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How The Breakfast Club Can Help You Find Your Voice

I joined in on an enthusiastic conversation last week about finding your voice. The post called Five Examples of Blogging Voices was wonderfully crafted by Jayme Soulati. She broke it down into five different styles (with some great blogger examples!) to give us some food for thought about how we fit into these personalities and how her examples could contribute to finding our voice.

It was certainly an eye-opening article (and don’t miss the comments below – the conversation between the bloggers will bring a smile to your face). It really hit home with me as one of the best explanations I’ve heard about finding your voice. After I let the words marinate with me for a few days, it finally occurred to me where I’ve heard this breakdown before. It was from the movie called The Breakfast Club.

The movie celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. For those us raised in the 80’s, we can attest to the fact that the movie impacted our generation. It was one of the first films we had ever seen where they treated teens like adults and not just some Disney-esque version of what kids would do if they all spent a Saturday in detention.

I was 17 when the movie was released and I can clearly remember feeling a solidarity when we all watched the movie together at the theater. This movie represented our chance to show the world that teachers and adults were just seeing teens as how they wanted to and not for who we really were.

Circle back around to post with the examples of the blogging voices. When we think about finding our voice, we begin with this preconceived notion of who we think we should be. We think since we’re representing our company, we have to be reserved and just provide our readers with the many reasons why they should buy from us or pay for our services. We think we should hold back with our true personality because who would want to read something written with someone’s inner weirdness?

But The Breakfast Club teaches us that’s not the case when we attempt to figure out our voice. In the end of the movie, we see Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) “The Brain” as he writes the final essay the principal Mr. Vernon assigned them at the beginning of detention. Each of the students were asked to write a paper detailing “who you think you are.” Instead of each student submitting his/her own essay, Brian writes one letter from all of them.

In the end, the final letter challenges Mr. Vernon’s distorted judgments that he has about all of the teens. When we compare the movie to finding our voice, we realize that each of us has something that makes us unique within us to create our own touchpoints with our readers (or potential customers). I challenge you to read through Brian’s letter and think about his words as it relates to finding your voice.

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain …and an athlete …and a basket case …a princess …and a criminal. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

Maybe we should all be required to write an essay answering ‘who you think you are’ before we start to blog.

Photo Credit: Duke University Library



9 thoughts on “How The Breakfast Club Can Help You Find Your Voice

  1. I like the connection you made between the two ideas. That movie was totally about finding your voice and learning to recognize and embrace your own quirks. John Hughes himself had a very fresh and unique storytelling voice, which was particularly evident in Ferris Bueller (w/ Ferris breaking the forth wall). Self-discovery/coming of age was a big theme of his. Nice post!

    Posted by Derek Osedach | 03/27/2012, 6:09 pm
  2. Great insight. Having worn a number of masks and played a number of characters in order to fit in throughout my life and career, the question of ‘who do you think you are’ is one that has caused me some vexation. But I’ve come to realize that I get the very best response and results when I’m my most honest self. That’s the hard part though…. because my honest self is a vulnerable one.
    I think that’s why The Breakfast Club still resonates with all of us 40-somethings…. because those kids learned young, that nothing brings people together like a little vulnerability.
    Blogging is scary because you put yourself out there. You can see that people are reading your stuff but if they don’t comment it’s hard to know what they thought of what you wrote. Just thought I’d comment here and let you know…. I liked what you wrote!

    Posted by momversusmarketer | 03/27/2012, 6:21 pm
    • I think we all wade through our stuff to find our voice on the other side. I’ve been blogging for a couple of years (both a personal blog and this one for my company) and I still struggle with finding that right mix that resonates with readers. I did find that once I dropped my guard (yes, that’s me I was describing in my post) and embraced my inner uniqueness and what makes me – ME, more people came over to read and eventually started to comment.

      The Breakfast Club is probably one of those great movies from our generation. The kind that no matter when you tune in, you’ll find yourself watching it to the end when Judd Nelson pumps his fist in the air. I think we all felt that way sometimes, no matter which person from the movie we connected to.

      And thanks for commenting! I do appreciate the feedback and I’m glad to hear that I’ve connected with some folks 🙂

      Posted by foxinteractive | 03/27/2012, 6:55 pm
  3. Finding out who you are (and being proud of that person!) is a terrifically important but sadly undervalued exercise.

    I think it would be a pretty neat project to write that essay and then go back to it after a prescribed period of blogging, say a year, and then see how you’ve grown as an individual, and how you’ve become more comfortable with the true you – your quirks, your strengths, your eccentricities, etc.

    I too love the Breakfast Club, although my mom would always use Ally Sheedy’s character as a reminder not to wear so much eyeliner. Looking back though, she may have had more of a point than I originally thought.

    Posted by ethelthedean | 03/27/2012, 7:29 pm
    • That’s a really cool idea! I know that when I look back to some of my first posts, I can see the difference in my writing. I think I even may know which post (or series of posts) were the ones that started to bring my true voice to the surface.

      Honestly, even though I was on drill team and hung out with the football players, I was closet Ally Sheedy character. The true weirdness in me didn’t feel comfortable coming out until I started teaching speaking and teaching workshops. The connection I felt with these people who attended my workshops validated that it was was ok to be who I really am.

      And you know … it does suck to realize that our moms were right about something 🙂

      Posted by foxinteractive | 03/27/2012, 8:47 pm
  4. The Breakfast Club- I never get tired of that movie. John Hughes was great. It takes time to find your voice in life and in blogging.

    I attribute it to life experience in both places. You need to get out and live/write a little before you begin to figure out what works for you.

    Posted by TheJackB (@TheJackB) | 03/30/2012, 2:50 am
    • There’s a whole list of those 80’s movies that I could watch over and over – what about St Elmo’s Fire? LOVE that one!!!

      Couldn’t agree more about the life experience to help you find your voice. Its the difference between just reading about skydiving in a book and actually jumping out of the plane.

      Posted by foxinteractive | 03/30/2012, 4:15 pm

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