Updated: Aug 31, 2018
I read this book in the image above, awhile back but this week, I’ve been doing some reflecting on my “WHY” for storytelling. Lately, I’ve been feeling a disconnect with my writing (and sometimes with my readers/audience). I’m always watching people in the same industries as me, either live Instagram videos or their Instagram stories to help me find my creative nitch when I’m struggling with my “WHY”. In this era of social media influence, we can sometimes get caught up in the fame and success of others and start comparing ourselves and our journey’s to theirs. Oh trust me, I’m guilty of this on so many levels.
What I’ve learned is that, those people who we often compare ourselves to, actually spent years developing their relationships with others, simply being themselves, going through hardships, a ton of sleepless nights, early rising in the morning, made a million sacrifices and mistakes along the way, and my favorite, they stuck to their “WHY” which never included fame or fortune, they just loved doing what they were good at doing.
I love telling stories, whether it’s my stories about my life experiences or if it’s someone else story in my productions. I love telling a story in a theater especially, because I get to see my audience reactions in real time. I love when my audience tells me during or after curtain call that my story was one that they could relate to, it made them laugh and they hadn’t laughed in a long time, they enjoyed the partying we do before, during and after the show, the food I had catered and the unlimited drinks flowing were GREAT, my stories encouraged them to do better, the messages in the story were exactly what was needed at that time in their life to begin a healing process or simply my story has now opened up conversations through raising awareness and providing education on whatever topic we’re discussing.
That, is my WHY! “In this book the author stated, “Only when the WHY is clear and when people believe what you believe can a true loyal relationship develop.” I believe in every one of my stories. I’m not telling stories to make money (although that would be extremely nice). I forgot that recently. I got discouraged because I felt like everyone around me is “selling products” and I thought that I’m only good for bringing my stories to life either through these blog posts or on a stage. Talk about stinking thinking. I forgot about the impact of my WHY and how it has changed so many lives and it continues to inspire others to go after their dreams. There’s no amount of money greater than that.
I’ll never forget my production, Womanifesto. This production was based off of real stories from plus size women who never shared their true feelings to anyone, exposed their vulnerabilities and gave them the confidence they needed and a platform to show that are more than just the typical stereotypes that plus women get, daily. Their stories made us laugh and cry and it was a mini-fashion show. From that one production, I’ve seen the cast grow into more phenomenal and confident women, auditioning for name brand clothing lines, modeling, etc. That is my WHY!
I quit my full-time job back in April this year, where I was making more than I ever made and had great benefits to get back to my “WHY” ……. let me say that again, I left a GREAT paying job with benefits to get back to my “WHY”!!!!! The money was great but I wasn’t in alignment with my purpose in life, which made me miserable, everyday. Now I’m working part-time advocating for survivors of domestic violence which is always my “WHY” and working on more stories to bring to communities here in NOLA, as I did in Chicago.
I’m not suggesting that everyone quit their jobs! What I’m saying is, I downsized my working hours to stick to my reasons for telling stories and to build more connections and relationships within the theater community here. Trust me, oh how I miss splurging on buying a million books every week and Saturday’s filled with me shopping at my favorite thrift store on Magazine Street. I gave that up, to get back focused and write more stories! I know how have the peace I need and less distractions and therefore there are NO room for excuses on why I can’t get a project done.
I don’t know what your “WHY” is, but I suggest if you’re not sure, purchase this book, Start with Why by Simon Sinek and start the journey of discovering your “WHY” and if you know what your “WHY” is and have felt disconnected at some point like me, reflect back on it make the changes where needed.