What will your legacy be?
Most of the time, legacies are thought of positively. The CEO that left her family millions or the grandfather that donated his farmland to a park. Sadly, legacies can be far from positive. What about that neighbor who was always yelling with a scowl on his face? They didn’t set out to lead that kind of life, but they ended up taking that path.
Legacy is transferring, relaying, or passing on from an ancestor or predecessor from the past. Often, legacy is correlated with possessions or materialistic “things.” It’s not just those with great fortunes that leave a legacy. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone of us has an opportunity to leave a legacy.
How did you make people feel?
Recently, I had a friend die who always made me feel special, listened to, and appreciated. He made time in his day to acknowledge my feelings and listen to my concerns, and he always thanked me for reaching out to him. You see, it isn’t just the things you give to others that will leave a legacy. It is how you made others feel. And here is the best part. It doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t need any preparation, and it doesn’t take much time at all.
What will you be remembered for?
Your legacy may not include a bronze bust or a street named after you. It may merely be your grandchild telling others about the important role you played in their life. I know some incredible people who visit nursing homes to sing or call bingo. They drive residents to appointments or sit with the dying, so those without family will not die alone. I bet everyone reading this knows someone who never misses a birthday or special day because they receive a card in the mail. That simple act makes others feel valued and loved. What impact did you leave on your family, friends, and community?
Here’s another great part of a legacy, you can start right now. It is never too late to create your endowment to this world. Start it with a smile. The irony of leaving a legacy is the fulfillment you will receive by knowing you made the world a better place.
A quote from a great poet and philosopher
One of my favorite sayings was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”