The #1 Lesson The Film ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ Can Teach Us About Branding

It is now common for people to seek out, and speak about, mentors. They are our inspiration and guide to achieve great things. Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character can be one such mentor, especially when it comes to personal branding.

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Photo: Pixabay/ Zaimful

I recently realised that my passion was to follow, and help others follow, the heroes journey. To leave the ordinary world, go on adventures, and meet mentors, allies, threshold guardians, and enemies. And level up every step of the way.

I teach film, I have made films, and I use film references in my consultancy, lecturing, martial arts training, and parenting.

To put it simply, I love finding life lessons in movies.

One such lesson is from the film Charlie Wilson’s War. It’s a great scene with Phillip Seymour Hoffman eating up the scenery as no-nonsense spy Gust Avrakotos.

Gust is having a tense meeting with his boss when a friendly looking chap, who has just fixed the window, comes in.

Gust then irritability states, “I have no f*cking idea who this guy is.”

I think of this scene whenever I receive a cold call. It happens on Twitter and LinkedIn especially, and I also get emails asking if I need help with my SEO. But, I have no f*cking idea who these people are.

Hearing Gust say that in my head always makes me feel empowered. In a time when the conversation is about the importance of personal branding, people-to-people, and making a connection, why are there still people doing this nonsense?

I have started to reply and point out that I don’t know who they are, I have Googled them and found no evidence of their identity, job role, or expertise, and I have no intention of hiring them.

I doubt they will listen.

We can learn from this and not make the same mistake. I put out authentic content for my personal brand, that shares my ideals, skill base, and personality. This makes it pretty easy to work out who I am. How about you?

It's also a great way to deal with trolls and negative comments. Why do we give trolls opinions credibility, when we have no f*cking idea who they are?

So, next time someone you don’t know makes contact, or makes a negative comment, ask yourself, what would Gust Avrakotos say?

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Darren Horne
Educator / Consultant / Motivational Speaker / Author & Writer / Media & Communications Specialist. All of my roles combine to help people get the most out of modern living. I support and encourage individuals, and small business, to identify what their passion is, overcome any anxiety, and utilise the opportunities presented by social media and personal branding, to live the life they desire.