I spent some time updating my LinkedIn personal profile today. As I did, I thought about the wild convergence of experiences and opportunities over the last fifteen or so years that have turned me into the person who I am today — and this made me think about Walt Whitman’s line from Song of Myself:
“I am large, I contain multitudes.”
I say this to clients all the time when we’re working together to understand their story, and the story that they’re trying to tell to their prospects and buyers through the thinking and writing and podcasting that they put out into the world.
“You contain multitudes,” I nearly always find myself saying — especially when people struggle to have the external objectivity needed to understand and interpret that story in ways that connect with their external audiences. (It’s “the pickle jar” problem…IYKYK…amiright, David C. Baker?!)
And it’s true — we are all the result of so many things — things that we’ve done, things that have happened to us…things both good and “bad”…and there’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of pieces laid out there before you that, in some cases, don’t always seem to connect together or make sense together.
But all of those experiences you’ve had — the “multitudes” that you contain — they combine to create stories that are as unique to each person telling them as a snowflake or a fingerprint is to the world around it. And there’s a power in that — a powerful reality with implications for both our personal understandings of ourselves AND the plans and growth strategies we have for our businesses.
(BTW: This is one reason why I always argue that no, the internet is not “full” — there is ALWAYS room for another voice, for another thoughtful contributor to the human cultural record through a new podcast, or new writing, or new speaking…the day we say that there are too many voices out there to make room for another one is the day that we decide that individuality and human contribution no longer matter.)
I’m writing this more for myself than for anyone out there in particular — as I do with most of my writing that’s not client-focused — but if you’re someone out there today who, like me, has kind of a wild story and/or career path that perhaps you’ve struggled to see holistically at times, then just remember:
“You contain multitudes.”
And that makes you different…it makes your story different. And we need as many different stories added to the world as possible — someone out there needs to hear what you’ve got “in there” within yourself, right now.
So own your voice, and own your story — share it, and let your uniqueness flow forth into the world in ways that drive change and impact — for yourself, for your business, for your employees, for your family, and yes…sometimes just for you yourself.