Story Chicago 2012: Everywhere – Part I

September 22, 2012 — Leave a comment

The DJ at the Story after-party had ONE HAND.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I spent the last two days in Chicago with about 1,000 other “creatives” at the Story conference.  Story is the brainchild of Ben Arment and exists to “fuel the creative class.”  Let me also say right at the top here, Ben is one of the best dudes I’ve ever met.  You spend two minutes with him and feel encouraged and empowered to conquer anything.  And he’s not hard on the eyes, but I digress…

Over the course of 48 hours we had the privilege of hearing from some of the most creative people on the planet.  Musicians, artists, writers, filmakers, a lawyer/crazy person…their stories were all equally unique and inspiring.  And challenging.  In the next series of blog posts I hope to capture what I experienced and learned at Story.  Hopefully you can be inspired as well, even though you didn’t get to eat a sucker served to you by a young woman dressed as a rabbit.

Creatives, am I right?

Ryan O’Neal (doing business as Sleeping At Last) opened the conference with his song January White…and I knew right then this was going to be an emotional couple of days.  Ryan, in addition to having a fabulous name, has a voice that soars.  A string trio and pianist (when he wasn’t tickling the ivories himself) (I hate when people say “tickling the ivories”) (sorry) rounded out his sound as he ushered us into the conference.  This section from Ryan’s song “Needle and Thread” illustrates why I appreciate him so much:

“You were a million years of work,” said God and His angels with needle and thread.

They kissed your head and said, “You’re a good kid.  And you make Us proud.  So, just give your best and the rest will come and We’ll see you soon.”


Then the infamous Bob Goff came to the stage and blew our faces off.  If you don’t know Bob, I’m sad for you.  Buy his book, Love Does, and then figure out how you can go see/meet him.  Bob lives a cannonball life and he encouraged us to do the same.  Grab your knees and jump into life.  Make a splash.  He also told us to “jump the tracks.”  The idea is that if you keep doing the same thing and you end-up in a place you don’t want to be every time, you’ve got to do something different.  The tracks will take you to that same place every time, so get off ’em.  Out of all the things Bob said, this one struck me deepest: “I’m not as creative as you.  I’m creative as me.  And you’re as creative as you.  Stop comparing yourself to others.”  It’s so true; we (especially creatives) compare ourselves to everyone else, usually resulting in depression.  “I wish I was as talented as so and so…I suck.”  We need to stop that crap.  As Bob said, “Lean into who you are.”  Bring your voice, your talents, your experience to the world.  We need you.

Still to come from day 1: Erwin and Aaron McManus, Isaac Rentz, Rachel Held Evans and Anne Lamott!

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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

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