I turned 49 recently.

I am one year from 50 and I am excited in ways I was not when I turned 39 or 40.

Partly because my goal of living to be 50 and beyond is in reach. Who gets excited about that? This guy. (And that is a topic for another day.)

When I started writing this, my sense of things was that I was clueless in my 20s, I wasted much of my 30s, struggled for half of my 40s, and I’m just hitting my stride now. …

365 days later, we are all asking ourselves what the past year has meant. Was George Floyd’s death a wakeup call? Yes, I believe it was.

It woke some people up to what more is needed to fight injustice, to speak for those who cannot, to share power with those who are ready to lead in truth and justice. …

Photos by Sora Shimazaki and August de Richelieu from Pexels

Hearts and minds. Love and justice.

My frequency may have gone down. But my intensity has not.

I have been processing, listening, meditating and working. And I am coming to a place where I am ready to say what I feel needs to be said.

The topline: let’s stop trying to “explain” structural and systemic racism. Let’s increase our focus on the work of dismantling it.

I believe deeply in empathy as a core human need and value in strong communities made up of humans. It’s part of our unique ability to love and have compassion and then change for…

Happy Easter, my friends. It’s been a wonderful, haunting, faithful, and reflective eight days, as we celebrate Passover and Easter.

My mother loved both of these holidays. She was such a powerful influence on my spiritual journey growing up. Our dialogues and disagreements shaped my faith as I moved into adulthood.

Virtually all of my memories of the first four decades of my life of religion, spirituality and faith — and they are different — have her as a part of them.

So it can be hard for me to process my faith and spirituality today, in the context of…

Photo credit: Trevor Adams on Pexels

The more I watch these terrifying videos of the insurrection, the attempted coup, the brutality at the Capitol, the angrier I get. I struggle to process the open display of white supremacy and its symbols: the confederate flags, the nooses, the Nazi salutes, the sweatshirts declaring that the deaths of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust was not enough.

I get angry because I feel the conflict that so many of you feel, when you want to believe that we are better than that, but you know that we are not better than that, not fully, not completely, not yet.

I am coming to terms with what some of you know.

Grief doesn’t have an end date.

You might have seen/heard versions of this. But seven years later, it hits fresh and new tonight.

We were in the hospital. We had just met with the doctors and nurses. They asked us outside to talk about “palliative care.” I didn’t know what that meant.

My sister and I met with a counselor.

We had to come to terms with the fact that our mother was nearing the end of her life.

That was hard to process.

For me, one of the…

“Think of a time when you had a great — truly great! — experience with a company or brand’s product or service. What was the situation? What made it so good and memorable? How did that make you feel?”

This is a storytelling prompt we use at Share More Stories to understand how a group or community defines great customer experiences — and ultimately turn those into great brand memories. We use these types of insights to help brand leaders understand what it takes to be positively memorable to their consumers.

Sometimes, our greatest memories associated with brands aren’t as…

Photo by Little Visuals on Pexels

“Can you think of an experience when you felt unwelcome, or that you didn’t belong? What was the situation? What did you perceive the signals to be? How did that make you feel?”

This is a storytelling prompt we use at Share More Stories to understand how and why people can feel excluded, unwelcome or that they don’t belong — and give leaders insight into what it takes to create truly inclusive brands, experiences and communities.

It’s not hard for me to come up with a number of memories. But the one that comes to mind is the time when…

As in, you grieved over what you thought might have been, should have been?

Or you miss what was? You lost a job, got passed over, watched your business fail, went broke, didn’t get hired… it hurts, right?

Hey, for many of us, work is such a part of our identities, that career loss can be just as devastating as other losses we experience. It involves relationships, dreams, money… I mean, if that’s not emotional, I don’t know what is.

Way too often, we don’t give ourselves or others the space to grieve career loss. We act like we just need to suck that ish up and keep it moving.

I call BS.

If…

…But you had the opportunity to say something — one last thing — to anyone (individual or group), what would it be and to whom?

How do you think it would make you feel? And how do you think it would make the person or people you would say it to feel?

On one hand, this choice is ridiculously simple for me. I’d ask my wife, my kids and my sister to join me and I’d tell them how much I love them and how much I apologize for the times I’ve been less than a wonderful husband, father and brother. I mean, I know they already know that, and would probably expect that, and it would still need to be said, right?

Right?

And……

James Warren

Founder, Share More Stories and VP Brand Strategy, JMI. Brands, culture, equity, equality, insights, storytelling, strategy. https://sharemorestories.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store