Justin Ricklefs


The Responsibility to Tell the Story

“We had the responsibility to tell this story.”

Gathered in an internal quarterly meeting, Vivian Allen and Alex Sanchez were setting the stage on a project they’d recently completed.

It was a film we’d all watched dozens of times, but to hear the process behind it, and how it came to life, was the real point.

We work with our friends Chad Wek and Toska Echols at Unique Painting on a variety of projects, one of which is video for THEIR brand.

And yet, every year, without fail, they essentially pay us to make a film about Ronnie Doumitt‘s Answering the Call Foundation.

It’s a beautiful act of paying good things forward.

This year, we met Nathan Bettencourt.

Former Clinton, MO police officer, turned high school teacher and coach.

And a transformed hero.

Right before Racheal Burnett pushed play, Alex spoke directly, the quote above.

“We had the responsibility to tell this story.”

His words were intentional.

And beautiful.

He could have used a variety of other professional phrases, such as:

“We had the opportunity to work on this…”

“We had to clear this project out of ClickUp.”

“We had to do this job.”

But, instead, he chose this declarative, powerful phrase.

The responsibility to.

What would look different if we adopted a bit more “the responsibility to” language at work, home, with ourselves, and our relationships?

The responsibility to lead.

The responsibility to care.

The responsibility to go for it.

The responsibility to understand.

The responsibility to give a damn.

The responsibility to show up.

The responsibility to know ourselves.

The responsibility to tell stories of good.

As Nathan choked up, and said, “ah shit, here we go” and reached for his water bottle, it’s very evident he’s stepped into his responsibility.

To love his daughters and lead those high schoolers.

“I think I’m right where I need to be,” he said.

It’s very evident he is.


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