“How would you spend the last 30 days of your life?” asked Leah Dobkin, freelance writer, author and founder of Legacy Letters (www.legacyletter.org) of the Port St. Lucie Business Women at their February 1 meeting. Many Business Women said they would take their family on an extended vacation to visit countries and sites that they always wanted to see and to share with family members. Then Dobkin asked, “What value does this represent?,” to which the Business Women responded making memories and living in the moment with those whom they love and who mean the most.
“Our wisdom is important,” said Dobkin, “and because we can’t predict what will happen tomorrow, I strongly encourage you get started.” She added, “We are not just aging but saging.” Dobkin suggested identifying the values that are important to us, then create stories that express these values. “Stories are more effective than lecturing or writing about oughts and shoulds,” said Dobkin. She gave five tips to get underway.
- Identify why you’re writing a Legacy Letter and to whom.
- Make an appointment with yourself to commit to this project. Do this now because you value yourself.
- Establish a due date.
- Find a dedicated place to write and surround yourself with memory triggers, such as photos, keepsakes, music and even smells from old family recipes to help extract important stories and insights.
- Take an eternity view. Imagine what the world is like without you. Doing this provides an objective vantage point when considering your life and experiences.
While there are concrete health benefits to writing a Legacy Letter, the closer ties or mended relationships that often result are immeasurable. “These tributes become love letters and memoirs that family members greatly appreciate, one that strengthens ties,” said Dobkin.
Businesses also benefit. Nonprofits have used a Legacy Letter about a major donor, including stories about who influenced their generosity, to increase philanthropy and to cultivate donors. A business that creates a tribute book capturing the values and personality of its founder, as well as the company’s history, has an excellent tool for sales, public relations and human resources. Additionally, a Legacy Letter or tribute book is a meaningful gift for a respected leader or a valued retired or retiring employee, donor or investor.
Leah Dobkin is based in Stuart, Florida, but works with families, businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations in the United States and abroad. Contact Dobkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (414) 238-1577.
The Port St. Lucie Business Women is a 37-year-old professional organization dedicated to promoting the interests of business women and serving our community. For more information visit www.pslbw.com. Follow their Facebook page for updates about events, programs and community involvement.