I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Thursday, July 14, 2022


I don’t care what you do or what you own.  I just want to know who you are.  I want to know your uniqueness, the experiences you’ve had and the lessons you’ve learned.  I want to know your story.

What is your story?  Everyone has one.  And no two stories are exactly the same.

There are over seven billion people in this world and none are like you.  You are unique.  Your entire life journey including your upbringing, challenges, your hard learned lessons, your experiences, achievements and gifts, are all a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time as you read these words.

Every person you walk or drive past on the street has their own story.  Every person in front of you in line at the grocery store has their own story.  Every friend and work colleague in your life has their own story.

The old man who lives alone up the street from me and wanders past my house each day, he has his own story.  The girl on the train sitting opposite me right now who has small tears welling up in her eyes, she has her own story.  The boy in the library who never stops laughing, even when his mother constantly asks him to be quiet, he has his own story too.

Think about the millions of moments, the series of events that leads each person to cross your path.  Who are they really underneath that exterior?  Where did they come from?  What do they long for?  What makes them tick?

Will you ask?

Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life.  These people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  Every one of them has something to offer and share with you.  Imagine treating every person you encounter, no matter how fleeting, as an intriguing story waiting to be told.  But the story can only be told if someone asks to hear it.  Will you ask?  That person you see standing before you, no matter who they are, young or old, rich or poor, rude or kind, is like a blockbuster movie ready to enthrall you.  But, first you have to buy a ticket.

Small Talk at Cocktail Parties

As I stood in a room full of people at a cocktail party once, I realized that every opening conversation was dominated by this question, “What do you do?”

We seek to understand and define people by their doing in the world.  Yes, literally, and for some reason, we default to categorizing and ranking the entire worth of the people we meet based on what they “do.”  And I think that seriously dehumanizes us!

Does what you do matter more than who you are?  Absolutely not!  What you do is only a small fraction of who you are as a human being.

Do we care about each other enough, and are we interested enough in what we can learn from each other, to stop asking “What do you do?” and start asking “Who are you?  What is your story?”

So, I’d love to ask you something, and I’m not asking a rhetorical question.  I really want to know…

What is your story?

Where were you born?

Where do you live now?

What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned thus far?

What makes you smile on an average day?

What is your deepest and most persistent fear?

What is your greatest dream for your life?

Who are you?

Normalizing the Question

There’s only one way to normalize this “What is your story?” question in our society.  And that’s by starting to ask it, and by each of us individually being willing to answer it wholeheartedly, knowing that the person asking genuinely wants to know.

Superficial chit chat about what we “do” and what we “own” doesn’t have to dominate our interactions with those closest to us or with complete strangers.

I probably don’t know you at all.  You’re a complete stranger to me.  But I genuinely want to know your answers.


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