4 Things I Learned from Queen Esther About Being a Woman of Influence

4 Things I Learned from Queen Esther About Being a Woman of Influence

Today, all over the world, is the Jewish holiday of Purim.

As you know, Alexis and I love being inspired by amazing, successful women, who are moving ahead by nurturing themselves. Today I was prompted to write about the star of the Purim story, Queen Esther. In this post, I’ll share 4 things I learned from Queen Esther, about being an influential woman.

In the story of Purim, our heroes, Mordechai & Queen Esther, save the Jewish people from Hamon’s evil plan to annihilate all the Jewish people. In the story, the King’s new queen, Esther, who is also Mordechai’s niece and ward, plays a crucial role in changing the King’s mind. She manages to have the decree that Haman had convinced King Achashverosh to agree to, reversed. Ultimately, instead, killing Haman.

In the bible, there are not many women described overtly, as public figures, the ones to take the initiative, or to do something so impactful. So I delved deeper. Here are the 3 most profound things that Queen Esther’s story taught me.

Courage

Courage:

Courage is about facing our fear and taking action in spite of it. It is about taking our life into our own hands, making decisions, sometimes tough decisions, and acting on them.

Queen Esther showed her courage when she risked the wrath of King Achashverosh, to speak with him and beg him to spare the lives of her people.

We see Esther’s courage, not only in taking action but also in how she goes about taking this action. Whilst it is Mordechai, Esther’s uncle and guardian, who discovers Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, and he who comes to Esther, asking for her help, to beg the king to save her people. So someone whom Esther strongly respects and would likely do anything to help. What Mordechai doesn’t do, is tell her how to do this.

It is Esther who has the courage to take time, to pray, to focus and to plan. She prays and fasts for three days, to clear her mind. She strategically and patiently plans two feasts before making her request to the king. Demonstrating her patience and forethought as well. Finally, she follows through with these plans, holding the feasts and then pleading with King Achashverosh to save the Jews. Truly showing her courage.

My takeaway is that Courage breeds Courage. Just like a muscle, the more we practice acting with courage, the more we will be able to act with courage. I believe that the magic in life comes when we step out of our comfort zone. Almost anything in life that is really worthwhile is outside of our comfort zone. Becoming the best version of ourselves means stretching ourselves, which only happens when we step outside of our comfort zone.

Stepping outside of our comfort zone takes courage.

Initiative:

Initiative is all about personal responsibility and more importantly, our ability to respond.

We see Esther’s courage throughout the story. In taking time to pray, to plan and to act. It takes the whole process to get the results and free her people, the Jewish people, but without her initiative in taking those actions steps, she would not have achieved what she set out to do. Without Esther’s initiative and her ability to respond and take action, the story of Purim may have had a very different outcome.

My personal takeaway is that planning is the first step and planning is imperative, but planning without the follow-through of action doesn’t get us anywhere. Without action and our personal ability to take it, initiative, our best, most well thought out plans cannot bear fruit, won’t give us the results we’re looking for. Actions, no matter how small they might feel, are what takes us towards our desired outcomes in life. Focusing on action, even small action steps, are our key to being able to respond in life and get to where we want to go.

Women Initiative

Values-Based Actions:

Values-based actions bring courage, patience and planning, together with initiative, taking action and self-responsibility.

Esther’s actions were driven by her love and respect for her uncle as well as her people. When Mordechai comes to her, requesting that she go to the King and beg him to spare the lives of the Jews, she is scared, even terrified. She knows she risks her life just to approach the King, without being summoned by him. Still, she seems to need more than a gentle pointer from Mordechai, for the implications for her own life, as a Jew, sink in. Ultimately though, the decision is her’s to make, and she chooses to allow her actions to be driven by her values.

My personal takeaway is that the more true to our values, our actions are, the more powerful and laser-focused they become. Similarly, I have found, the less often I follow actions that really don’t sit well with me, or get tempted by them and spend time making decisions around them the less energy I lose. Actions are either in alignment with us, what we believe is important and who we believe we are, or they are not. When we try to act in a way that is not in alignment with our values, it drains our energy.

When we are true to ourselves, we let our unique, authentic selves shine. we are stronger, more vibrant and filled with more energy.

Nurturing Yourself to reach Clarity of Mind, Personal Strength and Courage

At the time that her uncle, Mordechai charged Esther with the task of saving her people, she was forbidden to speak with the King. The only way to speak with the King was to be personally invited. To build her courage and her plan, to woo the King’s attention and affection, Esther spent 3 full days praying and fasting. This helped build her strength of belief in G-d and herself, boost and focus her energy and attention to resolve the situation peacefully and respectfully, and give her the courage to follow through.

