“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” – Mark Twain
My wife Michele says I embellish everything.
Our son, Parker, recalls a time when we were leaving a decidedly understated Halloween gathering when he was a youngster. As we were pulling out of the driveway, I apparently turned to him in his Einstein costume and said, “Never throw a lame party.” For good or bad, that’s stuck with him.
Do you detect a theme here? Perhaps maybe that’s why advertising has always come naturally to me. I work hard to not tell boring stories.
Earlier this year, I was introduced to Don’s writing and philosophy when I read, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” It essentially is the story of Miller reshaping his own life to make it a more interesting tale that matters. Intrigued, I then read his earlier book that spawned A Million Miles called, “Blue Like Jazz.” That’s when he got me, and my $245, for his seminar.
From his site: “At this innovative event you’ll exchange valuable insights and practical ideas for structuring your life, starting a new story, and analyzing your life through the lens of a screenwriter, mining it for meaning and renewing a personal vision for your future.”
One of the chapters in Don’s life that has inspired me most is his founding of The Mentoring Project, which “Responds to the American crisis of fatherlessness by inspiring and equipping faith communities to mentor fatherless boys.”
I was taken by this because Don is not married, has no children, but knows firsthand the pain of growing up without a father. He took it upon himself to make a difference for fatherless kids in Portland, and he now serves on Barack Obama’s task force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families. Not bad for a bachelor.
It was right after I had read about the Mentoring Project that our agency was approached to help a local organization for survivors of domestic violence called SEEDs. Although modest in comparison, and with the help of our talented team at Park&Co, we created HearHer.org, a blog and online community where the beaten, abused, hushed and hidden women of domestic violence can share their stories.
To me, Don Miller proves what a difference one person can make when they decide to write a new and compelling story for themselves, and ultimately for the benefit of others.
Although I’m not a huge Twitterer, I figured it’d be fun to tweet insights, quips, oddities and ironies from the Sunday and Monday event. I hope you’ll follow along: @ParkHowell.
And I promise, I’ll only embellish a little bit.