Your legacy begins today
As we approach the end of the year, it’s a great time for introspection. Many of us will start thinking about plans and resolutions for the New Year. Instead of debating whether this practice is a good idea or not, I invite you to try a different kind of reflection instead.
Think about the legacy you want to leave behind when you die. Have you ever considered what your obituary would say?
I realize that death is not always a topic people are most comfortable thinking about. (Especially our own death.) But when we accept that death is the only certain thing we will all experience in life, the thought of it becomes far less scary. When we take the time to envision our end of life, it can help us fulfill our present. When we know what we want our legacy to be, the choices we need to make now—and how we need to live our lives today—become much clearer.
I have told my immediate family that I want a celebration of life at my funeral when I die. I sincerely hope that it will be a lively event full of people. This will confirm that, in my life, I was able to touch enough people’s lives that they wanted to interrupt their day to come say “goodbye.”
I want my legacy to be that I had a positive impact on others. And every time I say it out loud (or write it down), I become more and more sure of my purpose. I encourage you to do the same when you consider what you want your legacy to be. Say it out loud. Tell others. Write it down. Once you envision what you want your legacy to be, ask yourself
What do I need to do today to start achieving my legacy?
What choices do I need to make professionally?
What choices do I need to make in my personal life?
And, most importantly, what daily behaviour do I need to start or change?
For me, thinking about my legacy has helped clarify that I am in the right line of work. I feel good about my choices to make more time for my family and volunteer in my community. I also realize, however, that I am not doing enough to grow and maintain friendships in my life. I need to make more of an effort to connect with old friends—and new ones.
So, once again, I encourage you to take some time TODAY to think about how you want to be remembered. What will you be remembered for? And what do you need to start doing TODAY to make your legacy become a reality?