…was first published in 1900. It begins as a parable about a natural leader not yet aware of their powers. Just another teen runaway, they find themselves a stranger in a strange land. This protagonist is aligned with the unlikeliest of coaches, so beset by insecurities of their own that, respectively, they:

  1. Can hardly put one foot in front of the other without collapsing into a heap;
  2. Are immobilized by heartbreak;
  3. Bully others under the advice of their protective id;
  4. Exert authority only by shrouding themselves in mystery.

How does our hero find strength and guidance amidst such weakness?


At the outset, our protagonist and their mentors have one thing in common: a lack of appreciation for their considerable blessings, even as they use exactly those attributes to emerge victorious over an army of soldiers who mindlessly do the bidding of a manic autocrat.

While none of the characters changes fundamentally, their perspectives do shift when they unite to defeat a common enemy.

Our hero – in addition to learning gratitude – recognizes that their own gift of inherent empathy has made possible the success of the team as a whole.

Written by L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not about the actual wizard or wizardry, for that matter. Nor is it about homesickness, or good versus evil. As I see it, the book is a manual for mentorship and teamwork that teaches us not to sell ourselves short, and to help ourselves by helping others.

It demonstrates that each of us has a responsibility to share our best parts with our fellows, along with an opportunity to learn from those we help as much as they learn from us.

Why put yourself or your clients in a box? Wherever we meet one another on our respective journeys, we are better off recognizing that championship is a two-way street, regardless of age, background, accomplishment, or expertise.

Just as I routinely propose that All Branding is Personal, I wholeheartedly believe that all lessons are equally applicable to life and business. After all, The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, Cowardly Lion, and the Wizard do not separate their “jobs” from their “personal lives.” And the choices we make are going to affect our personal relationships as much as they impact roles in society:

  • Leader or Follower
  • Coward or Hero
  • Con Man or Wizard
  • Good Witch or Bad Witch
  • Child or Grown-up

The choices are ours, and in making them let’s look around for our mentors/mentees, who often are one in the same. And let’s do so with immense gratitude for the awesome creations we are on our own.

If you’d like your Personal Brand to do more for you, let’s chat!

I dive into topics like mentorship, branding, witches, and movie parables in my forthcoming book, Selling the Truth: A ‘Semoir’ with Lessons for Life & Business, coming out in Fall 2024. To stay in the loop, Subscribe to my Newsletter.