Do you have any lighter fuel?

March 1, 2016

‘Do you have any lighter fuel?’ the interviewer asked Chris Darwin, Charles Darwin’s great-great grandson.

Once upon a time, Chris had a job where he had to wear a suit. Having tried it though, he decided that it wasn’t for him. It just wasn’t the right fit – and fit, he resolved, was going to be one of his priorities from now on.

But even the best resolutions can waver at some point, precipitating reminders of why we made them in the first place.

Chris’ resolve wavered only once, and on that occasion he borrowed one of his dad’s suits to wear to a job interview. At the end of the session, his interviewer leaned forward intently and asked the strangest question, ‘Do you have any lighter fuel?’

Thinking that if he were gracious the job might be his, Chris replied, ‘No but I could get some.’ Instead of hiring him on the spot however, the interviewer replied, ‘Good. Take that suit home and burn it.’

Talk about a reminder and a half! The interviewer was telling Chris to be authentic to who he was. Most people can smell fake a mile away.

It takes courage to be our authentic selves though, doesn’t it? Not just a pale, safe, vanilla version – but rather the brightest megawatt version of ourselves we can be.

Living true to who we are requires facing our inner demons. This in turn brings the inevitable question, ‘Is being who I am enough?’

For many of us, trying to both find and be our authentic selves drives all our insecurities to the surface. Are we enough? It’s an intimidating question to face.

And it’s certainly not easy to take a dousing of lighter fuel to some parts of our carefully crafted pseudo-selves. We might not even know how to begin the process.

One of the most effective ways to re-establish our identity is with storytelling. Storytelling gives us the power to rediscover and redefine what stand for.

The stories we share and the actions we take provide meaning that goes far beyond simple words. Both the Good Life Project (Jonathan Fields) and The Moth (true stories told live – warning it’s addictive) are brimming with wonderful examples of this.

So, what’s the next poorly fitting suit you’ll take some lighter fuel to? Please share, I love hearing from you.

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