There is no such thing as a boring life story. Every story is interesting in its own way.
For the last 15 months, I’ve been writing profiles of various local businesses for a book about Montgomery. This is an advertising project for these businesses and organizations. They paid to be included, and I’m telling the story they want told.
Many of the stories weave into personal stories – because of how the business got its start. Nothing “just happens.” The owner doesn’t wake up one morning, stumble into his workplace and ask, “Where did this business come from?”
Someone gets an idea, discovers a need, has a skill, develops a service or product, then begins to organize with a plan. They start out with one person. Then grow to two, then three. Forty years later, they have a team of 80 with three divisions. They don’t look back and say, “I have no idea how it happened.” They remember the significant turns.
Things don’t tend to “stay the same as it’s always been.” They make adjustments for the market, technology, consumer preferences. They hire new people, move to a different location. The business story doesn’t tend to go like so: “We started this way, and this is the way we’ve been doing it ever since.” The unforeseen intervenes.
I enjoyed the project a great deal – whether learning about businesses that have been in a family for several generations or finding out how people unexpectedly ended up on their career path even though they’d prepared for something else.
Like the insurance agent who started out in media, took a big step toward another opportunity that fell through, then was working in retail when a transforming connection came through a customer.
Or the college student who rode past a business and decided to interview for a part-time job. Thirty years later, he’s still there and is running the place.
Or the lady who had been a hair dresser, worked in publishing, drove a forklift, and managed an auto parts shop before launching a successful business in another field.
Lives and businesses don’t always follow a direct route.
It was also interesting to be reminded of the variety of work roles people take on. Like the architect who helped design interstate welcome centers. Or the shop owner who sells personal safety gear, hand tools and work boots. Everybody fills a need.
I liked the details I learned. Like how one company’s building has a skylight that was used to mature bananas that had just arrived by river transportation. Or the man in the fifth generation of a business that he acknowledges probably should have closed for good during the Great Depression, but they kept going.
Every life, career, business is interesting in its own way. If someone followed a straight line from his or her teenage years till now, it’s interesting because of how it’s possible to tap into a career purpose early on. Yet those who reinvent themselves at the midpoint or after are interesting in how their found new purpose later in life.
I sat in on a client’s training session not long ago – I was there to learn the information to write a video script on this training topic. The facilitator asked the attendees to introduce themselves and “tell something interesting about yourself that people don’t know.”
Some people probably didn’t enjoy the exercise, but everyone had something to say. Everyone came up with an answer. No one said, “There’s nothing interesting about me that people don’t know.” No one said, “I’ve got nothing for you.”
What are the interesting and unique things about your life? Whether you launched a business or worked for someone else, your life story is equally fascinating, your career turns just as compelling. You wouldn’t see my car, my house, or the things I put in my cart at Costco, and think, “She must be living a really interesting life.” But I am. And so are you.
In this one unique experience, you’ve witnessed events that no one will ever see again in just that way. Your life is a once-in-eternity event, a one-time deal, and for that reason alone, yours has been amazing.
I like the quote I’ve mentioned before: “You never step into the same river twice.” The waters keep flowing in and out. Same for life and business. Things are fluid. Nothing is one size fits all. The eras change. The technology improves. Yet the point is still about bringing gifts, talents and labor into the marketplace – and making a difference during your time and place, in your part of the universe.
And even as we do, we walk under the same sun and moon, take our breaths in the same atmosphere, and the same Creator watches over all.
Enjoy your magnificent journey.
– Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificent Journey
Vol. 2, Issue 20