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Rich Keller: One Word Away from Becoming a Catalyst


Can you describe the core value of you and your personal brand in “One Word”? This week’s guest for the One Away Show can show you how. As a CATALYST, Rich Keller empowers young adults and multinational corporations alike to conquer their biggest obstacles and tap into their inner strength. By cultivating resilience, he helps people break through barriers to stand out and differentiate their brand from the competition.   

As a cancer survivor, Rich knows about overcoming adversity firsthand. His incredible resilience is something I’ve always admired. Sharing his story with the world inspired him to dedicate his life to helping other people tell their own. Rich Keller is driven by the mission to transform one million lives, “One Word” at a time.

How many times have you met someone new, and the very first thing they ask you is, “So, where do you work?”  Is that really how anyone should define themselves, or the first thing to find out about a person we meet? 

Rich Keller disagrees. He’s driven by the mission to help people uncover their core value, which is who you are, not what you “do.”  He doesn’t just talk the talk, either. Rich walks the walk. All of his expertise, methodology, and trainings are backed up by his personal experience. 

Engage 1st…Sell 2nd and you will sell a helluva lot more.”

Rich Keller

Rich Keller’s One Away Experience

In our conversation, he starts off by telling me about a pivotal choice he made one day to walk out of a job that wasn’t right for him and embark on a brand-new journey into the unknown. 

“I don’t recommend that everybody [should quit their job one day out of the blue], but I knew I wanted more out of life.”

Even though he wasn’t entirely sure where he was headed, he knew he was heading in the wrong direction. He was following a map that had been laid out for him. Finding the strength and courage to stand out helped him carve out his own path.

Rich Keller was motivated to reflect on his trajectory and think intentionally about how the choices, behaviors, and investments he made every day by a simple conversation with his son:

Here is how Rich describes his one away moment, in his own words:

“One day, I asked my son a simple question that would change the entire trajectory of my career, and quite frankly, my life.  I asked him to tell me about himself.  

We all know how wildly open-ended that question is. 

He looked at me, and really didn’t know what to say.  

“Just tell me anything,” I encouraged him. 

“I’m a senior in high school. I work hard,” he said.

At that moment, I’ll never forget asking him,

 “You have no idea who you are?” and hearing his response: 

They don’t teach us how to answer that question in high school.” 

Realizing how rare it is for people to have this fundamental sense of self – and how few options existed to learn how to understand yourself- opened Rich’s eyes to a brand-new opportunity. In that moment, his true purpose felt clear as day. He has dedicated his career to helping people answer this question for themselves ever since. 

How Rich Keller Helped Me Discover My “One Word” and Build the BW Missions Brand

Rich Keller has created something that is so special and especially useful for young people to gain clarity about themselves.  Working with Rich to find my One Word brought so much clarity to me, for both my own path and for BW Missions as a whole. 

I’m so inspired by how Rich draws from the highest ups and lowest lows of life to show others they can overcome anything, too. All it takes is self-discovery.  Read more about how Rich’s path merged with my own in our previous article: It Only Takes One Word to Find Your Path

How Rich Keller Helps People SCORE Using Just “One Word”

Rich shows audiences that “One Word” it takes to become a force to be reckoned with. His innovative methodology is carefully tailored to the individual and offers a bulletproof solution to demystifying the branding process and all the confusion that comes along with it.

Currently, Rich Keller works to apply his marketing expertise to personal branding.  

Here are the 3 basic components of his approach to motivating young adults to step into their power:

1. Lead clients through a self-discovery process to find their “One Word”

2. Craft a personal brand around it

3. Turn this core identity into their greatest asset

Once they’ve completed this process, anyone will have a newfound power to go forward and

“SCORE:” Stand out, Conquer Obstacles, and Reach Excellence 

Catalyze Your Own Career Growth by Applying Core Learnings from Rich Keller

Rich Keller’s training and empowerment approach to branding draws on over 25 years of professional experience, an MBA earned at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and triumphing in the face of the unthinkable after winning his battle with cancer. 

