Chattanooga - Practitioner of Story
Ross has a way with the written word. He is a champion of Story. He can light up your imagination with a humble sentence, and take you on a soul-nourishing journey of introspection and discovery. I'll find myself on Ross's Medium account reading and re-reading his pieces about life, communication and story – "Show Me How They (Or You) Changed" and "Beers Empty" are two great reads. He looks thoughtfully at the world. He just does. When talking to Ross, it's clear that to him the road is never too busy to pause and contemplate the surrounding terrain. I admire this; I aspire to it, actually. It's a kind reminder, and one I think we could all use from time to time. So when reading Ross's story, pause, reflect and enjoy.
TSP: Can you please share a little bit about your past? Where you’ve been? What you’ve done?
RH: Over the past six years I've searched for my place. This search has taken me out of my hometown, Atlanta, gotten me down on one knee in front of my high school sweetheart, moved me to Colorado, and chased me back east. In this time I've been a raft guide, server, door-to-door salesman, church worker, and a copywriter. The one constant is a mantra I committed myself to years ago: Live and tell great stories, and help others do the same. Idealistic, yes, but, for better or worse, it has been a driving force with Lindsey and I's lives.
TSP: That may be idealistic, but it’s wonderful. Stories teach, protect, expand our perspectives and bridge worlds. Without them, well, we’d be lost. What are you up to now, as you live out your commitment to Story?
RH: I'm at my desk this morning, preparing for what I hope is good week. I work for a creative agency in the beautiful city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, so bad isn't so bad anyway. My job is simple: Help organizations of all sizes and shapes get from point A to point B using the power of story, branding, and a jar full of elbow grease. I get to do this job with friends and folks I respect. I work for people I like. We can get caught up in meaningful work and our place in the universe, but, dammit, if those two things aren't super important. I write short film scripts on the side because I love it, and I get paid. Also, I write stories about personal honor, survival, and classic heroes but I have a hard time not throwing these away half way through so you won't see many of these around.
TSP: Your job is far from simple, Ross. I hesitate to know what you find to be complex. Where do you hope to go next?
RH: As a member of a team, its important to note the organization's hopes and dreams as well as your own. That's apart of the deal when working for an agency like Whiteboard. Our hope as an organization is to continue our upward trend, and help our clients reach their potential. Sure, we'd like to do this with a little flare. For myself, I want to continue to develop as the Director of Story for our team. I want to help our clients, people with aspirations and needs, reach for their proverbial stars. I hope to write a few more short films and continue to fight through the muck to one day publish a story. I want to enjoy my work and make the most of the next 50+ years I will be hanging around.
TSP: You truly embody your promise to “Live and tell great stories, and help others do the same.” How do you plan to step towards those goals?
RH: Aspirations come as thoughts so: Easy does it. Maybe it’s arrogant to say, but I believe if I can keep a pace of intentional work and a hunger my aspirations will work out. And a life of contemplative prayer. Don't mean that as an after thought, but it is the simple but not easy piece of life that trips us up or falls to the waste side. Maybe it’s the mystical which makes us feel uncomfortable, and we revert to self help books and the thought we must always work harder (both important at the right moment), but the chase for the spirit of God keeps the darkness at bay. Continue to be a self-educator. Don't ever settle for what you know, that probably won't get you very far. And hold on to my wife. To be quite honest, all of my personal and professional aspirations can go to pot, but if I have Lindsey I'm only heading back to the starting point. Without her, it’s to the basement.
TSP: How we, the TSP community, help you get to where you want to go?
RH: I'm not a networker. I try to be, but I genuinely like people and when in "networker mode" it’s hard to get past what you can do for me. If we run into each other, let's have a conversation. Tell me about an embarrassing date or show me pictures of your dog lying on the couch (my go to). If you think I'm a nice guy, and you happen to check out my writing on Medium or you want to connect with Whiteboard about a project, I would like that. Community only works when we work with folks we could share a beer with or talk about our favorite spots to sneak away to.
Ross Hagan on Twitter