When most people think of leaving a legacy, they think of the money the wealthy will leave their children. Don’t misunderstand, the children of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos will not be hurting for money when these successful men pass away, but besides the monetary gifts, what impact will these men leave on society and the people within their sphere of influence?
I think everyone from all societal levels has a desire to leave a part of themselves to make the world a better place. You don’t have to be famous or well known to leave a legacy.
- A person who is always willing to help others without asking for anything in return is most likely developing a legacy. Mother Theresa and Mohandas Gandhi are great examples of people who left behind legacies of compassion that changed many people’s lives for many generations.
- A struggling parent who may not feel like they are so important as the world defines, but their actions with their children are building a legacy. Obviously, we have all been impacted by the legacies of Thomas Edison and Martin Luther King, but their legacies started with the undying commitment from their mothers, Nancy Edison and Alberta King.
- Walter Sisulu is a person who definitely left a defining legacy. You most likely have never heard of this man, but you have heard of the person he mentored over many years, Nelson Mandela. Mandela attributed much of his leadership and human rights conviction to his relationship with Sisulu.
- The challenging environment that both Henry Ford and Steve Jobs created led to a great deal of opposition in the short term, but I am confident their legacies are very positive in the long term as their life-changing methods spurred (2) of the largest industries impacting the world today.
We could list many examples of the legacies left by others, but the questions for each of us to ponder are:
- If you were gone tomorrow, what would be your Legacy?
- What Legacy do you want to leave?
- What steps do you need to take starting today to assure this legacy is realized?
- What obstacles are standing in the way of fully realizing your potential and the Legacy you will leave behind?
Don’t only focus on today, but develop relationships and actions that impact the people who follow you, as the Legacy you leave will only be truly realized upon reflection in the future.