During her long and notorious career, there were countless ways that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg impacted the rights of American women, the United States Justice System, and the world at large. Yet, her boldest gift to womankind is the power she bestowed on us to choose, to decide, to light a fire inside ourselves. That fire is ours. It belongs to each of us and it is our duty not to extinguish it, but instead to keep igniting it and fueling it for the greater good.
In so many unexpected ways, when we seek justice in the world, we also require it inside of ourselves. That justice is predicated on making powerful choices in our everyday lives. Decisions about our businesses, our relationships, our communities, our rights, and about our own growth and renewal, are ours to take ownership of. What Justice Ginsburg taught us, is that anything is possible if we believe it is worth enabling. In order to lead others, we must participate in the everyday act of leading ourselves because the foundation of decision-making resides in self-leadership.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life was predicated on making tough and meaningful personal and professional decisions. Here are 4 ways that the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg supports us in doing the same:
Be In and Of Action: “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself. Something to repair tears in your community. Something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is—living not for oneself, but for one’s community.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Choice can be hard. For many, our quest for solutions is often robbed and eclipsed by problems, overthinking, and fears. It is not enough to set a goal, or have an idea, we need to infuse our goals and ideas with bold choices taking them from intentions to commitments. The real test of being in-action is being of service and impacting ideals that are bigger than we are. Yet, this begins with not being afraid to take action, of not fearing the opinions or repressions of others.
RECALIBRATE: Go ahead and reset your goals for the next 3-6 months. Reach outside of yourself. Be selective but intentional, and then ask yourself, “What would Ruth do?” Allow your answer to that question to support and direct your next decision. How will you hold the baton today? What is possible?
Be Independent and Be Memorable:“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent. Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Legacy is about choice and individuality. In order to live a legendary life, a consistent commitment to exploring the unknown must be evoked every day. It is this self-promise to chance choice that jumpstarts leadership.
RECALIBRATE: Opting into your inner voice also permits inner justice! In order to live a life fueled by equality, we need to be able to feel equal and worthy from the inside out. A steady dose of self-worth supports empathy and guides gratitude and independence. Justice is validated at the crossroads of empathy and gratitude. From that stance, how do you want to feel? How can you leave something or someone better than you found them? If legacy is meant to be lived, how are you driving and curating that daily? Apply that to your choices.
Inspire and Lead Others: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In its simplest form, leadership is a byproduct of choice. What we give voice to, and take action on, drives change. Nothing else does that. If reform and renewal is what is needed, it begins with the small deeds we each do as a matter of course. Build upon those deeds and the momentum of change is born. Build upon those deeds, even in the face of adversity, and you manage and inspire not just yourself but the world around you.
RECALIBRATE: Self-leadership is the gateway to leadership. How are you leading YOU? Are you making decisions and taking consistent action steps in your life, in your business, and in your community that support what you believe? Envision yourself 10 years from now looking back on today. What do you want to be able to say you did? Do that!
Don’t Tolerate, Accept: “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
There is a price we pay for tolerating situations in our lives. When we tolerate, we put up with things that don’t align with our goals or values. That creates anger and judgment. The result is that this robs us of opportunities, and we repress anger and turn inward. It robs us of decision-making that brings us closer to our goals, and in fact, moves us further away from them.
RECALIBRATE: Accept. Acceptance is the ability to see and be okay with what has occurred without any catastrophic energy elements. This does not mean you agree with or condone what has happened; you are living with it, by choice, without judgment. Releasing judgment releases anger and puts you in control of your choices and responses versus emotional reactions.
Make a list of the things you are currently tolerating and putting up with. Read your list out loud in front of a mirror. Crumple up your list and toss it away. Now rewrite a list of what you are ready to accept instead. These decisions are now directing your energy. You control what you accept because it does not hold you back, instead it energizes you forward. What is possible now that you let go?