What’s Your Story? How Personal Narrative Affects Leadership What’s Your Story? How Personal Narrative Affects Leadership “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.” Colleen Minkewicz Colleen is a college student at SUNY New Paltz graduating in Spring 2017 majoring in English and Creative Writing. She aspires to become an editor/work in publishing in the future.