“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” ― W.C. Fields

Labels do matter. I need them when I open my pantry, otherwise I don’t know what’s in the box or jar. When I buy a shirt, I need to know the fabric, how to care for it, and its size.

But what labels belong on me? You already know I am a married, white male with children and grandchildren. A quick voter registration search shows my political party. FaceBook and LinkedIn give you my birthday, my education, and my relatives. I don’t hide this, nor should I need to.

So why do I add even more labels? I put stickers on my car, signs in my yard and wear clothing boldly identified by the designer. Everything has an identifier, a label. I’ve become a BRANDING PROJECT.

But even with all the labels, in the end, I think comedian W.C.Fields got it right. It’s what I answer to that matters. Figuring that out is harder than pulling on a sweatshirt with a name across the front.

I want a brand that is just for me, my label. That’s what I want to answer to.

Over 30 years ago I wrote my 19 Unifying Principles. That was my brand then, and they’re still with me. When I started Choices Do Matter, two years ago, I added …

“I want to live in a world where people are kind to each other. A world where our environment matters; where rules are fair to everyone; where wages reflect contributions to society and our community.”

I like this label. It is inclusive of all my sisters and brothers, and cares for our common home. My label says we need rules that are the same up and down the ladder of success, and that our wages are based on contribution, not gender or status in the system.

My brand tells people what I care about and THAT is what I will answer to.

Is there a label people use for you? Have you carefully considered how your brand is presented and how the pieces fit together?

Can you explain how some labels on people help, or do they only get in your way?

What labels do you want to keep for yourself? Have you put together your list?

As always, the conversation starts here.

“In the ordinary choices of every day we begin to change the direction of our lives.” – Eknath Easwaran


Dr. Seuss has a wonderful story about labels. The Sneetches had labels, allowing them to find their own kind and avoid mix-ups. Do you know any Sneetches?