Toby Ng

It’s not what I have done, but what I will do next…

Round 3 FIGHT!

In some games, it's "FINAL ROUND, FIGHT!", but nonetheless I do need to acknowledge an ending. At least competition-wise, there are no more tournaments for the rest of the year, so I can rest for about 2 weeks before the 2017 Ontario Elite Series! I know I haven't blogged for a bit here, and although I try to promise to write more, I think it might fail along with the rest of most people's New Year's Resolutions. I make the same mistakes as most people and try to make too many changes all at the same time. In the end, nothing changes until the first week of 2018 (in which we would fail again until 2019). Maybe I'll be able to write some more by then.

It is easy to fall out of habits, and it is easier to blame others. I think we are all guilty of this one way or another, except those who have championed their own egos. But then again, we would never hear much about those people, because they would not be posting on Facebook or Instagram, trying to get a slice of attention for a brief moment. I'm as guilty as anyone, and though I am aware of the problem, I don't feel compelled to change it. Some feel that money is the greatest currency, but attention is often the cheapest, which we can often trade by other means. So here I am, as I continue to write, post photos on Instagram, and beg for attention. I am shouting to the world: "Hey look at me, I think I'm important!" Am I really that important? Yes and no.

The thing with attention is that it is addictive and we always want more than we already have. We want more people to care, or in rare instances, we want particular people to care. But is it just attention that some of us want, or do we actually want engagement? Would you trade 100 "Likes" for 1 engaging conversation? I think it depends on the person. Some people would rather be loved, some would rather be understood. 

So, where am I going with this? I'm simply creating awareness about branding, especially with Canadian badminton players. Question: how many people know you actually exist? Outside the reach of your friends, home club, and province, what kind of reach do you have across the country? Some of you have a great reach, but most of us do not. And if you have that kind of reach, how confident are you that your supporters actually will support you? How many of them really know what you do? 

But you might challenge me with some questions of your own: "Is it suppose to be my job to promote myself?" or "How am I suppose to know what to do?" or "If you're so smart, why don't you have more of a following?". These are great questions to ask, and I don't really have answers because I think everyone is unique to their own situation. As an athlete, you would think all you need to do is to train and compete, but is that assumption correct? How do you know that I didn't purposely reduce the amount of blogging or posting on Facebook, just to see how much promotion I could get from other sources? As I have learned over the years from playing doubles events: "If your partner doesn't get the shot, even though it might be their shot, you ultimately have two choices: don't get the shot or get the shot." In other words, if nobody else is going to promote your badminton, YOU have to do something.

This extends to other things, including sponsorships. If nobody is getting you a sponsorship, you might need to go out and find one yourself. You can resort to branding yourself, or as some might try, get tournament results and recognized appropriately. Unfortunately, doing both is difficult as one takes time away from the other. That is a constant internal battle I had to fight with over the years as an athlete. For those who use to remember, I used to post regularly to my YouTube Channel and took the time to record other Canadian matches as well. It got to the point that people started asking me if I had matches of other players. As a favour to other athletes back them, I was hoping that they would follow suit and do their own things, but unfortunately, I don't think too much has happened over the years. Most players hope for other people to record their matches, or don't bother posting their own, because it takes a lot of time. And as someone who formerly did that, it does take a lot of time. Most of all, the return on investment (ROI) is usually negative. Why bother?

But it does matter, because it helps build true fans. Maybe there are those who understand the effort you make to share your matches, photos, or other parts of your performance. Some just jump on the bandwagon. Some want to be just like you (not recommended). Some want to play badminton just like you (a better idea). Sometimes it's not the number of followers, but rather the number who genuinely care about what you do and are supportive whether you win or lose. There are the ones who take their time to watch our matches, follow your athletic pursuits, and are genuine fans. Don't let quantity override quality. It is far easier to click "Like" than to leave a comment, far easier to leave a comment than a message, and far easier to leave a message than to come out and see you play live. 

I was initially suppose to blog about my time at the 2016 USA International last week, but I've changed my mind. I think I will let this blog kick off a New Year's Resolution for next year. I want to experiment with branding and gathering attention. I will reap both the benefits and consequences, but I hope in my experiment, I can challenge others on this journey to copy my strengths, and learn from my weaknesses. I will give myself a week to prepare things and kick off January 1st. Although I haven't completely decided how I will approach this yet, be prepared for anything. There are very few rules when it comes down to marketing. Ultimately, this is not so much about me, as it is about the process. One of my core mantras is still "Ego is the Enemy" and don't ever think that I believe my self worth is more than anyone else's. But perhaps the question I will leave you to ponder is...
"When we put on a mask, do we put on an act, or do we become our true selves?"

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