I was in the middle of a few “branding” articles with Over 50 Starting Over when a family emergency arose. My original intent for this article was to tell my readers how to create their own logos and slogans. But, life has a way of pushing us in another direction sometimes…

It’s much easier to share “tips” than it is to show your struggles

I just explained how a brand is truly what someone feels about you/your product or company. We often try to shield our real selves from that in place of marketing-speak in hopes of constructing a brand that is really outside ourselves.

We’re trying to create our personal brands on social media today by being completely impersonal… and it’s not working

For the past few weeks, I’ve listened to podcast after podcast from marketing heavies such as Gary Vaynerchuk , Amy Porterfield and Melinda Wittstock talking about how most of us are talking AT people, not WITH people. We share our tips and tricks in an effort to build our audiences, but we’re not IDENTIFYING with them by being AUTHENTIC – talking about our personal struggles in obtaining the knowledge, successes and failures of what we’re preaching about. It seems forces greater than myself wanted to drive home this point to me.

I was organizing my notes after a very helpful phone call with Melinda Wittstock (I reached out to her after listening to this terrific podcast interview with her on “How to Profit from Social Conversations”, ClickFunnels Radio). We had a long conversation about the need for authenticity in order to connect with your audience (in fact, she’s coming out with an “authenticity meter” soon).

We talked about the flood of “How to” content out there and how it’s not anchored to personal experience. In a world where “fake news” is the mantra, today we need to earn trust on a more personal level. We need to be more human. We need to put the “social” back into social media.

And then I get this text message:

“Mom and Aunt (Jane) were in a car accident. They both have broken backs”

Read that one over again… as I did frantically.

It was from my brother. He’d gotten a call from Geauga Hospitals with this news and was already on his way there. Fortunately, the news got better as things went along: “non-life-threatening, though Mom is being transported to University Hospitals to evaluate possible surgery.”

Eventually we found she wouldn’t need surgery, but needed admitted to a rehab facility for an undisclosed amount of time. This was about 10 days ago.

What follows is a completely unexpected story of MY healing as a result of this family tragedy.

Well, here’s your authenticity: Abandoned relationships

Estranged friendships, partnerships, clients…  In retrospect, the past few years I’ve found myself slowly going down a road of depression. I’ve been getting consumed with negativity and anger. It’s affected all aspects of my life and I’ve found my world getting smaller and smaller. I’ve felt like I was on a treadmill. Going thru the same motions with little to look forward to that felt promising and purposeful to me. And winters were getting longer and darker.

I’ve been looking for a brighter path. It’s why I began Over 50 Starting Over a few months ago. To segue my career into something that helps people.

My girlfriend and I have had a very conflicted 8.5 years relationship that has resulted in us living one mile apart for the past five years and considering that some kind of success. We were supposed to live together in the new house, but we couldn’t for any length of time without volatility. She’s a very intense Sicilian (we like to use the word “passionate”) and I’m fairly intense about my quest for inner peace. I don’t like daily conflict, so I swallow a lot until I can’t take it anymore and then lose my shit. Six weeks ago I really lost my shit. I needed a change.

I don’t like to air my personal strifes. Bad enough they consume me on the inside. Don’t want to see them where I look externally as well. But, I get the catharsis thing. And I get that someone else may read this and feel some relief from their similar struggles. I get that if I’m going to write a blog called Over 50 Starting Over that I should air my story authentically.

So, now I’m dealing with the breakup.

And now, the car accident with two broken backs.

I find myself back in my dreaded hometown

With my mother confined to a rehab nursing facility, I packed up my computers, some clothes, my bicycle and my dog and moved into my mother’s house in Painesville, Ohio to watch her dog and cat, while balancing work, visiting my mom, and reacquainting with family and friends.

Over 50 Starting Over by Barry EdwardsI gleefully left Painesville shortly after college. When I got old enough to drive outside the confines and see a little more of the world, Painesville felt like an extremely repressive, blue collar, judgmental hell to me. In retrospect, I think plain ol’ adolescence had more to do with it than the town itself.

But, at a time when I wiped my slate clean, have a ton of uncertainty about where I want to go, working on moving forward with my career of passion… I get pulled back to where it all began. My mom, aunt and I are in need of a lot of healing.

 

Up next >> Authenticity Part 2: Stand By Me | The Mardi Gras | Breakfast with Gandhi

 

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