Drawn Agency

How to Find Connections in Life's Authentic Moments

A few years ago, I took a road trip to California with my husband and our good friend. We stopped in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Big Sur, but all that stands out now is our secret beach at Andrew Molera State Park.

We were camping in the park and found a trail that ran along the cliffs, overlooking the ocean. We walked for miles looking at blue water, licking salty wind from our lips, and feeling soft, yellow grasses along the trail.

We didn’t know where the path was leading us, so we just kept walking, with no particular purpose or end goal in mind. The destination really didn’t matter. We were content to talk, make jokes, and enjoy comfortable silences as we trekked.

Eventually the trail began sloping downward, weaving through prickly bushes and shrubs. We passed a large pile of driftwood, and just beyond it, a perfect, abandoned beach.

"Of course, we weren’t the first to discover this beach, but in that moment, it felt like our own discovery."

We spent hours at that beach, staring at the waves, climbing the rocks, and walking across the sand — sometimes together and other times independently; almost completely in silence. That beach cut away the mental and physical noise that normally cluttered our lives, leaving us free to wander, explore, and be our true selves.

Our own private paradise. Photo: Michelle O'Neill-Clark

Of course, we weren’t the first to discover this beach, but in that moment, it felt like our own discovery; a little secret that only the three of us shared. It was real, honest, and pure, and I remember feeling truly present and content.

Photo: Michelle O'Neill-Clark

Now, picture our beach in your mind and think about how you engage your customers, readers, and fans. How authentic is your brand communication perceived to be? Speaking to your audience’s most natural and stress-free, secret beach-like experiences will help people to see you as a companion enhancing their lives, instead of just noise interrupting it.

— Michelle O'Neill-Clark