Over his extensive career, he has driven transformative results for such powerhouse companies as:

  • Godiva 
  • Starbucks
  • Apple
  • KRAFT Foods

Now, Rich Keller shares his knowledge, skill-building, and expertise through multiple channels. Leverage these learnings for yourself through any of the options listed above! 

SCORE Workbook

Want to have the best of Rich Keller’s Learnings on hand for your own professional development purposes? Get your copy here today!

Podcast – The Catalyst Effect:  

Rich Keller’s podcast features engaging conversations with thought-leading entrepreneurs, emotionally intelligent business leaders, and student trailblazers in college and high school who have accepted his challenge to SCORE. 

In each episode, notable guests such as Brene Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Gary Vee, and Ashley Graham have come on his show to discuss how they discovered their ‘One Word’ and the ways they are sharing it with the world. The Catalyst Effect is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more- tune in today!

Entrepreneur Program:

Rich’s program will teach you a unique framework to create a brand foundation for your business venture: 

  • Defining your purpose.
  • Framing your enemy.
  • Identifying the problem your venture is solving.
  • Crafting the promise your venture will deliver.
  • Crafting the brand identity to build your venture around.

If you’re ready to start crafting a brand identity and integrate your personal brand into your business to drive growth and achieve success, you might be the perfect person to partner with Rich Keller in his Entrepreneur Program; check it out for yourself!

Keynote Speaking: 

Rich captivates audiences through public speaking engagements. He shares the lessons he’s learned and struggles he has overcome in both his career and personal life over the course of his journey, Rich inspires listeners to shift the lens they see themselves through. 

As a highly sought-after keynote speaker, he’s in demand nationwide from all types of organizations:

  • Corporations
  • Clubs
  • High Schools
  • Colleges
  • Conferences

Through speaking, Rich teaches people to redefine their personal identity by answering, with just “One Word,” the question that changed his life: 

How do you add value?

Now, Hear from Rich Keller for Yourself!

I can’t wait for you to experience this episode of the One Away Show. Follow along on YouTube above, or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. A full transcript is provided below for your convenience.

If you’ve been enjoying our podcast, subscribe to be the first to know about new episodes, and please consider taking a moment to leave us a review!

Transcript – The One Away Show Featuring Rich Keller:

BRYAN WISH: Rich, you are one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. You’re an incredible father and businessperson. For BW Missions specifically, you have helped us so much. Your One Away moment is pretty spectacular. Why don’t you roll the carpet away for us and tell us about your One Away moment?

RICH KELLER: Thank you for that introduction. I feel the same way about you. What a gift to have met you and have you in my life!

Back in September 2017, I did something pretty radical. One afternoon, I got up and quit my career. I simply walked out of the company I worked for. While I don’t recommend that for everybody, I knew I wanted more out of life. At the time, I didn’t really know what it was going to be. I just knew I wanted to make an impact on people. 

Luckily, I left on good terms. A couple of weeks after deciding to quit my job, I realized I wanted to become a motivational speaker. As a kid, I always wanted to be a talk show host. I figured the next best option would probably be motivational speaking. 

So, I got started. I enrolled in an online school for motivational speaking. The first thing they teach you in that school is that nobody cares about your story unless there is some value in it for the audience. I stood back and thought to myself, “I want to share my story with people.” 

I’m a cancer survivor. I’m married to a cancer survivor, too. Had a pretty challenging childhood. I just thought that would be inspiring alone. When I realized you have to offer value to the audience, I really stood back and tried to really think about what I could do to make a difference in the world. 

One evening, while I was in the middle of a night in bed, I got up in the middle of the night. I was transported by the memory of a moment from two years prior that I want to take you back to with me.

My son, Zach, was applying to college. He is a really smart kid. At the time, he came to me and asked if I could help him prepare for his college alumni interview. I said, “Sure. I’m a brand marketer. Of course.” 

