I love my job. Sometimes loving your job comes with a lot of guilt. Why do I get to make a living telling other people’s stories from my cozy little home office? Often while wearing yoga pants? Most of the people I interview every day are working their butts off. They are building businesses, launching an initiatives and changing the world. I’ve been lucky enough to build my specialty around writing stories about real heroes doing amazing things. They are definitely not doing these things in yoga pants.
Of course, this makes me feel like a total loser sometimes. I have launched zero world-saving non-profits. I have lead no efforts to better mankind. I’m a person who wants and needs to have an impact, so why am I spending so much time in these yoga pants?
And then, days like today happen. Today, a story of mine published about an incredible man doing incredible things for teenagers in Detroit. He is saving the world. When I emailed him the link, he responded with such gratitude and surprise that I suddenly realized that he was not at all getting the attention he deserved for his amazing work. Sometimes I get to do that. Sometimes I get to share the story of an innovative small business with a national audience. That helps. And I have to remind myself of that.
Another thing happened today. I got an email from a pretty important person who I’d written about some time ago. I’d assumed I was on the lucky end of that transaction, as it was sort of a brush-with-a-famous-person moment for me. But he emailed me today to thank me again for the article, saying it was helpful in securing venture capital funding for his amazing startup. That blew my mind.
It’s not that I’m trying to say I’m super important, because I’m absolutely not. But it is important for every one of us to identify the difference we make every day. It doesn’t just make us feel good; it helps us realize where to put forth our greatest efforts so we can do more good; it directs our sails.
Finally, I got the chance to interview another semi-famous person today. Perhaps you haven’t heard of Jennifer Bradley or Bruce Katz or their new book, The Metropolitan Revolution, but if you’re a development nerd like I am, these are rock stars. Total effing rock stars. They don’t need me to share their story. Bruce was on All Things Considered and Fresh Air this month. So when I got to speak with Jennifer today, it was definitely a situation in which I was the lucky one, not them. But it occurred to me when drooling over my interview notes after our phone call that these rock stars, who are genuinely in the saving-the-world category, are doing their impacting, incredible work through writing. So it is possible. And I bet at least a few of those chapters were written in yoga pants. Maybe.
These are my personal heroes.