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10 Questions To Build Your Leadership Legacy

I was keynote speaker at an annual conference for franchisees in the male-dominated home services industry (think paint stores, glass & blinds stores, insulation, roofing, fencing, etc). The CEO of organization hosting the event, is a strong proponent of getting more women in this industry and dedicated a day to generate awareness and energy towards women advancing in this typically masculine field.

In this (nerve-wracking!) experience of creating a brand new keynote talk, I learned something wildly unexpected and it's this: You don't have to “fit the mold” to break a barrier. And if you're willing to break a barrier, you can leave a lasting legacy.

I learned this by discovering and sharing stories of three women who:

  1. Didn't fit the mold in their industry,

  2. Broke barriers through their leadership, not their expertise, and

  3. Created legacies that positively impacted the lives of others.

I highlighted the “OG” woman in the trades, my great-grandma Elizabeth. She worked in a hardware store when she was a teenager and eventually ran her family's farm on cash when she became a widow in 1961. (Remember, women couldn't borrow money without a male cosign before 1974.) She wasn't a farmer, but built a legacy as an astute businesswoman.

I highlighted Ellen Rohr. She wanted to be an actress but instead married a plumber. She wasn't a plumber, but turned around plumbing businesses and built two plumbing franchise powerhouses using her business acumen and education skills.

I highlighted Diane Hendricks. She grew up as one of nine (!) girls on a farm where her dad believed that a woman's work was in the home. Even though she didn't go to college, nor was she a roofing expert, she revolutionized the roofing & building supply industry through her eye for opportunity, work ethic and values. She is now Forbes' Richest Self Made woman and her net worth is $22 billion.

Over the course of the next few weeks, in honor of Women's History Month, I will profile these amazing women leaders, how they broke barriers without fitting the mold and the legacies they created with their leadership. I'll show you how you can use their strategies to create your own leadership legacy.

🔥 I am convinced that ALL of us have the power to break a barrier and create a legacy with our leadership. Even if you don't fit a “mold” for your industry or community. Remember, YOU are a leader in any place you influence others. (You don't need a title)

How can you build your unique leadership legacy? Keep reading.


quote: You are a leader in any place you influence others
You are a leader in any place you influence others

PUT THIS IDEA INTO ACTION

When you think of someone who has a strong leadership legacy, who comes to mind for you? With the women mentioned above, they were clear about a few things. They knew what they stood for as a leader, they relied on their best talents and strengths, they made and stood by decisions even when they were questioned. Consider your role model's approach and behavior as a guide to help you establish your unique legacy.

Here's are 10 questions to help you begin developing your leadership legacy. Remember, you are a leader in any place you influence others.

  1. Where in your life and work do you not “fit the mold?”

  2. What do you want to be known for?

  3. When you are 90 years old and basking in your favorite retirement spot, what do you want to be proud to say that you created?

  4. What norms/status quo are you willing to disrupt?

  5. What do you stand for in your life and work? (What are you not willing to tolerate to keep the peace?)

  6. What talents or skills do you have that you MUST use?

  7. What actions, commitments or movements are you willing to be criticized for?

  8. What greater purpose (outside yourself) are you trying to achieve?

  9. Where or what topics are you willing to use your voice and your legs? (speak and act)

  10. What are you so passionate about that you are willing to play the long game over needing immediate results?

🔥 Your leadership legacy statement:

I am on a mission to ______ because I stand for …..

I will create _____ because I know it will…….

The impact this will make is _______, and because of that, I am willing to endure……..

In hard times and choices, people will remember me by my _________.

Try this next: I hope you use this legacy statement to help you guide your next right choices, challenging decisions and how you lead and influence others. Reply and share it with me! I'd love to hear it.


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Kelli Thompson is a women's leadership & executive coach, speaker and author who helps women advance to the rooms where decisions are made. She offers 1-1 coaching, keynote speaking, and is the founder of the Clarity & Confidence Women's Leadership program (online group training for corporate women leaders). She is the author of Closing The Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck.

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