On Legacies. . .
Some of you may have noticed this newsletter hasn’t been issued in quite awhile, a year to be exact. The reason has a lot to do with life events and it only felt appropriate to renew this newsletter and begin with the topic of legacies. A year ago my husband and I welcomed our daughter into our world and seven months later I said goodbye to one of my very best friends as she lost her life to breast cancer. During this last year’s journey, I spent time talking with my friend Jax about her legacy and thinking deeply about the legacy I want to leave not only for my daughter, but for the next generation. What good came out of this emotional time filled with utter joy and deep sorrow? I revisited and became grounded in what legacy I want to leave. I also realized we all need to be thinking about our legacy now and living it today!
How is legacy being defined?
For purposes of this piece, we are using and interpreting the definition “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. . .” and not necessarily associating the term with a material possession.
What does thinking about my legacy have to do with organizational life?
You may be wondering why I would put such a personal piece in my newsletter and the reason is that we live our legacy every day. For many, more than half of our time is spent at work and whether your work is mission-based or for-profit, you can be living your legacy every day.
Isn’t thinking about my legacy now a little gloomy?
Many of us want to be remembered in a positive way for the special gifts we contributed to this world. Thinking about this now allows us to ensure we are living our lives in the most positive way possible. It is actually very energizing as it helps to ensure we are living a life with as few regrets as possible.
How will being aware and grounded in my legacy help me at work?
The more we are emotionally grounded and striving towards our own personal goals, the more productive we are at work and thus the better we serve our customers (however you define customers in your work). Further, some of us may associate a portion of our legacy with our work. Are you known for your kindness to your peers? Are you known to be a great mentor? Do people value your witty sense of humor that brings lightness to tough situations? Are you part of a social change effort in your community? Are you helping to make your local school a better learning environment for children now and in the future?
What can I do to ensure I’m living out my desired legacy?
There are many ways to do this. I think the easiest way is to become aware of your desired legacy by writing it down and then listing ways you are living it out now and coming up with 1-2 ways in which you can live it out more fully this year.
There are so many ways to leave a positive and lasting legacy in this world. It may be with one person or may touch thousands. The important thing is that you are living a legacy today that you want to be remembered for tomorrow!
“The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.”
– Tavis Smiley, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates