There were two pencils in a drawer.
One was new, beautiful, with a sharp tip.
The other – poor thing! – was small, worn down and old.
The big one, brand new, looked at the little pencil and yelled: “Oh, little one! You, down there! Can you hear me?”
“You don’t need to yell,” replied the pencil stub. “I’m not deaf!”
“Why do you look like that? What happened?”, the big pencil went on to ask.
The little pencil explained calmly that it had been worn over time, and had lost count the number of times it had seen the sharpener.
The little pencil continued, “Tell me something: Do you know what poetry is?”
“Poetry?” asked the big pencil, “What’s that?”
“Have you ever written a love letter?” Asked the little pencil.
The little pencil went on, “I’ve experienced everything. Crazy times, happy times, sad times, and lots of passion too. Life has been hard, but it’s also been so wonderful. I’m like this because I’ve lived fully. And it’s made me who I am today”.
This was a story by Pedro Bandeira given to my daughter at school and it really resonated.
She received it on the same day that Leo Burnett London chose the NGO that they will be working with for their next TIE programme.
They will be working with Em Cena, a Brazilian NGO that supports some of the most vulnerable children in the NE region. For years they have inspired children from some of the toughest areas. Children growing up in precarious houses without running water. Children that face some of the hardest circumstances.
Em Cena’s work is powerful. It’s inspirational. And the NGO has been crushed by the pandemic.
Leo Burnett, through TIE, will help the NGO get back on track and help get them connected with the community again. These children’s lives depend on it.
But this is also a huge opportunity for a team of Leo Burnetters to unearth a real challenge, facing real people, in a part of the world many of them won’t have known much about before.
They will need to unpick insights in a different language, virtually.
And will need to win the trust of people they’ve never met before in a short amount of time.
An opportunity to be pushed in a completely different way, to step out of the hierarchy, to unleash their purpose and a chance to own a project on their own terms.
The pencil story and this next TIE programme with Leo Burnett reminds us to keep pushing ourselves in new ways. To take risks. To be curious and uncomfortable.
As THAT is what gives our life colour.
It’s time. Let’s change things!