What valuables will you bequeath? Material wealth is a small fraction of our legacy. Consider giving the gift of your knowledge, wisdom, values, attitudes, and ethics.
Everyone leaves something behind...
Inherently, individuals have a desire to leave something special behind to mark the value and purpose of their life. Not just a bequest to a cause, but rather a combination of a life of dedication and focus that results in a ripple effect that positively impacts society, whether in the community, globally or in the family. This gives purpose, passion and meaning to your life.
A definition of a legacy is someone’s lasting contribution to the world, to society or their family.
Why is it important?
A well designed legacy can be empowering. It is something SO big, it pulls you forward. It provides an opportunity to make a lasting impact on many levels. It is a result of a purposeful life, focused on taking action around your values, passion, mission, and vision. It provides a sense of deep meaning and can be a catalyst for positive, long term change that continues beyond your lifetime.
What Legacy Are You Creating?
Often when we think about a legacy, it's something that is left behind after a person has passed. The idea of the living legacy has the power to spur you on to live a mindful and proactive life.
What kind of legacy will you leave? How will your family and friends remember you? How will you leave your descendants in the following areas? Give some thought to them and make some changes. In doing so, you will begin to lock in your legacy.
1. Emotionally: Have you ever stepped back and asked yourself how you treat other people and how that affects them emotionally? Are you raising emotionally healthy kids who are both independent as well as interdependent. Are you helping your spouse to grow emotionally?
2. Spiritually: Are you helping and encouraging those around you to find their spiritual life? Are you living an authentic spiritual life that will be your legacy?
3. Physically: Now I know what you are thinking: I can’t change my genes. What I am talking about though is to be examples of taking our physical health seriously. The statistics prove that whatever bad habits you have, your kids are likely to do them as well. Why? Because you are their example.
4. Financially: There are two primary ways you can leave a financial legacy. First, teach your loved ones about how to handle money (some of you may need to learn yourself first). There are just so many good books on the subject, there is no excuse for not knowing. These will teach you the basics. Secondly, you can leave an inheritance. Now let me be clear on this. This does not have to be after you die. In fact, the more you have, the more I believe you ought to give away while you are alive.
5. Relationally: What kind of legacy will you leave in regard to how people you know interact relationally with others? When people look at how you interact with others, will they be better off if they develop the same relational habits? Will your legacy be one of love, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and forgiveness? As you live this life, you will see that your legacy grows after you in those you influence day by day. Give the idea of influencing others relationally some serious thought.
6. Functionally: Functionally? Yep. It’s a catch-all word. It is how they function. It is all of the above, rolled into one. How will those you influence actually function? This is to a great degree how you function. Are you well-rounded? Are you balanced? Do you keep the main things the main things? Is your life functioning well? Make it your goal to live a balanced, functional life so you can leave a legacy of such. Give your life function some serious thought.