What will you leave behind?
That was the focus of a discussion led by my good friend Jack Woloshun. We were there to talk about the many crossroads in life and the people with whom we share the journey.
Have you thought about what you would like to leave behind? What will remain once your flesh and bones no longer walk this earth? How will you be remembered?
To demonstrate what’s possible, Jack pulled out a book his daughter assembled for his 60th birthday. She had contacted the many family and friends from Jack’s life and invited them to express their sentiments.
The words were anything but shallow, very unlike canned drugstore greeting cards. Rather they were lengthy letters of affection, memories and hope for the future. Jack only read 3 or 4 letters from the book, but what he shared demonstrated what it means to leave a legacy.
Jack has spent his life giving to others; he has chosen to be a giver instead of a taker.
The letters reflect a lifetime of memories, influence and impact. I think that is what it’s all about.
Legacy is something you may or may not have thought of; I think the answer is likely dependent on your age and to what extent you consider your life in the grand scheme of humankind.
Legacy is not about leaving a hospital or street with your name stamped on. It’s not about things you did that elevated your ego. It’s not about how many toys you collected. It’s not even about how much money you left to charities or your kids.
Legacy is fundamentally about who you are. Your legacy is a replica of how you live your life every day.
What would happen if people were asked to write letters about their memories of you? What would they say about how much you meant to them? What would they have to say about how you impacted their lives?
“Greatness is not achieved on accident; greatness is achieved on purpose.” So says Crossroads creator, Victoria Jeffs.*
Or as author, Richard Rohr says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Every day we get to decide who we want to be. We are not defined by our past. But our present and our future ARE defined on how we live today.
Think not only about who you are, but who you want to be, and what you want to leave behind. Then consider how will you make that happen.
Belarusian entrepreneur and investor, Gary Vaynerchuk, brilliantly articulated the point: “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.”
*Read about the Crossroads course: http://www.findyourday2.com
Royalty-free image by Neil Hedley; retrieved from: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/typewriter-1144164