At what point in my life should I begin thinking about my legacy? Are thoughts on this topic restricted to the elderly? What will my legacy be? Based on my current course, will my legacy be what I want it to be?
As I sat in another funeral today, all these questions flooded my mind. Then, I was struck by a blinding flash of the obvious…
We don’t have a choice regarding whether or not we’ll have a legacy, we do get to decide what it will be.
We are the primary actor in our story. No, we don’t control every scene, character or obstacle we face, but we do determine our role. And it is our role, not the outcome of the story, which creates our legacy.
How can you and I guarantee a positive legacy? I have only two ideas for today…
Choose your role wisely – What role do you want to play in this life? Do you want to be the generous leader or the stingy one? Are you the leader who expects the best of people or are you the one who believes people are all self-serving? Do you want the role of the courageous leader? Maybe the role you’ve selected is to be the encourager. Or, do you want to be the leader who was full of good ideas, but failed to execute on any of them? Your legacy could be any combination of these. You choose.
Maintain a long-view – As my friend Randy Gravitt reminds me often, “Legacies aren’t built on the first day, or the last; they are built in the mundane middle.” What we’ll be known for over the decades are the roles we played consistently. If we have a short-term, expediency mindset, we’ll not fulfill our roles well. We’ll look for shortcuts. Shortcuts short-circuit meaningful legacies. If you and I will consistently show up and be the leader we need to be, our legacy will be secure. Emerson said it like this…
The years tell a story the days never knew.
Of all the things I’m thankful for in this life, the power of choice is near the top of the list. As it relates to legacy, I’m extremely thankful we write the final sentence in the final chapter of our lives on earth. Will it be a story of tragedy or triumph? You and I get to decide.
That’s why I’m excited for you. You were born to write your story. The pen is in your hand and you write a few sentences everyday. Those who know you are reading your story page by page as it unfolds. The only question that remains: What ending will you write? I want to encourage you… Make it epic![GLS_Shield]
Author: Mark Miller
Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.