Beyond Human Stories is the company founded by Genevieve Boast, helping people to re-write their stories. I met Gen in September we scheduled a one-hour meeting – that lasted for nearly three! Her energy, aura and positivity are contagious as well as her vibrant personality. Are you ready to meet this wonderful woman?
RTC: I like to start my interviews to women with the same question, who is Genevieve?
Genevieve: I am a multitude of dimensions.
On a certain level I am a step-mother, a partner, and an adventurer. I am also the founder of a business: I travel all around the world, working with people through facilitation, coaching and narrative. On another level I am student, a seeker, a child constantly in awe of the beauty of this world – she looks around, with her blue eyes – I cannot believe I am going to say this, as it may sound a bit corny, but deep down I think I am ‘Love’.
Love for myself, for the people around me, whether they are my family, my friends or my clients. I love the stories and interconnections on our planet: as human beings we are not so different from each other and we are united by this invisible thread. She takes a big breath – Deep underneath everything, I am Love.
RTC: Why is your Company named ‘Beyond Human Stories’ and when exactly did you realise you wanted to go beyond someone’s story?
G: I think my entire life has been a process of constant movement through stories. I had a good corporate job and I was very successful but to be honest I was miserable, unfulfilled and unhealthy.
I asked myself what kind of career I wanted to pursue, tried to change roles, but still, there was something missing.
Back in 2010 I realised I had to try something completely different and to took the risk to jump out of my comfort zone. I needed to use my gifts to serve the world. The initial process was intense, indeed I needed to think and I took some time off for myself, going into the wilderness.
I spent eleven days in the nature with no technology, in order for me not to be distracted.
When I was immersed in nature, alone, I had an epiphany: I woke up in the middle of the night with the words ‘beyond human stories’ where in my head.
I wasn’t very certain about the name and whether it could work for my business. I often ‘argue’ with the universe when it gives me answers that I’m not sure about. In the end, I decided to try and I changed the name of my business. Suddenly clients just started coming in. I received requests from many different fields, such as education, charities social entrepreneurs and businesses from all over the world. People tend to get in touch with me when they feel the ‘old stories’ are no longer working and they want to create new ones.
RTC: Who is your typical client?
G: 50 % of my clients are from the business world – I am usually recommended by word of mouth or from someone I have worked with in the past. The other 30% are mostly clients from graduate education, such as MBA students. I help them to go beyond the stories given to them in the textbooks, teaching them to be the leaders of tomorrow: resilient, excited and innovative. The last 20% is composed by the wild ones – she giggles – this is where my own indigenous heritage comes in.
I still recall the first time I met her during a warm late summer afternoon, when she revealed about her ancestors, I was literally fascinated.
I take my clients for retreats to exotic places in the world, such as Egypt, Peru and North America where I collaborate with teachers, healers and indigenous communities. During their experience, the participants can transcend their own stories. It’s a completely different experience when you live the reality of the place you visit, not just as a tourist, but as living breathing part of it’s story. It takes people out of their comfort zones and challenges them to step into a wider, bigger narrative in their lives.
RTC: Can you tell me a little bit about the book you are writing?
G: My purpose in writing a book is to make my work more widely available available to people. It will be ready in the next couple of months – I am too curious about the title and I blatantly ask her.
Like for the name of my business, I have ‘received’ the name, but this time I didn’t question it.
The name of the book is “Tough Bliss’: the description of what it feels like to live a story of interconnection. Bliss because we realise how connected we are and how alike we are to other people and to the earth. The toughness represents all the stuff that gets in the way: our fears, our anger, our insecurities. I have observed that all my new experiences were initially tough but then became blissful as I saw the lesson and blessing held within every challenge of life. The book is based on my own evolving human story disseminated into six stages of a narrative cycle: the same process that I have been using with my clients for the last 5 years – I can’t wait to have a copy of the book, and perhaps interviewing her when the book is published.
RTC: What advice would you give to women who would like to start their own business?
G: The first thing they should know is that ‘there is never a good time’! – She laughs and it’s really contagious – so many of us tell ourselves we will start ‘tomorrow’. Nowadays, more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs and their roles and identities are changing. We are moving beyond the traditional feminism and into the new story of the female leader. Women now don’t need to be super mums, super wives and super managers simultaneously, although many manage to balance these roles and more. We can start to become entrepreneurial in all aspects of our lives and choose why, how and when we give our time, energy and expertise to things.
RTC: You often talk about gifts and dreams, how do you respond to those who say that there is nothing tangible in a dream?
G: So I am not an expert of quantum physics, but having read enough in this field, evidence is now pretty strong showing us that we live in a quantum soup of energy that respond to our intentions. Essentially, what we believe in, interacts with the world at a quantum level and creates experiences that we ‘expect’ to have in life. Talking about business, if you have a vision, even if there are challenges, failures, rocks to climb, you can reach your goal if you hold fast to your dream and keep taking tangible action in its direction. There is nothing intangible in a dream. The only difference between a successful entrepreneur and a dreamer is that the former takes action again again and again until they achieve their goals.
Genevieve stroked me with her confidence and strength. When we talked few months ago about children, I was surprised when she genuinely admitted she did not want to have any. I evaluate if I should ask her about it. I give it a try.
RTC: The society often implies that if those women who choose not to have children are incomplete, what do you think about it?
G: To some extent I have ‘given birth to so many babies’ in my life. Just because they are not in a human form, doesn’t mean they are not like kids. For example my business is like a child I have created it, I have took care of it and nourished it. With regards to children, if I should ever change my mind on this matter, I would adopt or foster.
RTC: Who’s the person who inspired you the most?
G: Probably everyone you interview gives the same answer, but I would say that my mother was the most inspirational person I ever met. We moved from the US to the UK when I was little and it was very difficult to me to adapt to the new culture and social system. Rather than force me into it, my mother was very understanding and whenever I needed a break she let me have it. When I needed encouragement she gave it to me, she respected my timing. Thanks to her I have learnt so much about strength, respect and gentleness. She made sure I would keep my inner child alive as an adult, and for this I will be always be grateful.
RTC: To conclude, I always ask to the incredible women I interview, what advice would you give to the 20 year old Gen?
G: I would tell myself to never give up. At 20 years old it’s ok to feel angry and to feel frustrated, as long as you constantly move beyond that into new opportunities and stories. I would also say that, every single choice you make, it will impact your future so choose carefully!
We have just enough time to take some photos inside the British Library and to say goodbye. The more I interview women the more I acknowledge my privilege to be touched and inspired by them as I was today by Gen.