3 Steps to Create Your Legacy
How will your life impact future generations? What is your legacy? The dictionary defines legacy as, “a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest”. But beyond material possessions, there is the legacy of what you leave behind in an intangible way. How you lived. Your ideas. Your humanity. There is plenty of guidance on how to prepare your financial estate-- saving money, acquiring property, writing a will, etc.. Less so on passing down spiritual beliefs, emotional values, and life lessons that are also part of a person’s heritage.
Often a legacy-- whether good or bad-- is passed to the next generation in an unplanned way-- by living life. Your patience (or lack of), your sense of humor, your love of learning, your quick temper, or generous spirit-- these are all aspects of who you are that are passed on to your children or the people who know you. They may honor your legacy and continue it or reject it and create their own. It is the nature of legacy that it lasts beyond you. Just like your financial wealth, your non-material legacy can also be developed in an intentional way.
These questions might get you thinking about your legacy and may help you define what it is you wish to bestow upon the folks who follow.
- What is your story? We all have one. It may begin with your ancestors or maybe it doesn’t go back that far. Is it a story of a family business or a strong cultural identity? Your story can be about you alone or about how you fit in a broader story around your people.
- What are your natural gifts? Are you an artist, a communicator, a support person? The answer to this question most often comes from your work but, it may also come from your hobbies or interests. Knowing what you are good at can help guide you in recognizing and developing what you will leave for others.
- What are your passions? Are you passionate about education, the environment, caring for others, or maybe rock collecting? Your enthusiasm and focus on the things in life that delight and consume you create ripples that reach beyond your life--in ways you may never imagine.