A Lesson in Legacy for Leaders and Princesses

A Princess Diaries Moment

I was recently on a plane and had the opportunity to watch a movie. I chose The Princess Diaries. A classic rom-com, traditional royalty meets the average teenager. In one of the earlier scenes in the movie, the main character, Mia Thermopolis, and her best friend, Lilly Moskovitz, are chatting in gym class. legacy

Mia says to Lilly, “What’s so cool about being a princess?” to which Lilly responds, “It’s having the power to affect change. What teenager do you know with the power to do that?”

This little exchange struck me. I thought, “Wow, they are hitting at something profound here.” 

I think, in many ways, being a leader is simply having the power to affect change. Anyone who can influence another human has that kind of power. 

A Reflection on Power

I encourage everyone reading this to take a step back and ponder how you have affected change recently. What changes have you been the catalyst of? Have you played a role in organizational change or changes that only affect you? Have you participated in a change in your family, friends circle, or your personal life? Or have you caused positive change for a peer or a stranger?

All the different ways we can affect change define our legacy. I think of legacy as the trail of positive influence that we leave behind or all the positive changes we bring about that affect those that come after us. 

So I urge you to think about how far your legacy extends. It is far too easy to get caught up in our own lives, needs, wants, goals, and become self-centered. But, the measure of our greatness and success isn’t measured in the changes in our own lives. Alternatively, it’s exactly what Lilly said in The Princess Diaries. It’s how we affect change for others. 

Leaders and their Circle of Influence

Think about examples of great leaders. Abraham Lincoln helped bring about the end of slavery. Harriet Tubman helped others escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Simone Biles took a stance supporting mental health, fighting the stigma that still exists around the topic. 

A huge part of being a Caring Leader is self-leadership. I wrote about that last week, and I write on it often, but the end goal of self-leadership is still oriented outwards. It is caring for yourself to better care for others. Because the end goal of Caring Leadership is affecting positive change for others. 

How Can We Do This?

Today, I challenge you to think outside the box a little more. Include more. Consider going the extra step in helping someone else achieve their goals. Have an intentional conversation with someone you don’t know as well. Do a random act of kindness or two. Be a voice for the voiceless. Try advocating for the less fortunate. These acts, whether big or small, are the stones that build a strong legacy. 

The best Caring Leaders are selfless. So how can you be selfless today?

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