“Every living person is a partial revelation of the truth.” — Ghandhi
I love this clip from the television show “The Office.” This is about Pam and Jim’s wedding – two employees of a small, slightly irrelevant paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In this office we have a boss (Michael) who seems lonely until he walks through the doors of Dunder-Mifflen paper company. There he finds his family, a kaleidoscope of personalities that however dysfunctional still seem to care about each other.
I love this show for that reason – because every ridiculous personality carries with them some revelation of truth. Andy is the son who came from wealthy parents that have to be slightly disappointed with his lack of accomplishment; Kevin is the slow accountant hired to work in the warehouse and in his role only because Michael gave him the chance; Dwight owns his beet farm and with inconsistent intelligence marches to the beat of a very different drummer; Creed is the con who stays quiet and hopes to go unnoticed.
Each one of these characters represents that part of us that others might not see – but we know it is there. Haven’t we all disappointed someone, sometime? Hasn’t each of us felt like we’re the odd man out in some situation? Isn’t there a part of each of us that spins stories and hopes no one notices? That’s life. That’s truth. We are all of these characters.
I love this particular clip because all differences are set aside in one moment of unapologetic, very bad dancing. I truly believe the celebration came from a sense of connection. In spite of all of the fights, arguments, and unhealthy conversations – this is (as Michael would say) a family that’s celebrating the joy of their two friends.
Ever notice how smaller communities will take care of the town drunk, or the paranoid schizophrenic, or even the guy who has a beet farm for no apparent reason? They take care of each other because they remember the stories behind every character. The town drunk lost his family in a fire; the paranoid schizophrenic used to be the high school football star; the beet farmer bought that farm to take care of his grandparents.
We need to resuscitate our stories, both personally and in Corporate America. It’s time to rekindle our vitality and the energy of those around us by learning to tell and listen to our stories. Every night, write down one good story from your day – it will help you seek one out. This is how we will all re-connect, and when we connect we will give each other energy. And, on some special day, maybe that energy will turn into a fun, crazy, celebratory wedding dance.