Maya Angelou and Your Legacy

5 29 2014 smMy blog takes a side step this week, reflecting on the impact made by celebrated author and poet Dr. Maya Angelou, who passed May 28. Through her writing and activism, Angelou inspired generations to face adversity and look for beauty in the world.

The importance of mentorship is shown in Maya’s influence on a young, upcoming journalist. Oprah Winfrey says Angelou’s first autobiographical work  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was a driving force that helped her realize her own value and strength. Maya Angelou’s book recounted the traumatic events of her childhood up to age seventeen, and won her international acclaim. It inspired Oprah to realize that she too could rise above her situation and accomplish great things.

When Oprah opened The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, she excitedly shared her joy with her mentor. “This will be my legacy!” Oprah exclaimed. Dr. Angelou disagreed. “No. This is not your legacy. You have no idea what your legacy is. Your legacy is every single person who has watched your show and said ‘I am going to take better care of my health,’ every single parent who has watched your show about child abuse and said ‘I’ll never hit my child again’.” Oprah’s television show went on to impact millions with her inspirational topics.

Every morning I get an email message, a  “Note from the Universe”  courtesy of my friend and best-selling author/philosopher Mike Dooley. (I highly recommend subscribing to these!) Last week I got a Note that read, “One day people will be wearing t-shirts that say: ‘What Would Gloria Do?’ ” Wow. That was deep. The thought gave me goose bumps. Could I really make an impact like that upon the world? Why not? I know my purpose is to improve the world, one connection at a time. What will my legacy be? What form will it take? A blog perhaps? 🙂

A friend of mine who runs a dynamic anti-bullying program called  “No-Bull” states his personal purpose statement as: “to inspire, impact, empower and transform those in the space I occupy.”

If you think about it, we are all here to serve one another in some way and make a positive impact.

In the spirit of Dr. Maya Angelou, I leave you with points to ponder this week.

What is my personal purpose statement?
What is my legacy?
Who will I impact in this lifetime?
Who can I impact this week?

Start this week to develop your legacy.


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