Earlier this year I set out on a journey to connect with random people and share their story. I didn't really have a plan. I still don't really have a plan. What I do have is a vision and some pretty cool audio and video equipment. While it's great to have vision and equipment, without people who are willing to put themselves out there, the project is a bust. I anticipated some challenges with getting folks to open up to me and the recorder. I mean think about it, they don't know me. I'm a complete stranger talking to them about this project..blah blah blah. What I'm most surprised about is exactly HOW WILLING people are to open up to a stranger, and the recorder. With little prompting or structure, I've just asked for them to tell me what they do, and asked them to talk about some of the challenges they face and how they deal with those challenges. That's it. I let them go.
I'm guessing that folks want to be heard. They care about being heard. There is a need to be heard.
More than all of that, though, is that in the short month of working on this project, I have already learned so much. First, you can't keep using cocktail napkins as business cards. Second, sometimes the story you go after isn't the best story in the room. Patience and open-mindedness are paramount. Finally, resiliency and determination are everywhere, you just have to see them.
I don't know if it's because I am working on my own project, but when I hear, "You can't fail at something you love," it makes me want to just keep going. I love that quote, and I give credit to Eric Lough for that. It could become my new mantra because it just doesn't matter if the project takes off or not- there is no success or failure in it- because you are doing it- you know, the thing you are most passionate about. So at the end of the day it's a win-win.
The New Year is everywhere. You can't get away from it. With commercials advertising fitness memberships and Facebook posts documenting an abundance of cleansing challenges, it's hard to avoid the message that you need to be fit and healthy. Rarely do you find commercials that reaffirm what you are already doing. I almost never see someone sitting on a couch sipping wine and writing their blog or developing their website. For all the things I'm supposed to be doing, I rarely have time to do the things I want to do. So, I typically forgo the things I'm supposed to do; choosing, instead, the things that I want to do. Ironically, that is how The Give Voice Project came about. I've spent years trying to write something interesting- something that would capture the minds and hearts of others. But I feel like I've missed the mark a bit. What I find interesting are the stories of everyday folks. How do you get through the day? What makes you laugh? What would you rather be doing? I am hoping that those who capture my attention will also capture yours. I want more than anything for you to hear someone's story and feel empowered, rejuvenated with a long lost idea or plan, and maybe even be inspired enough to act on your own inner calling, whatever that may be. I won't say Happy New Year because I feel like those three words are weighted down with a hundred pounds of expectations. Instead, I wish you the ultimate gift of voice- may you enjoy the voice of others and find your own in 2016. Cheers!