Women: The Nurturers of our Souls

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
However we [men] wish to care or think, women have been the embodiment of our beings, emerging from their spiritual role as the interwoven carriers of our souls – from conception, birth to death.

There is an inalienable truth in my life and the universe, that we are all created equal.  However, my lived experiences have venerated women, they are far superior in capacity than we [men] wish to think or believe. Let me provoke thought and candor by intimating – women were never man’s equal, they are our messiahs.  They gave birth to what we have come to understand as – self – by helping to shape our humanity and our very being.

I recently posted on LinkedIn an excerpt from my university’s magazine, quoting Kathleen Rybczynksi, Professor of Economics, University of Waterloo and one of my contacts, suggested her point would be greatly strengthened if she had mentioned all groups typically under-represented in leadership roles (see quotation):

“A lot of research is talking about how we need women to participate in the market and we need women to take on leadership roles.  Diversity, leadership and an openness to new perspectives are essential to business.  Without it, we’re going backward instead of forward.”

Kathleen Rybczynksi, Professor of Economics, University of Waterloo

Article in the University of Waterloo Magazine Building a Better Workplace

My contact comments on the above-mentioned quotation are as follows:

“Dr. Rybczynksi makes an interesting point – she equates the inclusion of women in leadership roles with the expansion of an organization’s diversity.  I contend that she is only partially correct, as she makes this statement from a point of view that addresses her need or self-interest. Her point would be greatly strengthened, if she had made mention of all groups typically under-represented in leadership roles.  Non-caucasians, gay men, persons with disabilities as well as other groups also need to be considered, when discussing diversity and inclusion.”

In my thoughtful, but tacit response, I said:

Great points were noted in your comments that I’m in agreement with.  However, the context for Dr. Rybcyznski’s comments/quotation emerges from a neo-feminist viewpoint.  I make an effort never to engage in contending views, but move to acceptance from their liminality and context.”

Giving thought to that latter aspect of my response, my lived experience provided a blueprint that reminded me that the women in my life and interactions have been exceptionally wonderful. For that I am forever grateful, they have helped to shape and mold my thoughts to be a genteel human being. However, societally I have heard that ‘a woman cannot do what the guys do and still be a lady’ with its profundities in Dusty Springfield’s lyrics which gave gleanings of an era, not a woman’s existential reality.

Poignantly, of interests biblically, women are framed with connotations of noble character, virtuous and capable.  “For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you can desire compare with her” [Prov. 12:4].  Therefore, women have always lived as exceptions, countering our [men] storied perceptions that they are inferior, and some women thinking so themselves.  Emergent – The Divine – is the exception, she is incomparable.  So let us stop wasting our time, about who is the lesser being. Women are precious than rubies, it is for us to help them accentuate their true worth.

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Women are our angels on earth, our helpers, not our servants; our nurturers, not just our caregivers. They are the core of the Divine order.  So let us revere, celebrate and honour them with our self, trust, honesty, love and vulnerabilities. As Stevel Marc in his hard-hitting seminal work The Refined Player: Sex, Lies and Dates espoused, our women are ‘The Ezer Neged: Your Help, Your Source of Strength’.

“Often a man’s greatness is the result of the woman in his life. Her good qualities,

behaviour, strength and actions complement his, and help to make him great.”

 In an excerpt from the book, the author shared a conversation with Megan that provided gleanings into the epitome of our angels on earth, see the excerpt below:

“I am reminded of the importance of being a woman. I am a nurturer, I am sensitive, I am delicate and I am strong.  As women, we must find the beauty in that,  irrespective of our “Boaz”.  It’s our responsibility to define and refine ourselves to be the best ezer, we can be for our Boaz – we must have our womanhood  identified as the woman we’ve decided to be and not who society says we should be.…..If I truly know who I am, then I am not bothered by who everyone else thinks I should be.   I must know who I am as a wife before I can be a mother. If I know who I am, then I won’t have to be defined by my husband.”

