by Julie Jensen on The Christian Coaching Center
This week I have been thinking about the power of an intentional legacy. Earlier this month, the world lost a woman who was a master at creating a legacy that went beyond the events of her life, a woman who chose instead to focus on the central purpose of living a good life.
Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Senator John Edwards, suffered a great deal of pain and loss in the 61 years she lived on earth. We shared that pain with her, as we became witnesses of her devastation in first, the loss of a child, then a diagnosis of cancer, and finally, the public pain of her husband’s infidelity. We watched all of this with sympathy, and yet strangely, Elizabeth Edwards did not want sympathy. She chose, instead to focus her attention, and ours, on the power of a life lived by intention rather than by circumstance. She wanted those around her to see that the power of a life well-lived, with purpose and with hope, is greater than any negative situation in our lives.
What does it take to live this kind of extraordinary life…..Does it take extraordinary courage? Indefatigable fortitude? Superhuman conviction?
I think it is really much simpler than that. In all that I have read about Elizabeth Edwards, the one thing that her friends and family mention is that she lived her life authentically, in a way that would continue to teach her most important audience, her children, that we need not be defined by our pain, our problems, or our diseases.
In coaching, we refer to this as reframing. I believe that this is what Elizabeth Edwards did so well; she chose to reframe the negative circumstances of her life into places of potential growth and impact. In the same way, each day we have the opportunity to shape our legacy by choosing to see the opportunities of the less than perfect circumstances of our lives. We craft our legacy each day we live, in the decisions we make and with the people we impact. This is the power of a life well lived .
As a coach who desires to live a life of authenticity, I feel that this is one of the greatest qualities for me to nurture in my life. As I stand at the end of 2010 and review this past year with an eye toward what is ahead in 2011, I am inspired by Elizabeth Edwards to not let the world define my life. That responsibility is mine, as I submit my life circumstances to my God, who can redeem any situation that comes my way.
I thought this was inspirational for 2011. May God transform us by the renewing of our minds in all circumstances!