A Legacy Role Model

Not because he's made more money and achieved more fame than most people, and has a way to finance the passions that fuel his legacy; not because he has buildings and cable stations named after him …

At 72 years young, Ted Turner is a legacy role model because of his attitude

It's summed up in this statement:  “I’m still working on [my legacy],” says Turner. “I haven’t finished yet.”  Per this recent Forbes magazine article, Turner has already done a LOT of good in his business life, and he has personal causes, too. 

Rather than a bucket list of personal adventures, Turner has a list called his "11 Voluntary Initiatives" – which he keeps folded up in his wallet. Symbolically, that's a nice marriage of idealism and money – which makes for legacies with the biggest impact. We should be so lucky to have more people publically articulating and working to bring about such promises.

Compliments of his article "Real Cowboys Protect the Planet" posted at the blog NurtureNatureProject.com, here they are:

1. I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings.

2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect, and friendliness.

3. I promise to have no more than one or two children.

4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in its undisturbed state, and to restore degraded areas.

5. I promise to use as little of our nonrenewable resources as possible.

6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other poisons, and to encourage others to do the same.

7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life including clean air and water, adequate food,  health care, housing, education, and individual rights.

8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and I support the United Nations arbitration of international disputes.

9. I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and ultimately the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.

10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to improve the condition of the planet.

11. I support renewable energy and feel we should move rapidly to contain greenhouse gases.

I couldn't have written a better list to reflect my own convictions. Even with a far smaller financial portfolio, I hereby affirm that I'll do my best to fulfill all these items as well.  And I'll add one more: "I promise to do my best to develop resources and deliver services to help anyone interested in building their own sustainable legacy project that makes a positive difference in the world".  That makes it an even dozen for me … while I work on a few additional ones that are currently percolating around in my head.

I'll keep you posted.  Let me know what's on your list, or comment if you want to adopt this one, too. If you want to take me up on my #12 promise, let's have a conversation – schedule a time here!
Cheers, Dolly

Echo-Boomer Legacy Rises From The Ashes

Thanks to a great woman boomer legacy leader, Marlo Thomas, for her article on the young women who lost parents during the 09/11/01 events of 10 years ago.  The "Daughters of 9/11" she profiles and asks us to listen to are also legacy leaders

I was particularly struck by the example of Susan Esposito Lombardo, whose 51 year old father, Billy "Scoop" Esposito went to work that morning at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald. She was getting ready for school and had a phone conversation with him at around 8:20 am – the last she would ever have. At 8:46 am the World Trade Towers were hit and he never came home again.

Her father lived by a motto that his mother taught him – and he taught her: "If you have it, you give it." Though he worked in the financial services industry, his own upbringing had been meager and he valued education, which he struggled to get and made sure his own children had the opportunity to get more of. His biggest lessons to his daughter were “to be kind to everyone, love one another and believe in yourself.” And she took them to heart.
From the ashes of the tragedy that was 9/11, Lombardo and her family decided to start a charitable foundation in Scoop's honor. True heartfelt underlying values and people's personal experiences and passions always form the basis for such activities. In this case, they culminated in the formation of the only bereavement center for kids in Manhattan called "A Caring Hand."  Its mission is "to meet bereaved children and families wherever they are in their grief and fulfill their needs in a caring and knowledgeable environment through services to help them with their emotional journey and financial assistance to aid their future education."
Lombardo explains the legacy she is building, and the involvement of others who have been attracted to support it, this way: "Contributions from all of you will help my father's legacy live on and help touch so many other children that have experienced the tragedy of losing a parent as my brother and I have experienced." Indeed, "Scoop" should be proud of her efforts to help his memory live on, via the creation of a tangible on-going operation – a living, breathing, caring effort – that can likewise live on for generations.
This project so well embodies my definition of legacy beyond the typical estate planning view of who-gets-what-property-when-I-die; rather, it's "the conscious contributi­on of your authentic gifts, talents and resources that adds value in a lasting way." And that conscious contribution is very much about living fully – true success and full self-actualization by active involvement in building something that makes a positive difference and leaves the world just a little bit better than the way you found it. Or in some cases, like Lombardo's, a LOT better.
I especially love legacy stories arising from the Millenial Generation. These 'echo-boom­ers' often embody the idealism of their boomer era parents. They are undaunted and unstopped by financial concerns – perhaps because they are coming of age in a time of financial crisis (what money? what social security?) and the daunting issues of terrorism, numerous long-standing wars, climate change and environmental degredation. These Millenial legacy leaders can't be bothered to let those things stop them. Instead, they look for what's truly wanted and needed, and find a way to do something about it. In so doing, they find their own heartfelt callings – and answer the call.
They are living from the heart – and that is a form of capital stronger than any other. They will lead us all on to measure the true values in life, the tangible and countable, as well as the intangible and truly precious.  And witnessing that does my heart a lot of good.
Blessings to all on the 10th anniversary of 09/11/01.

