Skip to content

The Reader is the Hero

David Sherry
2 min read

In history books, painters created portraits of great leaders.

Statues were built.

In the rooms of our homes, we put mirrors on the walls.

Then there was the camera.

Then there was the selfie.

There is a deep human fascination to see yourself.

To inquire about how we are perceived—using the camera, the mirror, and now the internet—to try and understand who we are.

But, the internet has fundamentally scaled into a Giant Hall of Mirrors.

One with so much depth, it produces an infinite fractal to peer into...and we lose ourselves in it.

The reason we lose ourselves in it is upon viewing this great mirror, we are seeing fiction. We're not represented a thousand times over, it only appears that way.

We are not seeing reality.

Our photos are edited and filtered. Our posts are curated. Our images are doctored.

We're stuck wanting to be seen, and using distortion to increase our visibility.

And this is why truth is so coveted, but also so rarely shared.

Ok, David, this sounds awfully depressing, let me have my selfie-endorphins in peace...

But the reason I share is to understand human nature, influence, marketing, communications, and culture.

And marketing has shifted because the culture has shifted.

The reason we are lonely today...

The reason it is so hard to plan time with friends...

The reason it is so hard to get attention to your product is...

Because the thing that humans are most interested in paying attention to is themselves.

Friends, colleagues, even family members, I can see that they are each on a journey.

They have a goal, a dream, they are striving to get somewhere.

Your customers and clients are the heroes of their own stories.

And in this striving, they pay attention to the things that help them along in their journey.

They are doing what they can to break through as themselves, but everywhere online they compare themselves to others.

They have many possible directions but no clear path forward.

To serve your clients, they must be the hero, and you, the guide.

To serve your clients, you must see them for who they are, and meet them on their journey to help them find themselves.

To try to do otherwise is to misunderstand their interest fundamentally.

The truth is that people look up to celebrities because deep down they want to BE the celebrity.

And so even celebrities aren't seen. It's why even celebrities suffer.

However, I don't find this discouraging.

On the contrary, if we can see people for who they are with empathy, we can deliver to them exactly what they want, and exactly what they need.

Our superpower as coaches, leaders, friends, mentors, family sight.

Not for ourselves, but for others.

We can help them see beyond the fiction.

We can protect the sanctity of their chosen art and expression.

Because when everyone has eyes for themselves, rarely is it that someone else gives up their own expensive attention to someone else.

There is something more scarce than customer attention...

And that's you focusing your attention on THEM.

This is your opportunity as artists and brands today.

To understand that you build your influence by guiding the audience, each a hero in their own story, to accomplishing or becoming something new.

That what you embody is symbolic of what they wish to embody.

That by reaching to the edges of your craft, you give permission to others to reach, too.

And that the fundamental urge for all of us is to be SEEN.

We are looking everywhere.

We are looking online, in the mirror, we are looking out as we walk onto the stage.

And we are asking...

"Now will they see us?"

As always, let me know if I can be of help,

xx David

Interpersonal Communication