Note: Spoilers ahead!
I’ll just come right out and say it. I love the Pearsons—Jack, Rebecca, all of them. They have become a second family, and I voluntarily sit on my couch to cry my eyes out with them on NBC’s “This Is Us” every week.
And let’s be honest, the tears are getting to be uncontrollable. We’re officially on the brink of facing Jack’s death unfold. Yes, we knew it was coming. But as of Tuesday night, we have a much better understanding of how it happens (I’m not prepared to watch the Pearson home go up in flames…), why it happens (a terrible combination of funky wiring in a 20-year-old slow cooker, dead batteries in the smoke detector, and a sleeping family…), and when it happens (after the Super Bowl, be sure to set your DVRs for extra time!).
A few months after moving to D.C., I was quickly able to anticipate the first question most new people I met were going to ask me—“What do you do?” And over the last five years, I have had a few different prepared responses—“I’m a middle school Spanish teacher.” or “I work in education communications.”
Lately, though, I have challenged myself to ask not the what, but the why. The why might seem too forward or personal at first, but I have found it leads to more connected conversations. It’s what feeds you when your energy is running low. The core of your passion. It’s not just your job title.
Who had people spontaneously cheering from their seats during his key note address at The Communications Network’s ComNet conference and on their feet afterwards? Grant Oliphant, from The Heinz Endowments.
His powerful culminating keynote charged all of us ‘communicators for good’ with one mission: “Speak, as your purpose, position, and privilege demand”. He made it clear that he did not mean ‘speak as your position allows’, but rather that the word demand was intentional. We each have a charge to live up to the roles we have been privileged to accept as communicators for good.
Kind of a strange question coming from a communications firm. And I do get the irony of a blog that’s nothing but words about who needs words anyway. But bear with me.
Some of the most powerful commercials ever made—not a word said: VW’s The Force spot, the Navy Seals Footprints commercial, among others. In movies, some of the most tender scenes and some of the scariest have no words. And the action sequences, if there are words they’re usually incomprehensible grunts. Then there’s the whole genre of classical music. Conductors and their symphonies say so much without any of them saying a word. Yet we all experience it, and we all understand.
I’m what people call a “millennial.” Like many other millennials, I spend much of my time on social media.
Recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and a succession of photos from the outdoor gear and apparel retailer L.L. Bean caught my attention. Viewed one by one as they appeared in my feed, the photos appeared as oddly close-up segments, some with sections of large type on them, of what appear to be a larger image. When I went to L.L. Bean’s account to investigate, I was presented with this: