All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts …… William Shakespeare
As a long-time strategy advisor to Wall St. and Fortune 25 organizations, I have spent the majority of my 30-year career trying to understand the underlying motivation for what makes people do what they do. Over the years, I am reminded that for all of our complexities, we are merely a collection of comedies and tragedies with new actors and plotlines being added on a continual basis.
Despite the complexity of the Life story that we write, the version that we share is usually heavily redacted, with our weaknesses and fears carefully edited out lest we reveal the self-perceived mistakes, failures and weaknesses that would prove that we are truly human.
Sadly, it is the story that has been carefully edited out that would serve as the greatest source of inspiration and learning for many who so badly need both in a world filled with potential and challenge.
This thought hit me between the eyes recently when I had an opportunity to read the e-book “Sex, Love, and Paradise” (print edition: A Hot Sailor, A Cold Margarita, and… Trouble: My Memoir of Paradise) by Lila Z Rose in preparation to write a forward for the soon-to-be-published first printing as a paperback under the new title
“A Hot Sailor
A Cold Margarita
My Memoir of Paradise”
Personal purpose - the common human quest
The quest to understand who am I, where have I come from and where am I going provides a common thread for the human experience.
However, when Oprah, Wayne Dyer and all of that ilk write yet another self-help book encouraging people to “go for it’ in their lives, many readers set out with enthusiasm to reinvent their Life before discovering that it is much easier when you have millions (or billions) in the bank and when your name is such a household word that the mere attachment of your name creates success for a project before people even know what the project is.
I’m not saying that they are not a source of inspiration or that their words are without value. Words of insight and encouragement provide additional strength that help us to overcome our challenges.
However, if their recipes for success were as easy or as guaranteed as they claim, they would have put themselves out of business a long time ago and the world would be a much better place.
And therein lies an important missing component – the aspect of authenticity and an important connector between author and reader, that being a common context that the reader can identify with.
“Sex, Love, and Paradise” (print edition: A Hot Sailor, A Cold Margarita, and… Trouble: My Memoir of Paradise) establishes that level of context with the reader in a powerful way. It describes the author’s personal journey to discover love, a sense of self and a sense of personal purpose and in the story, we see our own story. In her successes, we remember fond memories of our past and when she weeps, we weep in empathy, remembering challenging moments in our own Life.
As her journey and ours become interwoven, we realize that this is not just Lila’s story. She has in fact invited us to explore our respective journeys together. The collective journey is one of courage and self-discovery, of laughter and pain, of impetuousness and self-doubt, of love and lust and most importantly, of mistakes and victories.
If your Life journey hasn’t contained one, many or all of these elements, then your Life is incredibly blessed, you are in denial, you are psychotic or you are a liar.
Few can deny the important components of a Life that matters – the need to love, to be loved and to know that when one’s end-of-days has arrived, we can proudly say, “I was here and I made a difference”.
Few also would deny that a Life well-lived is not a solo journey. In that spirit, books like this one are not merely an expression of Lila’s Life journey that she has created. They are an invitation to explore the journey that we are creating together and the richness of our humanity. More importantly, they provide an opportunity to discover a truth that many of us tend to lose sight of – that when we have an opportunity to see or point out the greatness in others, they in turn invite us to see the greatness within ourselves.
It is at that moment that we realize that the heavily redacted Life story that we prefer to share is not the one that inspires others. What inspires others is the Life story that takes as much courage to share as it does to experience.
Stories like Lila’s …….
…. and stories like your own.
I think we need more authors like Lila Z Rose who have the courage to expose their raw, authentic Life in stories that we can laugh at, cry with and learn from.
I also think that when we share our lives as this author does, that we discover we don’t need to be told by others what makes up our individual beauty, talents and strengths. Our gifts and experiences will be laid bare on the table for ourselves and others to marvel at, to embrace and to celebrate.
What do you think?
In service and servanthood,