The Kindness of Others + the Power of Story // jenniferesnyder.com

There once was a woman named Susan. She discovered a podcast called Creating Your Own Path at a time when she was feeling "creatively dead" and listening to the episodes helped bring a little more inspiration to her life. Then suddenly, the show host decided to take an extended hiatus to figure out the logistics of traveling for the show and producing quality work. 

In he weeks following the announced break, the host posted on Instagram about a really great contest to win Lucille the travel trailer—a prize that would enable her to continue traveling to interview guests—and Susan got a wild idea:

She'd enter the contest on the show host's behalf!

Unbeknownst to the show host, Susan wrote a short essay about why the host deserved to win, paid the $30 contest entry fee and waited to hear who would ultimately take home Lucille the travel trailer.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be! The trailer went to a very sweet couple who will likely do amazing things and see incredible places.

Susan, saddened by the news, reached out to the show host to let her know she was thinking good thoughts about the continuation of Creating Your Own Path and that she'd even entered the contest with the show host in mind.

The show host—whose name is Jennifer, by the way—was shocked. Sitting at at her dining room table staring at the message on her tiny mobile screen, she began to sob. It wasn't a good look for Jennifer (she's a bit of an ugly crier), but she couldn't stop. Susan's kind gesture not only showed Jennifer what it meant to do something so selfless and kind, but it also made clear the fact that her work on the show had meaning. Creating Your Own Path, a tiny podcast that was created to help bring people together through story, was reaching the people who needed to hear it.

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Susan is a real person, you guys. That story up there actually transpired a few weeks ago.

Her actions brought forth so many feelings and I had to share with you all the impact it's had on me. Kind gestures—big or small—are incredibly powerful and I must say: I want to be more like Susan when I grow up.

As you may already know, the show will continue. Susan's incredibly kind act, along with all of the encouraging words from her fellow Creating Your Own Path listeners, made me realize that I couldn't throw in the towel simply because this year's logistics (less travel, more remote interviews) would look different from last year's logistics (lots of solo travel that allowed me to meet people face-to-face). I simply had to figure out a way to continue the show in a more sustainable way.

See? Powerful stuff, right? 

My hope, in my quest to be more like Susan, is to continue supporting those whose work makes me feel things, makes me think, makes me wonder. I wish I could have everyone who is creating amazing work on my show RIGHT NOW. There are so many great stories out there waiting to be shared. However, if I can't have those good folks on the show, I'm going to share their work with my people, buy or invest in their work as soon as I'm able, leave encouraging words on their Instagram feed, leave a review of their projects or businesses and see if I can connect them with others who are doing great work. 

Kind gestures don't have to be grand to make an impact, but they do—by definition—require action. And those stories? Well, stories don't have to be extraordinary to hold power, but they do—by definition—need to be shared. That's what Susan has taught me.

Let's all try to be more like Susan, my friends. 


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