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Career Insights for Women in Business

Power of Legacy

Grandmother mother and granddaughter bike ridingBuild something that outlives you. ~Alexander Rose

It’s a day I won’t soon forget. This time of year is always bittersweet. It marks a time of new beginnings and it also marks the time of year when I remember her most.

January 18, 2014 was the day when I gave one of the most profound talks of my life. I was so nervous my hands were shaking. I am still amazed at the strength of my voice and my ability to hold back the tears.

I can still hear her laugh, see her smile, hear her call my name. I remember the times we laughed together and when we cried together. She was such a strong, loving, and powerful woman whose influence is instrumental in me becoming the woman I am today.

It’s been three years since she died and last Wednesday was the three-year anniversary of her Celebration of Life service.

We all have life defining moments and the death of my beloved granny, Dorothy Henry, is definitely one of those for me. Dealing with life without her became my new normal and through it, I discovered a strength I never knew I possessed.

Below I share a few of the life and leadership lessons I learned from this amazing woman.

1- Practice fierce love. You may be thinking to yourself, what on earth does love have to do with leadership. The answer. EVERYTHING.

One of the things I shared with the family and friends who came to celebrate granny’s life that day, was her ability to love the seemingly unlovable. I was always amazed at her ability to do so.

At this year’s You Are Stronger Than You Think event, hosted by Kendra Tillman, one of the speakers said the following:

The heart cannot love what the mind does not know. ~Ginger Ciminello

In this time of division and disagreement on seemingly everything, as leaders we must first seek to understand those we desire to lead. How can we love or lead others when we have no clue about what matters most to them?

2- Cast a BIG vision. I love talking about vision. It’s exciting to watch something that once wasn’t actually become right before your eyes. My granny had a way of seeing things that were yet to come and she often saw it in others.

Challenge others to go beyond where they are now. Be willing to call out their greatness by using your words. Our words are one of our most effective areas of influence. How are you using your words to build and develop others?

3- Leave a lasting legacy. Are you willing to build something that’s bigger than you? Death is a great equalizer. It’s a guarantee that none of us will live this life forever. However, that doesn’t mean that the work you start has to end when you die.

My granny’s legacy continues to live on in those who she touched in deep and profound ways. How are you communicating your vision and preparing others to carry the torch for generations to come? It’s never too early to begin developing your succession plan. Who can take your place? What skills will they need? How can you best prepare them for success? These are just a few questions to help you get started.

Want more leadership development tips and ideas? Pick up a copy of my book Leading Like a Lady: How to Shatter Your Inner Glass Ceiling. You can grab a copy on amazon.com or order an autographed copy at www.leadinglikealady.com.

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