My Second Story

I have this theory that people have two stories in their lives. They have their First Story: that’s what goes on the CV and LinkedIn profiles, and it’s the one we tell publicly. But each of us has a Second Story, one that we hide. We want to show the world the shiny and clean side of ourselves and hide the scuffed-up side.

I think, though, that our Second Story creates our First Story. The Stories are like two sides of a coin. They come as a package. We cannot have one without the other.

I know many of us have lived through tough situations, and I certainly had a harrowing childhood at times. I shared all of the full details just a few years ago to Mrs. T., and I’ve done the same on the last day of each HBS class as I attempt to give my students helpful life advice. The first two times I gave the talk, my hands shook for some time thereafter.

Through a turn of events, HBS asked me to give my “last day talk” at my upcoming 25th Reunion. Ten other Reunion classes are also invited. This will be a big step for me, as I usually don’t share the talk with people whom I don’t already know quite well nor do I do so in front of such a big crowd.

But it’s time to practice what I preach to my students. I tell them to “embrace your Second Story.” And if sharing mine can help someone, well, then all of the recounting will have been worth it.

So, it’s time.

The talk will be on June 18, and I’m actually looking forward to giving it. The talk will be livestreamed, if any friends want to Zoom in. Just email me.

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