Whatever the circumstance you find yourself in, you may well be in a pivotal moment; you just have to recognize it and decide it's time to take control of the kind of legacy you leave. It may be time to envision a greater legacy, and then get after it with such energy that it recasts the challenges you face and expands the impact of your future moments in meaningful ways.
Introducing The Five Footprints of Legacy the ways we tend to leave legacies behind at work and in life. Get to work on making such imprints, even a few, each day and enjoy the daily doses of meaning that go along with those efforts.
These are major accomplishments you envision, invest in, drive to realization and ultimately leave behind that you can look back at years from now with pride and say, "I did that. That simply would not have happened if not for me." And by major accomplishments I don't just mean you restructured your company. Major can certainly be impressive results but also can simply mean real things you did that touched real lives of real people.
Transfer of Knowledge
When we take time to share what we have learned with others, it is one of the most direct ways we can have a lasting impact. At work, this takes the form of the investment we make in coaching others and in sharing information beyond what's merely required for employees to do their jobs.
Passing on Values and Life Lessons
The values we choose to live and exemplify, and the lessons we pass on, have a reverberating impact on those we interact with every day more resonant than we can imagine. Said another way, the little daily impressions we make, inspired by or in spite of our values, makes a huge permanent impression.
Relationships and Lives Serviced
When we invest in relationships in our lives, it produces meaningful connections. And yet for many of us, hectic days, which can be spent doing tasks bereft of meaning, prevent us from making even little investments in relationships ripe with meaning. Putting energy into relationships that matter to us will matter in the end.
Relatedly, to touch lives is to live in service of others. A simple truth is people don't remember us for what we do for ourselves, they remember us for what we do for them. Want to leave a legacy behind? Live in service of others with a desire to touch the lives of as many as you can in your time on this planet. There is a wonderful proverb that says: "If you are intentional about living a meaningful life and leaving a legacy behind, you never really die. Instead, you break into 1000 pieces, each of which stay alive within the people whose lives you've touched along the way."
Stories Told About You
The last way we tend to leave a legacy behind is through the stories told about us. What are the big, sweeping tales that characterize who you are? What will be said about you from the heart, when no one is looking? How did you live your life?
And make no mistake, stories will be told about you. As author Charles de Lint said, "We're all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on." Find out what your narrative is, then hire yourself as an editor of the eternal and rewrite as necessary.