I recently came across a question posed by a character in a movie I was watching and it made me think. “Why tell your story and tell only the good parts?”
Now, I love and admire human beings who share the most intimate and truest details of their stories. I always appreciate someone who invites me into their imperfect life, share their ups and downs and share with me their professional life as they practice and grow through their work.
That’s being authentic.
And that’s precisely what it means to take people on a journey with you, with all its challenges and triumphs. Instead of merely churning out copious amounts of content that does not connect. Content that is not human, void of any emotion and truth.
Jamie Oliver, being the gifted Chef and artist that he is, stands out and leads in his industry because he is willing to open himself up by sharing his techniques, process of working and recipes. Example: he is likely to share, say, culinary lessons in writing or video form that he picked up from a trip he took to the African continent. And that’s really the essence: talking about yourself and your work all the time. Not only when you have approved and filmed a R100 000 television advert to run for three months.
Inasmuch as there is a lot more information in our age, especially on the internet, there is still a depressing lack of stories. I am talking about stories that are centred on honesty — tales that move and change us and make us yearn to take action. True reflections of people’s driving forces and intent; why they get up every morning to do what they do. The not-so-glamorous backstory.
When we push out ‘polished’ and generic content, we miss the ripe opportunity to expose layers upon layers of rich details of our story.
Here’s the thing: people are interested in other people. That’s how we function. And we are often drawn toward and are deeply affected by the realest expressions of the human journey.
So, my submission is really simple: stop telling a generic and politically correct story because you think that’s what a few people want to hear. Stop being apologetic and start telling the truth of your history, feelings and opinions. Of course, you’ll piss off some people but with that written, you’ll also attract fervent supporters who agree and defend your position.
Expose yourself. And take the people with whom you speak on a unique journey.