Click HERE to watch the video

Scratches, scrapes, scars, and scuffs 

Regular readers of this blog know I'm an unabashed car fanatic. A good buddy of mine (whose passions run to full-bodied cabernets) once told me, “I've never met a wine I didn't love for some particular reason. I think the same rule applies to you and anything with an engine and a stick shift.”

He may be right. And while I can appreciate pristine, low-mileage garage queens with gleaming bodywork, I believe cars were meant to be driven. I like my cars with plenty of miles and patina on them. After all,  I'd much rather drive a car and risk a chip or a scratch than have it locked away in a climate-controlled garage where it's regularly dabbed with a lint- diaper.

That's why I was so charmed when I read this : “Anyone with money can restore a car. But no one can make it original twice.”

Scratches, scrapes, scars, and scuffs 

It's not just cars. The gouges and discolorations on my 1955 Gibson guitar were put there by all the people who played it before I did. Not only did they coax their out of an inanimate wood and wire box long before I played it, they were putting marks on the guitar before I was born.

My parents gave me a beautiful watch for my 20th birthday. Forty-plus years later, it's still on my wrist and bears witness to all the moments in my life – momentous and mundane. While I have dropped the watch off at the watchmaker for regular maintenance, I'm always careful to tell them not to touch its nicked and chipped finish. After all, the collection of scratches, scrapes, scars, and scuffs are not imperfections. They're reminders of miles traveled and times measured.

The other day, I spoke to a corporate audience in Anaheim. When I got off the stage, I met a business owner who wanted to discuss her company. We spent some time together chatting about her business and her . When we got done, my new friend paid me a lovely compliment:

“You know, you're exactly the same in person as you are on stage.”

I didn't realize it then, but that authenticity is what I've been aiming for. Just like the abrasions and creases on my cars tell a story of use and adventure, our wrinkles and idiosyncrasies are hard-earned symbols of lives well-lived and lessons well-learned.

Sure, beautiful new things are just that – beautiful and new. And my kids will roll their eyes and confirm that I can be as fussy as anyone when it comes to pristine and perfect new things. But as we make our way in the world, our marks and blemishes are often what make us interesting and .

Scratches, scrapes, scars, and scuffs 

With the help of meticulous memorization and constant rehearsal (or a teleprompter), almost anyone can memorize a speech and deliver it flawlessly. And if you're reciting , that's probably a good idea. After all, no one wants to hear your ad-libbed version of Hamlet's seven soliloquies. But if you're sharing what you know – and who you are – then a sincere offer of authenticity requires you to share all you are, including your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

None of this is to suggest you should wing it or get up in front of an audience and cry – no one's interested in watching you do therapy on stage. But your unique spin, your particular interpretation, your special something, is what makes your message so much more valuable and meaningful to your listeners. As you and your business, remember, “People don't choose what you do; they choose who you are.”

After all, if your audience only wants the of what you or your product does, they can get that almost anywhere. But if they're going to buy what you offer, they can get that only from you. It's true if you're a , an actor, a parent, a , an attorney, a politician, or any other type of genuine human being.

Scratches, scrapes, scars, and scuffs included.

Skip to content