Building On Your Legacy

Soar bannerThose who came before us leave the world we live in. Those who come after us will have only what we leave them.

Corey & PhyllisEach generation is a guardian of the world that was left to them, and has a responsibility to leave it better than how they found it.

As parents, grandparents and guardians, we are responsible for passing on the Legacy from Generation to Generation. Far too often we think of inheritance only in terms of the wealth we leave behind. Our baton (legacy) is the sum of all the lessons, insights, wisdom, counsel, and character that we have gained. We pass this legacy to those who follow us, which they, in turn, can pass on to others. Here are some helpful hints to consider:

Passing the Baton
• Lay a foundation by modeling what you want your sons and daughters to be and do
• Walk the talk to develop your sons and daughters’ character
• Be a good first teacher! Your sons and daughters learn by watching you
• Build a strong and loving relationship with your sons and daughters so they will want to follow in your footsteps

Accepting the Baton
• Understand the legacy that you received from previous generations
• Choose the spiritual legacy you want to leave for future generations
• Focus your legacy by writing a personal mission statement
• Live your legacy by letting it direct your thoughts and actions
• Enlarge your legacy by making it better for the next generation

Raising Up The Next Generation
• Prepare future generations to accept the baton
• Cultivate your inherited roots and wings to strengthen your personal faith
• Start early introducing your family to your faith
• Make spiritual training a family priority
• Be a cheerleader! So future generations will be able to make a strong pass

Posted in Blog

Young Women Cultivating Leadership Habits

Soar banner10 Highly Effective Leadership Habits of a Young Woman.  She…

  • Embraces her uniqueness and positive identity
  • Develops supportive relationships
  • Empowers herself to grow
  • Manages herself and her time wisely
  • Sets expectations and challenges herself to be the best
  • Believes in and stays committed to her core values
  • Gets involved in her community
  • Takes advantage of opportunities and experiences
  • Develops and practices effective communication skills
  • Creates and follows her personal development plan

Leadership is personal.  You are the only one that can be you.  If you decide that it’s better to be someone else, who will be YOU?  Today, choose to be the best YOU possible.  You too can Soar!

Posted in Blog

Celebrating Women’s History

Soar bannerWell, it is the last day of March, and I barely finished this post for Women’s History Month.

As women grow older in our society, they should be recognized and celebrated for the wisdom they bring to enrich the lives of those generations behind them. There are some basic truths about women, regardless of our age. We all desire to maximize our personal greatness: our unique gifts, talents, personality, abilities, goals and our dreams

I teach a class that consists of women ages 21 – 70+. Bringing these different generations together produces a forum for us to jointly improve, motivate and inspire each other. What an opportunity to galvanize the wisdom and leadership of career women, sisters, mothers and grandmothers to create transformational change in our lives and in the community.

I believe “older generation” is relative.

To a little girl, a teenager is someone to look up to. The more we live, the more we learn how to live. So the oldest among us knows first-hand what it is like to live through tragedies and triumphs, times of war and peace. Whether it is Biblical knowledge, insight on marriage and family, career experiences, financial strategies, etc., older women can offer great insight. They have learned that life goes on despite adversities, and are living testaments that one can survive through the good and bad.

The powerful voices and enormous sacrifices of women in our history speak loudly for us to hold on to our dreams during the storms and trials. Wonderful women are in our homes, at church and where we work. Let us strive to create opportunities for meaningful dialogue to learn all we can.

A son shared his story of how his mother taught them values. He said, “When most mothers were leaving money on the kitchen table for school lunch, our mother left our lunch money in the Bible, turned to the verse she wanted us to learn for the day. This made us strong.”

My 100 year old mother encourages the women coming after her to “…be faithful to where you are in life. And when the opportunity presents itself, I hope you find the inner strength and courage to step out and make your dream a reality.”

My sisters, keep learning and setting goals. Keep practicing and refining. Keep dreaming and pursuing. Most of all be ready when it is “your time.”

Posted in Blog

Personal Greatness

Soar bannerI am sure most of you have had situations in your life that left you with sad memories. Not given a voice, your pent-up emotions can continue to build up on the inside. Then one day something so big could occur that would force you to find a way to uncover what was going on inside before you crumbled. This is what happened to me.

Struggling for answers,  introspection helped me to examine and release repressed feelings trapped in the “bowels of my soul,” the innermost and deepest part of my soul.  This brought freedom from the bars that held me captive.  And it unleashed my “Personal Greatness.”  This post may help you to see some of your possibilities:

  1. Self-Discovery – Exposing the origin of my sadness. As I reflected over my humble beginnings, surprisingly I discovered that the source of my unidentifiable sadness came from the wounded little girl within. It started with a self-defining period in my childhood and everything bad that happened afterwards fed that wounded girl, even as an adult. I had never fully given her permission to feel and to heal.

I found painful memories and agonizing emotions, all guarded and protected in denial. Now I was being driven to dig into them and rescue the woman I was destined to become. Reliving the pain was difficult. I cried, I talked with God, my parents, my siblings, and I wrote in my journal.

  1. New Insight – Truths that I learned. God helped me to face sobering truths. The story of what happened in my past did not change. But what I chose to do with my story changed. I stopped dwelling on the past. I stopped being a victim. I started embracing the power of my story, sharing it with others to inspire them to live in their presence and not let their past dominate them.

