“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller
Gail Larsen, in her excellent book Transformational Speaking, implores us that if we wish to inspire people, we must tell a better story than the ones we told before. Her book shows us how to make our speeches more moving, inspiring, and effective by speaking from the heart. In essence, if you are not moved by what you say, others will not be moved either.
Virtue Is Its Own Reward
One story that came to mind as I read Transformational Speaking, was when my mother passed away, three years ago in May.
She was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation clinics a lot at the end. It was a stressful time for both my mother and I. She often said, “My get up and go, got up and went.”
Yet, even in the midst of this hurricane, there were also peaceful moments when we could chat while sharing lunch or when putting a jigsaw puzzle together. I admired how she responded to the difficulties with a kind nature.
However, my blood boiled when health care “professionals” treated her like an object rather than as a person. Even when people acted as though she were invisible, or worse, as though she was not “all there,” my mother never wavered in being thoughtful and accommodating.
One humorous incident that occurred in my mother’s hospital room. My mom was in her hospital bed and a lady walked into the room and stared intently into my mother’s eyes.
“Lois, how are you feeling? Why haven’t you called? We have all been worried sick about you.”
My mother and I both looked at her with blank expressions on our faces.
“Don’t you recognize me, It’s Bernice.”
“I don’t think I know you,” said Mom.
Bernice looked at me and said, “Tell her who I am.”
“I’ve never seen you before.”
Then, this perplexed (and perplexing) woman suddenly walked back out of the room.
“Quick, lock the door. She might come back,” Mom said.
Though most of her other body parts were worn out, Mom’s funny bone was still working like new.
I watched my mother’s courageous example of how to deal with:
1) the physical tribulation of her body wearing out; and
2) the mental antagonism from people who treated her like a “has been.”
I took note as she refused to let life’s indignations tarnish her heart. Instead, she just smiled, joked, and kept on doing the best she could.
When the time comes after “my get up and go got up and went,” I will follow her lead.
Like Abraham Lincoln said,
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”
April 9, 2016. “Storytelling and The Hero’s Journey.” Competitive Edge Toastmasters. Tucson, Arizona.
April 14, 2016, 12:30 to 1:30. “Use Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds & Funny Bones, Like Abraham LIncoln Did.” Moon Valley Women’s Club, Phoenix, Arizona.