Your Story Can Change The World: Life Lessons from 2022

Is it crazy to think that stories can change the world?

This is a thought I’ve been having a lot lately. 

But the end of a year and beginning of a new one typically brings up feelings and thoughts of insight, reflection, or goal-setting. So I decided to use this blog to connect with you in the best way I know how – through storytelling. 

I don’t know about you, but when I look back on 2022 I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of how I would describe this year. It wasn’t my best year ever, and certainly not my worst. It was, well, just another year – with plenty of highs, lows, and a bunch of “in the middle” stuff. I recently found myself wanting to assign a feeling or an overarching statement for the year – but I realized it’s also ok if it just was – the year of 2022.

One thing it was for me – a year that reaffirmed how much I believe in the power of stories. They have a power to open the door of understanding, acceptance, forgiveness, learning, and connection. And I remain so grateful to have had the opportunity this year to tell stories that truly have the impact to change the world.

My 2022 story could be wrapped up into a few highs, lows, in betweens, and learning lessons.

Here’s 3 of the best moments of 2022:

Growing Our Team

To be honest, this is the hardest “work” I think I’ve ever done since I started TB Media Group. We added three key roles to our team this year that are helping us grow, service our clients at an even higher level, and have more impact in the world. Little did I know it was going to take a full cycle around the sun to achieve this goal, but we did it. Meeting and learning alongside others who are just as passionate about the work we, and our clients, do has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

One thing that stood out as I interviewed different people from all walks of life, from all over the country – was that they were attracted to our mission, our core values. It was less about who our clients are and the work we produced, and more about whether they felt aligned with what we believe in. Reaffirming that who and what we attract in our lives always comes back to the stories we tell. Never stop sharing those core beliefs with the world.

Speaking on More Stages Than Ever Before

Sometimes the right things just fall into place. This is how I felt about speaking this year. I’ve never made live, in-person speaking the core of this business – choosing to focus more on my proven strength as an on-camera spokesperson and host. Being an on camera performer is something I’ve grown to love and master, but engaging and entertaining a live audience requires a similar, yet specific skillset. Even when I was a local TV news reporter, I shied away from speaking on stages no matter where the request came from. Being on camera felt like something I had more control over, which I like and tend to prefer.

This year, I let go of that fear and the control of a perfect on-camera performance and spoke on stages across South Florida. From emceeing the South Florida Business Journal’s signature awards programs to hosting a live talk back for the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center to delivering my very own keynote speech for students at Florida International University – it was a ride. There’s nothing quite like the energy of a live audience and ultimately, the things we fear, can become the things that light us up inside.

Filling Our Clients with “Pride”

We wouldn’t be here without the clients who entrust us with telling their stories. We are so grateful to them for the opportunity to use our creativity to engage their audiences and stakeholders. For one project in particular, we were tasked with producing a short documentary on the life of a former Presidential Cabinet member. We handled the video concept, the research, production, and post-production. We had to pull archival footage, newspaper clippings, and source data and information to tell a complete story on such a notable public figure. And when we received the feedback from our client who said “this story made me proud to be a Black man” — that was one of the best compliments our team could have received.

It wasn’t only about that individual’s pride and our client’s approval when watching the story, but it was about how the story was able to make him feel. When you share a story those feelings and emotional responses become magnified – which is the beauty of a story. It lets me know our gift of storytelling will continue to have the power to change the world.

Here’s 3 of the worst moments of 2022:

Losing our dear friend, Jason Jenkins.

There are so many words that I could say about Jason, probably not many that haven’t already been said by countless others – as he was adored by people all over the world. This sudden loss still feels like a gut punch in so many ways. He was of course a friend and supporter of TB Media Group, frequently opening doors for us. But he was also my longtime friend. We shared stories about our families, laughs, and plenty of talk about life and work.

It’s one thing to lose someone in your life. It’s another thing for an entire community to lose their leader, advocate, and champion. His loss reminded me of the influence and impact one person can have on the world. While he is truly missed by countless people, all of us now have a responsibility to step up and do our best to continue his legacy to create a better future for us all.

Saying goodbyes (lots of them)

When you grow, you can’t take everyone with you. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just is. What we offer at TB Media Group, and who we offer it to is changing, which means that we’ve had to say goodbye to clients and team members throughout 2022. This is a challenge, especially when there are so many you want to help and serve, but it’s also a necessary part of life and business.

Money, honey.

Growth often comes with growing pains. Did you ever get those growing up? I remember growing pains so bad I couldn’t get up off the couch! (I’m sure my mom does too.)

We all saw it this year. The cost of everythinggggg went up. When you run a small business, you definitely feel this. Layer on top of this — the costs of hiring, a growing team, and a recession rearing its ugly head – it’s not easy. In 2022, earning money didn’t feel so hard, but keeping it did.

With all of that said, life and business is about leaning into fear, accepting the inevitable losses, and taking risks – so that you can level up! Who’s with me?

When things get hard, I let myself feel the emotions, sit with it, and after a couple of days I go back into problem-solving mode. If you’re into Clifton-Strengths my number one strength is “activator”, so I don’t sit still too long, before putting thought into action.

In closing, here’s a few learning lessons I’m taking with me into 2023 (and you should too):

  • Attached to every fear is a desire. Lean into it. You may find exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Say your goals out loud. Who cares what anyone else thinks? You’d be surprised how many people are cheering you on from the sidelines (and keeping you accountable).
  • Share your lows. Because what good stories don’t have a plot twist or a triumphant return?
  • Being vulnerable can be scary, but what a great story, and connection, it allows for.

I am a marketer who loves telling stories. You are a (fill in the blank). But – we are all humans first. Your story matters. It’s uniquely yours. Someone is waiting to hear it. Let’s make that part of the journey in 2023 because our stories can change the world, right?