It’s Not the Full Picture


We only catch a glimpse of what is really happening underneath the surface for most people. And, we only know a fraction of their past, their story, their aches and pains and fears.

What we get more of now is a curated view of their lives, exactly as they want it to be seen. It’s not inauthentic, it’s just wildly incomplete.

A perfect view.

I was reminded of this starkly today as I shared some thoughts at a local meetup and guest talk that I did. A few generous tweets of the event and one example of a follow-up email post-event:

I always love hanging with new developers and engineers and I love encouraging them to look into entrepreneurship as not just a way of making money but as a lifestyle.

But the point is this: Unfortunately I’m never able to tell the whole and complete story about all the things that have transpired on my road through entrepreneurship and startup world. The ups and the downs and the many, many failures that have littered my past as a constant reminder of how difficult it is.

Although I love sharing some of the highlights to the audience and, most importantly, the principles that can be liberally applied for their own ventures and projects, what I’m never able to do because of the limited amount of time are the things that shook me to my core, that challenged the fundamentals of what I believed work should be, and how I was able to overcome (or rather survive) these encounters with a ton of luck (not skill).

It’s just never the full picture and I wish I could do a better job of painting it well without loosing momentum in the talk or making it poor and diluted. It just goes to show that I have much to learn and to practice in terms of my communication skills, delivery, and narrative storytelling.

But the lack of a “full story” goes beyond just a guest lecture or keynote presentation — we abandon the full and unadulterated truth in most other parts of our lives as well, much to our own detriment.

I think we all stand to gain a lot by being more open and more vulnerable to those that mean the most to us. I think it requires a ton of courage and it’s risky as hell, but, the reward and outcause can be greater still.

At the core for all of us is an innate desire to be fully known by others (and by very own selves). Without this we are simply incomplete.

Originally published at John Saddington.