One day, I asked my son a simple question that would change the entire trajectory of my career, and quite frankly, my life.

 I asked him to tell me about himself.  

We all know how wildly open-ended that question is. He looked at me and really didn’t know what to say. “Just tell me anything,” I encouraged him. 

“I’m a senior in high school. I work hard,” he said.

At that moment, I’ll never forget asking him, 

“You have no idea who you are?” and hearing his response: 

“They don’t teach us how to answer that question in high school.” 

That was the moment when I thought back to my career. I spent 25 years in the corporate world doing brand marketing at consumer products companies such as:

·      Nabisco

·      Kraft

·      Godiva

One of the most things I went on to do was creating what I call this core value-based One Word approach. I help craft the identities of very iconic brands using One Word. The One Word was the core value that that brand brought to your life. Bryan, you know this, having worked together with me. 

Money is an exchange of value. You buy brands because they offer value. At that moment, at the table with Zach, where I thought to myself, 

“Well, maybe I can help him. Maybe this works on people, too.

If we could sit down together and discover that One Word, namely the core value my son Zach gives to the world, perhaps he could then write an amazing college personal statement. If he knows who he is, then he can really stand out in the interview.

A couple of weeks later, I worked with him. We did a couple of exercises all in my head, and we came up with this One Word, which was perseverance. Then, I challenged him to come up with a college personal statement that he could share a story with the committee. 

I said, “Imagine you’re in front of the committee, and you’re sharing this story with them. I want you to share a story about something that demonstrates how you live your core value of perseverance.” 

To get into college, it’s my belief that you don’t have to solve world hunger. You don’t have to travel the country and come up with an epigenome to solve cancer. You don’t have to do any of that. You’ve just got to tell a committee who you are. 

My son wrote one of the most incredible essays I have ever written about a campfire event at a sleepaway camp. At this event that he was in, he demonstrated how he lives a life of perseverance. As a result, my son got into Cornell. 

Let’s go back to that moment I had in the middle of the night. I literally turned to my wife, and I said, 

“Maybe I can transform a million lives, One Word at a time.

I wanted to help people come up with their core value in One Word and build their whole identity around that and be a brand.” 

I was praying my wife would say, “What a stupid idea that is!” because I didn’t have the courage to do it.  Instead, she said, “I really think you’re onto something.” 

The next morning, I got up, and I called one of my best friends. I called my therapist. I wanted somebody, so badly, to tell me, “Rich, that’s a crazy idea. That’s ridiculous.” Everybody said, “I really think that’s a really interesting idea, and here’s why.” 

This is the real One Away moment that I realized that I could do this. We, as a society. Living in this world, we all have our identities caught up in what we do, not who we are. 

When people answer the question, “Tell me about yourself,” the first thing most people do is say what they do. We believe that our identity is caught up in what we do.  

That’s the critical essence of what I was trying to say to my son. I couldn’t articulate it back then, but now I finally understand two essential truths:

1.     Who you are should drive what you do

2.     What you do is not who you are

If I can help young adults discover that who they are should drive what they do, I believe that they’re going to reach their goals and dreams so much faster than I did before I learned my core value.

 My One Word is a catalyst. I’m wearing it on my shirt right now. I didn’t realize I was a catalyst until I was in my late 40s. That night, when I put my son’s story together with my story, and I realized that I can help people answer that question, “Tell me about yourself,” by discovering who they are.

By then sharing that, that’s what’s going to make them stand out, conquer obstacles, reach excellence, which is the name of my platform. That really was the start of how I started building my business and getting out there as a speaker and sharing my message. 

BRYAN WISH: How many years has that been since that story with your son?

RICH KELLER: The moment in bed was November 2017. Took me about a year to build my idea and my brand. Probably just a little over a year out, I’m now speaking around the country. I’m truly coaching and consulting. I’m helping people create this identity for themselves. 

