I started my writing career by moving out of a house and into a '93 Jeep Cherokee. Wandering from one lead to another on the recommendation of friends, depending often on the kindness of strangers, my goal was to help people share the stories they had to tell. (And, if possible, find some good kombucha along the way.)
We'd start by talking about all the ways they'd succeeded—starting a band, building a business, overcoming a tragedy, reaching a long-sought epiphany. These were the stories they considered worth sharing, the ones I'd come to hear.
But it didn't take long for me to realize that there were even better stories to be found below the surface of these successes. These were stories that unfolded after the flush of victory subsided into regular life, and the person they saw in the mirror was someone they were proud of, but didn't fully know.
It wasn't until much later that I realized why people told me so much, even when they knew I was going to put it in a magazine or on the Internet:
It was because I was listening.