Women should never be viewed as a challenge to the ‘status quo’ when they make a request to have greater levels of participatory action in our societies. Even though there is still this long-held view of our societies being patriarchal. However, in the words of the R&B/ Soul Crooner, James Brown – It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World:

This is a man’s world
This is a man’s world
But it would be nothing, nothing
Without a woman or a girl.”

Why would we choose to live without our angels, our ezer neger, our Divine nurturers – their essence, dignity, strength, worth and identity?  We should happily engage ‘the nurturers of our souls’ to help create and shape the kinder and gentler space, we need in our world.  Men are challenged by the perspective that W.O.M.E.N. combatively wants to ‘change things’, especially the man’s ego.  They view the divine nurturers as – Women Opposing Men’s Egotistical Nature.

From my cultural and situated context, I have been nurtured to believe otherwise, and I proffer three thought-provoking perspectives, help our [men] misunderstandings:

  • Loving – Women are nurturers of our souls and in that divine capacity, we should learn from them how to love and how we should love, and treat them. You should never assume you can love a woman how she should be loved until you ask, understand and appreciate her essence. And most importantly, when you have her permission to love her. In the words of Lisa Stansfield’s eponymous song – ‘All Woman’:

           “I’m no classy lady but I’m all      woman.  And this woman needs a little love                          to make her strong.”

  • Living – Women help us to better understand how to live and do so meaningfully. Men usually create walls, to hide emotions or to block their obvious shortcomings.  Women, construct building blocks to help them grow because it helps them to understand not only their roles but also their vulnerabilities.  For women, the blocks are to better understand self and life.  For us men, the walls we create are used to stymie our growth, given that we don’t always ‘man up’ and be honest about how we feel, so our divine nurturers can better help us to live holistically.
  • Leading – In our women, I see the possibilities for conscious leadership. The kind of leadership that can better help our societies harness the collective dreams of every human being vision of a better today and tomorrow.  Women are thoughtful, open and bring their sheer spiritual power that they are willing to share and reassure [men] that they will always be there.  They’ve got our backs and we need to believe unconditionally that they bring an exceptional and divine character that is tempered with kindness, love, commitment and honour. As men, we need to learn how to better reciprocate.

My closing thought is an excerpt from one of the poems, which was written to celebrate my’ ezer neged’ – titled ‘Of You’:

“The affirmation of you is life’s divine gift – your being, your very presence and the gift of your essence – your vibe, your spirit, your soul.

 Of you, it is the epitome of empowerment, the source of grace. The resonated dreams of every happier being.

Of you, there is bounteous beauty, power and dreams. The dream of a generation’s yesterday, tomorrows and their today’s.”

 

© 2015 all rights reserved – Hugh Anthony

 

About

Hugh Anthony is a public speaker, lifestyle writer, and researcher, with interests in the creative industries, tourism and hospitality, and not-for-profit sector.  He is the Co-Founder | Curator and Lifestyle Director of Consulate | Milieu® a boutique lifestyle consultancy firm in Toronto, Canada that specializes in creative, avid and exciting art-based and lifestyle projects for its diverse clientele. Hugh Anthony is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Waterloo, Canada where he is undertaking research on the Film Festival Industry, with his current focus being on Curating the Cinematic Muse: The Role of Programming in the Film Festival Experience.

 

Hugh Anthony is an enthusiastic and consummate thought leader who loves to write and is the author of the forthcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking: 7 Steps to Professional Mastery to be published Summer 2018.

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The Art of Storytelling: Your Life as a Tapestry of Stories

hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
You might ask yourself—Do I have a story worth being told?   I’m here to poignantly remind you, yes, you do!!

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From your childhood to where you are today and where your life’s goal will take you, there are a myriad of stories on the journey that forms a tapestry. Whether you choose to share them or not, your life is a smorgasbord of experiences. Just reflect on an amazing experience or a challenging moment.

Or better yet, you have the opportunity to hear and share stories in your daily encounters whether at work, school, home, church, out to an event listening or presenting, having fun, vacationing or with friends, they all form the tapestry of your stories that helps to shape your perspective.

