My Legacy for My Soon-to-Be Eight Granddaughters

I am a mother and a grandmother, both of which I am extremely proud of. I love being connected with all of them and I am in awe of how special each one of my three beautiful daughters is. I am even more amazed about having soon-to-be eight granddaughters. I did not think having this many girls would be my future or such a big part of who I am at this moment in time.  I was a tomboy and loved sports and played with boys because I did not know other girls like me. I married and began my journey with all these girl-women in my life.

I think God has a really great sense of humor and she said, “Okay you really do not understand what it means to be a girl so I will keep them coming into your life and YOU will learn to connect and understand the power of women.” Well, they kept coming.  I am very happy about each and every one of them, but it has left me with a responsibility and a calling.

My wish is for them to understand how unique and amazing it is to be a woman. Their lifetime will be a marvelous journey mentoring their sisters and learning with them and from their experiences.  I know because I have been connecting with smart, amazing women for over 20 years. It has been my privilege to collaborate with and learn from women leaders who are the best of the best in their areas of expertise. Our common goal is that we all want to connect and learn from one another and help and mentor other women to do the same. My wish is to leave a legacy– a footprint–of what I have learned and want to share with each one of them. 

The footprint analogy is used in many ways. Of course we usually think of leaving footprints in the sand. But another analogy for footprint is how it’s used as a foundation for a building. The builder uses the footprint to guide construction and often makes the new building even better, stronger and more elaborate and beautiful. In the same way, I hope to lay down a footprint that helps all of these women, my daughters and yours, become the capable leaders of tomorrow.  I want to leave a footprint of where women have been, currently are and where we are heading that allows the women who are stepping into leadership roles welcome their natural talents for collaboration to solve problems and build societal structures more enduring and supportive of a better quality of life for everyone world-wide.

There is an evolution, not a revolution, of women stepping up to lift one another up and help themselves and their sisters.  I want all women to be their very best in whatever they choose. This process has helped me to want to grow and to think about my legacy. I hope they can say I was an inspiration and someone who helped to show them the way. Then they will know they can do it because they have footprints both to guide them and to provide a foundation on which to build their own legacy. What do you want your children and their children to say about you when you are no longer around to hear?

If you have not thought about it, stop rushing through your day, look around, take a deep breath and decide. I think we all want to know that we made a small difference in someone’s life. I know that my two grandmothers left me with a great foundation to build on and I can only hope I am able to do the same.

About the Author

Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD, is the creator and co-author of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life and urges women to reach out and support each other to create an equitable world. Stay up-to-date on the thoughts, practices, and solutions cultivated by today’s Leading Women on Facebook and Twitter, or visit