Sometimes you’re the only one who can bring light to darkness.

An Authentic Perspective Of Growth Opportunities

As a coach, I always encourage my clients to let their voices be heard. Tell your story because it always has power and can change a life. I’d like to share with you now some very wise words from a dear friend of mine. I believe that his call for a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in your life is a necessary one. We can get easily wound up in our daily lives and forget the impact that we can have on others around us. Please think about an experience that has shaped your own life and how it has changed you. Feel free to share it if you are comfortable doing so.

-Valerie Martinelli, MPA

There are a handful of experiences in life that truly shape our lives. Our childhood molds us. It gives us our direction. It puts us on a path. For the few lucky ones in this world, that’s a path toward success. For the many who aren’t so lucky, it’s the start of a cycle of disappointment that our society cannot seem to break.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I was born into privilege. I was lucky enough to be born a white man in a white man’s world. That isn’t a guarantee of success, but it most certainly helps.

I was also lucky to be born to well-educated and affluent parents. We weren’t rich by today’s societal standards but in the town I grew up in we were quite well off. So many others were not nearly as fortunate as me.

This week at SXSW I was awoken to that reality, and I think it may have triggered one of those moments that has the power to transform your life. It took the direction I’ve been on and honed it toward a future point. I have a renewed sense of purpose.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for my entire life. When I was younger, I thought that meant I had to publish books and have my name on the cover. Over the last several months I’ve come to realize I’ve already reached my goal of being a writer. I do it for a living. I’m just not sure that’s enough to leave me fulfilled anymore.

My goal as an author was always to tell stories. For years, the story I’ve wanted to tell has been my own. This week, I’ve started to realize how unbelievably egotistical that goal has been. Have I seen adversity in my life? Sure, we all have. The adversity I’ve faced in my life is nothing compared to the lives of so many who don’t have homes, or food, or purpose, let alone safety, and love, and protection. It’s why the story I tell shouldn’t be of my own ilk. It should be the story of yours.

In our society today there are far too many stories in life that go untold. Too many people are left in silence, voiceless to a society that is too busy to care. It’s why storytellers must take it upon themselves to tell the stories of those whose voices have been silenced by circumstance.

I wish I could promise myself that I will be that person moving forward. I wish I could say with certainty that tomorrow will be different and I’ll be the voice of change that’s needed. Today, though, I’m far too weak of a person to do what I believe needs to be done. I do, however, want to work toward the goal that I’ve always had since I was old enough to know what desire and drive was. I want to offer something good to the world that helps change it.

If you’re willing to attend SXSW with the kind of mind they crave, one rooted in curiosity, then I’m living proof that it can touch you in ways you’d never imagined. This week’s event has proven to me that you’re never too old to hear a story that can change your life. If I’m lucky then maybe I’ll one day have the chance to tell a story that changes yours.