10 Ways to Build Powerful Legacy Now
Legacy is about life not death.
Legacy isn’t tomorrow. Legacy is now. How people think of you now is how people will think of you then. Today’s footprint is tomorrow’s legacy.
Everyone leaves a legacy. Leadership is all about what you leave behind.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
7 Legacy blockers:
- Lack of focus.
- Living the life others want you to live.
- Bitterness, anger, and fear.
- Urgencies that smother priorities.
- Defeatism. “It won’t matter.”
Build legacy by eliminating behaviors and attitudes that dilute impact. It’s not enough to add positive behaviors; eliminate bad.
The only time to build legacy is now.
The only way to change legacy is to change now.
10 ways to build powerful legacy:
- Dare to be joyful. Serve in ways that bring you joy. Angry, unhappy people leave sad legacies.
- Monitor your impact on others. What are you doing when you make the biggest difference. Do more of that.
- Develop and maximize your talent, strengths, and skills. Know yourself – Bring yourself.
- Do what matters now. Everyone who’s at the end of life says it goes by fast.
- Seize small opportunities. Big may follow. Stop waiting to make a difference.
- Start with those closest to you and the ones you spend the most time with.
- Bring your best self to work and family. Everyone has at least two selves. Bring out the best one.
- Think service not success.
- Relax. Don’t run around building a legacy. Run around making a difference.
- Elevate the needs of others over your own.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
What blocks legacy building?
What’s essential to legacy building?
Very good post!!
Sometimes Mr Dan just your title gets my cortisol juices flowing!!!!!such a great topic!!!!!
For me becoming a Laser Focused Directed Specific instead of a wandering generality is an essential first decision.
I like #3 best…develop skills!!! You know some things I am doing right now I stink!!! I mean I stink!!! 90 days from now I won’t!!
Developing skills to me means I got to start whee I am……stinking up the joint and best practice, best practice, best practice and get better.
Also need to make my Why gigantic…for me my Why is doing something spectacular my Momma can see before her Alzheimer’s makes it impossible for her to understand what I accomplished. Second I found a woman I can’t seem to feel a way I can live without, so I want to do something sensational to impress her!!!!
So that Why big enough when times get tough I look at their pictures and it drives me onward when it feels easier to throw in the towel.
My Legacy if things fall right is I will be the fella who did to ebooks what CDs did to cassettes!!! Yeah think that will impress these two ladies, don’t you think???
Thanks Scott. #3 is one of my favorites too. It counteracts the idea that we “sacrifice” ourselves to make a difference. No, we maximize ourselves.
Best to you and mom.
Nice! I have the refrain from Nicole Nordeman’s song Legacy pinned on the wall of my office where I see it often.
Thanks Glen. I wasn’t aware of the song. I checked the lyrics. I see why you like them.
Perfect, thank you very much!
Brilliant post this morning Dan!
Dan, Well done as always! Choose the journey as best you can, learn from your mistakes, grasp to achieve to your fullest, as none of us ever know when the journey stops. remember you can make a difference!
Thanks Tim. Now why didn’t I add, learn from your mistakes…. my mistake. 🙂
I truly believe you won’t be remembered for the work you do, unless that work changed the lives of others. I also believe the best legacies are for those whose work was to change lives for the better or worse. It isn’t their work that made them great (either good or evil), but the impact they had on the lives of others. Just think about it: Mother Teresa, the Pope, the Founding Father’s of America, Jesus, etc. All have great legacies based on the good they did benefitting millions of people. Others, such as Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Kony, just to name a few. Their legacies are great, but of evil. They have affected millions for the worse.
Thanks John. Legacy is all about our impact on people. Pow!
Love how you brought the good and bad to the conversation.
Dan, Do you find that people are frustrated in their careers because they can’t see how what they are doing in any way leads to a legacy? That’s where I was after being on the wrong end of a leveraged buyout of a wonderful company, then struggling for 10 years in the business world trying to “leave my mark.” I think the best legacies — and where the greatest numbers of us can leave a legacy — is through our philanthropy, our volunteerism, using our energies in circumstances that have provide intangible paybacks to us.
Thanks Scott. You honor us with your story.
As I finished this post, I thought about the power of helping people think about their legacy and then thinking about ways to align work with legacy. It’s much like aligning values/vision but legacy feels bigger.
This was another post that resonated for me Dan. I think all ten “Legacy Builders” are powerful indeed, but the first (Dare to be joyful. Serve in ways that bring you joy. Angry, unhappy people leave sad legacies.) is both the most powerful AND the most difficult. It’s on those days when the turkeys are getting me down with the same old negative messages that I struggle to bubble joy to the top. Still working at that one. Thanks, Dan.
Thanks Steven. Your transparency adds power to your comment.
It seems like leaders aren’t supposted to joyful. They should be serious, even stern. The more authority they have the less joy they show. I also felt that I needed to give myself permission to enjoy things. The issue I see is that unhappy people don’t want others to be happy.
Dan, I’ve been following your blog for at least three years, probably longer. I can’t think of another post that hit me like this one. Usually, you’ll have a pearl or two in every post. But this one is so rich. There are no less than twenty phrases in here that could be a challenge by which one could live life. Perhaps I was having a bad morning (“today’s footprint is tomorrow’s legacy”) and your words were able to center me and bring me back in to the leadership of service to which I aspire daily.
