Today we celebrate the launch of Hindsight 2020, a book of essays from the InkHouse team about moments of consciousness that opened us up to new points of view. This kicks off our 2020 theme of clarity. We chose it to help us navigate away from the trend toward polarized headlines and dumbed-down content. Clear sight will lead us to the communications strategies that can introduce audiences to more nuanced and complex messages. We love a worthy challenge.
Moments of clarity are also important in PR because they’re the essence of stories that lead to new connections (our theme of 2019). In the book, we explored the kind of clarity that softens us to someone else’s experience and allows it to exist next to our own. This is how we bring people and ideas together, which is the job of PR.
In the introduction to Hindsight 2020, I shared a personal story regarding my longstanding opposition to guns. My husband used to want one. He countered my objections – their singular purpose is to kill – with facts about wildlife population control and the tenets of ethical hunting. But I was stuck on the image of a deer’s eyes, wild with fear while it panted through its last breaths. I told him he could either live in our house or have a weapon.
My moment of clarity happened at my husband’s boyhood camp. We were there for a reunion weekend and stopped by the riflery center. The instructor asked if I wanted to shoot a .22 and I surprised myself by saying yes. Ten minutes later, I was wearing orange noise-canceling headphones, had learned that my left is my dominant eye, and was lying on the ground, looking through the sight. He told me to pull the trigger on an in-breath, then hold it after I fired until I relocated the target. This is how to follow through on your aim, and a metaphor for how to maintain clear vision.
I was using live ammunition and expected to feel jumpy. But as I aimed, everything around me quieted and my breathing slowed. It was just me and the target. I fired five rounds, and when I examined the black-and-white circles closing in toward the center, I was shocked to see a bull’s-eye. When I showed the instructor I joked that it must be all my yoga and meditation. He said, “Target practice is deeply meditative. I often come down here in the early mornings, when it’s quiet, to shoot.”
While this experience didn’t change my position that gun ownership is an unnecessary danger, it offered me a more nuanced view. I have a new respect for my husband’s stance, and I’d also like to hang out with the riflery instructor. In PR, this is what we work to create: doorways to new experiences, products, ideas, groups of people, etc.
The essays contained in this book are openings to a wide range of human connection: what it means to be a man in the era of #MeToo, traveling to understand home, finding yourself by losing someone else, racial tensions on college campuses, the after-effects of cancer, why a proper daiquiri matters, and much more.
We’ll be sharing book excerpts on social media over the coming months. And if you’d like a complimentary copy, stop by one of our offices and we'd love to give you one. This book has changed the way I move in my world. I’m more open, compassionate and connected. I’d love to share it with you.
Since the early days working around her kitchen table, Beth has grown Inkhouse into one of the top independent PR agencies in the country. She’s been named a Top Woman in PR by PR News, a Top 25 Innovator by PRovoke, and an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Beth designed Inkhouse’s signature Storytelling Workshop to mirror the literary hero’s journey and to unearth the emotional connections that bind an audience to a brand or idea. She also uses narratives to build Inkhouse’s culture, most recently through two books of employee essays, “Hindsight 2020” and “Aren’t We Lucky?”