most magnificent thing

Creating The Most Magnificent Thing

This is a story about “pulling your hair out” while working to create something new and creating the most magnificent thing. It does have a happy ending though. Thank goodness!

In fact, it is my own story. A dear friend of mine who is a branding expert had pointed out something that I already felt myself. My company’s branding needed an update. But I didn’t know how to go about it.

My Company Had Evolved a Lot

My list of offerings had grown a lot since I first conceived the company name, Top-Notch CEO.

  • I had created an online academy, called Top-Notch CEO Academy.
  • At times, I also was supporting business owners as “Visiting CEO”. That is the name I came up with for being a fractional CEO. I can bring fresh eyes, offer extra executive bandwidth and even turn around troubled companies.
  • Above all, I’m an executive coach. I specialize in working with subject-matter experts who have become business owners or taken on an executive role.

Years ago, I had created a clever trifold business card that lists all three offers – Coach, Academy, and Visiting CEO.
“You need to simplify this!” recommended my dear friend. She was right.
“The logos look a bit outdated.” Hmm. Was is it worth “freshening them up”?

The biggest question I had with renewing my brand was: How can I do a better job at branding Brilliance Extraction™? This is a process I created with which to pull knowledge and wisdom (aka “brilliance”) from someone’s brain to make it transferable. It also preserves that brilliance for good. I felt if I were to update my brand it should reflect this work. It is the most unique thing I offer. And of course, my coaching, and the academy are skills and tools I use in conjunction with Brilliance Extraction.

The Process of Creating a New Name and Brand

The friend’s feedback gave me the impetus to think about possible new names. Should the new name have the word “Brilliance” in it? Probably yes. Or should I invent a word like “Brillienz”? It seemed too hard to get the spelling of such a word right.

I bought one domain name after the other so it wouldn’t be gone while I mulled it over as a possibility. I got feedback from others. Of course, the more people I asked the more opinions I got.

I was getting exasperated. What sounded good for 30 minutes or even a day, didn’t sound good to me soon after. That is when my friend pointed me to a children’s book called “The Most Magnificent Thing.”

Amazon describes the book beautifully: “… an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. ‘She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!’ But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.”

Well, I didn’t quit, and I never had the illusion rebranding was going to be “easy-peasy”. But I was very frustrated with my failing attempts to arrive at the right name.

When I read the book, I smiled. I was experiencing the same frustration. Why wasn’t it falling into place more quickly?

Then it did fall into place. The Brilliance Mine! The Brilliance Mine is now a division of Top-Notch CEO. That way I’m carrying forward our history and our well-ranking Top-Notch CEO website. At the same time, we’ve moved Brilliance Mining (the process of unearthing the brilliance you have) and Brilliance Extraction center stage.

It was a deeply collaborative effort between several people. And was me in the end who said “Yes, this is the one. This is the name!” And then the logo fell into place soon after. I thank Susie Carter from Mixed Media Creations, Robert Donnell from P5 Marketing, and my husband, Adam Althouse, for all their input – and for putting up with me as I went through this process.

The Moral of the Story

What is the point I’m making? Creating the “most magnificent thing” is a creative process. You can’t quite will it into existence. You have to be a bit patient. I was in a big hurry to get it done. I had to work on it but also give it time to “brew”.

In the end, you are the one who will know what feels right. You will know it is magnificent when you see it.

I’m Curious

Which magnificent thing are you working on – or maybe there is on the horizon for you?


  1. Laura Schultes on at

    What I am working on is not so cerebral, but a journey nevertheless. Since my stepson moved out, I have an empty bedroom that is a blank canvas. But I’m having a hard time transforming it to a room I love. I have found artwork and bedding but nothing that wows me. I keep telling myself, I’ll know it when I see it. ???? Today’s brilliance nugget reminds me to keep looking!

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Fantastic, Laura! What do you want to use the room for? Guest room, crafting, …?

Leave a Comment