Just take a moment.

Reflect.

Emergent, there is a story.

Think of your favourite story that was shared by your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa; or perhaps by a favourite uncle or aunt, a friend, a colleague, your childhood friend or a speaker.  Your recollection of that story might just be a powerful lesson learnt—a gem for life, a memorable moment, a thought—shared or idea.

The power of your story is packed with life lessons, triumphs, challenges, inspiration.  You can share your story and empower people around you, who are able to connect with your story in an emotional way.

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You may be asking— how do I emotionally connect my story with my audience?  So what makes a story or public speaking presentation contextually captivating? How can you improve your ability to tell stories that resonates and inspires? We all have this life skill, we tell stories every day.  Storytelling is an essential aspect of everyday living from both from a cultural and social perspective.

Sharing your stories and having your audience listening to them through storytelling helps to connect your audience with the essence of your stories.  You take your audience on a journey with you, broadening their imagination through your shared experience of difference or similarity. They take a cultural tour of your life and curating their own understanding of your experiences – because they can relate anecdotally to lived-experiences in our common humanity – love, joy, happiness, kindness, sadness, pain, failures, successes, dreams and adventures.

Your audience will remember your stories, not necessarily your statistics. They will remember the ideas you shared through the narratives gleaned.

Storytelling is an art form that is an interactive dialogue between the teller and their audience engaging in an interwoven tapestry of words, sounds, visuals, imagination, emotional and sensory narrative.

Storytelling is simple, yet powerful and they are three key elements to sharing your story with your audience.

  1. The Why Matters – You want your audience to know why your story matters by giving context to the presentation, so they can relate to it. Is it relevant? Will it challenge your audience? Will it let them understand what the essence of your presentation is? Is it about what success entails or what failures you have encountered and what your triumphs are?
  1. The How Matters – Your audience came to interact with you. By sharing their time to listen and be engaged in your presentation, and how you make them understand your story is essential. The ‘how’ matters in your presentation, as it is your gift to your audience. Make it personal, the audience is in attendance to hear from you. Being authentic is important to the ‘how’ and sharing your vulnerabilities and triumphs aid in connecting with your audience.
  1. The WOW Factor – By understanding the Why and How you get – WOW. Create the WOW in your story. That is what your audience will remember long after your presentation is over. They may not always remember what you said and how you said it, however, what matters most to your audience is the WOW Factor – how did you make them feel? That will be the audiences take away. Did you connect with them emotionally, spiritually or culturally?  Were they empowered to do what mattered?  That’s the WOW factor!

The key elements make your story memorable, powerful, and unforgettable. This is how your presentation resonates with your audience, because the only take away they may have, is not what you said, but how you shared your story, and how it made them feel.

Your storytelling should begin by having an understanding of your audience, first and foremost. What is the message you want to share with your story? What is the one thing you want to matter to your audience with your story?  They form the mosaic to relate your story. How do you begin telling your story to an audience?

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To help you become a better storyteller and public speaker, let me share my SpeakSIMPLE™ Technique that I have used to connect with my audiences over the past two decades.

SpeakSIMPLE™ Technique

The essence of this technique is to help you speak your story in a simple, yet engaging way.  As individuals our lives are a tapestry of interwoven stories, be it from a cultural or situated experience. Storytelling is at the heart of who we are as human beings, existing in a collective – family, social groups and organizations such as school, church, sports, community and service clubs, fraternities and sororities — no matter what space you are speaking.

The SpeakSIMPLE™ Technique emerges from six simple steps to guide you in developing your dialogue for your audience that are guided by a question; and the perspective that public speaking and storytelling are essential life skills. Here goes, when you are telling your story or doing your public speaking presentation:

What is the Single Important Motivational Point for a Listening Ear?

