How the “Shohei Ohtani Effect” is rewriting the rules of personal branding (even if you’re not a baseball star)

The Shohei Ohtani Effect

A woman I met recently had been downsized from her 20 year career in sports and sales. As she is job hunting, the offers to work in her old industry keep flooding in.

Trouble is, she’s more lit up by projects in a totally different space.

I wagered that her career in sports shouldn’t be dismissed entirely. There is a superpower to harvest from her time there. She just hasn’t

  • put her finger on it
  • figured out how to leverage it
  • created content that demonstrates her impact.

I picked a sports example to share what’s possible.

I shared the “Shohei Ohtani Effect.” The Japanese star has become a FORCE to reckon with in American baseball.

But for reasons that far exceed the sport.

Let’s break it down:

He’s a dual threat.

He’s an able bodied pitcher and hitter. Not since Babe Ruth has a player demonstrated such prowess. The industry had to create new rules because of him.

What is your super power? What is the word you are associated with in rooms you aren’t in? Do you know?

What skill are you currently developing and how do you connect the two?

Let’s go back to our friend from sports.

  • With any business today, engagement and audience capture are critical : Her inside knowledge of how sponsorships, endorsements, and media works can be particularly useful in roles that are hiring for audience engagement and retention.

  • With any business today, there is a need for strategic thinking and planning. Given how seasonal and event-driven sales in sports are, developing and executing sales strategies tailored to the unique aspects of any industry is key.

  • The customer is notoriously fickle, how to keep up?: The sports industry is subject to rapid shifts in consumer behavior, technology, and media consumption. How does she demonstrate adaptability in any industry facing technological disruption or changing consumer preferences?

  • Everyone has a crisis now and then: Live sports events are RIFE with unpredictable things, including last-minute changes and crisis situations. How does she share her exceptional problem-solving and crisis management skills?

  • Everyone has to keep innovating: Teams are always looking for new and innovative ways to engage fans and customers. Knowledge of virtual reality experiences show how she is up on the latest technology and knows how to use it to drive sales.


He’s got a powerful personal brand.

His sponsorship deals, his book, his ability to draw in the Hollywood crowd, makes him the highest paid player in baseball.

His allure elevates the Dodgers.

The Dodgers brand doesn’t elevate him, and they knew that when they signed him.

Your personal brand is the career leverage you build regardless of who employs you. But have you taken the time to articulate it? [Video alert] How does anyone know the unique way you solve problems?

My female clients (especially from corporate) really struggle to share transformations they were part of . They don’t know how to ‘package’ up how they had impact.

This is where I come in. This brand of storytelling, without the key names, numbers, and companies, comes easier to me.

I challenge my clients to share how:

  • Her strategy raised audience engagement by 25%?
  • How did her negotiation skills drive 1 more sponsorship sale worth x?


His brand far exceeds his industry.

His marriage announcement alone was a major event, highlighting how Ohtani is so much bigger than baseball. He’s become a significant part of daily life and conversation in Japan.

  • How are you impacting spaces outside your industry?
  • Who are you mentoring?
  • What causes are you impacting?
  • What’s the legacy you are creating outside of work?

My friend from sports has been doing some contract work on the side.

In documenting her impact in a blog. in a podcast. in a Linkedin post, there may be a great gift waiting in return. Video alert.


The two 80 year grandmothers behind the blog, Around the World at 80, travelled the world in 80 days and documented it.

“We have one video with 6.4 million views, and if you look at the comments, it’s all of these young people talking about, “I want a friend like that.”

Sandy and I did not realize what a beautiful and valuable friendship we had until the rest of the world saw it for us.”


On to this week’s newsletter:

One leadership tip

There is no more profound time than now to work on you

One public speaking tip

The next time you find yourself uttering one of these passive-aggressive phrases, pause, take a breath and try a different approach. Try something like, “I’m struggling with X” or “I’m feeling Y” or “I’m scared that Z,” or even just, “I’m not sure what to say, but…”

Being straightforward can be scary, but it’s more likely to lead to meaningful, if uncomfortable, conversations.

One adventure tip

Hey I’m heading to Salt Lake City next Wednesday April 10th. Anyone want to Mastermind some business challenges over lunch? DM me


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