My personal takeaway is that so-called “selfish acts”, of taking time out to look after our bodies and minds, through prayer, meditation, preparing and eating good, clean foods and other activities that nurture and strengthen our bodies, are actually essential to us having the body, the results and the life, we ultimately want.

Nurture Yourself

I learned so much from Queen Esther, about supporting and positively influencing those around me, by nurturing myself. Remembering that I am the Queen of Me, and my best self will come out, with clarity, focus and strength, the better I nurture and look after myself.

Wishing you a happy Purim!

And an amazing year of personal strength and courage, to take your most impactful small action steps.

What would you do if you could clear your mind enough and boost your courage enough? Start own business or side-hustle? Leave your current job? Begin a new relationship? Begin a healthy body / healthy life habit or program?

Please comment below, we’d love to hear from you! 

Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Menopause – I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

I don’t know who I am anymore… is this the way it is now?

Perimenopause, Menopause and Post-menopause

10 tips to a comfortable menopause journey

So, we know that menopause is a process that happens to all women at some
point. Many of us assume that the common symptoms of perimenopause
including hot flushes, irritability and discomfort are a “normal” and
inescapable part of the process. You may be surprised to know that this is not
the case! As with puberty, while our bodies change, it is not a life sentence.
It can just be a transition. It is true that many women suffer horribly. It is
also true, that with a diet and lifestyle that supports our hormones to balance,
including cortisol and DHEA as well as the more widely known oestrogen and
progesterone, we can transition through this period of life, comfortably! Life
after menopause can be lively, exciting and something to look forward to. A
stage of life blessed with increased wisdom and being comfortable in your own
skin. Travelling through your Golden years with ease and grace.

Symptoms

These tend to vary
from person to person and some women hardly notice any. An incomplete list
includes:

  • Hot flushes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Worse PMS
  • Lower Sex drive
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Discomfort during sex (due to dryness)
  • Urine leakage when coughing or sneezing
  • Urinary urgency
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Trouble Sleeping

Perimenopause is the transitional stage between regular monthly periods and reaching menopause (defined as the point in time when a woman has had 12 months since her last period). The stage after this is classified as post-menopause.

Pre-menopause is the stage of life between puberty and menopause. A stage where hormones tend not to fluctuate much, a woman tends not to suffer any symptoms associated with menopause and she is in her reproductive years.

Perimenopause begins when the oestrogen produced in the ovaries starts to
reduce. Often resulting in several years of irregular periods due to the more
sporadic release of oestrogen and progesterone (as well as cortisol and DHEA).
Sometimes the hormonal fluctuations as so large or out of balance that we may
experience symptoms such as depression, moodiness and irritability, weight
gain, discomfort, reduced memory and concentration, muscle aches, as sense of
being uncomfortable in our own skin, hot flushes, hair loss, breast tenderness,
reduced libido and sexual pleasure and vaginal dryness, to name a few. This
stage may begin sometime between the ages of 35 and 50 years and can last from
as little as a few months, to as long as 15 years with the average, being
around 4 years. In the final stage, oestrogen levels may decline sharply. Symptoms
may be most pronounced at this time, expanding to include things like urinary urgency
and frequency or even incontinence; depression and anxiety as well as night
sweats, fatigue and skin dryness.

Menopause occurs when there is no longer enough oestrogen produced by the ovaries to trigger the uterine lining to build, the release of an egg or the shedding of the uterine lining. This is the point where fertility ceases. Contrary to what some of us thought, during the perimenopausal stage, conception is still possible.

Treatments:

Medications:

Doctors can prescribe

  • Oestrogen creams for vaginal dryness, pain and discomfort
  •  Progesterone creams for breast tenderness
  •  The pill or other hormone replacement therapies to try to minimise symptoms
  •  Creams or tablets to reduce bladder irritability

Look into the options and side effects for yourself before you decide

10 Natural Tips for a Comfortable Menopause Journey
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking
  • Get more rest/sleep
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Be in a healthy weight range
  • Ensure you don’t have a vitamin or mineral deficiency (magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega 3, evening primrose oil [internal or topical])
  • Reduce foods that have the potential to alter hormone balance in the body => Processed, hydrogenated and trans-fats; Highly refined carbohydrates (especially sugars); Caffeine; Alcohol
  • Pelvic floor exercises to support the pelvic area and the bladder (as incontinence is a symptom of hormonal imbalance associated with perimenopause)
  • Using natural oils (jojoba, coconut, olive) as lubricants down there as a lubricant during sex, or during the day to allow more comfort
  • Add an anti-inflammatory, alkalising, plant rich diet

Always consult your doctor if you have strong pain, very heavy bleeding or bleeding for more than 7 days longer than your usual period