Tell your story


It's 6:08 a.m. as I write this, another typical morning on Planet NewsCut. The dogs have been fed, the coffee brewed, there are two newspapers waiting to be read in a desperate search for something -- anything -- that I can gin up into the currency of continued employment: a blog post.

The quick look at Wednesday's web traffic statistics reveals it was a good day: 12 percent of the MPR News website traffic was to NewsCut -- thanks, I guess, to some meteorologist in Ohio who had a moment, and a woman who can't throw a baseball.

Good, I fooled everyone for one more day. But what the heck am I going to come up with to fool them today?

The voice in my head, the feeling in my stomach, conspire to tell me the answer: nothing. Apparently, this is the day when I can't fool anyone anymore. I knew it would come sooner or later. And I was so darned close to getting away with it.

The chances are pretty good that you recognize the "imposter syndrome": the feeling that regardless of where we are, we don't really belong there, and to the extent that people say nice things about the job we do, it's only because of our ability to fake our way through the day.

It's exhausting. It's isolating. And I'm not going to miss it.

I've been getting very nice notes in the last few days from people who have felt a kinship with NewsCut and/or five minutes of my day on The Current. They're often people whose names you don't see in the comment section, who have uncloaked to say something important: their story is important. Their lives, their purpose, their jobs have meaning they didn't realize they had.

"My favorites are the stories you find of 'ordinary' people who don't think they have a story to tell, yet you always uncover the story they didn't know they possessed. It's inspiring, primarily because whenever I'm reading one of those stories I always think about what my story would be," one reader said in an email.

"I'm not sure what mine is. I'm curious to know it, but like so many others I don't see myself as particularly interesting and/or lack the confidence to see it in myself," he said.

But he's going to try today.

There isn't anyone I've interviewed in the past 12 years about their journey in this life that didn't start with this: "I'm not that interesting." There isn't anyone who was right about their assessment.

There are no ordinary people.

You don't need me to show this to you in a blog post. You just have to ask someone one question: What's your story?

You matter. You make a difference. You are a thread in a growing community quilt. And when you tell someone your story, you help them see the meaning in theirs, just as you have for me this week.

And that's the cure for the imposter syndrome: tell your story, and just watch what happens next.