Dealing With Your Own Dry Spells

Red Rock CanyonLegacy Journal readers, like our clients, tend to be accomplished and successful, mid-career business owners and professionals looking beyond their current work to building “what’s next.” Not for retirement, that is mostly a foreign word and applies perhaps to finances but not to life and work in the world. While financial independence – minding your business – is definitely a part of what’s next, continuing to be productive – minding your profession – is as well. Some need to get businesses or professional practices set up in a way that frees them to focus on what’s next, and some have already done that or are in the process. Others feel stuck or lost, or just can’t see what’s next after being so immersed for so long in what has made them successful to begin with.

They can see milestones – like, my kids will all be in college or out on their own in the next few years, or my investments have reached a point where I can draw some of my income from interest, dividends, lease payments and the like, and not rely on earned income alone.  But they can’t see “what’s next.”  And considering stepping away from a business or professional identity they’ve long held can be a bit immobilizing – “who will I be then?”  

Does that resonate with you?  

I’ve been there; asked similar questions. And ultimately what I learned is that “who you will be then” is all you’ve ever been (you bring it all along with you) … plus. You get to use the best parts of it all in new endeavors about which you’re really passionate.  But getting there is a process, and sometimes that process starts with simply feeling lost.

So, here are some ways to address feeling lost, confused or like you’re dealing with a real creative or productive personal “dry spell” that you don’t seem to be able to see your way out of:

1.    Accept Your Current Situation. First, maybe foremost, is to accept that’s the way things are … for now.  Having the awareness of your situation, and then fully accepting it, are the only “ways through” to do something about it.  Denial or pretending things are fine don’t even get your started – the nagging feeling that you know the truth, that you’re ready for things to change – can start to eat away at you.

Doubt is part of the process. So, go ahead and just say so: “Whether things are just fine, or not, I’m ready for a change even if I don’t know what it is yet and I’m not sure if I’m capable.” There. How does that feel? Lightning didn’t strike. Like everything else, this too shall pass.

2.    Let go.  Start by dropping or at least temporarily letting go of the things you can’t control. Tune out the mainstream media, for sure, at least for awhile.  Let go of your current expectations – for yourself, others, or the direction the world is going (or not going).

There is an old saying that ‘expectations are pre-meditated resentments.’ Meditating on them, that is, holding them in your thoughts, takes energy. When that energy is of the negative form (a resentment) you are really turning your capacity away from what you could be doing something about – what you can control, like you and your life, and the consequences of your actions. 

Clean UpMaybe there are some things you need to clean up and get complete with. Maybe there are some things you want to do for you – like take the time to work out, read, write or learn something new. These are things you can do now, and finding the time is just about letting go of things that are not yours to do.  

This is not about abandoning responsibilities, though you may have to get yourself out of a few you’ve already agreed to and are ready to let go of.  It’s also not about being self-ish; it’s about being self-directed rather than other-directed.  Only from there, can you begin to engage in things that truly excite you. Remember, whatever they are they will benefit someone else in some way, too – so you can still be responsible to others.  But benefitting others without also benefitting yourself is choosing to play win/lose, and agreeing in advance to be the loser.

3.     Re-charge yourself. Recognize the ebb and flow of nature.  Like waves and tides, our creative and productive energies sometimes wax and wane. We can’t be at our peak all the time. To be our most effective, we may need to challenge ourselves with big meaningful goals. But that doesn’t mean we have to pursue them 24/7/365.  In fact, we can’t.  There needs to be a balance of self-care time for rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, fun, laughter, and enjoyment.  So when you don’t know what else to do, choose something that fits in one of those self-care categories and re-charge yourself.

4.    Focus on your spiritual nature.  When you’re ready to take some action, but are still not sure what’s next, focus on the spirit that moves you, whatever form that takes. Connect with what is meaningful for you. Visit environments you find soothing and inspiring, where you can breathe deeply and fully.  Engage in prayer and meditation. Spend some time simply engaged in the wonder of it all. (Here’s a poem by Mary Oliver to help you remember this). Ask for help from the powers greater than yourself you most resonate and connect with, by whatever name you call them. See what comes up for you when you do, and what shows up serendipitously in your world as a result of your requests. Keep track of this information in an idea journal.   