  • Single – What is the single idea that you want to share with your audience. This forms the narrative for your story or presentation to your audience.  You begin by building a structure around this idea for your storytelling or public speaking presentation.
  • Important – idea. How important is the idea you have identified? Will it inspire or is it interesting.  Once you have an understanding of your audience, then you will choose the former – inspiration.   Your idea is of interests to you, however how important is it to set an inspiring pathway for your storytelling journey or public speaking presentation?  The importance of the idea will strengthen the scenes (think of a play or even a movie) of your story.  View how your audience would think of thoughts from our common humanity – love, joy, pain, loss and happiness. This forms the beginning of the tapestry of your story.
  • Motivational – Will your story or presentation resonate with your audience? Yes, it will, once it is motivational.  Your story or presentation should give your audience a reason to reflect on their actions, thoughts, desires and even their behaviours.  The essence of the WOW in your storytelling and public speaking presentation continues from here.   The trust you will build is critical, even though the truth hurts, however it helps to redefine our audience’s motives and motivation. So, should your story and  your public speaking presentation.
  • Point – The point of your story is personal. How does it matter to you in connecting with your audience?  Your idea that you have identified, should build on the point that garner the audience’s attention.  This is where your interwoven tapestry happens.  The point of your story is to bring awareness or inspiration that elicits change, challenges the status quo or at least questions it, provokes thought and candor in the individual’s life in your audience; or their businesses.  The point of your story is what builds the excitement – the fever pitch – for you and your audience.  This point is where resonance of the WOW factor emerges.
  • Listening – The individual in your audience listens for three reasons – to accept, build trust and to reject (that is why it is important to know your audience – their interests, demographic, knowledge and experience). Listening to what your audience is interested in is key to your storytelling.  Share with them why they should listen to your story, why it is important for them (the three key elements – the why, the how, the WOW!!).  When you think of listening to your audience and your audience listening to you, begin with the end in mind.
  • Ear – There is a probability that individuals in your audience will have two ears. However, as the listener, they might lend you one ear for your storytelling. If that’s the case you are off to a good start. In our digitally-connected world, attention spans are at a premium, and as a storyteller a public speaker, you are reminded that you have spent your life listening either formally or informally.   To get both ears of your listener in your audience, ensure your storytelling connect with their heart and emotions.  It is engaging to the listener, it is short, interesting and soothing to both ears, and the soul.

Your role as a storyteller or a public speaker is having both ears of the listener and that is when you have their full attention, and as Bryant A. McGill noted, “it is one of the most sincere forms of respect”.

The process of becoming a better storyteller or an exceptional public speaker is guided by you; harnessing your experiences through learning, training and coaching along with some measure of creativity and imagination.  Storytelling and public speaking are life skills that will help you to be exceptionally successful in your personal and professional life. They both assist us having a better understanding of ourselves and our audience, which creates a synergistic relationship.  The three key elements will help you to integrate your storytelling and your public speaking presentation. They will foster authenticity and create a value-added experience for your audience.

The SpeakSIMPLE™ Technique will help you as a storyteller and public speaker to add some valuable content and strategy to your story. The techniques have worked tremendously for both my corporate and personal clients that I have coached and assisted in curating their stories over the years.

Your story is your life’s mosaic. Being the curator and artist, your responsibility is to reflect on what matter to you and your audience. Your role as a storyteller and public speaker is to design how you are going to share your art — this interwoven tapestry which is  the very essence of your life – your story.

©  Hugh Anthony 2015

About

Hugh Anthony is a certified lifestyle speaker, author and lifestyle coach for executives, creative and transitioning professionals.  He is committed to helping individuals transform their passions into possibilities to enhance value creation by harnessing their lifestyle and experience to be more meaningful, purposeful and profitable.

Hugh Anthony is the Co-Founder | Consulting  Lifestyle Director of Consulate| Milieu®, a boutique lifestyle consultancy firm based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in coaching, live and virtual events, training workshops an avid lifestyle projects for its diverse clientele.  He is an authority on public speaking and presents on topics relating to speaking and presentation, leadership and value creation.  His forthcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking: 7 Steps to Professional Mastery will be published Summer 2016.

©  Hugh Anthony 2015