Thank you for your wisdom.
Wow!! It’s a joy to be useful. Thanks for taking the time to share your story. Best for the journey!
The things we do for ourselves are gone when we are gone, but the things we do for others remain as our legacy. Thus the great personal and professional leadership question: What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?
Yet, we all know there will be those who will question our motives and perhaps call us “Hippocrates! You are self-serving capitalists.” They refuse to believe who we are and what we do can possibly be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.
It’s sort-of like the atheists, non-believers or agnostics who question the purity of Christians’ love of God: “The only reason you love God is because you expect something in return, right?”
Our answer might be: God is not loved “without” reward: God is loved without “the thought” of reward. Like Saint Thomas Aquinas explains: With faith, there are no questions; without faith there are no answers. To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary; to one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
How do we explain the “process”—the journey—of fulfilling our legacy? The journey of going into oneself…not only into the mind but into the heart. The voyage of discovery…not seeing new landscapes but seeing with “new eyes”—and experiencing the many secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
Who rise from their professions better persons, their legacy is fulfilled.
That —->>The things we do for ourselves are gone when we are gone, but the things we do for others remain as our legacy.
Urgencies that smother priorities. That’s what I’m wokring on now and it’s not easy!
Thanks Sara. The art of “no” is one of the toughest to learn.
I always know it’s a good post when I linger and soak up every single comment (and give out multiple thumbs up). Great stuff.
I think recording what we do and have learned for others to gain value from is a key part of legacy building. I don’t care so much about famous/successful people that don’t leave behind any indicators of how they were successful to help the “next” guy. The documentation process also serves as milestone markers for us to look back and reflect upon, perhaps to even help us figure out where we want to steer the boat next.
Thanks James! Very practical. Maybe we all should become bloggers! 🙂
Haha – but is blogging really really for everyone? I definitely think the practice of reflection is powerful and a crucial key to self-development, but would it help everyone to start posting their thoughts up for everyone to see?
I’m wrestling with that one. But if leadership is influence, then a blog definitely can potentially help a person focus and grow their influence!
Kind of like leaving a trail of bread crumbs for others follow? 🙂 I definitely appreciate those leaders who offer guidance generously – and it’s win-win for us both! Those helped enjoy the help, and those guiding build a greater legacy, one life at a time.
Service before success = if you build it … they will come. Awesome!
Thanks Aaron. I’m not sure service guarantees success. But, I sure think it helps. 🙂
OMG! For me, this is your most powerful blog yet Dan – and I have been taking onboard so many of your comments!
When we think about others before self with joy and generosity, our world will always turn like a well oiled machine. I have experienced this first hand and know how hard this can be at times. Everytime I think I have wasted my time being patient, understanding, forgiving, happy in the face of adversity etc, something wonderful happens to confirm my belief in why these values are important.
Thank you for tagging this as a ‘legacy’ and therefore elevating the importance of why we should be thinking this way, particularly if the personal aim is to be a great leader in our individual worlds.
Thanks Karen. This is my first post that focuses on legacy. I’m surprised at the power of the term. It seems to elevate the discussion to a new level. Your story is encouraging.
It’s true that we can wonder if the “good” path is really worth it. Positive legacy requires things like forgiveness. If not, bitterness destroys us.
Wonderful ideas, Dan. I will read this post to the WPP tonight, to start the meeting, as a way to illustrate why we come together. These are the types of traits we all should seek to emulate and pass on — whether to our family members or to the people in the communities in which we live and work.
Thanks Erica. The thought of adding value to your meeting encourages me. Thanks for all you do for others.
Great post, as always, inspiring! It remembers me of the following David Levithan’s quote
“If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. You memories will be my most lasting impressions.”
All the best!
Thanks Marie. And thanks for the quote. Best for the journey.
What blocks legacy building? Concerning yourself about what others will think of you so much that it dilutes your legacy.
Every once in a while, we all need a wake up call. This post may have been mine. I have been carrying around bitterness and anger for too long. I don’t want my legacy to be “She’s very smart and achieves great results, but she’s difficult to work with and too concerned with what others aren’t doing.” I am pretty sure that’s how it would read today. I am going to change that. There’s a great quote by Maya Angelou that is a perfect add on to your post “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thanks for the wake up call.
This should really be added to my daily affirmations list. Excellent. Thank you.
Think service – not success. Awesome thought. I was just figuring that out this morning with my aspirations for our student leadership club here in Kyrgyzstan. It’s hard to keep my priorities straight!
Thanks for the post Dan. I just wrote this today http://buff.ly/1uhT8Mx about leaving a legacy as leaders. You’re list is an awesome complement to that. I’ll be sharing!!
POWERFUL TRUTHS . When we give up on others, we’ve actually give up on ourselves. Some others may be exhausting sand drain us at times. Prayer will refresh and strengthen our soull, heart, spirit and mind. Do not grow weary.
Legacy is about what footprint we leave on life either on people or our environment. Monday we lost my Mother who left a footprint that is bigger then any I’ve ever seen and will be hard to fill. She lived a life of helping people.
Hi Arnold. I’m sorry for your loss. At the same time, I’m confident that – in some way – your mom lives on in you. Best wishes