5.    Create rituals that comfort you.  Often when you are in that “space in between” – where you know you don’t want to stay where you are but have yet to devise a plan for where you are going next – it is most helpful to just relax, take one day at a time, and do things that you know are good for you and that you’ll feel good about. 

MusicDevelop and engage in pleasing routines you may not otherwise because it seems too indulgent. (Be a little indulgent!) Listen to soothing music and just relax and breathe and “just be” for a bit, without doing anything.  Fill the open space that appears in your mind with gratitude for all the good in your life. Create a new exercise routine, and stay with it. Walk in a beautiful park on a regular basis at a similar time each day and learn what nature has to teach. Visit a labyrinth and engage in a moving meditation – or participate with a group in a gentle yoga class. Now’s the time to be gentle with the current you, while the “new you” is forming and getting ready to emerge.

6.    Muster some courage. It may only take a tiny bit to begin considering what’s next. The English word courage derives from Old French, based on the Latin root “Cor” meaning heart.  So focus on your heart, and what you deeply need to feed you. Then consider what having courage really means.  It has three parts – one of which we’ve already addressed: doubt + commitment + action. That is, courage is to make a commitment to act even in the face of your doubt. The actions you choose can be small steps, and they will likely be at least a little uncomfortable – though they should be bearable. Getting out of your comfort zone is what making a change entails. Turn doubt into wonder or curiosity or exploration and just take one step.

7.    Interact with your communities. Get together with people you know care about you, who are nurturing, will listen and will help re-charge your batteries (not the ones who drain you!) These are supportive people who will lovingly tell you the truth, rather than just what they think you want to hear.  Engage with bigger groups who are doing something important in the world that you support.  Notice who you’re drawn to and what their qualities are.  What might you emulate? Where do you feel yourself wanting to be engaged?

When all else fails, just do something completely different. This doesn’t have to be a big change. Just engage in some things you’ve never done before – for an hour, an afternoon, a day, weekend or even longer. Go somewhere new. Stretch yourself. Immerse yourself in something you’ve wondered about. Take a friend so you can compare notes (and so you’ll actually do it).  
Or you could hire a coach (especially recommended!) who can help you explore your deepest desires and interests, shed what is no longer yours to focus on, design what’s next based on your gifts, talents and resources – and then begin actually doing something about them.  Finding that sense of authenticity and personal integrity, and then demonstrating it in the world feels great and can lead to amazing things you feel truly proud of. That will allow you to feel more like the “you” you are ready to become.  

The first part of the “7 Steps to Creating Your Legacy” program is built around these notions of defining, discovering and designing, and we utilize them in working with private clients one on one as well.  From there, we help you get into action on building what’s next when the gentle rains begin to fall and nurture the growth of both you and something that deeply interests you.  

I’d love to join you in that journey!
Cheers, Dolly

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Legacy of Words

Today, June 14, is Flag Day – and ironically it also is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

I love the story of her life and the legacy of words she wrote in a small novel that became a worldwide phenomenon. Not something a woman living in the early 1800’s might ever expect.  But then it’s not something many people living in this day and age expect they’re capable of either.  (And yes, you are!)

That book was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”  It was not the first or the only book she wrote. But writing, and getting clear on the message that was important to her to impart, was the means to creating her legacy. She may be remembered as the woman President Abraham Lincoln called “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war” which of course could never be true, and it might have been some notoriety at the time.  It was the work itself, however, that became her lasting legacy.  For a fascinating conversation about the book, her life and all that history, catch the podcast of Diane Rehm’s inteview with David Reynolds who has now written a book all about it called “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). At that link, you can also read an except from his book.

What I love about Harriet’s legacy though, is how it provides an example of what can happen when someone decides to take a small action on something they are passionate about.  Harriet was one of 10 children raised by her father and step-mother, since her own mother died when she was five.  The family held social reform as a high concern and after her move from Connecticut to Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet became passionate about the plight of the African-American slaves in the south.  She knew of them from their family members who worked for the family.  The split in views about the treatment of these people – who were still being treated like property – between northerners and southerners, became a story line that told of truths not many people wanted to speak about.

Harriet is described as a small and dreamy woman – nothing like a media powerhouse or celebrity of today. From her deepest convictions, however, she told a story that captured hearts and minds, and now people are even writing about her history.

Do you have a story filled with powerful observations or simply a good idea to share with the world? Do you need support to make it happen? 

