December 18, 2014 \ Rachel Jellinek
Unexpected Moments of Disclosure and Connection

It’s not uncommon for our blog to depart a bit from video and marketing-related topics, but this one diverges perhaps even further afield than usual. Still, I feel inspired to share two encounters that I had recently: one with a friend and one with a colleague.

STORY #1: UNEXPECTEDLY GETTING TO KNOW A FRIEND EVEN BETTER

We had some friends of ours over for dinner recently, and they asked what projects we were working on.  We shared that we were creating a few videos for The Elizabeth Stone House, an organization that helps women and children who have experienced domestic violence get on a path to stability.  In the course of describing the project, the wife disclosed that in a prior relationship, she had been afraid for her safety.

logo-elizabeth-stoneHer story completely debunks several strong myths about domestic violence that unfortunately still persist.  She didn’t fit the “profile” that many people think of.  She is Caucasian, upper middle class, and has an advanced degree (she was in grad school at the time of this unhealthy relationship).  She shared that at the beginning of relationships, you often have clear boundaries – “lines drawn in the sand” – about what behavior you will and will not tolerate.  But when someone is able to exert control over you often in very subtle ways that are hard to recognize, those lines in the sand become blurry and shift, as your self-confidence fades.  Thankfully she was able to extricate herself from the situation.

Hearing about her experience completely reinforced our belief in the importance of the work of the Elizabeth Stone House and so many other organizations that are doing similar work.

STORY #2: UNEXPECTEDLY HAVING A PERSONAL DONATION BECOME MORE PERSONAL

My second story is about another disclosure.  I was at an event recently, and another attendee recognized that I had just gotten my hair cut quite a bit shorter.  I explained that I have donated my hair to Locks of Love and most recently to Pantene Beautiful Lengths for a total of five times.

 

LocksofLoveLogoGrabI wondered aloud whether my hair was going to be denied at some point, because it is getting grayer.  This colleague shared that she is a cancer survivor and that many women who are older want wigs with gray in them because that is a better fit to reflect their more mature age.  She went on to share that that very weekend she was hosting a celebratory brunch in honor of the key people in her life who had helped her through her struggle.

Hearing about her experience made me all the more committed to growing and donating my hair for as long as I can.

Every day we are on the receiving end of stories.  For me, the power of these two stories lies not only in having heard them unexpectedly but also in the “overcoming the odds” experience that they both represent.

In addition, these stories are a powerful reminder of why we do the work that we do.  They remind me of the stories of our clients and the people whom they serve.  When people are willing to tell their stories for the benefit of others and make themselves vulnerable in that act of sharing, we all become more connected.  We care more and hopefully that caring motivates us to do more.


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