Last September, Mel and I were lucky enough to take some time off to go see Hamilton in London. The cast was (as predicted) phenomenal, and we both did the “Big Cry” by the end. Apologies to anyone else in row G for the sobbing!
It’s a musical that has fascinated me for years - partly because the music is pure, unadulterated genius, partly for its central premise. How does a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” go on to change the whole fabric of his country? He survives his father leaving, his mother dying, his island facing catastrophic destruction in a hurricane - all before he reaches adulthood - and still has the oomph left in him to change the world.
Now, I’m not a historian by any stretch of the imagination, just a life coach who gets her nerd on for musical theatre. I can’t comment on the political or historical, just on how a hip hop musical about dead white dudes landed for me.
The composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, leads us through the story with a focus on “legacy” - what comes next after we are done. His version of Alexander Hamilton is “obsessed” with it, often to the exclusion of the needs of his wife and family, blind to his effect on the others around him. He enrages his “first friend” so much he gets shot! (Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler - we find out in song number one!).
But by the end, we are left with a poetic answer: “What is a Legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden that we never get to see…” When we zoom out from the here and the now, we see what all those threads he pulled, ceilings he smashed and people he pissed off got America in the end. And it’s a pretty impressive list… defences of the US constitution that are still in use today, a new financial system for the country, the coast guard, the New York Post to name a few.
For those of you wondering if I have a point - I do. This is not a love letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda (though I've been tempted to write one!) This is a post about legacies.
If a legacy is what lives on from the seeds you planted while alive, then how do we get one? What does it take to create real, meaningful change (without getting murdered by your nearest and dearest)?! What I believe is that at its most simple, it takes a vision and you need self-care.
When considering your vision, it helps to get really specific. Details, not just the general gist of it, will help you plot your course there. Below, I’ve copied out my own first explorations on my vision as an example to get us started…
I want to create a world with kindness and equality for all… For me, that means creating a world where people’s differences are celebrated, not shamed… So that means that we need a cultural paradigm to match it - one where being kind, curious and loving towards all is fostered… An important part of that is the eradication of intimate partner violence, so our children grow up seeing their parents as equals, and respectful of each other and of the people they encounter… (We also need to have a planet left to live on, so sustainability and environmental action are essential too…)
Once I got clear on my vision, the path all seemed a lot clearer in front of me. I’m not saying that my vision is the only one that matters, or that your vision needs to be the same scale. I’ve worked with women who created a vision of the home they want to live in and the life they’ll lead in it with as much loving attention to detail, all to find the path there. Whether you’re looking for personal peace or world peace, the delight is in the details.
So why is self-care so important? Well, when I look around me at the women I know, burnout is a feature of their lives. I’ve been there - I burned all the way out a couple of times on my journey, and it wasn’t pretty. I’m talking “can’t get out of bed, haven’t showered in days, why am I watching Homes under the Hammer for the twenty-second consecutive day” burned out. When we put our vision before our health or our sanity, we end up on our knees. On the right, you can see my "needs creed" - a highly personalised guide to keeping myself "OK".
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to leave my legacy unfinished because I died too soon. Let's all be a little LESS Alexander Hamilton in that respect!
So my lovelies, I’m leaving you with this… What will your legacy look like, and what support and self-care do you need to get there?
Get in touch if you want to book a FREE clarity call to help you figure it out. I can’t wait to see where your path will take the world.