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Amplifying the “Quiet People” with Inspire Forward!

April 16, 2014

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When Scott and I were chatting about the concept behind our blog, we had all of these ideas about wanting to tell people’s stories, and really dug into this idea of how happy people make better things happen.

So we’re launching a series called Inspire Forward. It’s like the concept of Pay It Forward, but specifically highlighting stories of people who are doing work so passionately and whole-heartedly that their energy has burst out of themselves and touched others (and yes, we’re a huge fan of cotton boll metaphors). It’s the perfect core idea to kickoff the blog with.

They’re the people who are trying their best to give back to others, even if they aren’t super-rich, super-famous, super-powered.

But the critical component is this: these aren’t people we’re highlighting because they’re a celebrity, or on the world stage or otherwise “famous,” though there are certainly people in those categories that are doing praiseworthy work. Instead the Inspire Forward series focuses on the everyday “quiet people” that you’ll hear Diana Markley talk about in our first interview.

What does “quiet people” mean? It doesn’t mean they’re literally quiet – it’s that they are inspiring on a daily basis to the people around them, and they might not even realize it. They’re the people who are trying their best to give back to others, even if they aren’t super-rich, super-famous, super-powered. They’re the piano teachers that volunteer their time to introduce music to low-income kids, the writers who encourage others to boost their own self-image while still figuring out her own, even the busy professionals who give their valuable time to mentor those who haven’t quite gotten footing in their careers yet.

We don’t want the “quiet people” to go unnoticed… they’re the ones making a difference in their communities, laying the groundwork.

These are the people whose inspirational work we want to call out. We don’t want the “quiet people” to go unnoticed — we think that they’re the most inspirational of all, and they’re the ones making a difference in their industries, communities and circles, laying the groundwork for the rest of us.

So here’s the format: we ask people the question “Who is inspirational to you?”, and then we have that person interview whoever they answered. They ask them about why they do the things they do, what challenges they face, what helps them do their best work. I’m personally curious about “unpacking” what is inspirational about people and really understanding why we feel inspired. I think that’s the best way to feed the cycle (I also have a BA in Sociology, so that might account for it, too!)

Whenever possible, we’re going to try to post the audio file of the interview…  It captures so much emotion and passion, which is inspirational in and of itself.

And here’s my favorite part: whenever possible, we’re going to try to post the audio file of the interview. It’s something we didn’t even realize was valuable until my sister sent the recording of her interview with Diana — it captures so much emotion and passion, which is inspirational in and of itself, as well as the nuances of the relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee. (This is similar to what we love about StoryCorps, an organization that does this for all types of American stories around the country, not just those about inspiration.)

So without further ado — check out our debut Inspire Forward entry with Carol Yang (my sister) and Diana Markley. They’re both employees of the SF-Marin Food Bank, doing amazing work with the low-income communities here in the Bay Area. Let us know what you think! We’re so excited to bring you more.

INSPIRE FORWARD: Diana Markley
Read the transcript
Listen to the audio

— Robin Yang, Blog @ Boll & Branch Creative Lead