Like Harriet’s story, yours may just well make history – or at least a positive difference in the lives of other people – which is history enough.  There are many ways to bring that story to the world – books, workshops, tangible goods, programs or services, and many other forms. It would be great to see your legacy come to life in a similar way. 

If you’re ready to start, it’s something we can help you develop.  It would be a joy to help nuture your project into fruition!

Cheers, Dolly

Giving Back Is Better With Company

Women know inherently that collaboration and community make it easier to do just about anything.  It appears this is true when it comes determining the best ways to give back.  Even billionaires feel that way. Dozens of them got together this past week in Tucson, Arizona as part of the Giving Pledge Gathering.  

According to some of those present, they discussed the biggest mistakes they’d made in pursuing philanthropy, calling it a sometimes lonely job. They want to use care and not just throw money at causes, instead exploring how best to invest funds to tackle the world’s big problems.  And they noted it is useful to share with other people who are pursuing the same efforts and sometimes struggling with decisions. 

Think about how much more profound these issues are for people without billions behind them to afford numerous advisors.  It was with that thought in mind that Creating Legacy was created as a network for just those people.  Our clients are successful, but not billionaires.  They’re more the Millionaire Next Door type, or, our particular focus Millionaire Women Next Door – folks who’ve worked and saved, invested and managed their money well, and now have significant funds, assets and other resources as well as time, energy and deep interests to bring to bear. They also want to give back and help improve the situations of people, places and things they care about. 

According to DailyFinance.com the number of new millionaires in the U.S. is projected to double by 2020.  They’ll be entering the discussion of how to properly manage their wealth, and how best to smartly give back in ways that are important and significant to them.

Not being billionaires, they share the concerns of managing their decisions well.  They’re more alone than others, possibly being the first in their families to ever amass significant assets, and need a network and community as well – one that can also help them navigate what may be a new world of giving. It’s just about understanding the types of contributions they can make – there are so many ways in addition to just contributing funds, available to so many people if they choose to consider it. It’s also about who the advisors are that they need, how to find good ones and when and how to properly engage them.  There is also the component of getting very clear on their authentic interests, and the best way to get engaged in these pursuits in a way that is joyful, rather than stressful.  How to have the important conversations, knowing the language and the territory; how to involve family, or not; and setting out to build something great are all topics that need to be navigated and mastered for giving success. 

It’s such a wonderful pursuit, when you are clear about what you’re doing and not floundering around trying to find the right people to help (and determine whether what they’re telling you is not only correct, but right for you.)  Our 7 Steps To Creating Your Legacy program was built with all that in mind.  To check out the steps click here and see what resonates with you. We’d love to share the program with you.

Please contact us for a no obligation consultation to find out more.

All the best to you,
Cheers, Dolly

A Big, Big Legacy With Not A Lot Of Money

Legacy is demonstrated in different currencies – not just money, but in bodies, creativity and spirit.

Creating a movement is one way to build, live and leave a legacy, and here’s an amazing example: Bill McKibben speaking at PowerShift 2011 in Washington D.C. :

(Click here to open YouTube if video does not appear)

As of April 2011 people will have commemorated Earth Day for 41 years – at the first one, 20 million Americans came out to march and rally in support of a clean healthy planet. There are new leaders in the environmental movement. 

Also in April 2011, the third PowerShift Summit was held in Washington D.C.  The first, in November 2007, was a youth climate summit including more than 6,000 young people from all 50 states. They gathered at the University of Maryland for a weekend of training prior to the 2008 elections to learn how to rally for the creation of green jobs and restoring economic and environmental justice.

 In February of 2009, 12,000 young people from every state and Congressional District in the U.S. joined in the second PowerShift event. Over 6,000 of them participated in the largest citizen lobby day in history; thousands more in a successful demonstration to shut down the Capitol’s coal-fired power plant. 

At the 2011 event, a year after the worst oil spill disaster in the U.S., 10,000 youth leaders from around the country held a polluter protest in front of the White House, demanding that the President and Congress stand up to Big Polluters, like BP, and make them pay for their pollution. They also made hundreds of Congressional visits to demand protection of the Clean Air Act and that members of Congress stop taking money from corporate polluters. Using technology and social media, these young people organized numerous flash mob protest events to call clear attention to their message:

 “We and Our Future Matter”

 These events are just part of the work of the Energy Action Coalition. http://energyactioncoalition.org/about The EAC is a cooperative effort joining 50 youth-led environmental and social justice groups working together to build the youth clean energy and climate movement.  Among their goals are coordinating efforts at the state, regional and national levels in the U.S. and Canada to win local support for their efforts and define their vision of a clean energy economy to solve our economic and environmental crises by moving their own communities beyond dirty energy to clean energy solutions.

