By Matt Manero
If you were born in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and maybe even the 80’s, you watched the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon during Labor Day weekend. In most of our homes, we simply called it “The Jerry Lewis Telethon.” Jerry Lewis and MDA were one in the same in America. It was an annual tradition. It often raised tens of millions per year and during its 50-year history, the telethon raised over $2.3 billion for MDA.
It is one of the greatest examples of two things.
- The importance of finding purpose for in your life
- The power of personal branding.
The power of purpose: MDA became his purpose. All you had to do was watch it once to see how committed he was to it. His goal each year was simple: ”TO RAISE ONE DOLLAR MORE THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR.” When Jerry asked, the biggest of the big names, put their tux or formal dress on and came on the show to lend their support. For that 24-hour period, his purpose became their purpose and the MDA benefited. Of course, there was controversy, and Jerry fought it against it every chance he could. It has been reported that Jerry gave over $7 million of his own money to support MDA. The power of one person, on purpose, is incredible.
The power of personal branding. Jerry Lewis was known around the world. His personal brand was tops in the industry, and without it, there is no doubt that the MDA would not have benefited to the tune of billions. Having a personal brand, that connects with a purpose, it unstoppable.
Build both in your life. Pick either one first, it doesn’t matter. Start with purpose and then build or brand or vice versa. But if you really want to make a difference in your life or the lives of millions…you need both.