What Barbra Streisand’s Song Teaches Us About Connection
“People.” We all know the song from the show Funny Girl and the way Barbra Streisand delivers that final stanza. I can close my eyes and hear the elegance of the phrasing – “pe-0-ple who need people are the LUCK-i-est people in the world”. Goosebumps? Always.
It was years before I really understood why needing others makes us lucky. Growing up, I took for granted that family would be there for me. As a child, that’s all I required.
But gradually, as I grew older, I realized that family couldn’t give or sustain friendships. And that I would want and need those friendships to enrich, support, and broaden my world.
Even later, I learned that finding and keeping work necessitated engaging in relationships that are reciprocal. And that having mentors and supportive colleagues is indeed lucky. Without them, I would be navigating all my challenges alone.
Fast Forward to Barbra Streisand Today
For much of Barbra Streisand’s 81 years, she has purposely cloaked her personal life in privacy. In spite of her enormous success, she has largely stayed out of the public eye. So, it was a great pleasure to listen to her recent acceptance speech as the recipient of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes leaders who have distinguished themselves by assuming a leadership role, and making a meaningful change in the lives of others.
In her remarks, Barbra Streisand praised the late Justice Ginsburg for “being a beacon of light for women and girls”. Not only did Justice Ginsburg fiercely advocate for women to have legal protections equal to men, she openly talked about the difficulties she faced as a female both in her education and career.
Speaking admiringly about Justice Ginsburg’s courage, Barbra Streisand also called out experiences she and Justice Ginsburg shared:
- Both grew up in Brooklyn to poor families.
- Both were dying to see what was beyond the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Both loved music.
- Both were subjected to antisemitism.
- Both believed when it comes to ambitions, women and men should be treated equally.
- And as connectors, both believed in helping other women.
In concluding remarks, Streisand explained how she has always loved the Jewish tradition of Tikkum Olan which means to repair the world. “When we support each other, we all stand to gain. It fulfills the soul to help others.”
How We Can Build Our Own Connection Strategy
Inspired by the talent and enormous success of both Justice Ginsburg and Barbra Streisand, I have been thinking about how we can draw on their life lessons. Even if we think we can’t possibly impact the world as they have, don’t sell yourself short.
- Start small.
- Begin with the decision to find and build relationships.
- How we can make a meaningful change in the lives of others?
- Draw parallels between you and those you admire.
- Let those parallels motivate you to work through your challenges.
- Don’t be shy about applauding the good deeds of those you admire.
- Listen to what those around you need.
- If you can help, do it.
As Barbra Streisand explains:
“Doubt can motivate you, so don’t be afraid of it. Confidence and doubt are at two ends of the scale and you need both. They balance each other out.”
Do you doubt you can have impact as a connector? Or are you confident that you can build a legacy of helping others? I want to hear how you are changing lives at Ann@AnnLouden.com.
A seasoned executive in the nonprofit world, Ann Louden is the founder and CEO of Ann Louden Strategy and Consulting. Recognized for her expertise in fund raising, high profile special events, and campaign planning, Ann provides counsel to chief executives, staff, and volunteer leadership.
Ann’s primary interest areas are education, health care for women and children, the arts, and adoption. As a cancer survivor, she led and was the twelve-year spokesperson for a breast cancer advocacy initiative that engaged thousands of survivors, volunteers and medical providers. With a mantra of bringing big ideas to life, Ann focuses on identifying a compelling vision and creating a goals-oriented plan for execution.
An in-demand national speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Ann is the recipient of the Steuben Excellence in Teaching Award and has been named as a CASE Laureate. She is the author of the upcoming book: From Social Courage to Connection: Lessons from Leaders Who Change and Save Lives.
You can find her at www.AnnLouden.com.