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Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will

Jul 21, 2020

Mareo McCracken knows the negative aspect of labels like "troublemaker." He also knows the positive impact of being called a "peacemaker", which is the title his mother gave him as a child. It wasn't until he was an adult that his mother admitted he was the worst of her 6 children in terms of picking fights and antagonizing his siblings. 

But after she started referring to him as "my little peacemaker", he started to live up to the label.

Labeling Theory (From ResearchGate): Labeling theory provides a distinctively sociological approach that focuses on the role of social labeling in the development of crime and deviance. The theory assumes that although deviant behavior can initially stem from various causes and conditions, once individuals have been labeled or defined as deviants, they often face new problems that stem from the reactions of self and others to negative stereotypes (stigma) that are attached to the deviant label (Becker, 1963; Lemert, 1967).

I had to satisfy my curiosity in the very beginning of the call. We've been connected for years on LinkedIn, and I never had a chance before to ask him about his unusual name. Mareo McCracken sounds like a mashup of Italian and Scottish, right?

It turns out that Mareo is a made-up name his mother came up with. It's not Italian, as you can tell by the spelling. And McCracken does come from his Scottish family, which immigrated to North America many generations ago.

As far as I'm concerned, Mareo's most striking quality is the calm, reflective way he speaks. His thoughtful, insightful writing has been in my life for at least five years. I am so grateful for his voracious appetite for books and learning because he constantly shares what he's learning and recommendations for reading material.

The lesson he left our conversation was this: Listen to those who love you and care about you. Not just one or the other, both. It was his wife who suggested he begin to share what he was learning when he was digesting at least a book each week, which is why Mareo began his adventure in blogging.

To learn more about him and to sample his outstanding writing, visit his website, and connect with him on LinkedIn.