Develop your Own Voice

Woody Guthrie

Want to have bona fide impact in your business and on the world? Develop your own voice. It is hard to measure the influence of the man wearing today’s Imagination Hat. Today is the birthday of Woody Guthrie, singer, songwriter, and poet who influenced many contemporary artists, including Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and Harry Chapin, just to name a few. While many were influenced by him, Woody’s songs remain unmatched in character and value and sound. His sound was so unique that he was not afraid of competition. In fact, he encouraged people to sing his songs. You most likely know his most well-known song, “This Land is Your Land”. He wrote it in the 1940’s because he felt God Bless America was too complacent. He wanted to motivate his fellow citizens to take responsibility for their citizenship, and make it their own. But on the typescript submitted for copyright of “This Land Is Your Land”, Guthrie wrote:

“This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don’t give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that’s all we wanted to do.”

Andrew Fletcher, Scottish political activist (1655-1716), said, “let me write the songs of a nation—I don’t care who writes its laws.” Woody had an affect on an entire generation. While Woody was not a politician, his name is more familiar to us than any politician during the dust bowl.  

Need to reduce the competition? Develop your own voice. Offer something of unique value. Become a class of one. That’s this week’s Imagination Hat.