As I sat holding her feeble hand, she uttered instructions with clarity and strength. Then she lapsed into silence and I watched her struggle to take shallow breaths. Suddenly, she’d open her eyes and gave a few more instructions; then retreat back into silence once more. EMS arrived and checked her vitals, while I gathered my coat and said my goodbyes. I left shaken and dazed because as you sit with someone who is obviously crossing over to the other side, you question the meaning of your own life. The time I spent with her will never be forgotten. Oddly enough, it was my first time meeting Anna* and if the doctors are right, it was also my last.
A few weeks ago Anna, a direct descendant of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune called. I listened in as she spoke to my manager about a special project that would carry on and honor the legacy of Dr. Bethune. Her passion was disarming and her vision inspiring. It was hard to believe she was calling from a hospital room. When she invited me to participate, the only possible response was, “Yes!”
When we didn’t hear from her for several days, we grew concerned. We finally reached a family member, who told us that the doctors expected Anna to pass at any moment. I didn’t waste time—I needed to see the face of the woman whose passion for legacy literally changed my life.
I believe that as we face death, we clearly see all the things that make like worth living. Today, I implore you to find, pursue and cultivate the things in your life that are worth being pondered in your last thoughts, whispered in your last breath and passed as a torch to others who live on.
As I have studied the life of Dr. Bethune, I am awed by the fire and commitment to education and change she inspired in others—a fire so strong it keeps a woman diagnosed as terminal fighting the slide into eternity.
Today is Mother’s Day and a time to celebrate the women who sacrificed so we could live. Whether you are a mother or not, I encourage you to give birth to the legacy you want to leave. Here are some keys:
1. Live a Life Worth Repeating: May 18th marks the 58th anniversary of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune’s passing. Yet, even now, the work she invested in securing a better life and more opportunities for others continues. We can’t just dream about our legacy, we must connect with the values that enable us to live it every day. Our words and actions must be so aligned that we inspire change in others.
2. Let Passion Outlive Adversity: It is inevitable that once we make a decision to move in one direction, the forces of life will attempt to push us in another. It’s not personal—it’s just how life operates. But if we outlast adversity and keep making the necessary moves to achieve our dreams…we will break through. Though we long for sudden, drastic changes—sometimes we just have to wear life out to get what we want. Too many people before us have done the impossible. It stops being impossible when somebody—like you—dares to do it!
Do Your Work: Script 1-2 sentences that you would like others to use in describing how you impacted their lives. Determine the daily actions that would guarantee that response and do them!
Define Your Wealth: Affirm, “I choose to live a life that inspires and serves others for generations.”
* Please note names have been changed to protect individual privacy.
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.