BRYAN WISH: Going back to your son, it sounds like he took away so much from this experience. You created the whole process as you went along. Even though your son maybe wasn’t taught this in school, how come he didn’t have any idea of who he was at age 17 or 18 when he was applying to college and writing his applications? 

How has that discovery changed him now that he’s entered college compared to maybe some of his peers?

RICH KELLER: The reason I think people at his age don’t understand that is because they’re so tied to the quantitative scores and the quantitative attributes that it takes to just be left in the pile of college applications. 

Then, they turn around and say, “Well, I’ve got to answer this question, pick a prompt,” and it’s almost a rote exercise for them. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t have written a good essay. I’m pretty sure he could have written something.

 I was able to help him understand that once you’re “in the pile,” you’ve got to get yourself out. The best way to make yourself stand out is to tell people who you are and what you’re about. 

I think that was when he started to realize, “Well, I am different.” He just didn’t know how to articulate how different he truly was. I also didn’t know, at that moment, during the conversation with him at the kitchen table, that it was going to spawn into this bigger idea. I had no idea how I was even going to be able to help him articulate that answer. 

Having that moment, along with all my work with brands, made me realize that he’s a brand, too. Most people don’t realize when you’re applying to college, you are a brand trying to get the committee to buy you. 

Your job, as the guide, not the hero, is to not talk about yourself in that application like you’re the end of the world and the greatest thing ever.  Your job in a college application is to signal to the university, through storytelling, who you are and the value that you will bring to the campus to make the hero. 

They are the winners, because they get the best class.

You are just the guide that showed them, through the application, who you are. 

I think the new perspective that I offered him made him think differently about the concept of, “Well, what can I give?” 

It’s not necessarily about how “I’m a student. I study hard. I’ve got good grades.” That description is about what you do. Instead, think of this in these terms:

“Who am I?”

“How can I show them that when I come there, I’m going to bring that value?”

BRYAN WISH: Giving him that foundational lesson, at such a young age, is going to be pivotal for the rest of his life. So many wish they had that earlier. Then, they hit a mid-life crisis and question everything about themselves. You’re giving people the mid-life crisis a lot earlier in life in a positive way. 

RICH KELLER: The reason I’m so passionate about what’s happened with Zach and why I think this process does work when you know your core value; summer number two at Cornell, going into his junior year, he interned at Peloton. I remember the interview process where they brought him in for the day, and he said to me, “I know who I am.” 

He said, “I got now how I can articulate the value I can give.” Then this summer, he’s going to work at Ernst & Young in management consulting. When I read his cover letter, the first thing he wrote is, “At my core, I am a perseverer.” 

I the rest of the application, he told them why. So often, we don’t think our kids get it. We rarely realize how much they internalize that value. My son, for example, has a whole new confidence about himself. Now, he’s able to put himself out there. He shares what makes him unique and different. Then, he backs it up by what he does, not the other way around.

BRYAN WISH: It clearly shows, a year later, two years later, he’s carrying through with what you worked with him on years ago. It clearly made a difference. 

RICH KELLER: People think that when they call me, I’m just going to anoint them a One Word without doing the work. It takes work.

BRYAN WISH: Let’s go back to the beginning days of these early moments. When you said, “Maybe I can help my son and do something special for him as a day that maybe my parents never did for me.”

Then, you had this prolific career in brand marketing and storytelling. You said, “I think I can apply this to the human, to the self.” When you were going through this process, how did you think about constructing it? Do you remember any “goosebump moments” that stick out to you?

RICH KELLER: I’m a motivational speaker. At my core, I’m a catalyst.  I use speaking as my number one vehicle to drive my core value. In the school that I joined, the pain of creating a talk that would be powerful enough to drive my message as well as my credibility was really the challenge for me. 

What really first gave me the goosebump was when I realized that when I bring my experience in from the brands that I’ve studied and worked on throughout my career. When I do it interactively with the audience. For me, it’s all about getting them to truly understand that.

