Month: August 2013

All Month: August 2013

August 27, 2013

Creating Your Legacy

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.


It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

 

Our September luncheon speaker, Felicia Anchor, will be relating a compelling story, a personal story about legacy.  I wonder how often you think about your legacy.  I am not talking about your will and what you will leave to your children.  I am not talking about things at all.  I am referring to the influence you have made in making things better where ever you have been, in touching the lives of others to inspire them, teach them, pull them up, support their dreams.

When I work with leadership teams or individuals it is very often to define what is next for them, how will success continue to be realized.  A question I like to put before them as we begin is “For what will you be remembered?”   Notice I did not ask how will you be remembered but for what.  As you continue to make decisions on your path there will be opportunities to help others along the way and influence the way the world works, especially how women work in it.

In the late 1880’s a teenage girl traveling alone arrived in the U.S. from Germany with very little but what she could carry and a drive to find a better life for herself and her brothers.  She worked hard as a milliner and saved enough money to buy passage for her two brothers to sail to America in subsequent years.  You can say my great-great grandmother’s legacy was a new life in America but what has been passed down over the generations is more than that.  I take from her legacy the significance any individual can make in helping others if you are brave enough to continue on your own path and be aware of others you can help along the way.

I was privileged to coordinate the Cable Mentor program for the fourth time this year.  Forty-seven young leaders have been mentored over those years by women leaders of Cable.  The impact one person can have on another cannot be adequately expressed here.  The ripple effect a mentor has on another swells over time as each mentee will use the lessons they learned from their mentor to impact the lives of others and someday to mentor someone else for the betterment of all.

Cable can be proud of this legacy.  We are influencing the development of future women leaders, providing role models and proving their personal dreams can be found on the path they choose.  I will introduce you to these mentors and mentees at the September Cable luncheon.

  • Who left you a legacy?
  • To whom will you leave a legacy?
  • What will your legacy be?
  • Have you started writing it yet?

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August 1, 2013

The Magic of Self-Image

 “The image that concerns most people is the reflection they see in other people’s minds.”

– Edward De Bono

We grow up learning from our parents, our teachers, learning from our mistakes, learning by watching others and modeling ourselves after those we admire. At some point, we develop that all important self-image that dictates who we are…..how we act in good times and bad, how we treat others and most importantly, the amount of confidence we have in living the lives we choose.

Our self-image controls the confidence with which we seek opportunities. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves lacking, it holds us back from taking a risk or asking for what we want. This is the kernel of truth that women like Sheryl Sandberg have been addressing lately. We can be our own worst enemies. When we are not paying attention to the power self-image has on us, we often do not realize the destruction that can happen in our ability to reach our goals.

How often do you find you are comparing yourself to others in the room and the voice in your head says “I am not as smart,” “I am not as pretty,” “I am not as articulate.”

I grew up a very shy, introverted girl, the oldest child of very smart parents who never told me I couldn’t achieve anything I wanted. The voice in my head, however, held me back because I let it tell me not to fail, not to draw attention to myself, not to disappoint others. The early failures that I should have learned from, pushed past and tried again left me with doubts about my ability. I still hear that voice occasionally when I walk into a room full of people but, with the help of good mentors, role models and friends, I have learned to push past it and listen to a new message….”stick out your hand and belong here.”

I am blown away when I watch this YouTube video because it illustrates this point so well: Dove Real Beauty Stretches

The impact our self-image has on our success as leaders cannot be over emphasized. As I illustrated with my own story, we can’t always change that voice in our head without help from others. The encouragement we can get from a mentor, a friend, a colleague is immeasurably important. When the voice has a different message for you, it changes how the world looks and how you feel in it. When that voice has another message, “I am capable and I deserve this,” you are ready to take on that big project, ask for that promotion or seat on a corporate board.

I believe Cable is providing that kind of support to many through the Mentoring Program we run each year for young leaders and the new Women on Corporate Boards Incubator Program. Cable provides that support through the nearly 600 members who can be that mentor, coach, friend, ally to you. Ultimately, it is up to you to understand how your self-image is impacting your ability to achieve your goals.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
– J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan

To all you Peter Pan’s out there, are you encouraging others to fly?

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