Everybody has a story. Everybody has…stuff. How we handle it…for ourselves and for our friends is what truly matters.
I sat in an audience of just over 1,300 area women yesterday to hear firsthand, the survival story of Elizabeth Smart. As she approached the podium, she carried herself with such a natural grace and ease, a gentle smile on her face…her white dress almost flowing as she walked across the stage. Hers is the sort of story you almost have to ready yourself, prepare your heart to hear. So ready was I to hear those difficult details that it almost came as a shock when some of the first words out of Elizabeth’s mouth were “I don’t feel pity for myself.”
“I don’t feel pity for myself.”
Kidnapped from her home at the age of fourteen, held captive and abused for nine months and this woman serenely bore to us a testimony that never once resonated with self-pity or regret.
She spoke with such a consistent benevolence. Her speech was calm, uplifting. With no notes to guide her, she was truly sharing her story with us.
Towards the end of her presentation, Elizabeth recalled what she drew from in her darkest moments.
It was advice from her mother.
She recalled thinking “What would my mother say? What advice would my mother give me?”
This moment perhaps resonated with me most as I reflected upon my own relationship with my three children.
What words have I poured into them over the years that they may one day look back on?
In vast contrast to this moment, I began to think about a meeting I had had earlier in the week with a man from Brazil named Elvis Candido Lima. An owner of two Brazilian based marketing firms, Elvis came to our country to learn more from various marketing and advertising practices. (And yes…he really is named for the “King” of Rock and Roll)
The energy this man exudes is contagious; I felt like I had known him for years after only having met with him for fifteen minutes.
Paixão. It’s the Brazilian word for “passion” and within the marketing materials Elvis provided to us from his own company entitled “Life’s Passions” there is a sentence in Portuguese that when translated to English reads, “Life’s PASSIONS is a sample of the universes we experience every day.”
Passion and the raw talk of creating universes in the context of corporate marketing materials.
But that’s how Elvis tells the story of what he does and what he continues to do for his customers.
The best stories are the ones told authentically. There is a stark contrast between the sstorytelling styles of Elvis and Elizabeth, but both of them are moving forward, keenly aware of their own sense of strength and purpose.
When you tell a story or deliver a message…yes. You can have notes and practices for weeks. But in the end, it’s how you tell your story. If you are speaking from your own heart, from your own sense of Paixão, then the truth within your words will always resonate.
A mother’s advice held within the heart of a girl kept captive…a man’s personal belief in seeking out the passions and talents of others…these are the building blocks of personal strength and in sharing what we know to be true for ourselves, can often help reveal the strength another person is trying to realize for themselves.
I am grateful for the stories of both of these individuals and I intend to allow what I have gained resonate within me as I build my own sense of strength and purpose.