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What is Your Legacy?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

You Already Have One

A gentleman once called me about my father. My Dad passed away two years ago and I have had many reach out to share their experiences with him, speaking of his legacy.

We often look at legacy from the rearview mirror. After a person leaves an organization, changes industries, retires, or dies, we take a panoramic view of his or her contribution and summarize it into a legacy statement.

Positive or negative, true or false, like it or not, that summary becomes forever etched in history as their legacy. It is other people's perception of the person's contribution in their time with them.

But that person's legacy was not created the day others captured it in a statement. That person's legacy was being built in people's minds and hearts every single day they made a decision that affected them.

Every day, you live the legacy you will leave.

My question to you is, "if you were to leave today, would you be content with the legacy you leave, or would you wish you had the chance to change it?"

You cannot assume that you will be able to carve out time in the future to "build a legacy" you would be proud to leave in your name.

Your legacy is like your personal brand, you build and reinforce it daily, then people sound back to you the summary of your efforts in a neatly wrapped box called, Legacy.

Adapting the definition of personal branding, legacy building is your, "intentional, ongoing effort to build [insert description] in the lives of others."

What you say and do daily by people are the building blocks to the legacy you will leave.

You build your legacy as you go. Whatever you have built to date, if you had no other opportunity to add a single word or deed, is the legacy you would leave.

This means that it is never too early, and you are never too young to be intentional about your legacy.

Let that sink in for a moment.

“If you're going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that cannot be erased.”

-Maya Angelou.

This weekend, I invite you to carve out time to reflect on your legacy thus far.

Thinking about your family, community, organization, and industry, answer these five simple questions for each:

1. If I were to leave today, what would [insert one of the groups above] say is my legacy?

2. If I could hear what they say, would I be satisfied, or dissatisfied with what I hear?

3. How would I have wanted them to describe my legacy instead?

4. What am I willing to change to build the legacy I want to leave with them?

5. What ONE thing am I going to do today to start building that legacy?

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