 How much more could these young people do with the support of preceding generations who are currently in power (and whose leadership roles they will inherit)? As legacy building goes, these young people are way ahead of their elders.

They see that the infrastructure and support that will provide for their jobs, and careers that help make the world work better, are missing – not being developed because of the vested interests of an older generation addicted to a fossil fuel economy. They see the sad state of the planet they are inheriting, and they’re not happy about it. And they are taking action, even as members of the older generation with those old vested interests try to keep their heads in the sand about the science and what is happening to the planet, as the U.S. House of Representatives Energy Committee did in March 2011 in a formal vote to deny climate change.

Well, Bill McKibben is one of those leaders into whose shoes the younger generations will step – and they are stepping up. Keep your eyes and ears open for Moving Planet September 24, if you want to witness how one person and all the amazing people he inspires are approaching one of the biggest legacy projects ever.  Even better, consider participating so you can say it was part of your legacy, too.

Are We Entering An Era of Caring?

I sure hope so.

This morning on the other side of the world, once again, the Ring of Fire snapped many people out of their alpha state thinking mode of going through their everyday motions, with big news.  The earth errupted 80 miles off the coast of Sendai in northeast Japan with an 8.9 earthquake was followed by aftershocks measuring 7.1, 6.5, and 6.4 in magnitude.  The tremor was felt in Tokyo, and generated tsunami waves up to 3 miles inland on the island of Japan.  Three miles.  Imagine that distance from where you sit right now (and then imagine the wave itself …)  The quake prompted tsunami warnings for much of the Pacific Rim, which in our part of the world includes Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, where evacuations resulted.

A Bloomberg television reporter covering the story said the wave that washed up on shore “was mixed with mud, with ships and cars smashing toward wooden houses, dragging those into rice fields, and basically bashing them into pieces.”  The quake was not as destructive as the 9.3-magnitude earthquake that shook Indonesia – the second-largest in recorded history in December of 2004, the tsunami from which killed more than 300,000 people in over a dozen countries – but you get the picture.

In the world of cause and effect, I don’t believe the Earth is trying to send a message of unification – we’re all in this together, as Marshall McLuhan has said “There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We’re all crew.”

But I sure hope that is the result.

Modern technology has created an amazing transparency that gives us the opportunity to really experience the truth of that perspective  – toppling dictatorships in the Middle East and disasters thousands of miles away that can and do reach our shores, not just the one’s that happen on (New Orleans and Katrina) or near (Haiti) them – do affect us all in one way or another.

That technology allows us to see and learn about things that were once only in the hands of a privileged few, who we trusted to govern things until we learned that their control was more selfish and greedy than caring. It allows us to see – and experience – that we are not so far removed from the struggles of other humans who happen to speak different languages, wear different clothes and have different customs. And it allows us to take different actions to address these things.  As a nurse, I’d like to think that caring could be a really good underlying operating principle for humanity in taking those actions.

We all want the same basic things: to love and be loved, to be safe, to care for our families and friends, to be productive and feel accomplished, to be nourished and rest, and have our daily needs for healthy living addressed. Beyond that we want some time to share ourselves with others and pursue happiness through enjoyable activities and learning (which least often results from conspicuous consumption – just one of many forms of ineffective attempts to address whatever dis-ease might be troubling us).  There are plenty of those basics to go around, if only we care for one another and share ourselves.

Maybe disasters are a way of showing us that there are things to be afraid of, but that doesn’t include other human beings.  I don’t wish for more such challenges to pull us together.  I just wish that the lesson of ‘caring for others as we care for ourselves’ will take firm hold in the minds and hearts of everyone, and become a basic value and tenet of daily living.  I pray that with each such natural disaster (as there seem to be more and more of them) we really “get” this important lesson that results from our living planet’s communications.

Blessings to you all.

Seems There’s Plenty To Be Done

Not sure where I first found Orion Magazine – read a blurb somewhere and subscribed.  Branding itself as “Amerca’s Finest Environmental Magazine” I’d have to say it lives up to that billing quite well.  It’s also a terrific legacy project (more on that below), that’s right up my alley since my legacy interests are focused on environmental preservation, conservation, sustainability and clean renewable energy technologies. But that’s why a particular article caught my attention recently.  It’s by biologist Sandra Steingraber, entitled “The Whole Fracking Enchilada”, and I it hope catches the attention of many people in generations currently alive and able (and willing) to respond –  for the sake of future ones.

