You'll Be Remembered When You Stand Against Something

04/12/2013 01:23 pm ET | Updated Jun 12, 2013

The death this week, at 87, of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher led to the most divisive memorials I've ever seen. She was not a public figure whom you could ignore.

And that's what kept her so powerfully alive in the imaginations of not only Britons but of people everywhere.

"I am not a consensus politician," she famously said. "I am a conviction politician." Another time she said, "To those waiting with baited breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the 'U' turn, I have only thing to say: 'You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning.'"

She made her first big mark by standing against her own party leadership, as Leader of the Opposition, in the mid-1970s. She stood against unions. She stood against government ownership of businesses (she led the privatization of gas, water and electrical monopolies). She stood against compromise (even with members of her own political party). She stood against high taxes, saying they were steps "not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism."

She stood against government assistance, saying: "There are individual men and women and there are families, and no government can do anything except through people, and people look to themselves first."

Not everyone might remember the specifics of her accomplishments, such as revitalizing Britain's economy, or even her failures (high unemployment and civic unrest), but she is remembered for herself.

She knew that define herself she had to be someone who stood against the establishment (even as she became part of it), and tell the world what she was not more than who she was. "This lady's not for turning," as she'd said -- a reference to a popular 1948 Christopher Fry play, "The Lady's Not for Burning." But she made it her own.

So, how do you figure out what you stand against? Most people have strong opinions, but they don't know how to articulate them into something resembling marketing. I've got a new e-book that can show you how you can use your individual beliefs to define yourself and be heard over the competition. The #1 Way to Increase Your Close Rate: Define What You Stand Against (The 7 Steps to a Successful Business in a Changing Market) is available on Amazon.com.

You might not have the global impact of a Margaret Thatcher. But you will likely be heard as someone with a strong, individual voice.