The Back Story

A friend shared this image and it immediately drew my attention and resonated with me. My casual storytelling, were it to be mapped, is not unlike this diagram. Fueled by rapid fire data point connections in my brain and anticipatory excitement to connect, I can pivot and deviate at breakneck speed. Catch me post yoga coffee when I’ve got a tank full of creative energy, I can be exhausting to track in conversation.

Original art by Dani Donovan “ADHD Storytelling” Image modified by Unknown Person.)

It was noted in the post that it was an adapted version. Wanting to share with others and make sure I gave full credit to the author/illustrator/creator I went to the original image (shown below).

Original art by Dani Donovan. Support Dani’s work at

They’re identical EXCEPT the font has been changed in the adapted version. Obviously, so has the actual text of the title.

But, which version should I repost and share? And that’s when something sparked for me. My brain was intellectualizing the differences, why one might resonate more than the other. At the same time, my body was sent me a little uncomfortable icky tweak, an indication that “You’ve got some feelings around this.”

Never one to not do what I encourage others to do, I sat down and “got curious” about what was going on. Focusing on staying out of my THINKING brain, I tried to discern the feelings at the source of the “icky tweak”. Here’s what I came up with.

  1. The title with ADHD storytelling is the original version and I value crediting and supporting creators.
  2. As data science has proven, first person titles capture more readers’ attention.
  3. If I share the adapted version, I’ll reach more readers as part of my goal to increase self awareness of myself and others.
  4. If I share the original version, resonance and audience reach will likely be lower.
  5. If I share the adapted version and “own” the first person “this is how I tell a story”, I can write a post about getting curious to figure out why (and model self awareness).
  6. If I share the original version, I’d have to “own” identifying as ADHD which feels fraudulent since I’m self-diagnosed and I don’t want to appropriate an actual disorder simply for a learning opportunity.
  7. If I share the original version, it feels scary and vulnerable and fuels fears of imposter-ism. “What value could she possibly bring to the challenges of brand strategy and narratives?”

As with all decisions, once I filter all of the variable through my personal values calculator, the solution is clear (see #1). Share the original version – I’m committed to crediting and supporting creators. For me, living and leading by my values is worth any vulnerability or discomfort. That’s MY authentic brand.

Here’s my question for you, what values do you use to help navigate your career narrative, personal brand, or, your life?

PS: Titles matter!

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