The women behind the man: he tells it like it is
By Elaine Elias, Nature’s Nurture
Bill Kirby, an energetic man in his mid-forties, optimistically holds the better picture in mind. He ran for city council, volunteered at the YMCA on two committees, then sat on an advisory group for the city of Cambridge, all the time drawing on his ambition and natural leadership traits.
He’s a man seen living his beliefs, his concern for the environment evident by bicycling throughout the city to meetings and activities, rather than by driving.
Bill’s life-long values originated with his mother, Carole, and paternal grandmother, Thelma. His mother endured mental health issues but still taught her seven-year-old son how to re-invent himself when his parents divorced. Through domestic employment, she used that conduit to illustrate the integrity of honouring responsibilities and commitments. Her strong verbal support guided him through his formative, young-adult years encouraging him to make good personal choices and to understand that family was in his corner. “You only need to ask,” he often heard, recognizing the statement’s underlying blessings. Ninety-six-year-old Thelma had exemplified the merit of relationships through the stability and continuity of her supportive, long-term marriage – her successful life partnership.
By Grade 11, Bill was being bullied and beaten, due to his small stature and English background, while living in the town of Hudson, Quebec. His French language teacher, Joanne, suggested he read Norman V. Peale’s, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” to help him surmount gripping fears of verbal book reports. She told the teenager to apply humour which would encourage people to laugh with him, not at him. Both the book and teacher proved to be defining moments, changing his poor self-worth, shyness and insecurity into credibility and safety in the spotlight. With a new outgoing manner and a skill to connect with others, he matured, along with a clearer validation of “who he was.”
Jill entered his life in high school and they formed a life-long friendship. By getting him to understand that “others wanted to listen to him” Bill soon realized “he would be safe depending on them.” He grasped the art of telling it like it was. “Listen to advice and if good, then take it” still resounds in his mind from Jill. Her help in vetting his relationship difficulties also prevented potential mistakes.
Bill’s sister, Tina, married a man who championed her business wit. As a team they developed opportunities, their first being a hairdressing salon for Tina. She applied strong marketing and decision-making skills to that, then rolled those qualities into four additional winning joint ventures. Their fifth and current enterprise is an auto wrecking/scrap yard lot. Bill has long admired her strategies and borrowed some for his own use.
An ex-wife illustrated the importance of conflict resolution and to look deeper into whom other people are. Bill discovered with relationships that “to make a snap decision is not a good thing.”
Today, Nancy is Bill’s partner. Pride tinges his voice when describing her beauty and brilliance. She is an event co-ordinator for Cambridge and might seek her Doctorate in Political Science. However, if she doesn’t, maybe they’ll develop a life coaching business for those unable to uncover personal transitional and lifestyle dynamics. Nancy will promote its educational and technical aspects and together they anticipate happy challenges and enjoyment. As a pair of risk-takers and adventurers, Bill expects “she will support his hopes just as much as he supports hers” and knows his betterment is her goal for his future. “We are greater as a couple than each would be as individuals,” he voiced, suggesting that “their parallel lives complement each other.” Nancy is the one who encouraged his involvement with community and recent entry into the municipal election. Bill has always searched for “true balance” and realizes his fortune in having found it.
Bill’s lessons have multiplied, coming from these women who have framed his opportunities to pay-it-forward. He accepts when “we’re told we’re good at something, listen to that advice. Believe in yourself, otherwise we become our own harshest critics.” He knows that “when a woman understands her passion and follows it, a man supporting her wholeheartedly will let her grow.” Bill highlights the positive in people, commending them by saying, “Don’t ever be afraid to let that quality show.” With eyes twinkling, his new self-statement has evolved. “I’m no longer shy. Now I tell it like it is!”