December 9, 2016

Living Your Legacy Today Starts Here

Starting is easy—it’s finishing that is difficult. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. One lap, one quarter, one period to go. How you finish is what separates a good legacy from a great one.

When the finish line comes into view it can give rise to a range of emotions—especially if the stakes are high and the important people in our life are counting on us.

Finishing strong requires you to sustain and extend your focus and energy when your body is tired and your mind is fatigued—pushing you beyond simply wanting to be done. It is very uncomfortable, but don’t discount the discomfort. It is an indication you are in pursuit of meaningful and tangible impact.

I recently asked someone, “Where do you want to be in five years?” He began to describe a number of career scenarios and how it would affect the other roles in his life. Then I asked him, “Who will benefit from what you envision?”

Now my friend took a deep breath. He quickly realized the context of how he viewed the next five years had just changed.

Defining Impact—Understanding your Legacy

Impact is living out your legacy today—intentionally thinking about how you will invest your time, talent and resources to affect positive change in your life and in the lives and causes that are important to you.

Legacy is something you must purposefully design and craft. It’s thinking and acting like a creator—using your time, talent and resources to serve the people you love and lead. Pull back the covers on impact and you find it is the seed of great personal fruit—joy, happiness, satisfaction, excitement, connection and community. Think about it this way, do you know anyone who when asked about being successful does not use these words to describe the success they desire?

I was listening to someone talk about his visit to see a friend who had moved into a new home. He painted a word picture of magnificence and splendor. After describing the outdoor living space, he asked, “How many televisions do you think are in this house?” He quickly answered his own question, “20,” he exclaimed, “it is amazing, 20 televisions!”

I asked, “How many televisions will he be taking with him when he passes on?” “What do you mean?,” he asked. What I was describing was the fact that no one will remember he had 20 televisions. I can’t imagine that he would want to be remembered for what he owned. Would any of us want our legacy to be described by what we owned?

Creating Impact—Living out your Legacy

Which brings us back to thinking about how we live out our legacy and create impact.

Impact rises as the stakes rise. You want the stakes to be high enough to garner your focus and attention. Impact means investing your time, talent and resources so you create ripples that equip the future.

To zero in what is essential to creating impact and raising the stakes of your race in 2017 answer these two questions.

  1. What do you want to be remembered for? Think about the influence you would like to have—problems solved, opportunities created or relationships nurtured.
  2. Who do I want to be remembered by? Think about if you create the “what” will it truly be meaningful to the people you most want to help?

We get lost on our way to the finish line when we fail to maintain clarity about who and what we want to be remembered for. Clarity makes it easy to decide what to say, “Yes,” to and what to say “No,” to. It pushes randomness, confusion and hesitancy to the sideline. Clarity eliminates distractions and focuses your thoughts and actions on what you have identified as being important.

You can raise the stakes by putting your answers to an important test. Ask the people you most want to be remembered by how they were impacted by your how you spent your time, talent and resources?

The truth tellers in our lives are always the people we say we most want to be remembered by. If we put these people first, we will never be disappointed.

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