American Labor For Sustainability – Woo Hoo!

Mainstream America is coming to an understanding of the need to get behind efforts to clean up the planet.  The American labor movement has for some time supported expanding “green jobs” that will help create a cleaner, renewable energy economy and address global climate change.  Three unions recently took additional action and announced their support for the science-based targets called for by the IPCC to reduce greehouse gas emissions that cost us all, and future generations, far more than any savings offered (to anyone) by maintainining the status quo in our current fossil fuel based economy.  More on this story here:

Learning the issues and taking action to be for the right kinds of change, are legacy level leadership activities! Right on!

181 Investors Managing $13+Trillion Call For Strong Climate Change Action

Going into the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, which begins this coming week, I am feeling a bit dismayed, despite the fact that more and more common sensical and educated folks (like the 181 investors referenced in the title) are displaying a willingness to come forward in the climate change discussion and call on world leaders to get a grip and begin to do something about it. 

I am dismayed because telling the truth seems to be such a hard thing to do – because people are afraid of what will happen if they do.  Yet, as we are taught (just maybe not taught well enough how to practice), honesty is still the best policy.  It lessens the need for “spin” and opens the door to debate – hopefully honest debate without conniving trickery.  Having practiced law, I can, unfortunately attest to the existence of both conniving tactics and trickery in what is supposed to be high level honest debate built on a foundation of professional integrity.  Anyone who reads or watches any news also knows that people often read and watch whatever supports their underlying beliefs and attempted assertions – rather than staying open to and dealing directly with the sometimes not so pleasant actual truth. 

I say all this because in the past couple weeks thousands of emails and files were hacked from scientists inside East Anglia University, the British keeper of global temperature records, revealing at best a fearful reluctance among them to reveal all their scientific data and their efforts to disguise data that give rise to questions about human caused global warming.  Presumably, they do such things to divert the attacks of critics – when it would just be better to put it out there and well … honestly debate.   See more on that story here. (The hackers, of course, are still unidentifed and at large, and following their actions have been others who have attempted to post outright false information online to persuade people further in their beliefs that there is no environmental problem going on and we should stop making such a potentially expensive fuss about it).

Genuinely concerned scientists and environmentally minded citizens like myself have recently had to divert their focused attention from environmental protection, to defending the need for environmental protection.  This is despite plenty of real evidence that humans have seriously degraded the planet – jeeze just go to your nearest water body and have a look at it: wanna swim in that?  how about taking a nice long drink? 

And why and how did we get here? It’s a result of fear – it always comes down to fear even if it parades as greed and arrogance – of telling the truth in the first instance. That results in back peddling, having to explain, being diverted from the real, important issues, and feeling like you have to justify.  And worse, having to work harder to get a clear message to people whose beliefs cause them to be grounded in denial and avoidance to begin with. 

Yet, the truth, however it comes out – and it generally does – eventually leads to some level of honest debate among truly open and concerned persons, even though spinmeisters know that creating diversions can delay that debate.  Hence the old saying “justice delayed is justice denied,” a problem that ultimately be avoided if we would just do a better job of practicing telling the truth and treating each other compassionately. 

And the truth is that pumping carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gasses, in to our atmosphere IS a problem and it needs to be corrected.  Even scientists who criticize alleged “government by the few” or a handful of “elites” — like the members of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been called — conclude that hidden and hacked emails or not, global climate change (a lot more than mere “warming”) is still a problem.  It is not a matter of how much carbon based fossil fuel is left in the ground and how we can exploit every last drop.  It is a matter of whether we should continue to pump that carbon into the atmosphere and poison our planet – or begin to move, as rapidly as possible, into production of clean energy alternatives and more effective conservation efforts. 

