Legacy is typically described as what you leave behind when you are gone - the ideas, concepts, work product, and spirit of what is most important to you.
Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, left an outsized legacy in physics and chemistry.
Former Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, still influences girls and women with her groundbreaking approach to the law and equality.
And Harriet Tubman’s strength and spirit, escaping slavery and freeing others through the Underground Railroad, inspires us today.
But as simple as the standard definition of ‘legacy’ can be, it’s up to each of us to define it for ourselves.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Seasoned women business owners are so busy with the day-to-day needs of their business and team, it’s hard to focus on defining or delivering on their legacy.
Legacy is for tomorrow – and right now, you need to focus on today.
In my experience, many women are uncomfortable with the idea of financial success and think it is more socially acceptable to talk about their impact and legacy.
That’s not to imply that legacy is not important to them, but that social pressures alter how they think and talk about business success.
In many cases, we’ve been taught to believe there are only two measures of business success: scaling up to a bigger, more complex company – or generating a ton of money.
While financial success is the whole point of business, it is possible to remain a boutique firm that generates a healthy profit. You don’t have to get bigger to get wealthier.
Social pressures are real and often skew our decisions.
Being a business owner has many benefits – one of which is defining success and legacy for yourself.
Are you able to do so, despite social pressures? I’ve given this a lot of thought.
In 2016, a colleague in a women’s business group challenged each of us to write our own eulogy. It was a sobering but valuable exercise that speaks directly to legacy. This is what I wrote:
Patty would tell you she was boring. She was predictable and consistent. She believed in herself, her family and her children. She worked hard to be a positive force and role model for her children, and she loved them with her whole heart.
Patty prided herself on her intellect, her experience, and her efforts to make a difference in the lives of her family, her clients and her friends.
She was loyal and loving, with a wicked sense of humor.
Life was not always easy, but Patty believed that life was good.
She often used the quote that “the only difference between a challenge and an opportunity is attitude.”
Patty leaves a legacy of raising good human beings who have each contributed in meaningful ways to their community. She leaves a legacy of love.
This describes how I define success and the legacy I want to leave. Financial success is an important tool to get there but is not how I determine my value.
With that said, it concerns me that very few women are planning for a major life transition: their business exit. That leaves your life’s work, your impact, and your legacy in the hands of fate.
At some point, you will exit your business, whether it’s voluntary or not. If you needed to step away from your business today, due to a health problem or a family issue, would your company fall apart?
I’ll challenge you with this question: how can you bring the simplicity and elegance of the little black dress to a life-changing transition, like your business exit?
I firmly believe – and have built my business around – the idea that business success and wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.
Your exit can lead to wealth if you choose to sell your company, but what brought you here won’t get you there.
An Elegant Exit™ requires a new way of thinking and new skills, which can lead to a lasting legacy you define.
Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/
What do you want your legacy to be?
I'd love to hear what you think. I read and respond to every email personally.
P.S. Are you giving 'invisible' discounts to prospects who didn't ask for them? The anxiety you feel when talking with a potential client leaks out when you slash your price because you're afraid you'll lose the opportunity if you don't.
I’ve broken down exactly why this 'discount dilemma' happens in an exclusive training called The Value Equation, which you can get for FREE by signing up for the bonuses that are companion pieces for my book, Your Hidden Advantage.
My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.
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