How Human Are You Willing To Be?

by seanlow on July 22, 2016

In 1988, my brother, 10 months younger than I, died. He was 20, my very best friend, full of life and dreams, a free spirit to my intensely narrow, driven nature. He fell from a roof. Gone in an instant.

The end of his life shaped mine forever more. I became more driven, more intense. Angrier. What I did not become was softer, able to own the pain my heart feels every day without him. That would come later, after many years of driving ever further. The pain was weakness and only age has taught me the wisdom of its strength.

I share my transformative moment because we all have them. They are there to teach us, shape us, bring us to our own humanity. I am forever richer for having suffered the loss I have, knowing, without question, that I would do just about anything to make it not so. My brother’s death brought me to the path I likely never would have taken. No unicorns and rainbows on this path, only confidence that I am the man I was meant to be.

My gift is to see creativity and the possibility that exists with its expression as a business. The wisdom my brother gave me is that art and creative business lives beyond the rational. Intellectual grounding and foundation is a must, but it is only the runway to the sky.

Three things compelled this post. Bill Baker’s last blog entry talking about the power of a personal narrative in business, Dane Sanders and a client of mine, Kevin Isbell, who had the courage to be vulnerable to the world on a podcast. Dane told the story of the moment he lost his father as a young boy at Engage! over a year ago. I have carried the feeling and Dane’s message every day since.

Kevin talked of overcoming cancer as a young adult. Jumping into design because it called him home. I know him incredibly well, but it made me want to know him more.

At the end of the day, I come to this: humanity, connection, our willingness to allow others to see our tapestry – our pain, our joy, our hope and our fear – is what binds us. Your willingness to bring this aspect of yourself to your creative business is a choice. I will not stand here and say, if you do not, you will not be successful. All I can say is that it is the place we all search for – to be seen, experienced and held as who we are. Most of your clients want that from you, your art and your creative business. After all, in so many instances, they are trusting you with some of the most precious times in their lives.

Clients believe in your talent, sure, and maybe that is enough for you and your creative business. But if you are willing to go one step further, to be that much more revealing, that much more human, that much more present to the experience, perhaps everyone would be richer. And if you believe you, your art and your creative business exist to transform, to compel hope and vision, satisfaction and confidence, value, then your vulnerability, your tapestry might just be the best place to start.


1 Nela Dunato July 23, 2016 at 4:46 am

I’m sorry you’ve lost your brother, and thank you for sharing that with us.

I was puzzled by this concept of sharing our story, because I thought it had to be relevant to what we do, and what we help our clients achieve. Like the “rags to riches” stories of marketing coaches, or health crises of future healers.

I didn’t know how to connect my depression to my work, apart from my art being the lifeline that saved me from despair. I suppose then that it is enough? The connection doesn’t have to be so straightforward and obvious?

2 Jackie July 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Beautiful Sean,. Thank you for being so open, I’m sure your honesty will touch many pool and I can think of a couple that need to read this blog.

3 Andy Kushner July 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

Wow, i was really moved to see you revealing such a vulnerable part of yourself through your post. I resonate with every word.

4 Alison Ellis August 19, 2016 at 10:57 am

A beautiful share…and definitely something that resonates with me and many, many others I’m sure.

5 Parie Donaldson August 20, 2016 at 8:08 am

I’m amazed how your posts almost always hit home for me, perfect message at the perfect time. Obviously this post has done just that. I am just reading this this morning but it was the validation I needed on my own decision to share my truth & fears. Thanks Sean for sending me this message.

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