Not surprising as a result of the East Anglia email hacking debacle, I heard a report on the radio this morning that some religious leaders have started speaking out against efforts to address climate change, claiming that our creator endowed us with an earth that is resilient.  I have no qualms with them.  But best I’ve been taught, our creator also gave us free will, and that free will may be causing serious harm and deterioration to this garden and paradise we were given in the form of the earth.  I agree the earth is resilient and will be just fine – what I question is what will happen to life on earth (humans and other species, which are so very threatened and disappearing at alarming rates as a result of humans’ exercise of free will).  While I don’t completely agree with George Carlin’s suggestions in his “The Planet is Fine” comedy sketch that we should do nothing to address it, I do agree with his underlying premise.  We may destroy our species and life on the planet as we know it, but the earth itself will be fine.  But I have serious questions about what will happen to ‘we the people’ — so many of whom are failing miserably at living up to being made in God’s image and likeness.

Yet, from the business world we have some enlightened leaders:  Ceres (pr. “series”), is a U.S. network of investors, environmental organizations and public interest groups with a stated mission to integrate sustainability into capital markets for the health of the planet and its people.  They recently reported some seriously good news:  the world’s largest group of global investors has issued a joint call for U.S. and international policy makers to take strong action to address global climate change.  

What a pleasant experience to find such enlightened leadership within the financial industry – which often takes a bad rap for greedily focusing on profit over anything else.  Head of one of the investment group members recognized publically that the human cost of inaction is unthinkable, and called for the development of sustainable business practices.  Just goes to show, there are reputable, high integrity professionals in all industries (even as there are those gripped by fear and acting badly …).

And from the religious world come some enlightened leaders, too, who see global climate change as a possible threat to peace.  Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition. In September, the organization participated in the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Their purpose was to help promote a binding global climate deal at the UN Climate Change conference this next week.  Hallelujah!

The upside?  Dismayed or not, I can always find some good news.  I’m so grateful for that.

Passion for Life is the Stuff of Legacy

My friend and fellow blogger Jeannette recently lost her beloved husband.  Having been married only a few months now myself, but to someone who is the-love-of-my-life-like-I-had-no-idea-could-be, I can empathize with the depth of the void that loss must be. 

A consumate writer, Jeannette wrote in her Write Speak Sell blog, a tribute to her husband describing what he left in the minds and hearts, not to mention lives of others — his legacy.  It reminded me that we all have a legacy, however conscious we are of creating it, and others will be impacted by it.  And they are most profoundly impacted by the things that we do, that we do well and happily because we are most passionate about them.  Read Jeannette’s beautiful tribute here.  It’s a legacy in itself, a legacy of tribute tangibly preserved and offered to the world in a way that will benefit many who read it.

She also included a lovely blog post from Seth Godin about decision making, concluding that recognizing and exercising our power to make decisions allows us to make a bigger difference.  Very nicely stated. 

When you let the notion of legacy develop in your own consciousness, what bubbles up about it?  What does your life mean to others?  What would you like it to mean?  How might you get into action to create something tangible around your passions that will benefit others?  The world needs more of that …

Creating Your Legacy Starts Today!

My new program, 7 Steps to Creating Your Legacy, debuts today! I can’t wait to see what the participants do with the materials – what they consciously choose to create in the world, how they decide what they want their impact to be and in what manner they’ll carry it out.

Watching all that unfold will be magical!

And the program itself is brand new, so it will be a creation unfolding as well – with the added energies of the group members.  Beginning any new process always carries with it excitment “with an edge …”  That’s how it is with the process of creation, and we’ll all be in that together adding the potential for the experience of some great synergy.  This pioneering group of leaders will be taking action that makes changes in the world – we will have our own “butterfly effect” (maybe many of them).  So exciting to see what that will be.

Right foot, left foot, one at a time begins the “journey of a thousand steps” that any significant project includes.  Will keep you posted on how it all unfolds.  If you want more information, please feel free to contact me!  Here we go …

Powerful Women

I got this email today, twice before I responded to it.  It was one of those chain things that asks you to pass it on.  And usually I don’t (especially when they have some superstitious warning in them!!)  But I liked this one.  It said:
I am supposed to pick 12 women who have touched my life and whom I think would want to participate. I think that if this group of women were ever to be in a room together, there is nothing that would be impossible. I hope I chose the right twelve.  My hugs, love, gestures and communications hopefully remind you how special you are.
Please send this back to me. Remember to make a wish before you read the quotation. That’s all you have to do. There is nothing attached.
Just send this to twelve women and let me know what happens on the fourth day. Sorry, did you make a wish yet? If you don’t make a wish, it won’t come true.
This is your last chance to make a wish!…
“May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts  that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
Now, send this to 12 women within the next 15 minutes. And remember to send this back. I count as one… you’ll see why.  Suggestion: copy and paste rather than forwarding it.

