Life to Legacy

by jdeena

I remember when I was young and hearing about Mother Teresa for the first time. I thought she was such a phenomenal humanitarian, and it amazed me how one person could move people from all over the world with her selfless actions. I aspired to be like her as I was growing up; I helped out at soup kitchens, volunteered for local community events, and adopted a highway through my local mosque that we cleaned up twice a year.

Mother Teresa was the the epitome of a charitable person. She spent her whole life helping others regardless of race, religion, or creed. The love she had in her heart was pure; untainted from biases and racism. She saw everyone equally and sought to truly help who she could while maintaining a minimalist lifestyle. I wish I had the strength for that.

I know that after I die, I want to leave a legacy. I don’t care how big it is, I just want people to remember me for something. Something good. I feel that so far in life I have made the right strides to achieve that goal. Writing has helped me gain exposure, and when I finish my book I hope that it will touch people’s lives and inspire them.

It comes as no surprise, then, that I am thrilled when I receive touching emails from employees in my classes that tell me how much I have inspired them. Especially the females. When I took on this role, my manager told me that I would have a lot of people look up to me, especially minorities and females, but I didn’t believe him. It is so true though! I have girls come up to me all the time impressed with a female minority working for corporate, representing the company across the country. I never really realized how important my role was until I received an email two weeks ago from a girl in the Chicago market. The following is an excerpt from her email, which moved me to tears:

“Right before induction training, I had a horrible day at work. After that day, I felt like I finally just couldn’t keep working towards a goal that was never going to get accomplished. I was really ready to give up on trying to become supervisor, and putting in all the extra work that I felt was just a waste of time. After hearing your story, I am re-inspired to keep trying. You have given me the motivation to keep putting in the extra work and continuing with my top sales numbers. It gives me hope to see another female who is now in an amazing position with in the company. Especially when I feel as a woman, that I am the minority.”

I can’t believe that with just a few words I was able to completely turn around the attitude of a fellow employee. This is what makes me love my job. Not the money, not the traveling, or the recognition from my corporate bosses. I love the fact that on a daily basis, I can inspire and motivate women to feel confident and strong enough to push for success in life.

Being a female in corporate America is not easy. As a minority, especially a Muslim Arab woman, it is even harder. I am fortunate enough to work for an amazing company that supports me and embraces my culture. It affords me the opportunities to use my uniqueness in my trainings to inspire and bring hope to others. I am truly blessed.

All I pray for is that when I die, I will be remembered for something great. That people will think of me and say that I did good. That those who move on to be successful will remember how I helped them and use that to help others. Kindness is contagious; if we continue to pay it forward we all can leave a little legacy behind.