Finding your Someone Like You

Singer and songwriter Adele often starts her live renditions of her now legendary song “Someone Like You” with the story behind the song.

While there’s the story of the break up that led to the song, she also talks about her search for a song that moved her personally. She had recorded 8 songs for her second album and was searching for that one elusive song that would give her the conviction to release the album.

When she then wrote and sang “Someone Like You,” she knew she’d found that song – a song that was uniquely hers and that she knew would resonate with people.

Of course, there’s no way she could have guessed the impact the song would go on to have.

The fascinating thing about that story is that it speaks to the struggle so many of us go through with our work. Deep within us lies the artist who seeks to create work that resonates with us, that is uniquely ours, and that we hope or know will resonate with those we care about.

Every once a while, we might be lucky enough to stumble onto our version of “Someone Like You.” Regardless of the outcome though, it matters that we don’t give up on that artist within. It matters that we persist in our attempts to do work that matters – by our own standards.

Because if we don’t, who will?

PS: Here’s a lovely version of the “Someone Like You” story + rendition combo.

Understanding and expressing

It is fascinating to listen to kids who’ve just expanded their vocabulary to say “I love you” express love.

It is a fascinating dichotomy. On the one hand, they don’t really understand the meaning of the phrase and what it entails (few do). And, yet, on the other hand, there are few who mean it more wholeheartedly.

The quote – “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel” – is repeated often for good reason. When we spend time with others, we often pay a lot of attention to things that appeal to our head (the logic of their words or actions for instance) when human connection is often a function of the heart.

When we really mean something, the intent tends to shine through.

Gifts of the internet

I’ve been re-reading “The Pyramid Principle” by Barbara Minto over the past few days. It is the go-to book on learning to present your thinking in writing. I’d first read the book in 2011 and I remember feeling the book didn’t resonate. My only explanations for walking away with that feeling are i) inexperience and ii) (relative) stupidity – as my second read has been eye opening. This post isn’t about my synthesis – more on that in the next few days.

As I was working through the book last night, I decided to take a break by checking out Barbara Minto’s website. I found a contact form and wrote out a quick, short thank you to her for the book. And, voila, I woke up this morning to find a note from her in my inbox expressing her gratitude for the thank you and offering to help if I had further questions.

We’ve had a lot of conversations about the downsides of technology – excessive click bait, fake news, etc., etc. These conversations are important as every tool has its downsides. But, it is also tempting to become cynical about technology’s potential for positive impact and change. The internet’s ability to remove boundaries and enable us to connect with people we admire halfway around the world is second to none. When used with thought and generosity, it can be an incredible gift.

It is up to us to use it well.