Here’s an excerpt from Barbara’s article – hopefully you’ll see why it got my attention:

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS can be viewed as a tree with two trunks. One trunk represents what we are doing to the planet through atmospheric accumulation of heat-trapping gasses. Follow this trunk along and you find droughts, floods, acidification of oceans, dissolving coral reefs, and species extinctions.

The other trunk represents what we are doing to ourselves and other animals through the chemical adulteration of the planet with inherently toxic synthetic pollutants. Follow this trunk along and you find asthma, infertility, cancer, and male fish in the Potomac River whose testicles have eggs inside them.

At the base of both these trunks is an economic dependency on fossil fuels, primarily coal (plant fossils) and petroleum (animal fossils). When we light them on fire, we threaten the global ecosystem. When we use them as feedstocks for making stuff, we create substances—pesticides, solvents, plastics—that can tinker with our subcellular machinery and the various signaling pathways that make it run.”

It seems there is much to be done if we are to shift this planet and its people (not to mention other species) to a truly healthy, life-enhancing environment.  We must move away from our dependency on fossil fuels, and the products of the petrochemical industy and era.  Many legacy level projects could contribute to that end, from the successful women and men of the planet looking for what’s next and ready to give back in some way – large or small – and who are looking for a subject to wrap that ambition around.

As for the legacy that is the magazine, it started as the Orion Nature Quarterly in June 1982 as a program of the Myrin Institute, a private operating foundation based in New York. Later, the magazine operation move to The Orion Society, an independent nonprofit, which also conducted additional programming, moved the operation to Massachusetts and obtained 501(c)3 designation for its ongoing work. The magazine has lots of great topics, no advertising, an easily accessible online version and a very reasonable subscription price.  They basically want people to read the content.

The publication’s first Editor-in-Chief, George Russell clearly illuminated Orion’s underlying values, which stand today:  “It is Orion’s fundamental conviction that humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.”

Hear, hear.  Almost 30 years later, his words couldn’t ring any truer. Seems we need to go another direction … very soon.  Will you be one of the enlightened leaders who helps turn this bus, and all of us bozos on it, toward a better destination?

I hope so. All the best to you, Dolly

Power to the People! Power to Mamisma, Right On!

Mamisma. What a great word. 

It was coined by publisher Harriet Rubin, author of The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women and Soloing: Realizing Your Life’s Ambition, and can best be described as the energy a mother bear has when she senses her cubs are in danger – and action taken not out of vengeance but out of the urge to provide for and protect future generations.  According to Rubin, it is “femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities.”

Those maternal qualities need not mean bearing and raising children, or even being a woman for that matter.  They are generative and creative.  Women, and anyone else possessing this feminine strength, can continue to exercise this sort of power long after child-bearing years are over.  Those qualities can be utilized and developed throughout the lifespan.

Mamisma is not about ‘machisma,’ the feminine version of machismo.  It is not about having dominion over others – but using one’s heart and smarts to make things better in a sustainable, healthy, happy way.  Power is, after all, the “ability to do” and the more one can get done, now and for future generations, the more power-full.

To me, mamisma is about the strength to protect and restore, to make beautiful, and to be strong and confident in bringing more good to the world. It is about taking care of oneself as well as others. Beyond putting on your own oxygen mask first, it is about getting what you want and need so as not to feel one iota deprived or resentful in then assisting, promoting or supporting others. It is about being willing to win and let others win, too – and finding resolutions that allow for both, rather than compromising.

It is a word to describe feminine power wielded by either gender, but it is especially important to women.  Our ‘power-struggle’ – at least in the U.S.A. – has been going on since the 1960’s; though truly it has been going on seemingly for centuries.

Gloria Feldt argues that it is time that women embrace their power – so we move beyond “justify[ing] our lack of progress by pointing outward,” rather than taking responsibility to move things courageously forward; and so we can really get to a point where women lead both themselves and others with intention toward fulfilment of human potential for now and future generations.

When we as women can fully embrace the type of power with which we are naturally endowed, and its importance, the sooner we can shift the world in more nurturing, growing, developing, just and innovative ways. 

The world needs more of that.  How can we support you in your exercise of that power?

Cheers, Dolly

Where Will You Make Your Impact?

