From the beginning, our lives lay down clues to selfhood and vocation, though the clues may be hard to decode. But trying to interpret them is profoundly worthwhile— especially when we are in our twenties or thirties or for- ties, feeling profoundly lost, having wandered, or been dragged, far away from our birthrights… The deepest vocational question is not ‘What ought I to do with my life?’ It is the more elemental and demanding ‘Who am I? What is my nature?’
-Parker Palmer, “Let Your Life Speak”, page 15
I read this book many years ago and the story stayed with me. Parker Palmer as a young boy drawing planes and stappling them into books—a man who would later become a writer and teacher, the documenter of the internal life, the unseen processes of being human. This story later came to me as I began to integrate Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” philosophy into my own work alongside Donald Miller’s “Brand Story.” Here was a way to ask the big questions and the path to getting creative work into the world.
This is narrative marketing—starting with the truth of who we are. Building from there. Finding our people, our customers, our clients from that place in us that can’t be hidden or removed. Branding and storytelling that is congruent with who we are, not with who we think we need to be.
Here’s the thing: I don’t actually care if you succeed at the thing you’re doing today. I care about you succeeding in creating work in your life that is uniquely you. That will mean evolving and shifting. It will require growth. It will also mean making things that don’t cost you your soul and lead to burnout—because it’ll be you.
I’d been looking for this job forever. I’ve always been a storyteller, writing fictional scenes and imitating my favorite books since elementary school. I’ve also always been a friend person—I like people and have always watched them closely. This is my work: to midwife your soul’s work into the world via storytelling and brand building.