To be authentic you need to understand your values and live by them.
I love this word, poise. It is usually defined as dignity, ease of manner, composure and calm, but it makes me think of other words like grace, peace, compassion, wisdom, purpose and authenticity. Many poised women I have been fortunate to meet have a gift for moving through life with a certain grace and compassion, for letting go of anger, ignoring pettiness
and living graciously and with faith.
Poise is certainly a final ingredient for creating change and illuminating the lives of others.
Poise is Wisdom
Poise reflects wisdom, an acceptance that things don’t happen overnight and that there are certain things we cannot transform. The knowledge that life isn’t always fair and it’s nobody’s fault. Poise is an understanding that putting one foot in front of the other is part of the power we have as human beings, as women. Realizing that we do our part to make a difference in the world through patience, commitment and endurance. Knowing that putting our wisdom to use is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others and ourselves.
I’ve marveled at women I have known who demonstrate poise by taking responsibility for the direction of their own lives through their strength and perseverance. They understand their challenges and focus their lives toward their goals, no matter the barriers. They are anchored to what is true for them. They have evolved beyond the obstacles of the everyday, have become present with their own passions and purpose, and have acted on them for a better future.
Are you choosing to respond to the world with compassion and giving? Are you choosing to use your resources of patience, tenacity, wisdom and caring to realize your gifts? Are you living with poise?
Poise is Understanding
I am a member of a speakers’ website. Through it I can promote myself as a speaker and author, and offer my services to anyone who may want to hire a motivational speaker for a female audience for an event or meeting. This website offers the public a link to contact the speakers for more information.
I hadn’t accessed the site for a long time when one day I had some time and thought I would browse it again. I realized I had never checked the messages page. And there it was, a two-year-old email from a man by the name of Roger, asking if I was the same Linda Rendleman who went to elementary school in Morrison, Illinois, in 1957.
The answer was a definite yes. But I did not remember Roger. My curiosity piqued, I emailed back, never really expecting that Roger would even still be available at that address. After a short wait, he responded.
Roger was trying to find me because his parents had passed away and as he was clearing out their home, he found a black and white picture he had taken of me, little eight-year-old Linda Rendleman, standing on the sidewalk in the middle of winter in 1957. He said he would send the picture to me.
When I received that picture I had never seen before of this little girl, I cried. Was I crying for the little girl who is no longer? Was I crying for the little girl who looked so sad, standing on that sidewalk in the gray of winter dressed in the dark red poodle coat with a headscarf tied neatly under her chin? She was not smiling. Her eyes looked sad and pierced through me. I wanted to know her better. I wondered where she went. I didn’t feel like I knew that little girl any longer because through my fears, my many moves as a child, my attendance at fifteen schools in the span of fourteen years, I had hidden her away. She couldn’t be sad or scared. She had to be strong, to be tough. To belong. To be accepted. And so she held back the fearful, sensitive little girl inside of her and came out as a self-sufficient, “I can do anything” woman-warrior.
And since that picture came my way, I have had a greater understanding of that person inside of me, the one who as a child looked at the world with wonder, striving to find her place and be a part; that girl who was sensitive, who loved to be loved and wanted to be a give to the world in a special way; the girl, then the yearning young woman, then the grown woman who seeks wisdom each and every day.
The complexities of my life experiences have affected how I have chosen to respond to what comes my way. I have gained wisdom. I have become authentic. And I pray I am growing into the woman who reflects poise.
How do you acquire poise, you ask? How do you find your authentic self? Perhaps you already have, but here are some of my ideas.
Poise comes when we recognize lessons from our experiences and understand the importance of acceptance and growth from them.
Poise comes from a certain peaceful core you develop out of your experiential knowledge and intentions for understanding meaning and challenge in this world. Many cultures revere the aged for the knowledge they can impart from their experiences. This is a beautiful way to understand and embrace the process of aging, to be sure.
Poise can be developed at any age. And your own brand of poise can change over the years when you integrate the struggles and experiences, celebrations and joys you’ve had along the way. It’s a committed, inner knowing that the duty of women—including women like us—is to stand up to the world, graciously continuing with our message of connectivity and support of mankind and keeping alive our determination to enrich our lives as well as the lives of others.
Poise is Being Authentic
If you want to carry yourself with poise you must understand who you are. Who you really are. Take a look at your accomplishments when you were a child. What experiences did you have, what goals did you achieve that are part of who you are today? What values are important to you? To be authentic you need to understand your values and live by them.
There’s a simple exercise you can do to get clear. Here’s how it goes. Make a long list using single words to signify all the things that are important to you. Use words like honesty, trustworthiness, partnership, creativity, and excellence. Try to come up with at least twenty-five of them. Then pick the top three. Only three. Once you’ve selected the top three, write a mission statement that includes them. For example, I selected self-expression, love and zest. My mission statement goes like this: My purpose is to give myself the freedom to creatively express myself, spread love to all I come in contact with, and demonstrate an enthusiasm in all that I do.
Now do it again. Pick the next three values and create another mission statement. Then one more time. What you’ll learn is what really matters to you. And when you understand what your values truly are, you are on your way to living your own authentic life. The only thing left is to remind yourself of your values each and every day, as you commit yourself to staying on track.
When you were working on the exercises and claiming your true values, you were working on your own brand of poise, on creating and being true to your authentic self.
And Finally, Poise is Love
Love of others, love of mankind, love and compassion for the world, and love of self are all ways of manifesting your brand of poise in your day-to-day life.
Women of poise don’t necessarily have all the answers nor do they have their lives in perfect balance. But they do know how to live with the uncertainties of life, and recognize the importance of being clear on the direction of their work.
I found this quote by Diane Ackerman years ago and it has become the theme and mission I live by:
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” My wish is that your life will be blessed with deep richness, sharing love for others. I wish for you the wisdom, understanding and authentic love that create true poise.