A new year always begins with promise, hope and opportunity. It’s a fresh start, but that optimism is hard to imagine for a lot of people.
Like the homeless guy named Larry who lives near the Cherry Creek bike path in downtown Denver. He’s a self-sufficient guy who keeps all his belongings in a little cart he hitches up to his bike and covers with plastic bags. I see him there when I walk my dogs by the creek. He was always with his companion, a big furry husky. My dogs like to greet his dog, and that gives me a chance to slip Larry a few bucks.
Just before the holidays, Larry said the police had taken his dog away and euthanized him. It may be a new year, but things are not really looking up for Larry. They are also not looking up for the woman who called my office looking for the Homeless Prevention Fund, a nonprofit that is part of the Checkoff Colorado campaign. She was desperate for rental assistance, and you could hear the fear in her voice. Heartbreaking.
These kinds of stories really get to me. Like Woody Allen said in Annie Hall, “I’m the kind of guy that can’t be happy unless everyone is happy. If there’s somebody down on his luck somewhere it ruins my day.”
Which leads me to the point of this article. Whether you are in public relations or healthcare, whether you are facing a crisis or just at a crossroads, we all need some inspiration. When I need something to believe in or am hoping for a fresh start, I think of the talented, creative, almost-famous troubadours who make music, because the music is reward enough. They are the lifers.
Toward the end of The Last Waltz, Robbie Robertson explains why The Band is breaking up. He says the road eventually catches up with everyone, and he does not want to keep testing the odds. He says the road caught up with Hendrix, Joplin, Hank Williams, Elvis, and so many others, and he does not want to join that list. At some point in my life, I completely understood what Robbie meant. I lost my endurance and got off the road too. Every musician I know understands this, but the special ones have the passion to be undaunted and unafraid.
That’s why the lifers are my heroes. To all the cats who ever played bad gigs in crummy bars for loud drunks who never listen, here’s lookin’ at you, kids. You inspire me to believe that anything is possible. You remind me that we all need to remember why we do what we do. We all need to uncover or rediscover our passion.
The beginning of a new year is always a great time to examine your organization’s mission, its brand messaging, and how the story you tell impacts how the world sees you. There’s nothing like a branding session to light that spark and help reinvigorate you for the year ahead. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.