There is powerful strength in the human spirit. I did not get to pick and choose my birth place, my family, my gifts or my purposes. Everything was laid out for me by divine providence.

  1. Letting Go – The power of forgiveness. Letting go of a piece of the past can be liberating. Un-forgiveness contaminates and imprisons the heart. Forgiveness is the key to break free. It flushes out the heart to renew its connection, opening the valves so feelings can move through your body rather than staying stuck.

What you focus on is what will grow. I relinquished an old script that had been sitting over my head like a dark cloud. I took steps to rewrite my script, which included forgiving self and others. When we perceive ourselves to be powerless, it leaves us waiting for actions from someone else, something we cannot control. Our happiness is our responsibility alone. Take charge of your life. Forgive and let go.

  1. Personal Greatness – I am royally dressed from within. It is interesting how God showed me my gifts. He brought me into the vividness of my imagination to claim my gifts. My eyes gazed upon a blanket of shattered pieces, sparkling stones glowing as if underneath a moonlit night. The view was breathtaking, hues of my beautiful gifts in a field of potential and possibility. Beautiful pieces of precious stones bursting out of man-made cocoons as they released their protective coverings.

I stooped down to begin the exciting process of picking up my pieces to appreciate and imagine the possibilities. Dreaming and imagining the possibilities were only the beginning. Leadership was needed to put a plan into action and learn how to use them.

  1. New Beginning – A chance to start over. What better way to develop and maximize your potential than by creating opportunities. Learning to lead a nonprofit was my training ground. As I spread my wings, trying new things, I flew higher and higher. Having the vision and abilities to pull people together to accomplish great things exceeded expectations.

The brightness of the new day destroyed the caterpillar syndrome that required the darkness to survive, and opened a whole new world. It was a miraculous transformation: I was never meant to be a fluttering butterfly but a soaring eagle. My consciousness less cluttered with a mistaken identity, my potential was free to fully grow and become.

  1. Life Beyond the Journey – Prepared for future changes. It is easy to believe in a mistaken identity. Life presents many passing experiences – thoughts, emotions, events, and people. These are all conduits for becoming, but they are not who we are destined to become. Through it all, we can learn to live, to grow and lead productive lives by holding on to our beliefs. God allowed me to be shattered but not completely broken. He was watching me, He knew me, and in my greatest tragedy He cultivated my potential, my “Personal Greatness!”

This is my last post about my personal journey of finding wings with shattered pieces. I hope that you have been inspired to find a personal path for your transformation. You too can soar!

Purchase one of my books and follow my stages – A Personal Journey Finding Wings with Shattered Pieces.


Posted in Blog

Turning Tragedy Into Outreach

Soar bannerWhat drives you to help others?

Maybe like me, it’s a personal experience. I took a senseless tragedy and gave it meaning, so the death of my daughter would not be in vain.

Early in my grief I asked a poignant question: “God, what are you going to do for me?” In His divine providence He gave me an incredible gift, the Leslie K Bedford Leadership Academy, connecting a daughter’s legacy and a mother’s love.

Twenty years of my life was passionately devoted to the growth and development of adolescent girls. In 1994, I went from the courtroom to the boardroom, learning to navigate resources to establish and lead a nonprofit.

What an entrepreneurial journey! The challenges and triumphs, uncertainties and setbacks, all empowered me to resiliently move forward with Faith that I would succeed. Failure was never an option. Thousands of girls were given tools to succeed, like Leslie was given.

Looking back at all the accomplishments under my leadership is mind-boggling! Most of all I remember the bright-eyed girls that came through the academy door. The exhilaration felt in helping them discover and develop their own leadership potential. The interactive sessions and programs, the teen summits, the mother daughter banquets, father daughter dances, the community projects, the plays, the documentaries, and so much more.

I remember the special people that I met along the way who willingly dedicated their hearts, hands and finances to help fulfill our mission.

So involved in getting things done, I did not immediately realize that the Academy was no longer the focus of my pain. It had blossomed into something different. I had become different too. No longer driven by pain, I was driven by my commitment to a cause greater than myself. Writing this post is such an amazing reminder of God’s kind providence!

Everything had been put in place for my success from the volunteers that donated their time and expertise to the girls who participated in the programs. The innate gifts that had been placed inside of me: the abilities to plan, create, write, and …; my long pursuit to earn a business degree; and even my flourishing human resources career had their purpose.

My testimonies are the girls themselves. The high school graduation rate; and the number that continued their higher education speaks to our success. We are forever bonded. Many of the young women keep in touch with calls, emails and facebook. Others invite me to share in their achievements: high school and college graduations, new careers, weddings and even baby showers. Many pay it forward by returning to volunteer for the Academy.

My heart swells with pride for all that I was blessed to accomplish. It was a deep and fulfilling two decades that I truly enjoyed. Now, I train others on how to start their own programs.

During this highpoint in my life, everything was coming together. Lessons I had learned in earlier stages, most of all, stepping out of the shadows to speak for myself were invaluable.

But the unidentifiable sadness still surrounded my heart. A co-worker said, you need to go within yourself to heal. I asked, “How do I do that?” Find out in my next blog post.

Purchase one of my books and follow my stages: A Personal Journey Finding Wings With Shattered Pieces.

Posted in Blog

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