by Ken Keis —
Leaving Future Generations with a Purposeful Legacy
Most individuals likely won’t leave much of an impression or legacy in history after they’re gone. Why? They engage life halfheartedly, primary wrapped up in themselves, and then wonder why their lives are unfulfilling and why they feel miserable.
A group of individuals over the age of 70 was asked what they might do differently if they had the chance to live their lives over again. Their responses led to three straightforward, yet profound, insights.
1. They would take more risks.
What if you had taken that new position, moved earlier, bought that property 10 years ago (and so on)? Using calculated risks, you can shift your strategies to emulate a winner’s approach/method. Taking appropriate risks will help you become “unstuck” in a rut, lead a more fulfilled life, and make a difference.
2. They would take more time for themselves.
In our frantic, urgency-addicted society, taking time to slow down, reflect, meditate, “chill,” or just be still, is rare—even frowned upon. Our lives should not be based on angst and constant worry; we need to be able to feel grounded, centered, and confident. I am willing to admit I am still learning this process. Remember that when you are racing on the treadmill of life and enjoying the adrenaline high, you need to come down from that high to rest and relax, which takes time. Do yourself a favor—take the time to think, reflect, and rejuvenate!
3. They would commit to something that lasts beyond their own lifetime.
It’s clear that as we age, maturity and wisdom come into play, and we begin to reflect more on our contributions—what we have given, rather than what we have received or taken. What will our legacy be?
What about your own legacy? Is there something you have, are, or plan to do, that will last beyond your lifetime? You don’t have to be famous to leave a legacy. You don’t have to make a public show to have an impact. You don’t have to start a huge company or charitable organization. Leaving a legacy could be as simple as being as great of a parent as you can be.
Years ago, a beloved sports professional living in our area passed away of a heart attack at the age of 69. As the president of a national sports organization, he showed more passion for life than many individuals one-third his age. The comments of those who knew him were similar—he was an amazing person of fine character. He built championship teams in Canada and the United States and everyone who knew him liked and respected him.
The premise that being rude, mean, or cutthroat is a requirement for building a successful organization is completely negated by the way this man lived his life. His legacy is one of professionalism, respect, and caring. For him, status was never important. His legacy is that every person has value.
You cannot leave a positive legacy unless you are truly living and working On Purpose. Your work should never be just a job; it should reflect the essence of who you are: your gifts, your talents, and your most passionate interests. Your life should reflect your contribution to causes in which you believe; you should not be participating through forced obligation. Further, if you serve in any type of leadership role—from parenting and teaching to supervision and executive leadership—you can also encourage others to play from their strengths and enhance their legacy.
Regardless of whether you want to or not, you will be leaving a legacy in this life! Will it be something, or nothing? Positive, or negative? It’s the price of admission to this life. So I ask you again—what’s your legacy going to be? Consider these questions:
- Are you leaving it up to chance, or are you being intentional in the way you are living your life?
- What would others say, at this very moment, about your legacy?
Do you want to change this?
Don’t wait! Start now!
1. Know your legacy. If you passed away today, what would your legacy be?
2. Reflect upon what you want out of your legacy. Does your current legacy reflect the way you want to be remembered, or is it is less than what you desire?
3. Change your legacy so it reflects your vision. Be intentional in your actions.
4. Care about your legacy because it reflects your values. Remember, no matter who you are, you will leave a legacy—good, bad, or indifferent. It’s the price of admission to this life.
5. Think about people who don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. How do they make you feel? How interested are you in helping those self-centered individuals? Keep this in mind as you think about your own legacy.
6. Challenge others to live up to their legacy and contribute to their growth.
7. Limit your exposure to toxic influences. Disengage from people who are draining you and putting you off track from establishing your legacy.
8. Work On Purpose! Rarely can a person leave a long-term legacy unless he or she is pursuing the field about which he/she has a true passion.
9. Be a legacy builder for yourself and others! Every single person reading this has the opportunity to leave a positive legacy and make a difference.
Ken Keis, Ph.D.
CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc.
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About the Author — Ken Keis, Ph.D., President of CRG, is a global expert on leadership, wellness, behavioral assessments, and life purpose. In 28 years, he has conducted over 3000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. His latest book, The Quest For Purpose: A Self-Discovery Process To Find It And Live It!, is available at thequestforpurpose.ca. He is also the author of Why Aren’t You More Like Me? Discover the Secrets to Understanding Yourself and Others, and co-author of Deliberate Leadership: Creating Success Through Personal Style. He co-created CRG’s proprietary development models, and has written more than 3.5 million words of content for 40 business training programs, and over 500 articles. Ken’s expertise includes assisting individuals, families, teams, and organizations to realize their full potential and to live On Purpose!