“Legacy” is a term that has been tainted by the patriarchy. Many man act selfishly to secure notoriety they can witness in their lifetime. Think of Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos. However, real legacy is what remains after death; it comes from how people remember a name. Legacy is derived from the actions done for others, and the ways in which a person remained steadfast. Once a woman has shuffled off this mortal coil, what stories will be told about her?
Our life is our legacy, and women should be careful with themselves. There is no race and no bonus points for how quickly a woman establishes herself. The output must be good, and good can take time. So, women must honor the time it will take to get from one step to the next, ana woman must never punish herself of not arriving there fast enough. But, honoring time also means that it can’t be wasted. Women must advocate for themselves and never settle for less than they deserve.
In the past, women’s legacies were shrouded by men’s achievements–even when women whom achieved just as much or more than their male counterparts. For example, when Clara Meyer, who was an irreplaceable centerpiece in the founding of The New School, was gifted a copy of New School president, Alvin Johnson’s autobiography, it had in it the inscription “To my cofounder.” However, Clara received nothing like that level of credit in the book.
For a long time, the writers of history were predominantly male, white and cisgender. The situation is changing, and storytellers are becoming more universally diverse, which is great news for everyone that isn’t male, white and cisgender.
Memories fade, but record is everything. And in the modern age, to a greater extent than ever before, each individual person is partially responsible for their record. Social media is a tool that one can use to dictate the way they are remembered by a general public.
Another way to leave a legacy is through one’s children. Children have within them everything their mother gave them–children are tangible time capsules. So, if a woman is going to be a mother, she better be good ones. She must love hard and well, and always help however she can.
As women establish themselves, and write their legends, they must remember that living a life with love, and a heavy pour of generosity, is the most surefire path to a great legacy.
Here are a few tips on leaving a legacy you can be proud of:
1. Speak Up, Speak Out
When a woman has an opinion that she thinks could be beneficial, it is imperative that she Speak Up, and Speak Out. Men certainly do. And women are historically some of the most intuitive and intelligent of humans. Though silenced time and time again throughout history, women have proven over that powerful rooms function better when they are there. If women are vocal about the things that are most important to them, they will live a purposeful life and leave a great legacy.
2. Engage with the Real World
If a woman is to contribute to the world in a meaningful way, she must be connected to the world. And, the best way to connect is to learn. Taking in art and culture, and interacting with one’s community are essential ways for a woman to craft her legacy. How can one know how to effect meaningful change if they only know their bubble?
3. Gorge on Goodness
It begins and ends with oneself. As the airplane safety demonstrations instruct, “Secure your mask before assisting others.” If a woman takes on too much emotional labor while not tending to herself, she has set herself up to breed resentment, and ultimately fail. On the other hand, if a woman takes in hope, encouragement, and positivity, she can achieve anything. Women must avoid toxic mentalities and toxic people that keep them from being their strongest selves. It’s hard to create a legacy without strength.
Perhaps the most important thing a woman can do to secure her legacy is keep a community around that values and respects her. Surrounding oneself with other women who can relay feedback and words of encouragement is essential for a woman establishing herself.
Check out Luminary for a community that can help a woman with her legacy. Click here for available programs and events that uplift, up-skill, and propel others forward through all phases of both their personal and professional journeys.
A first-of-its-kind, Luminary is a membership-based global professional growth platform and collaboration hub created for women and male allies to address the systemic challenges impacting women across all industries and sectors. The ultimate career advocate, Luminary provides “real world” advice, tools, and resources to advance, build, connect, and develop through programming and networking opportunities.
With no application process, Luminary is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We invite you to come sit at our table because we are all in this together!