Refreshment of strength and spirits
“Dad? Do you like your job?”
My father, my hero, looked at me a little cross-eyed through his brown plastic-framed glasses. Almost like he was amused.
“Yeah, I like my job.”
But his answer was flat. Like he was trying to do what he thought was right for me. Set a good example and all that.
“Dad? Do you really like your job?”
My dad straightened his tie and got ready to level with me.
“Marc, it wouldn’t be called work if it was supposed to be fun.”
And he went back to eating his pre-work Cheerios.
And it was at that moment that I made a decision. Not your silly, 9-year old I-want-to-become-Han-Solo-and-fly-the-Millenium-Falcon decision but a major, lifelong, world-view decision.
Growing up in suburban Detroit means you’re growing up in a company town. Everything in some way or another is tied to the auto industry. Your parents may not work directly for one of the big auto companies but the auto industry makes the Detroit economy go ‘round.
When I was growing up, friends would suddenly move away or move into the neighborhood.
I asked my mom, “What happened to Jimmy? Where’d he go?”
My mom told me that Jimmy’s dad, an engineer for an auto-related company, was transferred to Tulsa and so the family had to move for his dad’s job. I was perplexed. I couldn’t understand this line of thinking. But I was in the minority. My mother, like many at the time, believed that a job was the most important thing in life. You studied hard, went to college, and then took a job wherever you got one.
At some point—I’m not exactly sure when—I realized why we are on this planet. A realization around the meaning of life.
Maybe it was on one of our family vacations. Maybe it was at a non-specific family dinner when I saw my dad smile in a way that was relaxed, vulnerable, loving, and at peace all at the same time. Or maybe it was the first time I slid with skis on snow or felt the power of a sailboat as it slapped the water.
It could have been the first time I walked barefoot in a vineyard sipping the very grapes surrounding me. It might have been that one cup of coffee that tasted just perfect.
Après is French for “after” and is usually in reference to a period after an activity. I like to think of that period as after the workday or workweek. It’s the time we dedicate to refreshing our strength and our spirit so we may reconnect to who we truly are. Remember what’s truly important.
It’s the time to connect with family and friends, have conversations that matter and create the moments that matter. To laugh, adventure, and feel that flutter in our chest when we dream big and live creatively.
To raise a glass and savor a beautifully prepared meal. To get out of our comfort zone. To feel the wind in our face. To surrender to the weather. To stroll aimlessly in a museum. To find delight in that first sip of morning coffee. To connect with 50,000 people over music or sport. To look on with awe and wonder at the world around us. To hug, love, run, walk, sit, read, and refresh.
To remember why you’re friends with your friends. To remember why family is family. So that we may wake up the next day, work hard, and après all over again.
It’s not about dissing on work or living a life with no work. When you stop to think about it, there is no “after” without work. Just as the day needs the night, we need work. Work, when done right, isimportant and meaningful.
When it’s done right it is like play. You cannot tell the difference. Work plus après is about creating an integrated life full of meaning and accomplishment.
Unfortunately, at this very moment, après is in a fight against the ever-expanding workday. Our after time is being eroded by an “always-on” culture.
Après is being cut into by screen time, superficial “likes”, and the notion that the digital experience is just as good as the real thing.
We know the moments we remember. The moments we try and relive. The moments that move us…those can only happen during après. When we look back on our lives the après moments will be the moments that matter.
At Wildstory après is how we work, how we live, and how we play.
For us, there is no sharp distinction between our work and what happens after. We hardly know which is which. We simply pursue our vision of excellence through whatever we are doing and leave it to others to determine whether we are working or playing.
In our minds, we are always doing both.
I think you believe the same thing. It’s why you started your business. It’s why you left your high paying job to follow your dreams.
Because you believe in the après. You believe in chasing your dream of a life that is filled with those moments.
Like you, our best ideas usually happen outside of “work”. It’s where we are the most creative. The most innovative. The most free. The most open. Après is where we dare to dream. And a dream is merely a story we’ve yet to step into and make our reality, isn’t it?
I believe that the aura of those people working on a project somehow transmutes and infuses into the work. This is why we work with others who believe in après.
We choose clients, team members, and collaborators that are the best… but only if they’re fun, a little silly, and full of living. This is non-negotiable. Our clients don’t always see this when starting a project but they always feel it when we complete a project. It’s in the air. It’s felt in the design, the words, the pixels.
When applied to business, it’s a philosophy and a mindset. One that says it is possible to turn a profit without losing your soul. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. When done right they are in support of one another.
I believe that we are put on this earth to après.
To earn the time after…
After work… after climbing a mountain… after whatever moves you… so that we may refresh our strength and spirit.
So that we can live a life that is about creating moments that matter.