Shared Stories: Target’s Laysha Ward Talks Purpose With Artist-Philanthropist-Author Common

  • Jul 17, 2019
a man and woman posing for a picture

By Laysha Ward

Laysha Ward is Target’s Chief External Engagement Officer. In the first installment of her recurring column, Shared Stories here on A Bullseye View, she shares her thoughts on purpose and insights from her recent conversation with artist-philanthropist-author Common following his recent stop at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters. 

I believe in the unique and abiding power of stories to make us laugh, cry, feel inspired, and see the world in new ways.

Stories are the secret sauce of my job as Chief External Engagement Officer for Target. As I am out with our team members in communities across the country, stories are the best way to listen, learn and co-create with our guests and partners. Listening to their stories builds empathy and understanding, and leads to courageous conversations.

In this first edition of Shared Stories, I am highlighting my recent conversation with artist, philanthropist and author Common. We discussed topics ranging from his beginnings in hip hop to his amazing best-selling book, “Let Love Have the Last Word.” Storytelling has been an important part of Common’s journey. He was drawn to hip hop because it told a story of his life and culture in a way he didn’t see reflected in other mediums. Those stories (put to a dope beat) affected him in a way that stories affect so many of us. He felt seen, heard, and validated.

Here, I’ll focus on our conversation around purpose, a topic I care about deeply. Your purpose serves as your GPS. It guides your decisions and the impact you want to make in the world. I love what Common has to say about aligning our personal and professional purpose:

One of the most important things you have to offer the world is an authentic version of yourself. To be unapologetically you, and that’s not always easy. As a versatile artist with broad popular appeal, Common has an interesting perspective. In the clip below, we find out how he manages to stay true to himself no matter what situation he’s in.

Staying true to yourself requires self-care, especially in a world full of distractions. But sometimes self-care comes with a stigma. Watch as Common discusses the impact mental health, therapy and other forms of self-care have had on his life. 

I’m so grateful for the candid conversation with Common. He was an open book and shared so many chapters of his life. I hope his stories of struggle and setback that led to stories of hope and progress inspire all of us. What a gift and a reminder that there are more chapters to be written and Shared Stories to tell.

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