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What is your Cause?

Many people, I would even argue “most”, have some sort of “cause” that they believe in for whatever reason.  Examples of these causes are MS (mine, duh), cancer, homelessness, hungry children, needy families, animal welfare, etc.  There are plenty of them, obviously, but I think you get the point.

So here’s my question to you:

Whatever your “cause” is, do you do anything on a regular
basis to identify yourself with that cause?

Let me explain.  There are lots of way to identify yourself with a cause – here are a few that come to mind:

  • Different colored wristbands (very popular)
  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Pins/Buttons
  • Tattoos
  • License plate holders
  • Something on the signature of your email
  • Profile picture/image on social media
  • Logo on backpack, bag, purse, etc

I think you get the idea.

For any disease-specific cause, I understand that not everyone wants to be identified as having that disease.  But is it still worth identifying yourself with the cause even if you don’t “come out” that you have it?

So why do I ask this question?

I have been noodling this for a few months now, as I’m struggling with a good way to do it myself.  If you know me even partially, you know I am connected with MS as my Mom had it for many, many years.  But I don’t do a good job of advertising that in public or even in regular emails.  I’m not a big fan of wristbands, as I haven’t worn a watch in a very long time, and I know my wife is tired of seeing me wear orange shirts all the time.

So why should that matter?

I think the benefit of being “public” about your connection is that it can create a conversation that would otherwise never have happened.

I work at various coffee shops on a regular basis, often times they can be pretty crowded and/or busy so you are sitting fairly close to people.  What if the person sitting next to me either has MS or is connected in some way to MS.  Wouldn’t it be an interesting conversation for us to have about our respective connections and perspectives?  The odds of that conversation happening if it do not publicly identify myself somehow with MS are essentially zero.  But if I have an orange wristband on, or a pin, or the MS Society logo on my bag – that my pique that person’s interest and create the conversation.

This could very easily happen at a bar, train station, airplane, airport, train ride, concert, etc.

“So what?” you might ask.

That conversation could easily turn into a donor to your cause, a volunteer, a teammate, some insight into a support group, or even a corporate sponsor.  Worst case scenario, you would have just made a connection to someone that you share a common interest with.  How bad could that be?  Maybe they get you a job!?  🙂

Bottom line:  I think it’s a pretty solid idea to publicly identify yourself with a cause.  I’m not suggesting being obnoxious about it, as that can also turn people away.  But a subtle reminder of what you believe in or feel strongly about has a lot of upside.

I’d love to hear what you do in this regard…



  • Dane

    You are never without your cell phone , maybe even your laptop. Make up some cover/protector that identifies your cause.

  • aeroimages

    GENIUS!! Love it – thanks!

  • Kevin Murphy

    Well said Joe! I always carry my Bike MS messenger bag and more than once people have stopped me and said “Thanks, my mom/dad/brother/sister has MS”. It is important for us to constantly market our cause to start conversations, raise awareness and money to support the cause. You never know how much these smaller efforts of showing our support for a cause will create an impact but if you touch no one, there will no impact for sure.

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