Are you a goat or a sheep? And other things to ponder as you build an authentic brand

Last winter I lived in Sunnyvale, California. It used to be called Murphy, but they changed the name in the early 20th century because the weather was just too damn good there.

Stanford has 4 pools at the Avery Aquatic Center. There are two other facilities on campus not pictured here.

I have a vague memory of last December, standing in my swimsuit on the beautiful Stanford campus, basking on the warm deck under the shining sun between the two 50-meter pools that make up the Avery Aquatic Center. I was lucky to be part of a masters swimming program made up of multiple former Olympians, national level swimmers and other aspiring athletes. Three to four practices were offered daily and most were coached by who I consider to be the best masters swim coach in the country, Tim Edmonds.

This morning I scraped the ice off my new-to-me 2001 Ford truck and slid my way to the Cascade Swim Center in Redmond, OR for a 5:00am practice (the only time open for masters) in our old six lane, 84 degree water (which is way too hot for any kind of hard swimming) pool for a practice that I have to coach myself. My dedicated group of swimmers, all five of them were there, and we slogged our way through workout.

Why the change?

As I touched upon in an article I wrote a couple weeks ago here on Medium, I moved to Oregon because I am on a mission. I wanted to dedicate myself full time to building Chivaz Wear into a successful brand. I felt that in order to do that, I should live the “authentic” life that Chivaz stood for.

In Silicon Valley, if I was lucky, I’d work on Chivaz 2–3 hours a day while spending the rest of my day working for other people. I’d spout off about how Chivaz are your reminder to “Stand Tall & Stand Out,” meanwhile I was miserable in the workplace and felt that I was always trying to fit in. If Chivaz was all about being a goat and not a sheep, why was I still sheepin’?

So here I am, freezing my butt off on the way to practice in water that is way too hot. And you know what? I love it. I get home from practice at 6:30am and sit right down and get to work on a job that I am passionate about. I might be a bit more exposed out here and I am definitely way further down on the income scale, but I just have a feeling that things are gonna work out.

A couple weeks ago, I started to put together a list of the best attributes of goat and the worst attributes of sheep. I stacked the odds in Chivaz favor so that anyone could get in touch with their inner-goat.

So without further ado — here is a “quiz” for you:

A Sheep or a Goat: What are you?

GOAT:

  • Goats are sure footed, have great balance and can climb almost anything
Goats in trees — not sure how they got there
  • Goats are strong willed
  • Goats are independent
  • Goats adapt incredibly well to their surroundings
  • Goats are scruffy
This guy wins the beard & mustache compettion
  • Goats are diverse (they come in all shapes, sizes, horns/no horns)
Goats search on Google comes up with all kinds of different looking goats
  • Goats never lose their personality
  • A group of goats together is called a tribe or a TRIP
What a long strange trip it is…
  • Goats will eat anything
First place is delicious
  • Goats refuse to be contained
Thanks to my wife for remembering this commercial from childhood
  • Goats get along well with people and are great companions to other animals
  • Goat (GOAT) is commonly used as an acronym for Greatest of All Time
  • Goats are the stars of many internet memes, the most popular being “crave that mineral” which is perfect example of how far goats will go to get what they want (and notice how they do it without stepping on the heads of others)
Crave that mineral!

SHEEP:

  • Sheep are known for flocking together or being part of a herd
  • Sheep have the same name for plural as for singular — making it very difficult to stand tall or stand out
  • Sheep pretty much look the same and don’t have too much diversity
  • Sheep try to fit in
  • Sheep follow
  • Sheep are slow to learn from their mistakes, so I’ve been told
  • Sheep are dependent on the shepard
  • You never hear about a wolf in goat’s clothing, only sheep, how is a sheep letting a wolf in its clothes?

Disclaimer: This is an obviously biased list of the attributes of sheep and goats. I don’t mean to offend you sheep lovers out there. I am sure that there are plenty of nice things to say about sheep, I purposely left them off the list

SUMMARY

Chivaz are about finding your inner-goat, standing tall and standing out. Show up as yourself and give your best to what you do. Not everyone has to move to snowy Oregon to do that. Sometimes I can be a bit extreme. I’d love to hear your comments and feedback and examples of how you are out there goatin’

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