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What is Your Legacy?

Uncategorized Feb 26, 2019

Leave the legacy you can be proud of.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to leave a legacy? What would it be? Would you make a positive impact on other peoples life? Would you make an imprint on history?

I must admit, Albert Einstein is one of my favorite people in history. He was humble, he was fun, he was a genius. Yet, was judged at a young age as someone that wouldn’t amount to much. What would our lives have been without his contributions?

Legacy has meant different things to me over time. For most of my early life the term legacy meant a monetary gift left to those we care about by those in a better financial position. Its strange. I plan these gifts with clients regularly and though this can be a part of legacy, inheritance is wonderful, I’ve come to see legacy as in the bigger picture of life.

This summer, while at a business conference, my limited notion took new form. A speaker by the name of Thomas Bahler spoke of his life experiences. If you have not heard this man, you should! He is an extraordinary storyteller. Though there were many lessons to be derived from his sharing, I took something I wasn’t expecting at such an event.

I could be a better parent.

The way in which I empower my children through the questions they ask, the help they want, the things they wish to achieve. I could position each situation with my boys so they were ultimately making the decisions, coming up with their own solutions, helping them with whatever the result and let them know it’s okay to have results they didn’t want. In doing this, giving them the gift of confidence. These outcomes offer us insight from the negative experience. Results offer us a reward – learning.

Today, everyone gets an award for effort. Is this to soften failure? Why are we so afraid of failure? Life has failure. Failure provides us with the opportunity to learn. As adults we have been trained to fear failure or even mistakes. We are expected to achieve without failure. Or, we are often ashamed of failure so avoid taking chances altogether on things we don’t think we can achieve. The concept behind striving for big goals is saved for a small percentage of the population. We have forgotten to approach each new experience, each new goal, with curiosity.

 Ask how. Ask why.

Curiosity is the doorway to innovation.

Curiosity will allow you to see failure from a different perspective. Instead, choose to see failure with many layers. When looking at these layers you might see strengths (things you would want to try again), weakness (the things you ditch), great ideas, poor ideas, great execution, poor execution, the right or wrong people involved, etc, etc. When we are curious enough, we will see all that lies in the experience, both the great and not so great.

I speak of failure because what is it that stops us from striving, stretching, going after our BIG goals, dreams, legacies? Failure. Can we restructure the way we see it? Can we see it for the opportunity it is?

I struggle with this. Some days, it’s easier to not take the risk. Some days, it’s easier to hold myself back so I don’t have to experience that failure. Some days, that failure just feels too big.

So now I ask myself this – is this the gift, the legacy, I want to teach and leave my children? Is this what I want them to carry forward to their children and those they touch?

What I’ve come to understand is this. Legacy is the gift we give to others – the action we take that will change the way people live for years or generations to come. It starts with a strong belief. No, legacy comes from an absolute drive to create a better world. This world might be your immediate world. This might be for the whole world.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “I Had a Dream” Speech

For Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, his beliefs were so strongly embedded in service and equality he wouldn’t sit silently. He stood up for rights that should have been granted to all. He believed so deeply and passionately – ALL MEN would be guaranteed “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” For this decision, he put his fear aside and stood tall, the voice for something so much bigger than himself. The voice for all nigros and their right to equality. He left a legacy with exponential outreach. He changed the world. He changed history.

For his full speech read

Legacy comes from a strong core belief that things can and should be better. Not just better, but striving for something that will change the world around those it touches.

I want to leave a legacy with my two boys. I want them to have the confidence to approach life with curiosity. I want them to feel confident. I want them to go out in the world knowing its okay to fail, just learn from those outcomes. I want them to ask questions.

What went right?

What could I have done differently?

Why do I want to achieve this?

When our why aligns with our achievement, magic happens. Legacies are created.

I’m learning to think bigger than myself, bigger than my boys and family. I’ve learned that legacy can be offered to all of mankind. It can be an act of speech, giving of your time, sharing your skills and knowledge or giving of kindness, dignity, equality or even forgiveness. It doesn’t have to be monetary.

I’m learning to think bigger than myself, bigger than my boys and family. I’ve learned that legacy can be offered to all of mankind. It can be an act of speech, giving of your time, sharing your skills and knowledge or giving of kindness, dignity, equality or even forgiveness. It doesn’t have to be monetary.

Richard Branson posted an article a few months ago on LinkedIn showcasing Nelson Mandela’s life and the gift he gave to the people of Africa. Nelson believed so strongly in creating a better life for his people that he was lay the groundwork and implemented change that will effect not only this generation but positively effect many generations to come. That is a legacy to be proud of.

Richard’s post:

When I’m old looking back over my life; I want to be proud of the things I accomplished, of my children which I encouraged to become strong, kind, beautiful men, the things I did that helped others, the guidance I gave so people were able to release their fears and ultimately, in the end, the person I had become.

Life is a journey – there will always be difficult moments, there will always be joyous moments. It’s all in our perception. I choose to see life from a place of love and learn from each moment. Things don’t always work out the way I hope or plan. Some days are down right horrible but it’s the days that work, it’s the days when I see a change in my boys, see their kindness to each other or others around them, that I know I’ve done it right. It’s the days when they take a step toward something bigger than themselves that I know I’ve started to create a legacy that will spread beyond them out into the world around them.

So, every time I think failure might be too big, I’m re-framing my curiosity like this… What happens if I fail? What is the bigger failure – the chance I take or the lesson I teach my children? Did I learn and grow for this experience? Does it really matter what anyone else thinks? (No. What I think and how I feel about myself, that’s what really matters.) Why do I want to achieve this to begin with? Is my ‘why’ big enough? Does this matter in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years?

I’m often reminded of something Tony Robbins said in one of his books. He spoke of his mothers wish for him to become a truck driver. I realized had he chosen to succumb to fear of failure, not take chances, to stay in the normal, the easier road, the world would have lost out on his gift. So many lives would never have changed, so many would not be the people they are today without the guidance of his core belief that everyone can live a better life. He gifted the world his legacy – to live the life you want and choose. Live a better life.



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