Yesterday, my work consisted of driving a lovely actor named Jake Ehrenreich from his hotel to WDIV, Detroit’s NBC affiliate, and to the theater afterwards, where he was preparing for his one-man show to debut last night. The whole time, we chatted and got to know one another and by the end of the three-hour jaunt, I felt I had a new friend.
(Watch the segment here.)
Later, I visited some friends who used to be clients and sat in their office catching up, hearing their news, sharing my own. It was a day filled with connection and laughter, reminding me how important relationships always are.
And then, last night, my eldest son and I ventured to see Jake’s show. My beautiful son – it seems like he grows taller and older and more mature every single day. I looked at him in the passenger seat with his debonaire bow tie and teal shirt that made his eyes sparkle and felt incredibly lucky to have this special time with someone I love.
The show was an hour and a half of laughter and tears, during which Jake sang, danced, told jokes and jumped around the stage. The show was about his life – the son of Holocaust survivors, growing up in the mid-20th century in New York, wanting to be just American, and the relatable travails of coming-of-age to realize that who he is, will always be intimately interwoven with who his parents were.
A whole show about one man’s life journey. The details of his family relationships. The people related to him. The milestones of his life – bar mitzvah, career, wedding, fatherhood.
A show about this?
But isn’t that always what the stories are about? One person’s journey?
Perhaps they are usually made-up or fictionalized accounts of real stories and the difference here is that Jake candidly talks about his very real childhood.
As a writer it struck me how perfect it is to write about your very own journey as a way of connecting the universal truths in your own life with those of other people’s journeys.
Write about what you know. That’s a universal truth in itself.
I built this business on the premise that storytelling and relationships – strategic messaging, being around and with the right people with whom you find mutual benefit – are the keys to building business.
I’m going to take it a step further and say that storytelling and relationships are the point of life itself.
Tell the right stories, to the right people, or heck even create the stories with the best people you know, and you have the formula for a wonderful life.
Last night, I sat in a room with Holocaust survivors and the offspring of survivors. In the show’s introduction, they were asked to stand. The show itself was a fundraiser for the Program for Holocaust Survivors and Families of Jewish Senior Life.
As the survivors stood in the theater, a cool breeze wafted by. I had the distinct feeling that so many others, who perhaps didn’t survive the atrocities of the Holocaust, were standing there with them, filling the room with love.
Tell the right stories, to the right people, and you’ll have a wonderful life. Build the right stories with the right people and you’ll have the definition of love.
I think we’re pretty much there.