For example, the core value for Starbucks is “community.” When people understand that Apple’s core value is simplicity. They understand that they use their product to drive their core value. Starbucks woos you in with coffee, but they sell you a community.

Oftentimes, you spend a whole day at Starbucks. You get the free Wi-Fi, and the coffee aroma, and the friendliness of the barista. When people understood that, that’s when I could see it click: “Well, maybe I could do that if people knew what my value was.” 

Now, I know the moments when I get the audience engaged with me. When I share my story, that drives my credibility. My story is all about how I became a catalyst. It’s about what I do to live my brand. Over time, that’s been speaking more and more.

 I pick up on all the nuggets that get that audience engaged because that audience has to leave touched, moved, and inspired to want to then reach back out to me and discover that One Word. In order to do that, I had to show them the ways that it could be done. 

When I bring my former career in, I’ve got that instant credibility. It’s fun because Oreo, Build-A-Bear, Apple, Starbucks, Gatorade; those are fun brands I selectively pick to keep the audience engaged with me. We go on my journey together. I get to take them on that journey.

BRYAN WISH: Your One Word is “catalyst.” You had a pretty interesting childhood. Things around you that shaped you have driven a lot of who you are today and those actions around who you are. How did this One Word process define you and the people around you? 

When you look back on your early childhood and some of the things you went through, how was that may be built-in and integrated into this process? Through what you went through, there are a lot of deep events that you had to work through. A lot of your work is working through a lot of deep events in your own life. I’m curious about the connective tissue between the two.

RICH KELLER: A lot of learning is about discovering that core value of yours. 

You’ve got to know your story. 

You’ve got to get real about who you are. 

For me, a big part of my story is about growing  up in what I call a “challenged home.” I was longing for one thing in life: connection. I was so disconnected from the people around me. I had no value growing up. I was always told I wasn’t athletic enough, or I wasn’t smart enough. 

My parents never had a good marriage. I was in fear of my dad. As a catalyst, even as a kid, a catalyst is an agent that brings people together. It provokes an action. 

I was the kid at home that tried to make dinner.

 I was the kid that always set up the party. 

I felt like if I could change the friction and the tension in this house, I could be able to connect with these people on a deeper basis. 

Outside the home, I had a lot of friends. I’d say I had a great childhood in the sense that I went to school. I did well. It wasn’t until I had my first cancer scare that my family was there for me at all.

At age 26, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I started to really understand how alone I was.  I felt like I was always being defined by all of the events that happened in my life or all the challenges I went through.

Now, I’m a survivor. I didn’t understand that my past was just a series of things that had happened to me. It never defined who I am. 

When my wife got sick at 43 – she had advanced breast cancer – I have two kids at this point, 9 & 12, that was the moment when I said, “I need to get into therapy.”

I fought it for years. I didn’t need anybody to help me. In therapy was where I understood that I was somebody that was trying to always change the game. I was the catalyst that was always trying, in my childhood, to make things happier.

In the work world, I was the One who brought people together on projects. The that weren’t the fanciest, but we got the most action out of it. Over time, I started to realize that part of my story is about how I grew up with no value. 

I finally know my true value.  I helped my son figured out his core value, too. Now, I want to dedicate myself to helping a million people figure out their core values. When I leave, it will become a full-circle moment. I tell you this all the time, Bryan. I want people to come to my funeral with their One Word on their shirt.

I really mean that. I want to look down and be able to say, “I came in with no value” because that’s my story. I’ve got to own it, but I didn’t let that define me. I developed enough courage to realize that I know who I am now. 

Now, I’m letting that drive what I do, which is speaking around the country. I help other people and impact their lives. I give them the value that they need to succeed, and I’m going to look down and feel really awesome that I left the world different than what I came in. 

BRYAN WISH: I’m envisioning a funeral that’s a big freaking party. You’re guiding from above, pulling like a puppet with strings, and everyone is celebrating you through who they are.

RICH KELLER: I tell my son all the time, “Are you going to talk about me at my funeral?” He’s like, “Dad, I am.” I go, “Tell me what you’re going to say.” For years, I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know my story. 

When I surrendered to having to learn about myself, that’s when I had to start really understanding that I’m going to let my story drive the impact that I want to make, not the other way around. 

BRYAN WISH: The One Away moment with your son kind of put you on this path to say, “I can go out and transform lives.” What has been your steps to doing that?

RICH KELLER: This is the part I hope your listeners take heart and really absorb. I have a very clear strategy of how I’m building my “Act 2,” as I like to say. I do a lot of free work. I call it the Costco strategy.

When people go to Costco and go up and down the aisles and eat, the people will say, “I go to lunch to eat at Costco.” Coming from the brand world, I have 25 years in food branding. You’ve got to try the food before you buy it. As somebody in their early 50s, my strategy is that I can sit home and wait for the phone to ring, or I can say, “I’m going to go out and give. 

Now, I’m going to be the guide, not the hero of this story. I’m going to go give away my core value to as many people as I can in the hopes of people understanding and hearing and benefiting them. Then all of a sudden, that’s going to start the trajectory of the money coming.

The one thing I tell people and the one strategy that I really own is to engage first and sell second. When you use this strategy, you’re going to sell a hell of a lot more. My job is to sell the message of discovering your core value. 

So, I’m looking to engage people as my strategy and how I do that. I’m very deliberate and intentional about putting myself in certain places and working with specific people, like yourself, that can help me get to that “million” messages. I want to transform a million lives, and I can’t do it alone. 

When you’re in an “Act 2” like me, and you’ve got this idea which I think has a lot of impact, my whole goal is I have to be active in getting out there and the way that I chose to do it is I put myself out there for free and then I then get people that want to pay me, of course, but that comes along with the amount of work that I put in. 

In a year, just to give some perspective, my coach had said to me, “If you do live gigs, as a motivational speaker, I’m going to be really proud of you.” I did 35 my first year. That’s because I made the calls and said, “I want to share my message. What can I do?”

If people said, “Listen. We don’t pay,” I said, “No problem. As long as you pay for my transportation, or maybe give me the opportunity to film. Give me a testimonial. Can I tape it?” As a brand, I always look for ways to deliver value and get value in return. It’s not only about money. 

BRYAN WISH: You went from “Act 1,” which is figuring out my One Word and I’m going to give that away very intentionally. How do you figure out who to pick to catalyze this movement?

RICH KELLER: Dillon and Justin are a good example. I met Justin on Facebook on a whim. I was looking at posts one day. I read it. I clicked. As it turns out, my son’s best friend goes to Penn. Justin’s at Penn. We get on the phone. I ask Justin, literally in January 2018, when I just had that moment I shared.

I said to him, “Can I come speak at your summit?” I come and speak at his summit in the following summer of 2018. I am so impressed with what the two of them did that I wanted to help them, as a thank you, to discover their core value as entrepreneurs and take that One Word momentum and infuse it as the identity of their NextGen brand. 

In return, they said, “What can we do to help you?” My simple answer was, “Help me spread my message.” To be really clear, the passion that I had to help those two guys; the passion that I had in believing that they could take a summit that’s annual and turn it into a full year brand.

I saw potential in the two of them, but I also had a really good idea that I thought together would work. They thought I was crazy when I first told them this. I told them, “Work with me for six weeks, and I promise you, it will be a game-changer.” Today, when I work with them every other week, I give them 8-hours of my day every other week. 

I wouldn’t be where I am right now, talking to you especially, if it wasn’t for the doors that they’ve opened for me. Some of them have been paid, but at the end of the day, to pick people, I’m very intentional about asking for help. Who can you connect me to that needs help, or can you make that connection to that speaking opportunity? I’m open about it because in return, I want to give you the value that you need to help you and you become one in the same. 

