As another year almost comes to an end, the question that comes up is “What have I accomplished this year?”. Maybe the question to ask is one that builds upon each year and that is “What is the legacy that I am building?”.
This question causes you to think not about your present circumstances but what it would be if you could do what you dream of doing. If you could release fear and judgement, and take that step of faith, what would you do?. For a moment, just imagine, what is your legacy? what are you leaving behind? Now that you have imagined a picture of your legacy, what do you need to do to make it real?
Now, what is stopping you?
The question of “What is the legacy that I am building or leaving behind?” will require each of us to not view our accomplishments in an isolated manner but consider the impact of our actions and words to the people around us as well as the community.
This mindset shift will result in:
- Short term vs. long term. Time frame shift: The change in how we view time frame is critical in how we walk, run or sprint through life. There are many of us who go through life like we are running a sprint, a whirlwind day and by the end, we can’t even remember what we have done. We may have gotten a lot of our checklist items completed, and yet, deep down we wonder, what did we accomplish? Did we build into anything of significance? When we view our acts or contributions as building into something, then when the going gets tough, the purpose or goal that we had in mind will drive us through those tough murky days. Every small step counts.
- Personal gain or building into others: Building a legacy requires that something to be left behind for others or those to come after us. That something can be material things as well as what you will be remembered for by others. Therefore the question is “Is this for my personal gain or one that can be built upon for others as well?” In this world where it is everyone for themselves, it is easy to make the decision based on self-centered needs and wants. In fact it is expected of others to not be selfish or self-centered, but when it comes to you, does it ring true as well? How do our words and actions impact those around us? Are they encouraging or discouraging to the people around us?
- One hit wonder or continuous improvements and innovations: Legacies are not built in a day or by just one action but through continuous committed series of actions. In order to build a legacy, there is a need to never stop, never give up in making the adjustments and improvements to do better each time. In order to achieve that, the heart of why we do what we do must be clear and pure. There is no pretending to be supportive of your friend if you are not deep down. Pretense will always be found out. Never stop to be a better person as no one is perfect but to be matured and wise takes time and effort.
- Accumulating wealth or sharing blessings: Look at someone like Bill Gates. He has a lot of monetary wealth and with it he is also making a difference by sharing it to solve problems like eradicating malaria, polio, promoting education and so on. He is an example of someone sharing what he has to make a difference and leaving a powerful legacy in the process. What is your perspective? Are you simply accumulating and just enriching your personal sphere or are you sharing what you have been blessed with others? What builds upon your legacy?
As the year comes to an end, what have you built that goes into a legacy that you are leaving behind? Who have your touched? What difference have you made to the people around you? It is never too late to think about making a difference, being significant. Each of us has that desire to be significant. Don’t just “feel” it, take action. Resolve to not just let the year go by without leaving your mark on this life. Start today.