The concept of leaving a legacy can be summed up in the hilarious movie lines of Dr. Evil in the first Austin Powers movies, when he says, “who’s going to take over the world when I die?” Leaving a legacy is not about how many buildings or street signs, or naval war ships have your name plated, although an honor it would be. In fact, one of my hobbies and passions is to bring back to life old historical buildings to their initial purpose, integrating them with today’s culture to allow history to continue to be shown. Physical locations are important however, a true legacy is what you are remembered for doing and being, not just what you had.
What would you love to be remembered for?
How To Start Building Your Legacy
During one of my coaching groups towards the end of 2018, I was walking an amazing group of people through my legacy program and this topic came up on…wait… you guessed it, New Year’s Eve! Step six of my eight step program is to “Look Past Your Future” and it is a turning point for many people where the a-ha moments begin to come to life. So, on New Years Eve we were digesting how to look past your future and juxtaposing it against the backdrop of creating New Years resolutions. I am not a big proponent of making resolutions as I believe we should be working on out goals throughout the year. However, the concept was clear that at some point, we need to stop and evaluate where we are, where we are going, and how we want to get there.
The first question is simple – ask yourself, what do you want to be remembered for. Pick a date. It doesn’t have to be New Years eve, but it should be soon. Take a day to reflect. Make it your new starting point. Ask yourself how you are ending (meaning what have you done up to this date point). Take a deep inventory of what you have accomplished, what you have not, where you have gotten off, where you have stayed the course, and what have you changed.
Without knowing where you want to go, you’ll never get there…
The next part of this first question is to ask yourself, how are you beginning this new you. Specifically, what actions are you going to take to change what needs to change. What are you doing right now that you need to continue to act upon? Who do you need in your corner? Who do you need to remove from your corner?
One amazing thing about asking this question is that you can (and should) continue to ask it on a regular basis. It can serve as your baseline for staying on track and if or when you do start to stray away you will correct yourself much sooner, and much easier than before. Here you can be in an almost continual evaluation process that is so pure, so authentic that you won’t be able to help but to build a legacy that will impact future generations.
Reflection is Key
The second question to ask yourself is, who do I look up to a someone who has built a legacy or is actively building a legacy that I see. This could be someone you personally know, someone in the professional realm, or a person from history that has impacted you.
When you have a person in mind, take some time to research them, paying close attention to what specific characteristics they possess and evaluate how they implement those characteristics into creating a legacy. What legacy have they left or are they currently leaving, and how does it impact others?
Finally, ask yourself why this person. What connection to that person do you have? Whether you have done this in the past or this is your first time doing this, one thing is pivotal… that the time is right. Right now is the time. The timing is always right. There is never a wring time to ask these questions to continually seek out clarity. When you have clarity, you can be sure that others will see it and they will begin to look at what legacy you are leaving. Your future depends on it.