This morning, Peter Guber, in The Harvard Business Review, reminds us of the power of story telling in Using Stories to Overcome Fear. Do you want to hear a beautiful story, that will inspire you to become fearless?
Listen to Arianna Huffington at Women@Google, interviewed by a very blossoming Sheryl Sandberg, then in a very advanced stage of pregnancy.
“I left Greece when I was 18 to go to Cambridge where I studied Economics. I saw a magazine article about Cambridge when I lived in Athens in a one-room appartment with my mom, divorced from my father, with no formal education. I looked at that picture and I said “I want to go to Cambridge.” Everybody said you’re insane. My mother said “Let’s see how we can do it.” And that is the mother that I had. She was this extraordinary human beeing who believed that you should never let your fears stop you from attempting to fulfill your dreams. If you failed, that didn’t matter. If I failed along the way, she wouldn’t love me any less. And so that kind of unconditional loving is the foundation of my life.”
Isn’t it a beautiful story of mother and daughter, of their unconditional love, of mentor and empowerment?
All the ingredients of a fairy tale are there, just like in Ursula Burns’s story
The initial situation the little girl in a one-room appartment in Athens, with her divorced mother (who had tuberculosis…)
The obstacles: gender, class, culture, language, finances
The values of a pure heart: Hard work, perseverance, unconditional love
The Fairy God Mother: her own mother, Elli Stassinopoulos.
The Education of the Hero : Arianna Huffington graduated in economics from Girton College, Cambridge University. She became the president of the Cambridge debate team.
The First Trials : she failed many times, but she remembers, during an interview by Moira Forbes, her biggest failure.It was when her second book was refused 36 times and she was running out of money. “The only way to make sure you never succeed is to stay in your comfort zone and never fail. The difference between success and failure is perseverance.”
The Magical Potion: she is fearless! Nothing can stop her, she never gives up! (another magical potion element is sleep too…)
The Helpful “Animals”: that’s what she calls the supportive people that the “universe” sent her. (like the Barclay’s bank manager in London who gave her an overdraft)
The Happy Ending : Arianna Huffington has become today the most powerful woman in media history.
The power of a story is that it gives each of us the permission to dream and the keys to make that dream come true. It engages us and transports us, mind, body & soul all together. Stories plug directly into our unconscious and our emotions and are resonating individually for each of us, in a unique manner.
That’s why they are almost “magical”… and certainly a major skill any global leader should develop.
Today I intended to write a post about Arianna Huffington, in my series about 12 Women Leaders, to illustrate the Networker/Monitor dilemna.
As I researched the web for some articles and videos, I quickly understood that Arianna Huffington was making the headlines with the merger with AOL.
“I guess that makes this AOL’s — and HuffPost’s — Sputnik Moment!” Arianna Huffington, February 7th 2011 at The Huffington Post
I can’t wait to write the next post developing The Networker Style of Leadership, characterized by social interactions, networking and hedonism, in opposition with The Monitor, focused on hard work, self-discipline and perseverance. Arianna Huffington definitely masters the art of juggling with paradox and dilemna!
A very timely illustration to what Umair Haque calls The Age of Dilemna…
But this is another story!
Which stories are helping you overcome fear and become “fearless” in Love, Work and Life?
If you want to read another inspiring story, here’s Ursula Burns ‘s Fairy Tale Story in The Corporate World.
Big Mama Marion will come back with some other stories very soon!