Making An Impact, Not Just A Living
One of the great benefits of leading is helping others become all they can become. Great leaders, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, have done more than be successful. They have moved beyond success to significance. Their efforts are so effective that they have had a significant impact on humanity. Life is about making an impact not a living. When we die, our body will be laid to rest in one way or another, but our impact for good or evil will go on. Your life can be your legacy, it just depends on how you want to live. As William James said, “The great use of life is to use it for something that will outlast it."We create legacies of one kind or another with every single action we take. The question we need to ask is whether or not we are intentionally taking action to create the type of legacy we want. Legacy is the number-one most important thing that is going to allow you to win in business.Thinking about legacy is thinking about what you are going to do today that you can be very proud of and grateful for in the future. A legacy, at the end of the day, is work that lives on beyond you and has an impact on the world that is bigger than you. And anyone who has a calling to become a leader is not only capable of that but responsible for that. So let’s get intentional.Reflect and decide what kind of legacy you want to create. What contribution do you want to make to the world? These questions might get you started:If you knew with certainty that you only had five more years to live, how would you spend those years, and why?What message do you want to send to the world and to those who matter most to you?At your funeral, what would you want your family and friends to say about you and how you lived your life?Start living the answers to those questions today. We often live as if our time was unlimited, putting things off, thinking that we’ll always have more time. Yet the truth is that none of us knows how long we’ll live. If you want to create a powerful legacy with your life, then you need to stop wasting time and start creating it today. Write goals for the answers to your questions and set specific steps to take. Steadily remind yourself that time is limited, and you need to make the best use of today.Simplify and focus on the essentials. Don’t get distracted by trivial or meaningless pursuits. Figure out the two to four things that are most important to you and put steps to them that will make them happen. Support the people and causes that are important to you.Make kindness a trademark. Being known as a kind person is a great legacy. A simple act of kindness can inspire acts of kindness by others, which means that every time you touch someone’s heart with your kindness, you create positive movement, and that makes its own legacy.Serve consistently and to the best of your ability. No one can do everything. None of us are perfect. But don’t use that as an excuse. Whatever you can do is better than doing nothing. Just do the next right thing. Whenever you have a choice or a decision, whether or not you know the whole path, just do the next right thing. A person who keeps doing the next right thing leaves a legacy of integrity.Share your blessings. If you can see your blessings and advantages as not just for you, but that you are a conduit to pass them on to others, you will create a legacy of grateful generosity. Share something as simple as a smile and as tangible as finances. Share your expertise and share a hand up. Share opportunities. You have far more to give than you know.Mentor others. A mentor is a more experienced or more knowledgeable person with an area of expertise. Everyone has some significant knowledge to give others that will guide less-experienced people. A mentor offers personal support too, and this often creates relationships that last a lifetime.Enthusiastically pursue your passions. It’s contagious. Your passions are your legacy to a large degree. Finding and pursing your passion allows you to see your destiny clearly. Passion is infectious and encourages others to do something great too.Work on having a long-term mindset. Think beyond today. If you are only thinking moment by moment, you will never be building beyond the moment. A legacy takes the long view, even the stories that will be told about you and how you lived your life.Leaving a legacy is an important part of your life’s work. A legacy develops from a life dedicated to self-reflection and purpose. Think about it.