But I had to include this note:

This found its way into my email today, coming in from somewhere else as these email things do. Generally I don’t participate in them, but I liked this one.  So my apologies to anyone who dislikes this sort of email; I’m truly not sure if you’d want to participate or not.  

I just liked the idea of including you and telling you so, because if I ever needed to do the impossible and had to assemble a group of women to make it happen, I would definitely get you in the room. And I’d include my mother, but she’s not on email.

So here it is, do with it what you will if anything other than read it.  As for the ‘you’ll see why,’ I’m thinking we may or may not see why, but just knowing you’re thought about as special and powerful may well be enough. I enjoyed recognizing my connection to you in this way.  If you receive duplicates, I guess that shows just how special and powerful you really are.  On that score, I’m glad it made its way to me at least once! 

And truth is, I sent it to more than 12 women.  On that score, it made me realize how many incredible, powerful, capable, strong, trustworthy and loving women I know.  I’m glad of that – and of their presence in the world doing great things.  I see the “legacy power” in what they each are able to change for the better in their own spheres of influence. That makes me glad.

It also spurs me into action on my quest to help more of them exercise more of that power in greater ways, for the benefit of an improved planet.  Call me a dreamer, but I think if we all dreamed a little bit bigger for better and better outcomes, rather than status quo, maintaining vested interests, and keeping things as they are (okay, I know that’s a bit redundant, but it seems to be a pattern humans persist in) we really could improve a lot of things.  And I see the positive thinking, nurturing and collaborating power of women leaders — of all feminine thinking (no matter who’s doing it) — as a most important way in which such results will come into being.

So hear this: women leaders and those embracing the power of the feminine – it is your time to shine, to rise up, to make your voices heard, to get on with being more visible and building more projects in this world!!  You are powerful beyond measure, especially when you get together and create some synergy toward a goal.  And we know how to get together – another strength in the feminine – generally with really good food to fortify us for the road ahead.

Youth Is No Obstacle To Legacy

Austin Gutwein wouldn’t have called it a legacy when he started. He was just a normal boy, living a normal life, but one day he just knew he wanted to make a difference.


Austin was only around 10 years old when his legacy project was born. He saw a video about children in Africa orphaned because their parents contracted a disease called HIV/AIDS. He realized the kids in the video were just like him, only he was a lot more fortunate; and he was inspired to do something to help. He asked himself the all important question ‘what can I do?’


So he decided to use something he 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. He gave the money to a humanitarian organization called World Vision where it was used to help 8 African children. The experience really moved him … to want to do even more.


After that first event, Austin decided to create an annual World AIDS Day event and recruit other kids to shoot free throws with him, calling the endeavor Hoops of Hope. In that second year he got about 1000 people to participate in a sponsored free-throw event. That year he raised over $35,000. It’s now a 501c3 tax exempt non-profit corporation headquartered in his home of Arizona called Hoops of Hope, Inc. The project has grown to include events all across the U.S. and several international locations.


This legacy resulted from having an idea using something as simple as the enjoyment of basketball, adding to it some action and persistence, the development of consistent systems to create and leverage events, sharing the idea and getting others involved. Here are the benefits of doing this work that have already been accomplished (while Austin continues his “day job” of going to school):


In 2006, Hoops of Hope participants raised $85,000 USD to help build the Johnathan Sim Legacy School in Twachiyanda, Zambia, which will house 1000 kids who would otherwise have to travel over 60 miles to the next closest school. Construction was completed by October 2007, including two large buildings each with several classrooms, a new well, and teacher housing that is under construction.


In 2007, Austin’s organization sought to raise $150,000 USD to build a medical testing lab and voluntary counseling center in Sinazongwe, Zambia. That goal was exceeded by $50,000 USD and the additional money was used to provide 1,000 caregiver kits to the medical lab, and furnishings to the 2006 Johnathan Sim Legacy School.

