Beth, the quietest, kindest, and most loving of sisters sits at her beloved piano looking quite sad. One of her sisters spies her and asks her what is the matter. Beth replies that the baby, from the German family she had been delivering much needed food too, was ill with scarlet fever . . .
At this point my stomach swoops, my throat begins to tighten and ache, and my tear ducts sting ever so slightly.
. . . Jo, one of Beth's sister's, has to return home quickly from New York City, to see Beth one last time. You see, Beth is dying. Jo helps to care for Beth in her last days. One evening Jo is reading Beth a story when a chill wind blows in from the open window. Jo gets up and shuts the window, only to turn around, knowing that her favourite sister is gone from this world. Beth lays on her bed with peace and serenity . . .
It is at this point that I am curled into a ball on my lounge, a tissue permanently fixed to my nose, tears dripping down my cheeks, my bottom lip quivering, my heart thumping so loud I almost struggle to hear the rest of the story. I am heartbroken. I love Beth, and now Beth is gone.
But of course, Beth is a fictional character in a story called "Little Women," and I am talking about the scene in the 1994 film version where Beth (played by an excellent Claire Danes) dies so quietly with her sister by her side. It is so sad and even though I have seen the movie a thousand times, this scene still kicks me in the guts - HARD!!
The point I am trying to illustrate, however, is that emotion is King (and Queen and Prince and Princess), emotion gives us authenticity, emotion gives us connection, emotions gives us life, and emotion encourages loyalty. Why am I quacking on about emotion you might ask? Does networking mean anything to you?
Okay, okay, I will explain myself - I attended a meeting of the PSA (Professional Speakers Association) on Saturday morning, where I network and learn about my biz. We had two fantastic speakers speak to us, and their (unintended) theme thread was . . . (drum roll please) . . . EMOTIONAL CONNECTION.
You see, we need that emotional connection, whether with speaking, writing, managing, playing sport, playing a musical instrument, talking with your family/friends . . . without that emotional connection, empathy, kindness, authenticity, and love, breaks down. For the first speaker - Felix A. Schweikert - it was about the emotional generosity that sparks a business sale. Build emotional/authentic content, build that relationship, and the client is yours. For the second speaker - Lee Jackson - it was about the visual emotional connection. "We live in a visual generation," Lee is right, we do live in such an emotively visual world that to make our messages stick we have to use sticky (er, emotional) visuals.
I have built my own story around the emotions of hope, determination, joy, happiness, and belief - and it is these emotions that I wish to pass onto those that come behind me . . . What is your story? What is your emotional connection through story? How can you use it to benefit your studies? Work? Sport?
Now to finish on a happier note (no more of the sad emotion evoked above) -
Elizabeth was halfway through her race and knew that she was in a good position in the race. Her arms were aching though, her legs losing their strength - but focusing on technique, Elizabeth pushed through, believing that she would make it to the end, body and mind intact. The last lap. Pushing off the wall Elizabeth let her heart soar! She felt herself lift, floating high in the water, allowing her body to cruise through the final seconds of the race. Touching the wall she looked to her left, no-one else had touched the wall yet - her heart hammered in her chest not just from physical exertion. Turning to her right she saw the beaming face of Stephanie. Elizabeth had come second . . . Elizabeth had come second. Elizabeth felt the smile explode onto her reddened features; puffing, she pulled herself through the water to Steph and wrapped her arms around the other swimmer. "Can you believe it!" Elizabeth shouted. No she couldn't, Elizabeth had achieved more then she had ever expected to, Elizabeth was on top of her own little world, and no-one could knock her from it!
Unlike "Little Women" this is a true story . . . part of my story . . . and I still get the tingles of excitement and euphoria when I think about it.
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright