She was brave, bold and beautiful. A revolutionary who broke down barriers! In a world figuring out how to lean in…she taught us to stand up.
Let sociologists debate whether or not a woman can have it all. One only has to look at the life of the legendary Ruby Dee to know that the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” She showed us that we can have what really matters!!
She came into my world as Ruth Younger. I was ten years old and the film, Raisin In The Sun was twice my age…but as I watched her dominate the screen, I certainly had a “Harpo, who this woman?” moment. She was beautiful and as a young black girl who loved movies, I was always hungry to find my reflection on the screen.
I was too young to know that the actress was the real story—she was more than a pretty face with distinguishing talent. She was a luminary—an activist, who used her voice to advance our cause. Years later, I would learn who this powerhouse was and just four years ago, I had the honor of being able to briefly meet her and share just how much she meant to me.
Today, as I think of her beautiful life, I can’t help but wonder who…if anyone…will fill her shoes? As we reflect on the life of this jewel who shared so much wisdom through her life and talent, here are some lessons she taught us about how we can have it all:
1. Curb Our Appetites: She once said, “The most important thing in my life is family. Not career. Not anything else. Family.” The key to having it all is honoring what matters most. We lose power and clarity when our affections and attentions are divided. Our decisions become laser focused when our lives serve an overall mission. Knowing that her family was the most important thing enabled her to make choices that helped serve her in her many roles as activist, actress, playwright and more. We can have it all, when we focus on honoring our first priorities!
2. Success Requires Commitment: The love between Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee is legendary. We cannot think of one without the other. She once said of her successful marriage, “We knew neither one of us was going to leave.” When we want something, quitting cannot be an option. The decision to endure forces our minds to figure it out, because leaving is not an option. We must use wisdom to know what is worth fighting for, but when we find the things that are—lifelong commitment will ensure success!
3. Mastery Brings Success: Very few actors will ever receive an Academy Award nomination—yet alone for less than ten minutes on the screen. But that is exactly what Ruby Dee’s talent commanded in her American Gangster role! Undoubtedly, her body of work deserved recognition long before, however she didn’t work for accolades. She understood it was her gift and service to the world. Like her, we must give 150% without thought to the pat on the back or praise from others. When we master self and our craft, it eventually brings opportunities and rewards that exceed our imagination.
Ruby Dee was grace, beauty and wisdom personified. She was the best in all of us and in finding her purpose, gave the best to all of us. Today, I am thankful for yet another trailblazer who dared to show us the way.
Named eWomenNetwork’s first “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” in 2012, Coach Felicia is a Certified Executive Coach who empowers her clients to “Turn their Worth into Wealth” as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO their WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 at www.coachfelicia.com.