This very interesting thing happened the other night.
Background: I recently sold my house, quit my job, and moved to a city from a small town. I know, it's all very Life Time Channel. I also started my new business. Hopefully you've noticed that part if you're reading this LOL
Anyway, I went to an event to promote my business and services thinking, "Oh, this is in the new city. It is kind of nice to not be known. It's kind of fun to walk around with no one knowing who you are/what you do, etc..." Where I am from, I am relatively well known. So I am there at my booth talking to people when I hear a very excited, "YOU! YOU'RE THE LGBT LADY!" I jumped a little bit but smiled so much. This came from a person I did not know but she came over and we talked. She tells me, "I know you don't know me but I've seen your work and I love it. I want you to come talk to my people." This has happened very unexpectedly like that about two other times in my life. I was at an airport once in San Jose and the woman in front of me in the security line turned around and said, "I know you. You did that amazing LGBT training for us years ago." We got to talking and yes, I did. She was part of a counseling team that I trained years prior. She remembered me. She remembered the training and what was taught. Amazing!
I share those stories because it got me thinking about this: reputation. What an interesting concept. A reputation is what people say about you, right? What you are known for? What then, is a legacy? I think of things like this:
Reputation: "Ami is a great speaker and LGBTQ trainer. She delivers great content."
Legacy: "Ami reached even the most resistant of our group through her openness, kindness, and vulnerability. Being in a training with Ami is transformative and creates long-lasting, deep-seated impact."
Personally, I want the latter. I am so blessed to get to do what I love for a living and to actually be good at it. Not everyone is so lucky and I know that; I respect and acknowledge it. I hope every time though, that it becomes so much more than what the surface shows. Yes, it is a training. Yes, sometimes it is mandated. Neither of those things make the cut when I am asked to list my purpose those. To live and work in my purpose is to go much deeper than that. My favorite, what I love, is when someone walks into the room with me thinking things like, "I don;t need this training" or "this is a waste of time," and they leave thanking me, shaking my hand, admitting that it was helpful and even fun! I love getting to talk to people after and they tell me about their family members who identify; or how their parent is having a hard time with their child's identity; how the training helped them to then go home and explain things to their families. Yes, I teach professional development but again, for me, it is so much deeper than that. We are talking about people and as we are all people, we are talking about us - all of us - and how we engage with one another in the world. If I can, in any small way, create a space in the world where more people can connect and appreciate one another - I want to! That is my purpose, that is my mission. I don't do what I do for a reputation. I do it so that the world might know my legacy. A legacy of kindness, equity, compassionate education, and objective advocacy (and yes, I believe that is a thing and can be done).
If when my time here is done, one person can stand up and truly, honestly say, "Ami changed my life for the better. My life is better for knowing her." Than my mission is accomplished...but I think that way about EVERY person I engage with on any level. And today, with technology and social media, that can be a lot of people. So, really, the goal is that thousands, millions even will be able to say that.
I want to leave a legacy of love and I believe that most people want that, too.
So, fellow humans, let's do that.
Let's say I love you when we feel so moved, regardless of societal expectations.
Let's give more thank you cards and less mean notes.
Let's give more hugs and less judgement.
Let's share our stories and listen to those of others around us.
Let's tell people we appreciate them.
Let's celebrate one another.
Let's support one another.
When someone around you forgets the power of their light, let's remind them.
Let's make love the new way of life for us all.
Unconditional and consistent.
That's a world I want to live in and one we can, together, create.
"Darkness can only come if you agree to dim your light." (-The Other Side of Agony, 25 Years of Words by Ami Davis)
So let's not make that agreement, even if it is against the "norm." Norms are boring anyway! ;)
And hey! Even if you think what I am talking about is complete bullshit and you fundamentally disagree...it's okay, I love you and I am so glad you exist!
To leaving a legacy of love.
I love you, all.