Hopefully, you can look back at your life in five years, ten years, 20 years, 30 years, and feel that you've done enough to contribute to my community and to society. That will end up being my legacy.
Your legacy may be that you:
It’s important for all of us to consider our legacy – or what we are going to be remembered for in the end of our days. To me, legacy also means the positive impact we each have to make upon this earth for as long as we are alive – whether it’s an impact on one person, one creature, or nature as a whole.
What is Legacy?
According to Merriam-Webster.com the definition of legacy can be something transmitted by or received from an ancestor from the past. In the old days, legacy used to be gifts or money that one generation would leave for another within families. The definition has changed somewhat over the years. It does not have to be money or gifts that one generation leaves for the proceeding generation; it can be what you did to help them remember you.
It is common to think of famous people and celebrities when thinking about great legacies. Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Martin Luther King, Junior, and others, we think of their inspiring stories. We think of their actions and heroism that excites us and get us to think about something we would want to do for the greater good. A legacy is about the actions that people take to be remembered by in future generations.
If you are an adult, whether you are in your twenties, or forties, or sixties, it is never too early or too late to think about legacy. The first step must be to figure out what your passions are – what you enjoy most in life. Your passions in life are often intertwined with your values.
Step 1: They all involve getting a planner! Without a planner, there will be no actionable steps in achieving your goals.
Step 2: Choose a few goals. Most people can work or 3 to 5 long-term goals at one time. Then, write down a few action plans in your planner for those goals (either once a month, or once every two months, once every three months, etc.)
Step 3: Keep monitoring your planner and crossing off those action plans as they take place.
· If you were to pass away next week suddenly and unexpectedly, do you think those you leave behind will be inspired by the life you led?
· Do you think celebrities are the only ones who build and pass on a legacy, or is it something we should all aspire to do?
· Have you heard stories from your parents and grandparents about some of your ancestors who did amazing things before they died? Do their stories inspire you to think about what you want to leave behind when it is your time to depart from this life?
If these questions intrigue you, keep reading!
Legacy is for Anyone and Everyone
People of all walks of life can think about the legacy they are going to leave behind after they are gone. Those who are rich and famous and pass away may leave a legacy for the masses to remember them by, like John F. Kennedy, Sean Connery, or Aretha Franklin. Their words, their actions, music, and other attributes will leave a lasting impact upon everyone. Can people who are not rich, not politically active, nor famous also leave a legacy? The answer is yes, absolutely.
It is never too late to leave an impact upon the lives of others, even if it is just a small circle of friends and family. Think in terms of a eulogy; what can be said about you that would inspire the members of the audience there to pay their respects to you? Have you accomplished deeds and acts that will inspire and motivate those who are present to go out and pay it forward?
The habits, the values, and the principles you live by could affect the generations to come. Even if you do not have children of your own, the stories, actions, and words may still impact others – even if you touched their lives for a moment in time.
Have you caught yourself bragging to your friends about someone in your family who:
· Came to the US generations ago with empty pockets and managed to start a business, purchase a home, and send his 3 kids to college?
· Was born with a physical disability but did not let that stop her from running 2 marathons each year?
· Saved money her entire life and before dying, donated it all to the local children’s hospital?
· Was a political prisoner for 20 years of his life and after being released, authored several books?
These situations do not describe the rich and famous; they describe people who live nobly, with humility, through perseverance, strong will to succeed, and determination.
The list below involves 24 specific and actionable ways you can start building a legacy, depending on your passions in life.
· Have you ever heard the phrase “live with purpose” and not quite understood what it meant to you as an individual?
· Do you want to live with purpose but not sure what that means?
· Do you feel like you have many purposes in life and do not know how to organize or prioritize what you want to do?
· Are you feeling like something is missing in your life or that you are not getting the fulfillment that you need?
If these questions intrigue you, keep reading!
What Does Living with Purpose Mean?
“Live with Purpose” is a slogan used by colleges, universities, life coaches, educators, clergy members, and the elderly who have life experiences. If you have ever wondered what it truly means, you are not alone. Here is what living with purpose means:
· Being clear about own’s values and beliefs
· Making decisions in life-based on values and beliefs
· Truly knowing what is important to oneself and not wavering
· Having clear desires for living or goals in life that reflect own’s values and beliefs
· Having a clear path or plan in life to reflect one’s true inner-self
“Living with purpose” is used interchangeably with “living a meaningful life.”
Why Is It Important to Live with Purpose?
To live with purpose, you must consider the following questions:
· Are you clear about our values? In other words, what are some things that you consider to be very important and some things that are not very important in life?
· Are you generally happy and content in your life? Does it feel like something is missing?
· Are you excited to get your day going when you wake up in the morning, or does it take a lot of effort to mentally convince yourself to get up and get going?
· Are you feeling stuck in life and somewhat hopeless?
If we answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to think about ways to live with more purpose. If you are waking up, doing what you love, doing what is important to you as a human being, you are most likely living with purpose. People who live purposefully are generally:
· Less stressed
· Nicer to others
· Easy and pleasant to be around
People who do not live purposefully have the opposite characteristics and attitudes.
Knowing that you are positively impacting someone’s life is one of the best emotions you can feel like a human being. The sense of joy, happiness, and contentment is delightful for the soul. It is the feeling a doctor feels when she saves a patient’s life. It is the feeling a teacher gets from a student who returns for a visit years later and tells him that he was the reason he made it into college. It is the feeling parents feel seeing their son or daughter return in military uniform after returning from active duty.
There are many different ways to inspire others. Whether you know it or not, your words, actions, and demeanor are being observed by others. The impact you make upon others is part of your legacy – what you will be remembered by as you get older and leave this world.
If you answer yes to these questions and find them intriguing, keep reading! This article will give you some practical strategies and ideas on inspiring and consistently motivating others. You will give others the encouragement and insight they need to achieve in their lives, and you will get a tremendous sense of satisfaction knowing you made a difference.
Why Inspiring and Motivating Others is Important
· Motivating and inspiring others bring out the best in you. When you are doing something meaningful, your levels of self-confidence and self-esteem get higher.
· One act of inspiration opens the doors to more opportunities to inspire. In other words, if a person comes up to you and tells you that you were the reason for their success, you get so excited and so overwhelmed with joy that you want to inspire even more people.
· Inspiration gives your life and your existence meaning. Being a source of inspiration for others gives you satisfaction in knowing your life on earth was impactful. People who inspire report having greater levels of spirituality and meaning.
· As human beings rely on relationships with others to achieve major goals. Your inspiring words and actions are helping you pay back to society. You are giving back to others what you have received from other human beings who have impacted your existence.
· When you inspire others, directly or indirectly, you are exhibiting leadership skills. You are evoking feelings of awe and admiration in others, and therefore serving as a source of influence upon them as a leader.
Infographic - What is Legacy and Why is It Important
To read the article on legacy published in March of 2021 with 24 ways to starting building an inspiring legacy, please go to the Books and Publications page.
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What does "live with your purpose" mean? Here is a video explaining it and giving some actionable ways to consider living life based on your core beliefs and values.