Why Your Legacy Matters and How To Make The Most Of It Today.
You have been blessed with certain gifts, skills, passions, visions, goals that are unique to you. They are in your head, you know what they are, yet in many cases you convince yourself you will do them ‘tomorrow’. Life is precious. Life is fleeting. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. When you are placed in your grave, will you be visited by your dreams, your passions, your goals that have been left unfulfilled? Will they look down upon you with anger, demanding why you are dragging them underground with you, never to be seen again instead of having freed them unto the world? Or will they just spend a moment, give thanks for letting them loose, and then continue on your passions as a legacy to what you stood for, the gifts you were given and cultivated…emancipated?
Most things we do in life are transitory in nature; very few last beyond our time on earth. When you ‘like’ someone’s post on Facebook, it may give you (and them) a moment of pleasure, but the action, the feeling, comes and goes quickly. I am not suggesting there is no place for these small things in life; indeed being in the moment, having meaningful interactions and connections with others is the fabric of existence. But consider balancing these types of transitory actions with things that will last beyond your lifetime.
Right now write down a list of your passions, your calling, your unique gifts to the world. Here are some ideas to get you going:
Spend time with a child, a young person and teach him/her a skill, or values, or life principles. This can be one on one, or in some type of volunteer group setting. You may have a specific interest or skill in particular areas like ethics or athletics or medicine or finance. You can start small by identifying a single person – your child, a relative, the child of a friend, or even a stranger. You may want to start a foundation around an area of life that is important to you so that you may involve others in raising and contributing time, treasure and talent.
Write that book you’ve been promising yourself for years you would get to ‘one day’. A story of someone in your life, a novel, a book related to your profession told in a unique voice that is solely yours.
Write a list of life lessons and distribute it to the children of friends.
These works will last, and likely impact people, long after you are lying in your grave. If your ‘life passions’ list has 5 items on it, you are blessed. All you need is one. If you have more, then pick the one that calls to you the most. Start. Just take one step towards your vision. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you ‘could’ be doing, rather focus on one thing you can do immediately. The forward momentum will carry you ahead and feed on itself.
In my case I have a lifelong passion for health & fitness. One day not long ago I decided to share this gift, this passion, with others. I approached a single person, a friend I knew a little bit but not that well. I saw he was struggling. I told him I wanted to help him out. I wasn’t looking for anything in exchange, I just wanted to give him the benefit of some skills and experience I had built over time. Not only has he made dramatic changes in his health (including mental, emotional) and fitness in a short time, but our relationship got deep fast. What a better way to connect with another human being than to give unconditionally? He is now inspiring others around him with his example. Those people will likely positively impact the lives of others, and so on.
All it took for me to translate my calling into reality was a 30 second conversation. It has only grown from there. Even if it is my time to go tomorrow, I know the seeds I have planted will last long beyond my time on earth. And the deeper connections I have created with others enhance my time along the way. After having taken this first small step, I expanded my efforts to others, and am well on my way to writing a book that will impact thousands of people in profound ways. First the calling, then the vision, then the action steps, then the results, then the rewards – for you and others. The formula is always the same.
Take a moment to write down the things you have always wanted to do, to give, to share with others. You don’t need a 10 page business plan – just take a single step towards that vision, and then the plan will start writing itself. Living is giving, and the more you give the more you live…even (especially) in the great beyond.