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Marketing is Leadership

David Sherry
2 min read

Inside any given business...

“Leadership" is abundant. There will be coaches, books, meetings all about how to instill leadership into the culture.

But Marketing... is scarce.

If the reverse were true, we would be happier, and more productive.

We forget that a company is a story.

That what we do for work, how we spend our time, what we buy, what we wear, where we travel… all stories.

And that instead of getting caught up trying to “Lead” we would instead recognize that, and then help shape the stories of the people in our sphere in a way that grows their abilities, understanding and engagement.

See, stories change someone because they help someone opt-in, rather than acquiesce their control.

But demands are what leaders use to put you under obligation.

They force a narrative of a fear which shrinks you.

Demands are what we hated as kids.

Obligation is the eating of raw vegetables.

Stories are us daydreaming for hours, thinking about who we want to be in the future.

Obligation is putting up a facade about who you are now, despite your future dreams.

Stories are a shared vision for the future.

And so there is great responsibility in the stories we tell and the ones we propagate.

And each day you have the power to open a door.

Or give permission. Or show possibility.

What are conferences and TED talks but giving people permission?

What are podcast, and magazines, and music videos and meetups but giving people inspiration and then permission?

The permission to act in a different way.

The permission to walk through a door.

The permission to act.

You know, after talking to thousands of artists from everywhere to the Scottish Highlands, Hong Kong and Brooklyn, I’ve identified the number one fear.

And the number one fear is...


We’re terrified of our own success.

We’re terrified of who we might become if all of our problems are gone.

Sure… take some of my problems.. but all of them?!

Sure give me some responsibility... but all of it?!

We’re afraid because we’re afraid to drop the story and pick up the new one.

We’re afraid that if we let down the mask of shame and obligation...

"Will we still be valued by the people in our lives, of whom we’ve become comfortable and accustomed to pleasing in the way we’ve acted in the past?"

We’re scared that the reality is, each of us has power to change things.

But the truth is through walking through the door of growth, you will just be you still, except with more influence and opportunity.

The new story you can adopt will be you, just with less stress and shame.

That the story you can tell yourself and others in your one life can be those that give permission and open doors instead of put up walls and demand that others conform.

Leadership is not founded on obligation and "Leading" but on changing the people around you to become more successful than they thought they could be.

And you’ve got the power to do that tomorrow.

No, today.

xx David