When You (Finally!) Get it Right, Your Brand Feels Like Magic

The morning air was cool and crisp, the sun rising happily to my left over the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

I was heading south on the Appalachian Trail, a path thru hikers call “The Long Green Tunnel”, that stretches all the way from Maine to Georgia. I’d taken a week to hike the 70+ miles that ran the length of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This was a particularly beautiful section. From this high ridge, I could see North Carolina to my left, and Tennessee to my right. There was still a hint of blue mist over the mountains, rippling as far as I could see in both directions.

After a few days on trail, I’d settled into a rhythm, my 40 pound pack felt like a natural part of me, and I was very, very happy.

At one point, the trail angled to the right, off the ridge, and began winding down and around the shoulder of Laurel Top Mountain. As I turned away from the view, moving deeper into the woods, I came around a bend and stopped short.

What I saw was magical.

In the dark shade of the deepening forest, one wide, warm beam of sunlight broke through the canopy of trees. The entire hillside was brought into that light, and it was completely filled with a neon green carpet of new baby ferns.

Hundreds of them filled the space, each lifting their heads, unfurling the tiniest of leaves as they grew, slowly opening themselves into the fullness of their Being as they reached for that warm light.

I want to remember this, I thought to myself, soaking it in.

The long trail in front, curving gently as it wound down into the dark green forest.  

The brilliant hillside to my left, covered with the unfurling natural growth of baby ferns.

And, now behind me, the blue mist of the morning, the mountain ranges in the distance, and the expansive sky off the high ridge.

I felt like I stood at the perfect crossroads of all that could be.

What a metaphor for the paths we walk through our lives… Sometimes we can see for miles and know exactly where we’re going. Sometimes the path is cloaked in deep shadow, we have no idea where it leads, and we follow on trust.

And always, we are growing, unfurling, stretching into our own, beautiful, natural Being as our highest and best self emerges in it’s fullness.

Yes. That’s how I think when I hike. :)

And in the 25+ years since that day, I’ve never forgotten that moment. If I can’t sleep, or I’m a little stressed, if I feel discouraged – I pull that picture up in my mind. I remind myself that all is well, that things are unfolding as they should.

It was that powerful.

And that’s why, when Michelle Knox took matters into her own hands and sent the images she imagined for my brand, I teared up.

I don’t know why, but I felt like a fern could be right for you…” she said.


This amazing woman, the visionary brand specialist I hired from Lone Red Design, did not know this story.

She had no idea what that image meant to me.

In my last post, I talked about how hard it can be to discover your true ‘brand’, the soul of your business. You may wander down a few dead ends before you find the path that is true for you.

But when you do, it is really powerful.

And why does this matter so much to me?

Because this is exactly what happens for my clients.

Just like those tiny ferns, they come full of potential, wrapped up in what could be, reaching for growth.

And in no time at all, those tiny shoots of new green begin to unfurl, and they too, stretch fully into who and what they are meant to be.  

That’s what my business is about. That is the soul of what I do.

So as you seek to uncover the brand that is you, keep going until it’s right.

Because when it’s right, it is that powerful.

Photo Credit: Wendy Pitts Reeves, and Michelle Knox, Lone Red Design



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