Saturday, November 23, 2013

Light Someone’s Torch: Inspire and be Inspired Regardless of Your Age or Health

This past week, Gloria Steinem spoke at the National Press Club  and the next day she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Steinem was co-founder of New York and MS. Magazines. She is a champion of equal rights, social justice and a feminist. For more information about her life and work, go to Gloria Steinem website. 

At 79, having survived breast cancer and living with various chronic conditions, it’s fairly common for people to comment on her age and what she has been versus what she’s doing and planning. She made a very interesting comment during her speech at the National Press Club.  "People often ask me at this age, ‘Who am I passing the torch to?’ First of all, I’m not giving up my torch, thank you! I’m using my torch to light other people’s torches. … If we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light."

I’ve heard other interviews with Steinem, and again and again she refuses to be defined because of age or condition. One interviewer asked what she thought the greatest contribution she had made was. Her reply was something along the lines of “I don’t know because it may be something I’ll do next year or sometime in the future.”

Steinem’s torch shines brighter and brighter with each passing year. Her message is an important one regardless of age, illness, ability or whatever the restriction that we use to self-limit. We can continue to be inspired and/or be a source of inspiration as long as we choose to do so.

If you’re wondering how you can “light someone’s torch” by inspiring them consider the following:

• Be who you are, not a version of what you think others want you to be.

• Live in the present and mindfully

• Walk the talk-Practice what you preach

• Honor promises and tell the truth

• Listen when others are talking and communicate clearly-say what you mean, mean what you say.

• Make yourself available to others as you can.

• Do what you love.

• Be enthusiastic, encouraging and willing to care about others

• Be a life long learner

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