As many of you know, I released my book, When Cancer a Hits, on September 15th, 2011 and my new skin care line on March 15, 2012. Once the website was up and the customer service agents ready to take orders, I took a few minutes to look back on the last several years. In a way, I can’t believe how far we’ve come from that day in 2007 when I decided that my purpose here on Earth was to pass on my father’s legacy, no matter what.
I want to tell you a bit more about my journey, and what helped me get to where I am today, but at the same time I’m hoping to open a conversation about what we leave behind. If your life were over tomorrow, what have you created that will live on?
My Father’s Legacy
When I look up the word “legacy,” I find that is means a gift, something received by an ancestor or predecessor. It’s what we give to those who come after us, or who live on after we’re gone.
When my father passed away, he left me with so much, and I’m not talking material things. He left me with his spirit, his courage, and his determination to make a difference. I feel these things surrounding me every day.
But what he gave me that I wanted to pass on was a little more specific. We shared the experience of going through cancer, and we both felt so grateful to the community that surrounded us and supported us through it all. But we also both felt a little lost. We lacked the information we needed for dealing with difficult side effects. We lacked supportive materials about natural solutions. And we lacked skin care products that were safe and soothing to use for compromised skin.
The day my father passed away in 2007, I decided I would create an organization that would do three things:
- help others learn about how to reduce the toxic load in their lives, especially if they are going through an illness;
- provide access to natural solutions, as well as helpful, thorough and proven information;
- deliver safe and non-toxic personal care products.
Today, I’ve made great progress toward these goals, and though I I still have so much more I want to do, I feel that if I died tomorrow, I would have succeeded in creating a legacy that will live on long after I’m gone.
Tips for Creating Your Own Legacy
For those of you working on your own passion and purpose, no matter what that is, let me offer a few tips that helped me make it through the tough times, as there always are tough times, right? But if you hang in there, everything will work out-because it has to!
- Create a support team. My team was vital to me throughout this whole process. When everything hits the fan and you wake up and say, “I just can’t do it anymore!”, you need those people who will be there for you. The friend you can call and vent to. The colleague with the brilliant solutions to problems. The other entrepreneurs (or artists or athletes or speakers, etc.) who have been there and done that. Your business coach that helps bring you back to your “why.” You absolutely must have others who support you and get you back to work!
- Make a commitment to your own health. What’s the first thing to go when we feel crazy busy and overwhelmed? Diet. Exercise. Sleep. All the things that preserve our health and well-being. But once you go down that road, it’s a losing battle, as the more tired and wrung out you get, the less able you are to carry your load. Make a commitment. Prioritize. Eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. I learned the art of self-care through being an entrepreneur. Saying “no” also meant saying “yes” to myself. Learning how to set boundaries and protect your time and energy is vital, as well.
- Keep working on your own personal growth. Your purpose and passion aren’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter. On the journey toward your dreams, you’re going to come into contact with people who push your buttons. You’re going to come up against events that trigger your worst personality traits. You’re going to have to face up to all your deepest belief systems, and sometimes, you’re going to very frightened of taking that leap of faith you know is required. Embrace these challenges! They help push you and mold you and shape you into the person you’re meant to become. Take the easy way out and you never grow. Commit yourself to honest evaluation, be willing to take criticism, and reflect every now and then on what you can do better. Remember, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. The pain of staying stuck is much greater than the temporary pain of moving through your fears. Trust me!
- Be prepared for a bumpy road. Following your dreams or your passions is not for the faint of heart! There are going to be bad days when nothing seems to work, the money isn’t there, your key suppliers fall through, your business partner splits. You’re going to wonder why you ever thought you could do this! So be prepared to handle the bumps. For me, I knew the only way I wouldn’t reach my goals was if I quit. I had to feel the fear and do it anyway. Build a habit of being okay with being uncomfortable. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and take it one day at a time.
- Get rid of what’s not working. I like to call this “detoxing” my life. Flush out the junk, the poison, the stuff that’s bad for you. Clean house of any toxic relationships, foods, behaviors, and activities. Get rid of the naysayers, the ones who criticize you and tell you it can’t be done. Nourish yourself with healthy foods, supportive environments, and energizing activities and supportive friends. You are your environment. It makes all the difference.
Why are You Doing This?
Finally, one more thing. When the going gets tough, remember your motivation. Why are you doing this? For me, it was for my father, to create a fitting tribute to him and his memory. Returning to that reason always helped me to keep going. What is your motivation?
- Your work will prove useful in a bigger way-how?
- What is so important about what you’re doing? How will it benefit others?
- Who is helping you? Find those key people you can rely on.
- Learn from books, CDs, DVDs-read about how other people did what you want to do.
- Take courses, go on retreats-invest in yourself!
Have you begun work on a legacy? Was someone’s legacy passed on to you? Please share your story!