Sunday, March 3, 2013

Free to Choose ~ A Legacy We Leave Our Daughters

Created by Kimberly Kline

“Your ambition should be to get as much life out of living as you possibly can, as much enjoyment, as much interest, as much experience, as much understanding. Not simply be what is generally called a ‘success’.” 
Eleanor Roosevelt

The 1960s was a time when many women were fighting for equality.  We wanted the chance to succeed in every way open to men.  I applaud those strong women who worked hard at putting cracks in that barrier.

I was very lucky that I grew up being told I could accomplish anything I chose to do.  There was never anything that was closed to me.  For this I am thankful.

While things are infinitely better than they were then, the issue of equality still rears its ugly head.  I read stories every day concerning disparate pay for equal work or statistics on the lack of women in top executive positions.

Some of this can be attributed to discrimination.  However, I would also like to propose another possible reason. Women are choosing a different path.

Maybe the need to “have it all” that has been re-evaluated. While we still want opportunities open to us, it is what we choose to do with those opportunities that has changed.

Even Hilary Rodham Clinton, arguably a very “successful” woman in the traditional sense, has prioritized what matters to her:

Our lives are a mixture of different roles. Most of us are doing the best we can to find whatever the right balance is . . . For me, that balance is family, work, and service.

Rodham Clinton’s “balance” lists family first and includes service. Like many of us, she appreciates and values more than what can be provided through her work.

Many of us are placing our focus on this different value set.  A real balance between work and “life” is our goal.  Money and status is not the driving force.  We want to create a life of value.

Creating a Life of Value is the Ultimate Success!  "Tweet This"

That value, of course, is subjective.  But the desire to work at something that “matters” resonates with many.  It may no longer be the big money or boardroom position that drives us.

What we, as women, have now earned is a choice.  Each of us can decide our own goals and have the freedom to pursue them. We also need to recognize that one woman’s choice may not be our own.  The celebration should be in the choice itself.  

It is this ability to choose that we leave to our own daughters.  I know I want my own daughter to find fulfillment in whatever way is important to her.  Whether it lies in the traditional “corporate track” or not is up to her.  And I wish the same thing for our sons.

And that is the way it should be.

My only hope is that finding a life of purpose and value is part of the equation!

I close with these words from former first lady, Barbara Bush:

Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.
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