Shaping Your Leadership Legacy Through Persistence and Commitment to your Ideals

Mother Teresa and Princess Diana.  What thoughts come to your mind about these two women?

At first glance, these two well-known women seem to have absolutely nothing in common.

Princess Diana was of royalty.  She led the life of a princess with access to wealth and privilege that most of us can barely imagine, let alone actually experience.  She lived in multiple castles and had the resources of the entire British Empire at her disposal.  She was often on the front pages, was seen as an icon of style and grace, and had a profound and lasting effect on many people throughout the world.

Mother Teresa was as far on the other end of the spectrum as she could possibly could be.  Her entire worldly possessions were literally comprised of what she had on her back.  Her trademark blue and white Sari of plain cotton, her simple sandals and her rosary made up everything in life that she personally owned. She steadfastly refused to ever personally keep for herself or for her Missionaries of Charity anything more than what was needed to get by for today, and only today. Virtually everything else was given to the poor and needy.

So, on one hand we have a young and very beautiful princess, with millions of dollars at her disposal. On the other hand, we have an old woman, poor as a pauper with no personal resources from which to draw.  And yet both of these women, in their own way, had a dramatic and lasting impact on the world and on the times in which they lived.

Princess Diana was acquainted with some of the wealthiest people on the planet. The same is true of Mother Teresa. Princess Diana was on a first-name basis with heads of state throughout the world. As was Mother Teresa. Images of Princess Diana often adorned the covers of some of the most prestigious papers and magazines in the world. Ditto for Mother Teresa.

These two women from very different parts of the world, with very different backgrounds in training and education, developed a deep respect and intimate friendship with each other. I think most people will agree that each legacy has continued to have a lasting impact long after they passed from this life.

What some people might view as either a cruel twist of fate or perhaps simply a very odd coincidence, these two women died only five days apart from each other.  At the time, many people pondered on the similarities and differences in the lives of these two women. What if anything could we learn from them?

I believe one of the lessons to be learned is this:  As we also strive to somehow make a positive impact on the world, and leave behind some legacy of value to our fellow man, it makes no difference whatsoever whether you are as rich as a princess as Diana was, or as poor as a pauper as Mother Teresa was.

What is most important is that we each define internally what is most important, and then strive every single day with every resource at our disposal to achieve our goals. Persistence and commitment to our ideals is what will win the day and set us apart for the crowd.

For some additional information on personal ideals:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.



Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.