There is much to do and many ways to set a course for good in this world! And Make A Difference Day on the fourth Saturday in October, is a great way to begin exploring your passion and potential legacy project. Here are a few extraordinary legacy project stories to give you ideas from the example of some remarkable people who have visions, hearts and hands, found the personal fortitude and external resources they needed, and set out to generate more good in the world.

Maybe some of these will trigger a quiet longing or have you look around your community in a different way. Follow your heart, your values, what calls you to action. Be inspired by an area of impact you’d like to enhance and extend.  And remember, your legacy project can be as large or as small as you wish! Look around your community and see what you choose to do!

Projects that Impact the Earth

Earth Day
This holiday is now celebrated in the U.S. and now around the world. It was first conceived in 1962 by Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin’s 35th Governor and that state’s U.S. Senator from 1963-1981, and it evolved over a period of years. Nelson was concerned that the state of the environment was a non-issue in U.S. politics and needed more visibility. He worked with then  Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President John Kennedy to schedule a five-day, eleven-state ‘national conservation tour’ in September 1963. Earth Day really took hold after Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River, all but dead from industrial sludge discharge, caught fire in 1969.  This Earth Day environmental legacy spawned a chain of events, and people who individually, in different ways, took on the underlying concerns as their own individual projects … which became their personal legacies. The resulting momentum and synergy literally created the environmental movement as we know it today.

A Legacy Explodes Internationally
Last year, journalists called it “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history”! Citizens in over 180 nations staged actions on International Day of Climate Action to demand a quicker response to climate change. The New York Times covered it on the front page. In Times Square people watched images of this movement flood in from every corner of the world on jumbo-tron screens. More than 5200 separate events were held around the globe. “These are the kinds of crowds that turn out for rock stars or charismatic politicians, but instead they are rallying around a scientific data point, they’re asking our leaders to lead — to pay attention to scientific reality, not political convenience” said founder, Bill McKibben. He has grown his legacy through a book, and website devoted to teaching people the relevance of the number 350 (parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere). This year, the second Climate Action Day was celebrated on 10-10-10 (October 10th, 2010) with work parties in 7000-plus separate events in about 188 countries. One man, concerned about one issue, now with a small and very committed team, has built a global effort involving millions of people on all continents. In 2010 even U.S. President Obama committed to returning solar panels to the White House (first installed by President Carter, and taken down by President Reagan).

Projects that Impact Education

A Living Legacy Carries Forward
Candace “Dacie” Moses demonstrated that everyone can contribute something — and with the right planning, what lives on beyond our lifetimes can simply be an extension of what was joyfully given during them. She was a librarian at the Carleton College in Northfield, MN, in the U.S. and the legacy she defined and lived, then left for future generations is the Dacie Moses House, where students gathered for freshly baked cookies, Sunday brunches (for up to 50 people), to hold conversations, watch TV or play the piano, snack from her refrigerator or call home from her phone. Dacie wanted that to endure, so before she died in 1983 at the age of 97, she donated her house to the Carleton Alumni Association. Her will instructed that it be used as it was during her lifetime — a hostel for students and alumni, an upstairs rented apartment that generated funds to maintain and improve the property. In a separate trust, she provided funds to pay for cookie making supplies and the cost of the Sunday brunches.  From the conviction of her values, her joy in life and a little bit of property, Dacie Moses both lived and consciously created an enduring legacy.

Building On A Great Idea

One of the ways to begin acting on a legacy idea is to examine what others are doing, and possibly fit the project you design in with an existing organization.  Legacy builders and veterinary students, Alison Barnstable and Laurel Redding, attached their project to both the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (where they were students) and later Heifer International by initially creating their legacy in the form of a research grant application called “Increasing Agriculture Productivity in Developing Countries.” They sought to have the Veterinary profession become more involved with addressing world hunger through a contribution to public health, knowing the importance of safeguarding animal health for human health. Including a plan to work with Heifer International — the organization started by farmer Dan West, devoted to distributing livestock and providing training for people around the world in environmentally sound agricultural practices integrating both farming and ranching — they received the grant. Their plan exposes other Vet students to public health and world hunger issues, gets them involved in helping to train community animal health workers and establishes information networks that allow Veterinarians to use their skills to have a greater impact in the lives of people worldwide.

Projects that Impact Girls and Women

Girl Power
There are 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. The Girl Effect is an incredible legacy project addressing this problem by focusing on solutions to major global issues like overpopulation, infant mortality, child health and community development, by focusing on these girls. A corporate responsibility project, it was begun in 2004 as the work of the Nike Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by NIKE, Inc. They’ve discovered that when girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive — and they influence others to thrive, too.