Because of the overwhelming need for AIDS testing and treatment, in 2008 Hoops of Hope plans included raising enough funds to build a second medical testing lab and counseling center in Zambia, along with additional Care Giver Kits.The total goal for 2008 was $290,000 USD, earmarked for these projects, but the organization raised $405,000, completing construction of a lab in Sinazongwe, building a water system in Kenya and beginning to build a second clinic in Chilal, Zambia. Austin’s organization continues to partner with World Vision, providing an example of how collaboration with an existing organization can be successfully utilized to create your own separate legacy project.


And his efforts and connections allow 100% of the funds raised through the Hoops of Hope free-throw marathon events to go to identified projects. Administrative costs are covered by private donations.


Another goal was to provide 1,000 bicycles for the caregivers through World Vision’s partnership with World Bicycle Relief – a simple, sustainable form of transportation bringing these programs to even more people who need them.


Already in 2009, Hoops of Hope has completed $120,000 of funding for the Chilala clinic and raised $41,000 for 250 bicycles and 750 mosquito nets for caregivers in Sinazongwe. Goals focus on raising $600,000 more for additional construction projects. See for details. See the amazing power of connection and partnership with this list representing current events


Austin draws his inspiration from The Starfish Story (original author, Loren Eisley). A smart and realistic young man, he realizes he cannot help the 15 million and growing population of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Driven by a desire to do something to make a difference, though, he also realizes that shouldn’t be something that stops him. Here’s the story that fuels his commitment to act:

“One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…
“I made a difference for that one.”

Which starfish are you committed to save?

Written by:  Dolly M. Garlo, RN, JD, PCC

It’s Good For You

Research shows that approaching life from a spirit of giving and focus on making a contribution has positive health impacts including improved life-satisfaction, physical and mental health and even living longer. A great legacy created by Sir John Marks Templeton serves to demonstrate – and perpetuate – these benefits.

The name makes him sound like British royalty, and he was created a Knights Bachelor in 1987 for his philanthropic efforts. He was born in the state of Tennessee in the U.S., but lived most of his life in the Bahamas, and is probably best known as the Chartered Financial Analyst who became a billionaire by pioneering the use of globally diversified mutual funds – through his now numerous Templeton Funds for investors.

Beyond his work, however, Templeton’s great interest was in spirituality, and he built a great legacy based on it. In 1972, he established the Templeton Prize to honor individuals who make “an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works” as stated on the organization’s website. He called recipients “entrepreneurs of the spirit,” and the first prize was given in 1973 to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received $85,000 for her charities. Based on sound management, the prize has grown to around $1.6 million annually.

To administer the prize, in 1987 Templeton established the John Templeton Foundation. It now awards around sixty million dollars every year to institutions and people for spiritual and scientific activities that explore values such as the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity – in an effort to reconcile science and religion without diminishing either. The Foundation made the prize and other grant-making activities sustainable, and though Templeton passed from this earth in 2008, his legacy is still very much alive.

In 2001, the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love was founded with a grant from the foundation. It studies unselfish love and the benefits of giving back. The institute’s most recent report “It’s Good to be Good 2009: Health and the Generous Heart” is available on the site. The report details that developing a generous way of being and then doing or giving from that state indeed has benefits for the giver.

I mention Templeton not to emphasize what someone with billions can do – most people readily get that, but think they cannot do something similar. Maybe not at the same scale, but you can do something that will be as important for the recipient of your efforts.

Rather, I provide this example to show how one person, during his lifetime, used his career and his wealth to really address the things he was passionate about. I also provide the example to demonstrate that there are funds available for all kinds of great projects to benefit people and the planet. Creating legacy is not just about disseminating wealth, but about your authentic interest and willingness to act from there. That’s the foundation from which all great legacies are built.

Just Start

Creating anything just takes starting. Sometimes it takes starting over, or re-starting or refining an idea. But creation lives in action. So you actually have to start. From there you can build, experiment, have learning experiences (fewer if you learn from the examples of others and get help and support where you need it), and grow the project.

