Your legacy is about who you are, not about what you do. What you do will be remembered only for a brief moment, and then it will no longer matter because someone else will set new performance records that will surpass your accomplishments. Who you are and how you influence others will be remembered for a very long time.
Discovering and defining your legacy requires you to move beyond the shortsighted definition that merely includes what you will leave behind. It is a forward-looking effort, not a backward-looking summary.
Why is legacy-making important?
Legacy making is the ultimate meaning-making exercise. To fully engage in the process, you must accept the idea that what you do continuously influences who you want to become, which always yields a future outcome that will benefit you just as much as it will benefit anybody else. Your legacy is the compilation of everything you learn. It is something that you carry with you as you grow and learn to live up to your true potential.
Legacy making is a multidirectional exercise. As such, it encompasses your past, present, and future. It is not a short-term exercise. Therefore, as long as you exist, you will always be adding to it. Not only does your legacy represent your previous accomplishments, but it also communicates your influence on others and portrays how each experience contributed to the process of becoming who you are today. It is also a major force in shaping your future opportunities to grow and develop and serve others.
How do we live into our own legacy?
One purpose that we must honor as we reach for our legacy is that of using the gifts and talents that we develop to bless and nourish the lives of others. A legacy must never be a selfish pursuit, or else our enlightened moments will certainly be overcome by darkness.
Shaping our legacy requires us to serve others. We don’t serve them because they are less than we are; we serve them because we want to inspire them to be more than they are. When we do this, our interactions with others are positive. Though many of these experiences will be brief and sometimes anonymous, they will touch both others and our self in ways that will continually inspire personal growth and development.