Hope for Women Worldwide
Husband and wife team, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn created a legacy in the form of a book called Half the Sky that has grown into a movement, because they felt strongly that women need protective laws, including the right to hold property and bank accounts … but as they write, “Westerners invest too much effort in changing unjust laws and not enough in changing culture, by building schools or assisting grassroots movements.” They know cultural changes are needed everywhere, maybe even in your local community.  Could you support a woman or girl to stay in school or further their education, or participate with a group that benefits women? It would be a great way to get started.

Giving Women a Home
For Constance Collins-Margulies, seeing a homeless person for the first time at age 13, left an indelible mark in her heart and soul. It imprinted a question: “How can any of us be happy as long as one of us lives like this?” 40 years later, she set up the Sundari Foundation to promote the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantaged and homeless women and children. The nonprofit’s first project was the Lotus House Women’s Shelter in Miami, a shelter that takes a holistic approach to care for its residents on every level:  body (through medical, dental, eye care and even safety training), mind (through counseling, mental health treatments and support groups and running a Thrift Shop to learn skills and raise funds for the project) and spirit (through things like art, music, crafts, book clubs, gardening, and field trips).

Projects that Impact Health

Pivotal First Step Creates Free Clinic
Faith Coleman was a nurse practitioner without health insurance when learned she had a malignant tumor growing on her right kidney. Her treatment cost about $35,000 and she mortgaged her home to pay for it, gaining with that experience the insight and determination to make a difference for others who likewise needed access to appropriate medical treatment.  After her recovery, she mustered up her courage and took one pivotal step, approaching a local physician with 60 years experience treating the indigent population, Dr. John Canakaris, with her idea for a free clinic — and to her surprise he agreed. Their efforts created the Flagler County Free Clinic in Florida, which started with eight volunteers treating eight patients and where now about 120 volunteers see about 80 patients every other weekend.

Projects By and For Youth

From The Hands Of Babes
Austin Gutwein wouldn’t have called it a legacy when he started at age 10. He just knew he wanted to make a difference when he learned about children his age in Africa orphaned because their parents contracted a disease called HIV/AIDS. So he decided to use something he knew and loved, basketball, as a way to help. On World AIDS Day 2004, Austin pledged to shoot 2,057 free throws, representing the number of children orphaned in a single school day because of AIDS. He got sponsors for his effort, and raised almost $3,000 USD that day — and then duplicated the effort with other kids around the country to create Hoops of Hope. His project is now connected to a humanitarian organization called World Vision, and the project he started has now raised over $1,000,000 for building a school and two medical testing labs in Zambia, providing caregiver kits and furnishings, building a water system in Kenya, and providing bicycles for caregivers … and enduring help and hope for many to come.

If You Think You’re Too Small
They say good things come in small packages. Great legacies often start small … and young. Emily Goldstein was a senior at Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky, when she and her partner Brandie Farkas were chosen among 16 teens from around the world to study polar bears in the Arctic. She and her partner, Brandie Farkas, both volunteers at the Louisville Zoo, entered the “Project Polar Bear” contest. For their entry they created a website at the Louisville Zoo to educate about the effects of climate change, and encourage individuals to help address it. Feeling each person can make a significant difference, they wanted to encourage each individual to take steps to address global climate change — which they can do through pledges on the website. And so far, people have made pledges that add up to a reduction of over 15 million pounds of carbon emissions of energy use. Emily has gone on from there to other projects which will create even more great legacies for her to live, and leave for the benefit of others when she steps away.

Corporate Social Responsibility Starts Young
Emily Matson and Julianne Goldmark started their Emi-Jay business as teenagers looking for the best hair ties. At the same time, they made a commitment to donate a portion of all proceeds to Locks of Love, an organization that helps disadvantaged children suffering from medical hair loss. Their organization of choice to support is a perfect match for their own business mission. This approach, part of a concept known as corporate social responsibility, is not lost on young people and neither is entrepreneurism. It seems that loss of this youthful outlook often comes with fear and ideas of scarcity. How can you regain your own youthful enthusiasm to do something that makes a difference?

Where Do You Want To Go From Here?

No effort is too small, no one is too young or too old to start their Legacy Project! From a local community project to a global enterprise, the difference is only a matter of scale built on your unique desires and circumstances. It all starts small, an empassioned idea coupled with action— and even tiny first steps can grow to planetary dimensions.

Who would you like to impact, and how? Let us know how we can help you express your passion and joy to make that happen. (EBC)