It was my 42nd Birthday, and by all accounts I had everything. A wonderful home, a great career, good health, good friends and family and a loving husband. Somehow it was not enough.
I turned to my husband and I just starting to cry my eyes out.
Men may have called this a midlife crisis; for me it was midlife madness. No matter how much I had accomplished, I felt that I was ‘greater’ than this.
My greatness would need to be discovered were others’ greatness lived. This exploration took me to Africa. Here my husband and I interviewed pioneering African women who are changing the landscape of their communities, countries and continents. Women who see that it is their duty to not just leave a legacy, but to live it.
We interviewed 64 pioneering women as we travelled through Africa from March 2011 until November 2012. For 20 months, through 15 countries, 33 borders crossings, 74,000 Km… we were amazed by the dedication of these women to select their careers with one goal in mind – to transform their communities.
We interviewed women who were pioneers in politics, education, philanthropy and business. Some women had been beaten, raped, and kidnaped. Some had less rights then a two-year old child, some had no rights at all. Some were discriminated against from the time they were born, others had the front row seat to prejudices and saw the people they loved killed in front of them. Others where brought up with opportunities and told they could be anything they want. And some were not even at the front door of their countries demise, but they felt the need to return to rebuild it.
Where does this sense of obligation come from? Why have so many people lost it?
No doubt obligation is born from circumstance and responsibility. The complete dedication to commit to a cause, belief or injustice requires more than just circumstance. It requires a craving to be part of something bigger than us.
Many of us in Western society have forgot the desperation required to be part of a movement. Often our only signpost for altering our course and making contribution part of life, is the reality that we are nearing the end of our life.
We talk about ‘leaving a legacy’ as it is something to do at a point later in our journey; rather than it is a way to live our life journey. As we remember the men and women that served our country out of duty or desire, we must not forget we all are part of something bigger. Everything we do, every day moves us toward tomorrow.
As people, we crave to make a difference. What is stopping us from leading or combining our efforts to join others in a collective commitment to consciously contribute™ to our community, country or continent and beyond?
What would it take for you to look at your life, your passion, and your impact and multiply it?
We should take a lesson from African leading ladies, that life is not just for living but also for serving the living. It is not a stage in life, but a way in which we live our life.
I thank every woman we interviewed for Wisdom Exchange TV (www.wisdomexchangetv.com), because through sharing their strategies, insights and words of wisdom, which were intended for future African women leaders… I believe I am the biggest recipient of their incredible focus and determination.
I hope through Wisdom Exchange TV interviews and my amplification of African Leading Ladies messages, that ‘we’ create a movement of motivated people who live a life of conscious contribution™.
Cultivate YOUR Conscious Contribution™:
In your daily life what can you do to impact your environment? Is it as simple as showing kindness to someone? Sharing a smile? Or is it more complex to help mentor someone or initiate a program to fill a gap in society?
Contribution doesn’t mean you need to start a movement to change the world, it means that everyday you must consciously contribute to the betterment of someone around you. As Mother Theresa would advise, start with the people in closest contact to you. One act of kindness can create a ripple effect an ocean away.
Please leave a comment, as we are interested in YOUR perspective!
Suzanne F Stevens Cultivates conscious contributions™ and influential communications. She International Speaker, Trainer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Host & Co-producer. She is a recipient of the The International Women Alliance World of Difference Award in 2013. To find out more visit www.suzannefstevens.com