I decided from negative time zero — a long time before he talked to me about his decision to pass the CEO title — that I was going to be my own self.
That's Apple CEO Tim Cook in a recent interview with Time Magazine. It's a very interesting piece and he's a fascinating leader. To be honest, he had me at "negative time zero." What a wonderfully nerdy phrase. I'm sure it's common parlance in the tech world and something an operations mastermind like Cook uses multiple times a day when discussing launch dates, product development and long-range plans. But it's new to me and I wish I had thought of it.
More important is Cook's point: he decided to be true to himself, and that's really where the story of his success begins. I'll say it again, because it's true in branding, marketing and — as I'm still learning — running your own business. There is no better strategy than knowing who you are and being true to that as relentlessly as you can. We all grow and make adjustments based on what we learn; Cook has demonstrated that, as well. But self-knowledge, self-acceptance and a decision to place your bets on what is uniquely you? There's no substitute.