My first thoughts of leaving a legacy goes back to the will. How much money will you leave to family, friends or charities once you die. However, another more intimate definition of a legacy is the impact you leave on the world once you do pass away. Looking back into history, for some their legacy can be so special that the world is remarkably changed. I think of Martin Luther King, Earl Nightingale, Picasso and Da Vinci. However, for us mere mortals walking this earth, we will leave a more modest legacy. It may not change the world but it will leave a lasting footprint on those lives we touched.
Here are 6 questions to identify and clarify the legacy that you wish to leave behind.
- What do you want your life to stand for? Martin Luther King sought equality and human rights for African Americans. As a founder of Focus CPA, I support small business ownership, along with the challenges and rewards.
- How do you want to be remembered by your family and friends? Picture yourself in the back of the room at your own funeral. What would people be saying? My Husband, Steve, gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral. My mom had definite opinions and she wasn’t afraid to let them known. If the situation got too heated – there was the phrase that provided the distraction “how about those Packers?”. Everyone there could relate.
- What will those beyond your circle of family and friends remember you for? I am a Past President of Management Women and Talk of the Town Toastmasters. I have been a board member for the United Way and Freedom House. I was Treasurer at Nativity Parish. I hope that I am remembered for caring and willing to share my time and talent with others.
- How will the world be a better place because you were in it? My personal goal is to give back as much as I take. I pick up trash at the park. I recycle at home and hound my kids when they don’t. In the past I have adopted older dogs that are harder to place.
- What contributions do you want to make to your field? I have seen others take a leadership position in the local or national association. Others write books to share their knowledge. Another option is to financially provide scholarships for others to pursue a career in your field.
- Whose lives will you have touched? This depends on what you choose to get involved in. Majority of us have an immediate family and organization that we work at. Others go farther and volunteer to be a mentor, coach, participate in a nonprofit, belong to a club and the list goes on. We are social animals and normally like to belong to groups.
I challenge you to create your legacy with intent. Clarify what you stand for and how you will live it.
It is difficult trying to stay afloat on a sinking ship. Knowing that a working life boat is aboard can improve your odds.