BRYAN WISH: I think the greater lesson in this is when you’re on your path and you’re helping people discover their One Word and you’re spreading your message, you need to be really intentional about where you plant your seeds and where you build your relationships. 

I learned, early in my career at building a content platform, that the best place to start the fire is where it grows. I think you’re seeing the compound effect of all these early investments of your time, relational energy, and brand expertise to help people, which has completely scaled your message into the hands of people who can scale it even further. 

You had this idea. You transformed your son. He gave you goosebumps in that moment. You realized, “this is something I can build a life around.” That moment has connected you into a whole world of people taking a daring step, stepping away from a great career.

RICH KELLER: I want to be clear about this as well. I’m a connector and a relationship builder. Someone like you, Bryan, is a good example. I want to work with people that I like. I want to work with people that I believe are going to create a relationship with me. I’m emotionally driven. That’s the whole message about my platform. Know who you are at heart. 

I also try to seek out people that I care about. Bryan, you and I are a good example. We talk all the time. I’m committed to helping you. That’s because I like the relationship that we have. 

Currently, I’m at a stage in my life where I can be open about that. I’m able to give now to the people that I feel have high emotional intelligence at such a young age. I help nurture them so they can build the business that they want to.  I have the branding knowledge to help them build companies the right way, too. What you guys give me is that connection that I love. That’s what I’ve been longing for my whole life. 

BRYAN WISH: I remember something you told me very early on when we were going through this process together. You said, “You’re the guide and your community around you; those are the heroes. Through your message, you’re helping them win. You’re not the hero of your own message. Your community is the hero to spread that for you.” 

That conversation completely reshaped how I thought about navigating the world. It transformed how I went about having conversations. Having such a central “One Word” is something that I can always piggyback off of in my life.  In hindsight, it has proven to be essential for me to do so.

As you’re helping people discover their core value, consider the following:

•           How are they taking who they are and becoming a guide for others?

•           How can they go out and start evangelizing this message?

•           How can they start building a community of people around them who can help them become heroes?

RICH KELLER: We are put on this earth to share our gifts with the world. The whole goal of being a brand and having 25 years of brand experience is that people buy solutions. That is why you buy brands. 

When I work with people, I personally try to get them into a new mindset. When you build a brand about yourself, you’re not going out to talk about, “I, me, me, I. I’m great. I’m amazing. You should buy me.” 

That is not how a brand is built. A brand is built on the same premise of what you’re giving away and who you are. That’s how you show people what you have to offer.

They are the ones that take what you give them. 

They are the ones who win the game. 

They’re the heroes of the story.

A story has a hero, an enemy, and a guide. The reason why the hero can’t win is that the enemy is in the way. That’s where the guide comes in. That’s why we have superheroes. They come in and kill the enemy to help the hero win. 

I want people to understand that you are put on earth to give away something to help the world be a better place. If you have a mindset about building your content around who you are, you’re going to build content that demonstrates what you give away. It should be like, “I’m amazing. I have an MBA. I’m the smartest person in the class.” 

I’m going to give you content around the fact that I can disrupt the way you think. I could help you come together, blow something up, and everybody is going to be a winner. It’s just a mindset that I try to bring to the game because of my branding work. 

 I had the ability to understand how brands are purchased in a supermarket or how services are conducted, I’m just asking people to adopt that same mindset:

If you apply for a job, you’re selling yourself. 

If you apply to college, you’re selling yourself.

I want people to believe that so that when they talk, you talk about what you can give someone so that you buy it and therefore, I get a salary and you get my value. 

I fought for so many years that I was a giver. Everybody was like, “You’re such a giver. Don’t you ever want anything in return?” 

No.

Why?

Because that’s the purpose of life. 

You are supposed to give away your value. 

Why? 

Because you’re going to get so much more in return. 

