One favourite is this: “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”
Dr. Seuss clearly understood the idea of leaving behind a legacy, not just once but every single day of our lives. A legacy is the impact you make on the world all the time just by the way you live.
A legacy is totally different than success. It has to do with how you make others feel, how you live your values with everything you do. Like Dr. Seuss advises, if you help someone out today, tomorrow that is what that person will remember about you.
It’s your legacy that people remember, and not just at someone’s funeral. You are remembered when you move away, attend school in another city or province, retire after years of working, move schools (if you are a teacher), even travel for an extended period of time.
Although thinking about our legacy may remind us of death, leaving behind a legacy is really about life and living. It is about putting our life into perspective – making conscious choices about the kind of life we want to live and the legacy we wish to leave behind. A legacy isn’t only about leaving what you earned but what you learned. It doesn’t call for wealth, fame or even taking giant steps – you don’t have to be a Gandhi or a Mother Teresa to leave a positive mark right now, one that will linger long after you’re gone.
- A retiring company’s president might leave a legacy of honesty and integrity
- An entrepreneur may leave a legacy of hard work and respect
- A parent may leave a legacy of how to love unconditionally
A legacy can also be something you do for someone that will always be remembered:
- A grandfather may teach his grandson or daughter how to fish. When that child grows up, will always remember learning the technique.
- A teacher may leave a legacy with students on the power of books to teach and inspire
- A friend stays on your side during a difficult time in your life. You never forget what that friend did for you – that is the legacy he/she leaves with you.
We all have the opportunity to make a difference. Working towards a legacy in both our business and personal lives, keep us motivated and performing at our peak. It gives each of us a higher purpose to our life and work. By thinking in terms of a legacy, we get a different kind of energy because we’re no longer just “doing work,” we’re building that legacy. You can feel its power.
So next time you have a quiet moment ask yourself, “if I wasn’t here tomorrow, if I moved…”
- What would I want people to say about me?
- How have I helped other people?
- Have I done my best, given everything that I’ve got?
- Will others remember me for who I am, or how I have made them feel?