“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

-Dolly Parton

This month, we are celebrating women, leadership, and personal power.  I chose this quote by Dolly Parton because she is such a terrific role model and has done some much to uplift the world in her own way.  That’s really what it’s about, too.  Living life your way and leaving a meaningful legacy.

What is your dream? What type of legacy to do you want to leave? If you can’t think of your dream, a great way to gain clarity is to write your own obituary –  the one you’d like others to read when you are gone – and then live into it. 

A few years ago, I visited Dolly’s hometown, Sevierville, Tennessee. This is when I heard about her Imagination Library which is a book-gifting program that mails out free books to children from birth to age five all around the world.  Even though she came from humble means, she knew that someday her dreams would come true. She saw books as a way to help children achieve their dreams. To date, her program has given out nearly 142 million books! 

There are so many other stories like this of women, amazing women, who had an idea or a dream. They shared that idea with others and then used their personal power and leadership skills to bring those dreams to the world. 

I remember the day I met my client, Peggy Tabor. Like so many others, Peggy had lost some money in the technology crash and asked if I would manage her money for her while she was in Africa with the Peace Corps.

Peggy was already 60 at this time and had to fight to even be admitted to the Peace Corps. Her mission was to teach and lead her village in the Kingdom of Lesotho to develop their economic strengths by using what they had available to them. This was her Retirement Reinvention™.  Her initial plan was to delay taking Social Security (so her monthly benefit would increase each year) and wait four years for her retirement portfolio to grow as well.

Peggy has not only given me permission to share her story, but she has shared it herself with our Smart Women Community several times.  While Peggy was in Africa, she regularly mailed her “Letters from Africa” as we called them, and we posted them to our SWE blog. They were so popular and eye-opening that she developed a huge following. 

When she returned from her four-year journey, I interviewed her here on Smart Women Talk Radio, and she also received the “Smart Woman of the Year” award at one of our fundraisers. 

Now this is the best part.  Right after she returned home, we met for lunch at J. Alexander’s, a hip lunch spot near my old office. We both ordered the grilled salmon on salad. As her financial advisor, I asked her if she was happy with her financial situation and results now that she had returned. 

Do you know what she said? “Katana, I had to fetch my water from a dirty river and live in a hut with a mud floor.  Today, I can’t even believe I’m drinking this clean water out of a beautiful glass with ICE CUBES!  After living the way I did in my hut, I don’t even need my retirement portfolio. In fact, my Social Security feels like a millionaire lifestyle!” 

Although her response really surprised me, what she said next took my breath away. Peggy’s dream was to pull $20,000 from her IRA, so she could go back and build a well for her village. Yes!  If you are crying right now, I get it. I am too, as I write this.

Peggy was good on her word too. She went back to Lesotho, Africa and paid for her village to build their well. I’m sure she got her hands dirty too!

Peggy was just a regular gal, just like most of us. How did she actually pull off this crazy dream?  She took the same six steps as I have laid out in the Unlock Your Financial Power Course in the Smart Women’s Academy

Her journey all started with a Dream, followed by Discovery, then she took the Leap and created her Plan, and then she was in the Dance when she finally reached Mastery!  And then what happened? Just like so many…she had a new Dream! 

The secret was trusting the process and believing in herself and her village.  And remember, it started out much differently than it ended up. You see, most of the time this is exactly what happens, and if we aren’t careful, we will get distracted, derailed, second guess ourselves. Then the magic just stops. 

So please don’t give up on your dreams! You can live your best life if you reach out for help, do the work, never give up, and believe. I have two suggestions for you this month:

#1:  Please visit the Smart Women’s Academy and take my free course, Unlock Your Financial Power.  It’s the same exact process I take my private clients through. You will work at your own pace with audio, video and worksheets. I suggest finding a partner to do this work with because the sharing is so powerful.

#2:  Please schedule time to listen to our two radio shows from our very special thought leaders. I am so excited they have agreed to share their wisdom and personal experiences with us!

You can listen live, watch us on FB Live, or from your favorite podcast! This month, our two guests are two incredibly powerful women who will leave you filled with motivation and feeling empowered. Katie Macks, the original badass leader who walks the walk and talks the talk, will join us on August 11th to share the secrets of badass engagement. Later in the month, August 25th, the amazing Kathy Caprino will discuss the seven most damaging power gaps that prevent women from thriving at work. You won’t want to miss either show. Be sure to mark your calendars and join us at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT for Smart Women Talk Radio.

Katana Abbott, CFP®, is a Retirement Coach, founder of the Smart Women Companies, and the host Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers.  For over 30 years, Katana has shown women how to take charge of their life and finances and believes it’s never too early to plan for expected and unexpected events like retirement, encore careers, moving abroad, or preparing for long-term care.  She has written several books, created a financial literacy course, and is a popular speaker. Katana has been honored by NAWBO as one of Detroit’s Top 10 Business Women, receiving the Breakthrough Award. To download her new ebook, The Five Biggest Money Mistakes Women Make and How to Fix Them, visit www.katanaabbott.com