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What is your legacy?

Sunshine HeartA few weeks ago I shared an article asking you if you realise how much you influence others.  So having thought about how much influence you have over people now…have you ever thought about the legacy that you are leaving?

In the last few weeks there have been several events in my life that have brought this to mind.

At the moment I know a saddeningly large number of people who are battling with severe illnesses, all of whom have been told that their time left here is limited.

(Sidebar – I cannot express how strongly I disagree with the practice of giving people a designated time to live.  I know several people who have personal experience showing that by not telling people the ‘time’ the doctors believe they have, they actually live much longer than people who have been told…I just wish the medical profession would acknowledge and embrace this way of doing things *climbs off her soapbox and gets back to writing today’s article*).

In the last month or so I know of so many people, amazing, genuine, inspiring people whose time here with us has come to an end.  Some famous, some not, but all of them have touched other people’s lives….and all of them have left a legacy in one way or another.  I would like to dedicate this post to these beautiful people…Teal, Jason, Jan, Stephen, O, Chet (to name just a few)…and their families and friends.

…and then recently I was at an event where the speaker was sharing about what it means to leave a legacy and it made me think about my own.  What legacy am I leaving?  What message do I want my life to have been about?  …and who do I know that has left a legacy that has impacted me?

Unfortunately I have said goodbye to more friends than I would like to have in my 30 something years…but every single one of them has left me with something…an idea, a thought, some inspiration which has stayed with me.

My gorgeous friend Geraldine from University who lost her battle with cancer many years ago was the person who made me realise that life was too short to waste worrying what other people think about you.

She was the one at Uni who used to get us to drive to the coast to go paddling in the sea at 3am, dyed her hair pink, would get me to dress in fancy dress to go to a regular nightclub…just for the fun of it. She was what most people would describe as crazy, outrageous, a little bit bonkers…we drove each other nuts….and my life was better for having had her in it.

Some time later I connected with a lovely man who lived in Japan with his lovely wife.  He was battling a rare form of cancer when we ‘met’ and over a period of time through speaking and sharing online I became good friends with him and his family.  They had created a fantastic online space for Armand and the people he knew to connect and support each other…and his message was one of never giving up, always having heart and letting those who love and care about you help you along when you need it most.

And a few years ago a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. He wasn’t a very close friend (in fact often since the incident I’ve found myself regretting not having spent more time with him while he was with us) but he was someone that everyone warmed to almost instantly.

At the age of only 24 to have lost him so suddenly was a massive shock to myself and anyone else who knew him.

After his funeral we attended a celebration of his life with many of his friends from far and wide. To say that I was amazed and touched by the variety of stories that were shared about him doesn’t do the feeling justice.

Here was a man who in 24 short years had done more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. He had touched so many people and so many lives, he had won national championships and learned Japanese. More than anything he had made real genuine human connections with people everywhere he had been.

That night, when I returned home I was reflecting on the wonderful life he had led…and I found myself truly inspired.

I found myself realising that there was so much that I could learn from Lee and there was a real opportunity for those of us who knew him to improve our own lives through taking inspiration from the way that he chose to live his life.  Lee left a legacy.

At the time I comprised a little list of Lessons from Lee (which I shared with friends and others who had known him), either ones that he directly lived, or those that he inspired me to realise, and today I would like to share them with you:

  1. Try to make someone else feel special, even if it’s just by smiling at them – you’ve no idea the impact it could have one someone else’s day / month / year / life.
  2. Tell everyone who means something to you how you feel about them.
  3. Do everything you want to do…and even some things you don’t.
  4. Don’t be afraid to look silly.
  5. Never let anything hold you back in life – especially not what other people may or may not think – those that matter won’t really be bothered, those that are really bothered won’t matter.
  6. Whenever you want to sing, dance, hug, laugh, do it. No matter where you are or who you’re with..
  7. Take time for yourselves, your friends and family and truly value the relationships in your life – they’re what make you who you are.
  8. Appreciate everything you have in your life right now (especially the moment you’re in!) and live every second to the fullest.
  9. Find someone who inspires you, and try hard to inspire someone else.
  10. Remember that time is the most valuable gift you can give someone else.
  11. Forgive – Both others and yourself.
  12. Never ever stop trying to be a better person but never ever worry about not being perfect.

All of this has inspired me to start comprising my own list of life lessons.  A list of learnings that I’ve picked up along my journey…those that I want to live while I’m here.

…and those that I would love to inspire others to realise, just by having lived the life that’s right for me, both while I’m here and whenever it’s my time to transition on…

As we know, inspiration is one of the key aspects of femininity, so when we’re being feminine we’re both receiving inspiration from and giving inspiration to the people around us at any given opportunity.

…and inspiration doesn’t have to be about changing the world…it can be as simple as reminding people to smile.

So my question to you is – How do you want to inspire others?  What is your legacy?

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

Thank you to the stranger on the train…

TearsYesterday was not a good day for me.

In fact, being honest, it was really awful.

It’s not very often that you’ll hear me say something like that…but in this case there’s no other way to put it!

I got some news which was very upsetting, and which caught me completely by surprise.

If you want to know the full story, you can find it in today’s newsletter (You can sign up here if you haven’t yet: http://feminine1st.com/free-gift/)

I was in London at a meeting when it happened, and so on my journey home it all started to sink in…and the next thing I know I’m sitting on a South Eastern train with tears streaming down my face.

It was one of those “once the flood gates are open” moments.

Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.

I was very aware of the fact that I was on a public train, surrounded by people, but it didn’t matter. I was feeling very upset, and at that moment I needed to let it out.

The guy with the drinks trolley went past and very kindly handed me a couple of napkins as he went.

But then something interesting happened.

A guy who was sat a little further up the train walked up to me and said “I’m really sorry, I’m not trying to hit on you, but I can’t just sit there and watch you cry….would you like to split a beer? Or I could just sit here and talk random rubbish at you for the rest of your journey?”

Now, a few years ago, if this had happened my instinctive response would be to say “It’s OK, I’m fine”.

Not yesterday.

I looked up at him and said “You know what, that would be really great”.

So he sat down and we started chatting.

Not the stuff of great conversations that will go down in history, just random chat to pass the time.

It was just what I needed…a little random kindness from a stranger.

What was really interesting is that had the situation been reversed and I’d seen someone crying on the train, I’d have done exactly what he did.

When I told him this and said how grateful I was for the random stranger who came and talked random stuff at me to pass the journey…he simply replied, “Ah, but it wasn’t random”.

It was really reassuring to know that what you put out in the world, does come back…sometimes unexpectedly, sometimes randomly…but often when it’s most needed.

I’ve mentioned the concept of paying it forward on here a few times, and my last post about it was on remembering to receive it forward as well.

Well, yesterday I got the chance…and it felt good to receive.

So thank you to the stranger on the train who helped me to dry my tears and made me smile.

The next time you see someone who you think could use cheering up, don’t be afraid to say hello…it doesn’t cost anything and it might just make all the difference to someone’s day.

…and the next time someone offers you a kindness at a time when you really need it…allow yourself to receive it. It might not take away the sadness or whatever it is that you’re feeling…but it certainly does help.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x