We have all heard so much about legacy. People say that when you think about leaving a legacy you feel a lot happier and purposeful. The more I thought about the topic the more I understood that while leaving a legacy is important it is not as important as living your legacy. I would like people to talk about me in the way I want to be known when I am alive. I think this is more exciting than thinking of what people will say when I am no longer there.

David Brooks talks about eulogy values vs resume values. Eulogy values are what make you stand for your highest values and by your deepest convictions. Eulogy values gives you the big picture for your life and gives you the impetus to create the life you want. The time to start living your legacy is now. This is one of the best ways to feel happy while you journey through life. Here are the 9 ways to live your legacy.

Love your life – The first step to consider while living your legacy is to love life. We need to understand that we have been given the gift of life. We can choose to live the way we want to. When we really appreciate life we will manage ourselves better. Once we love our lives we will then set big goals to make the most of the limited time we have to make an impact. So appreciate your life and love life for what it is. The gift of life is something to be appreciated and cherished.

Be Enthusiastic– Once you love your life you need to be totally enthusiastic about your life. Get excited about your life. Just think of it as an opportunity to experience this world as it is. When you are enthusiastic and project happiness relationships are fertilized with the seeds of trust. Enthusiasm is the key to a life of substance and cheer. If we want to experience all the beauty that life has to offer we need to be enthusiastic about life in spite of the obstacles each one of us face.

Be grateful– Your attitude towards everything in your life will play a greater role going forward. You need to develop coping skills to view the world through a prism of abundance. Keep looking at the brighter side of your life. Your attitude is the true barometer of how you experience your life. This attitude of yours will be reflected in the way other people treat you. Maintaining an upbeat attitude will attract abundance and joy. When you are totally grateful about your life you experience joy. The reason I am linking this to legacy is unless you feel joyous it doesn’t matter how much outer success you have because you will never enjoy it. So savor the small moments and revere life.

Accept yourself – You are totally unique in this world. It has been well established that even identical twins are totally different. This means no one else can be you and you cannot be anyone else. Be totally comfortable with you as a person. The first step towards greater richness is self-acceptance. Accept everything about yourself and change what you want to. Another way to put this is no one else can write the book you are meant to write or bring the talent you were born with. Your talent has to be brought out only by you. So tap into your amazing strengths and bring out your talent.

Find work that you love – Work is going to fill a large part of our lives and finding work that we really love is one of the key decisions we can make in our lives. Jim Collins in one of his audio clips mentions about Lou Grestner and how he became a Level 5 leader. In his excellent book “Who says Elephants can’t dance” Lou says at some point he fell in love with IBM. Jim Collins says according to him it is in that moment that Lou Grestner became a Level 5 leader and his blood turned from red to blue. This is because he found a larger cause than himself. So the takeaway for us is to find a cause that we are deeply passionate about because that will help us endure the pain that we will experience on our journey to Level 5 leadership. As Jim Collins says find the cause that you are so passionate about that it will pull you to be a Level 5 leader. We are only here for a short or limited time so find the work that invigorates you. Once you find your main cause you will be living your legacy.

Character – Trust in relationships is built on a foundation of truth. When you tell the truth all the time you feel great about yourself and everyone around you will understand that you mean business. People always respond favorably to those who live by their highest ideals. At the end of your life what will be important is that you lived your life according to your values. So as Stephen Covey said begin with the end in mind and align all your activities to your highest values. Character is what is left after charisma is gone. Keep aligning all your actions to what you want your life to stand for. This action specifically will ensure you will live your legacy.

Inspire others – Inspiring others is one the keys to leaving a lasting legacy. If you are a leader you need to inspire others to bring their best selves. Even in your family you can inspire your children through your actions. So always be on the lookout to set a great example which inspires everyone around you. Inspiring others to achieve their goals will help you leave a lasting legacy.

Always respect others – Respect everyone irrespective of their position or financial status. When you respect everyone you feel a lot better about yourself. Respect others for who they are and what they stand for. Again leaving a lasting legacy can only happen if people understand that you value them.

Deserving success – Sometimes people feel they don’t deserve the success they want. However if we look at anyone who is successful they all had the same fears and feelings as most of us. They took positive action to overcome their fears and most importantly they believed in themselves when no one else did. We are all deserving of success and as it is often said the universe is neutral. It doesn’t single out any of us that we don’t deserve success. This means all of us have the same opportunity as anyone else to achieve what we want. Of course some of us will start further behind than others but that time can be made up with learning and hard work.

There you have it all the ways you can live your legacy now. Living your legacy will ensure you leave a lasting legacy.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.