Why The World Needs More Fairies & Pirates

Sure, the headline is among the strangest I've ever written. But let me explain: The inspiration for this blog entry arrived Sept. 19 via a comment trail on Brian Sherman's Facebook timeline.

Sherman is a long-time business and IT journalist who took a leap of faith a few years ago and launched a marketing business of his own. The Sept. 19 comment trail on his Facebook page went something like this:

  • Brian Sherman, quoting Mark Twain: "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates."
  • Joe Panettieri: "Wish granted."
  • Liz Wolverton: "Is Joe a fairy?"
  • Joe Panettieri: "I  think that's great fodder for a blog post. Give me some time on that..."

So, here we are. It's time for the blog post to explain my reaction to Mark Twain's quote, especially as it pertains to Brian -- and you, and me.

What Are We All Chasing?

Too often, we bow to traditional expectations: Study "hard" in high school to get into a "good" college -- but not necessarily study the topics you love. Study "hard" in college to get a "good" job -- but perhaps not a job you enjoy. Work hard to buy the awesome house, car and smartphone that society says you "need." But one day, you find your bank account empty -- and your own soul feels a little empty, too.

It's like we're all Nemo in the Matrix -- chasing things in a marketing-induced false reality. We become so used to the system set up around us, we don't even stop to think or realize we CAN break free from it, and create the reality we truly want:

An Alternative Reality

Back to that comment trail on Brian Sherman's facebook page.

  • I wasn't granting Brian's "wish" to be a pirate.
  • Brian granted the wish himself -- when he took a leap of faith and went out on his own in business. When he launched a Google+ page that simply had the tagline: "Dad, husband and IT channel marketing professional." Each time Brian does what he wants (on his terms) to improve the circle of people around him, he's the pirate we respect even more.

Pirates Sail All Types of Ships

Don't misunderstand me: You don't have to quit your "corporate" job to be a pirate, love what you do and find satisfaction in life. Some of my happiest moments in life where when I worked for CMP Media in the 1990s, for instance. I acted like a pirate all the time, driving my managers crazy with story pitches and business ideas that were out of the norm.

Within established corporate halls, in our startups and in our homes: We've got the power and freedom to do whatever we want. But sometimes, we forget that reality and we bow to the thousands of false promises that are projected onto our eyes and broadcast into our ears every day.

Be a fairy. Be a pirate. Be a dreamer. But most important: Act on your dreams, instead of bowing to the reality around you.