#SWAAYthenarrative

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.”
5 min read
Health

3 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress Each Evening (Instead of Reaching for Another Cocktail)

When we envision a person who is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD)—defined by having a history of past misuse, experiencing increasing mental health symptoms, or having a family history of addiction—we often picture someone waking up and instantly grabbing their first drink. However, in my experience working with those battling SUD for nearly a decade, I've learned that everyone's relationship with alcohol looks different and having a few too many drinks at night can be just as dangerous.

The time of day, amount, or type of alcohol one drinks doesn't define if they suffer from SUD or not—it's the compulsion to drink. By focusing on healthy stress relievers and implementing them into your daily routine, you aren't just avoiding another glass at night, you are curbing any inclination for SUD that you may have.

While you may feel the desire to reach for another drink after dinner and putting the kids to bed to relieve some of the stress you incurred that day, there are other things that you can do that are much more beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.

Risks of Reaching for Another Drink

Reaching for another cocktail or glass of wine can feel like a great way to relieve the stress of the day at the time, but over time it can actually lead to the opposite. Excessive drinking is known to lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders such as increased risk of family problems, altered judgment, and worsened sleep quality. These can all lead to increased stress and create a continuous cycle I have seen in many of my patients, which often prove difficult to break.

Increased alcohol consumption can directly impact an individual's mood and temperament, too. In my patients, I've seen a connection between increased alcohol consumption and irritability, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities that previously brought that person joy—activities that people should always put time into, especially right now during the pandemic.

While drinking in moderation doesn't have serious implications for some, others are already at increased risk for SUD. One drink per day is considered moderate for women, while eight drinks or more in a single week is categorized as heavy drinking. It's important to monitor your intake—whether you are at increased risk for SUD or not. It is all too easy for one glass to become another, and then another. And if you keep reaching for just one more drink, you can start to build a tolerance, as it requires more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. This can result in dangerous, addictive habits that will alter your life, and the lives of those who care for you.

Three Healthy Ways to Relieve Evening Stress

Stress relief from alcohol is short-lived, but choosing healthier, alternative stress relievers can provide long-lasting benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. At Wellbridge, our team not only focuses on treating addiction but also on teaching healthy habits to support ongoing sobriety. And many of these learnings can be implemented to avoid addiction by handling stress better as well!

Below are three healthy stress relief ideas you can implement into your routine:

  1. Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful and mentally stimulating stress reliever. Throughout our therapeutic program at Wellbridge, we provide different opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. For example, breathing exercises, such as box breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindful walking, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're looking for entry, guided meditation, check out this YouTube channel where experts post mindfulness exercises each week.
  2. Human connection is invaluable. Whether it is your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a therapist, connecting with someone else can be a great way to relieve stress. The additional perspective that another person provides can also help us feel that the anxieties and stressors we are experiencing are more manageable. If you are feeling increased stress from loneliness or isolation, reach out and schedule a Zoom coffee hour with a friend, or call a loved one to check-in and chat.
  3. Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever as well, for so many reasons. Not only can it help us get our mind off of stress, it enables our bodies to release endorphins and provides long-lasting physical health benefits. Physical activity doesn't need to be a full-blown workout if you don't feel up to it, or simply don't have extended periods of time to dedicate to a longer exercise regimen. Even a short walk or some stretching can go a long way towards improving your mood. I enjoy following guided, online yoga practices for both mindfulness practice and physical activity.

Despite my years working in this space, I am no stranger to giving in to stress. However, I've learned that by allotting myself a little time each morning and evening for activities that set a positive tone in my life—like meditation, journaling, and exercise—I've been able to better manage my stress and feel more prepared for heightened periods of stress. Do I manage to set aside personal time every morning and evening? Definitely not—life happens! But by doing our best to take regular time out for ourselves, we're all certain to be in a better place emotionally and mentally.

Putting Your Mental Health & Wellbeing First

It's important to also recognize that it isn't just stress that causes us to reach for another drink at night. With the added pressures and responsibilities of women in today's world, having another glass of our favorite drink at the end of the day can often seem like a quicker and easier option than other healthier ways to relieve stress.

However, it's essential to put your mental health and wellbeing front and center in your priority list—something that many women struggle with. But just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. By focusing on implementing small, healthy habits and making them a seamless part of your daily routine, you ensure that you can show up in all aspects of your life and for all the people in your life.

If you are struggling with increased stress, be specific and honest with your support system about your need to preserve your mental wellbeing. Prioritizing your needs will help you be there for other people you care about in your life.

I always refer back to a quote from a Dar Williams song—a song about therapy no less! "Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself." Talk about your needs with others and find time to develop healthy coping habits. And if you feel as though you've already created an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, discuss that relationship with a medical advisor to learn if advanced treatment is the right option for you.