When the heroes win, they want more of you. That’s the insight I most want to share today.   Bryan, you’re going to get more people wanting your business when they realize you can help them find the path to becoming a transformational leader.

You transform people into thought leaders because you created that path as BW Missions. They’re going to want more of you. That is the insight. 

The guide wins in the end because they keep giving away the value. 

People will always want to buy it. You get more customers as a result. 

That’s the insight I try to bring to the game when I people discover their core value. That’s why I call it a core value because you give it away. We give away our value to solve problems just like you buy brands to solve problems.

BRYAN WISH: As individuals, we need to be constantly thinking about what that is for ourselves and how we can deliver it. You have a process that makes it very simple. Your process builds on your own story, as well as going through the same experience with your son. 

 I recently read an article that you helped co-author. It was really good. It was about how building a brand and building yourself as a person is a very similar process. Could you talk about a couple main points about how this One Away moment with your son and your corporate career? 

Bring it together for us and talk about how, from a developmental process, how brands in that building process is very similar to human development. It’s always a person-centric process. 

RICH KELLER: In my career, I was charged every single day taking a brand. Let’s talk about Godiva because it was part of the article we wrote. My job was to help that brand stand out. 

There are a million chocolates out in the market. How do you go down the aisle and really stand out? Remember, brands can’t talk, but if you are walking down that aisle, you create that identity about that brand in your head. 

Personally, that was my main challenge for 25 years. When I had that moment with my son, I literally thought the same thing. There are 40,000 applications in that college’s file. How do you communicate how you can stand out? 

For me, it’s all about keeping it super simple. We all have one true core value that we put out in the world. Express it consistently. Consistency breeds credibility. 

As brands, we always think that we have to change the game all the time. Consumers don’t want change. They want consistency. I didn’t know this back when I quit my job and started a new career. At the time, I didn’t realize I was going from One Word to brands to One Word to people. 

The consistency is there is for everybody, once they take a step back. If they’re interested in working with me, that’s great. Even if you’re not, you’ve still got to step back and say, “What is the one core value that I give to the world that makes me stand out; that makes me conquer obstacles every day?” 

As a catalyst, that’s how I got through cancer. That’s how I got my wife through cancer. How do I reach excellence? It’s when you step back and realize the pattern that forms. That’s your core value. Then your job, like Godiva was, is your job is to advertise it. How you advertise it in a people case is anything you put out in the digital world is your brand. 

As Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” You have to be really intentional about the perception you’re forming because that’s reality. 

Most of the time, when I work with people, I get them to finally admit that they’re not in control of who they are. Especially for an entrepreneur, you’re the brand. BW Missions is the venture, and over time, the two are going to come together.

What customers are buying is you, the entrepreneur. 

People buy humans. 

People bought Lady Godiva’s story. 

As crazy as that sounds, that story resonated because we are story eaters. We want to eat the story and hear it and feel like we can connect in that way. One Word for a brand is the same as One Word for a person. A person needs to act like a brand because we are the true product that’s being sold. 

Thank you for allowing me to work with you and share some of my perspectives. I appreciate you really taking them and running with it. I can’t think of a better person out there right now that is truly living their core value and marrying it so eloquently with the venture that they have out there. 

BRYAN WISH: Well, I had a good guide! 

RICH KELLER: You’re a good guide as well. That’s why your heroes are going to be knocking down your door soon. Buckle up. You’re going to have a lot coming. 

BRYAN WISH: Where can people find you?

RICH KELLER: My website is www.therichkeller.com. I like to tell people that richkeller.com was taken and so, I had to put the word “the” in front of my name. For my LinkedIn, just type in Richer Keller Catalyst.

 Once they discover their One Word, everyone should put it into their LinkedIn profile. My Instagram is @RichSKeller. Come on over there to have some fun. Reach out to me on any one of those platforms. I love speaking to people. Send me a DM and let’s play the game. 

One Away Podcast
Catherine Kushan

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