, and his life has been dedicated to studying indigenous African design systems and symbology.
A: He talks a lot about cultural intelligence. The new project that he’s just started is called “African Design Matters.” And he’s beginning to catalog the work of African-born designers and also designers of African descent. And he’s in the process of building this global resource for educators and students. So, this is such important work because most of the best practices in the branding and design world are Western-centric. And now, more than ever, we need to honor the perspectives and the contributions of other cultures.
Also—I swear he doesn’t sleep—he’s also designed this compendium of 1,000 unique symbols inspired by indigenous African design systems. Symbols and cultures. So, this is a big idea. This is a really important agenda.
R: Well, I’m very curious to look to look that work up, and I guess one small thing I can do is just put a link to that on the website, in the write-up for this episode. So, I hope everybody listening will go check that out. The symbol compendium especially sounds really, really interesting. I would think that anybody working in logo design or related fields would be interested in something like that.
Other than Designing Brand Identity, are there any books that you recommend that have influenced you, or that are somehow relevant to branding, that you think people should check out?
A: Well, I love the list that you’ve published because many of my favorites are on that list. But what I would like to add to that list is something called Design the Life You Love by Ayse Birsel. And she’s actually a designer. And I love the book because it’s about process and it’s really about personal branding. It’s really about this very imaginative, disciplined process about really focusing on doing what you want to do in your life.
On the other side, I saw that [Start with] Why by Simon—how do you say, Sinek—is not on your list.
R: Start with Why?
R: Yeah. I will add that one.
Any advice for designers or, or anyone in branding that’s just either starting their career or maybe kind of mid-career and just trying to grow and, and, improve their skills?
A: Yes. Dream big. Put your big audacious dreams on a Post-it Note on your forehead and share them with everyone because sometimes some of the biggest opportunities come from the most unlikely places. Disengage from your digital devices and just wander around some more and explore. Expose your brain to things that have nothing to do with your day job. Do something crazy.
Right? So one year I got this call—I was working on the second or third edition—and I got this call from someone at a firm in Atlanta, called Matchstic, and they invited me out to breakfast and you know what? I was in Philadelphia and I went, because it was such an audacious idea.
R: Where is Matchstic located?
A: In Atlanta.
R: Not a, not a short drive or walk.
A: No, they flew me in.
Get rid of toxic people and clients. Make sure you have an I-believe-in-you person, especially when you’re really stretching and coming up with big ideas. Find a professional tribe like I had at AIGA. You just have to dream big. Like I never, ever, when I wrote this first edition, I never dreamt that I would have a week like this week. So, this week I have been contacted by a business owner in Barcelona, an entrepreneur in Bavaria, a brand strategist in India. I talked to Simon in Ghana. I talked to somebody who has a brand consultancy in Dubai. I mean, I never dreamt…
R: And you’re doing the How Brands Are Built podcast, which is about as prestigious as it gets in the world of branding.
A: I love it. No. Well, look at all the people you’ve interviewed. Oh my God, to be interviewed by the same person that did David Aaker couple of weeks ago. Holy smokes. yEah, you’re right.
R: Right. Well, I love your advice to dream big. And I love the fact that you’re a living example of, of that, of doing that and seeing how it can pay off. And I like, you said put it on your forehead. I like that idea of not only dreaming big but sharing it with people. ‘Cause I suspect that a lot of people have these big dreams or ambitions or ideas, but maybe keep them to themselves partly because they’re afraid to share it because they think people might laugh at them or think that they can’t achieve it. But by sharing it, not only are you making yourself accountable to some degree. People might follow up with you and say, “Hey, did you write that book? Or did you do that big thing you thought you were going to do?” But also you never know where inspiration is going to come from, or potentially a partner—somebody that wants to work on it with you. So the more you get out there and connect with people and talk about these big ideas, the more likely they are to happen.
A: I think, for me, when you write it down and you kind of put it on the wall, it becomes real. When you talk to people, it becomes real. And I’m just always surprised about where possibilities are born and opportunities happen. So, it’s exciting. It’s making the dream tangible and it’s bringing you one step closer. My favorite quote—again, another dead person that I quote in the book is George Eliott: “It’s never too late to be who you could have been.” So, it’s like, start now. Start today.
R: That’s great advice and a great inspirational note to end on. So, let’s leave it there. And Alina, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. I really appreciate it. And thank you for this book, this great book that you’ve written and rewritten five times over over the last 17 years. It’s been really useful to me—I’m sure lots of our listeners—so I appreciate it. And thanks again.
A: Thank you. I hope you someday face to face in a post-COVID world.
R: I look forward to it.
A: Bye bye. Take care.