When you start, other things happen. The invisible forces of nature are also called into action. Synchronicity, serendipity, precession, perturbation – my personal favorites – and a host of other natural laws are set into motion, too.

This poem has always said it best for me:


Until one is committed
there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation)
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves, too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
that would otherwise never have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from decision,
raising in one’s favor
all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance,
which no man could have dreamt
would have come his way.

I have leaned a deep respect
for one of Goethe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can . . . begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

— W.N. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

To what act of creation will you commit yourself to start? You might be amazed to see where things go from there. How can I and the team here at Creating Legacy help?

Recommendations From A Rocket Scientist

My own legacy includes a focus on my value for the preservation of nature.  There is currently legislation in the United States attempting to deal with global climate change – which is, in fact, happening; and which, whether you believe is caused by human activities, will only be solved by human activities.  Or rather changed behavior.

If you value the natural world, part of your developing legacy might be to regularly involve yourself in legislative issues affecting it and participating more actively in representative government. You don’t have to run for office to do this.  One way to do it is to become more informed and then making your views – concerns and recommendations for action – known.

There is legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress dealing with climate change, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, known as ACES.  What each of us with this legacy interest can do is learn more about it, AND ask our representatives to create meaningful law that benefits people and not special interests, better yet demand it. 

A list of important items to include in that law was compiled by Jim Hansen, himself an actual rocket scientist – someone who I’m sure knows a lot more about all this than I (and most people, including our legislators) do.  His latest views, concerns and recommendations were recently published at the Huffington Post blog.  He also wrote a very clear summary of what needs to be done at the first of 2009, published at the online magazine Grist.  Another source of good information is at

You can read the views of Hansen and others, and then use that information to write something to your congressional representatives.  Here are links to find where to write representatives in the U.S. Senate and House.

Go for it!  Be the change you want to see!!

A Mother of Invention Profiled

When her ideas started bubbling up, and could no longer be contained by indulging in occasional daydreams, Dr. Sharon Conley was an accomplished M.D., specializing in medical oncology – cancer care – with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.  She headed up the transplant program at her hospital and was active in the day-to-day clinical practice of medicine.  Meaning, she had lots of really sick patients in the hospital to care for, a busy office practice, and a professional partnership to help operate.  She was busy.  And she was restless. And troubled.

She was troubled because her sick patients, who frequently had a lot of pain associated with their conditions, were uncomfortable much of the time they were in the hospital.  And she was restless because she knew there had to be better ways to help them be more comfortable in that setting – when they were there for care intended to make things better.  She was also restless because the ideas she had for how to address that goal, were just that: intangible imaginings.

Eventually this got the better of her and she took action – the first step in the creation process of turning nothing (those ephemeral ideas) into something.  She captured one of her ideas and wrote it down.  That action turned into some drawings, and it all turned into a provisional patent application.  And then a call to my office.

In our initial consultation call, Dr. Conley told me she had a product she wanted to bring to market, and explained that she had a number of ideas for how to make patient care at the bedside a better experience … for the patients.  As a nurse, listening to a doctor talk of something other than diagnosis and treatment – specifically compassionate care – I was intrigued.  She explained about a device she had invented that would allow patients to directly access their physician prescribed pain relieving medicines when they were due on their own, at the bedside, without having to call a nurse and wait for a single dose to be delivered.  She wanted to manufacture it and make it available to as many patients in as many health care settings as possible.  As a professional coach focused on business development and personal fulfillment, I was eager to help her do it.

A great idea and a lofty goal combined to make an incredible legacy story.  Read the rest of it, here.

What has developed from there is a sophisticated business system, utilizing the most applicable legal structures, and incorporating an amazing team of people all inspired to rally around the project.  She didn’t know from the start what she could do, she just believed in the possibilities and was willing to take action – and seek help for doing it.  As a result, Dr. Conley developed into a physician entrepreneur pursuing a socially noble purpose.  See more about her company and its first product, the MOD device, by clicking here: AVANCEN: Improving Patient Care At The Bedside.

Legacy ideas come in all forms and sizes.  Will you be a mother of invention for one of yours?