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What's Your Story? How Personal Narrative Affects Leadership

Career

“Feminine leadership brings the power of looking inside to the world of business.” One of the most common stories is that of the Hero’s Journey, where the “hero” goes on an adventure, confronts some sort of crisis, and comes home a changed man. However, it’s the Heroine’s Journey that is more important.


In the Heroine’s Story, she faces a problem and then realizes that the strength she needed was inside of her all along. It is this power of thinking and feminine edge that we need to help run our businesses, affairs, and even our country. Luckily, Eleanor Beaton tells us how this is completely achievable.

Eleanor Beaton is an important advocate in women’s leadership who brings the power of instinct into business, however, Beaton started out as someone who was much more comfortable behind the scenes. As someone in the journalism field, she would help people craft their messages and direct them into being more eloquent. After she was well into her career and unfortunately lost her father, Beaton finally thought to herself, “Here you are, helping people craft powerful messages that are changing the world and maybe it’s time that you [kinda] stood up and owned your own message.”

Thus, an inspiration for leadership was born.

As a journalist, Beaton went from telling a story to helping others tell their personal stories. So how do you know your story is valuable? “You have to know that it’s okay to be seen, and that your particular story has value.” Give yourself permission to be seen by others. You also can’t only focus on the statistics that make your job beneficial--what’s the emotional power behind your message? These are both critical for telling a great story.

The next questions to ask yourself are:

Do I feel the desire?
Do I want to have an impact?

If so, it’s critical to first tell your origin story, how you got started, and why it’s important to you. Then, figure out how your story fits into the larger conversation - Beaton helps women become better motivators and leaders, therefore her larger conversation is women empowerment.

“Pay attention to fascination--what fascinates you, and what engages you?”

The unique and special drive to find someone’s personal significance has been inherent within Beaton her whole life. As a young girl, Beaton enjoyed walking through graveyards and reading people’s headstones to try and think about their story and what the small messages at the bottom of the stone were communicating. While a little bit creepy, but somehow still amazing, that common thread of wanting to know about what make someone’s life special has been the driving force of Beaton’s career--figure out what your driving force is and what makes you special.

After figuring out your drive, find your confidence. Women are also at their most successful by being confident. Only 2 percent of female entrepreneurs earn seven figures a year--how did they get to be this successful?

The next three steps that Beaton gives could be the next three steps to change your life:

Pursue growth. The women at the top 2 percent are, at a very deep gut level, comfortable being uncomfortable. There’s a fire to walk through to go from the person that you are, to the person that you’re becoming, but it is what leads to success.

Commitment. According to Beaton, “my commitment is the sky; the way I feel about it day to day is like the weather. Be committed to your commitment.

Don’t just build relationships, but leverage them. As women, we have much deeper connections with fewer people for networking, whereas men develop a broad network of shallower relationships. We need to engage in that numbers game and leverage the relationships that we do have.
Everyone is unique, and everyone has a story inside of them to share. Beaton’s uniqueness is what helps her empower fellow females and drives them to tell their stories. If you connect and build rapport with people by sharing own personal connection to your expertise, it will make your business great, and also make greater change.
Our full interview with Eleanor is now available on our podcast. Listen on iTunes.
What are some final words of advice that Beaton has to give?

“Your voice is a tool, so sharpen it.”
6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.