The same thing that makes a diamond sparkle makes you sparkle, too: individuality! |
Everyone leaves their unique mark on the world. Your actions have an impact on the future of your family and friends; they’ll carry the memory of you as part of their life. How do you want to be remembered?
Baby Boomers are increasingly thinking about their legacy. Traditionally, legacy has been about how much money the kids would inherit when you died, and/or making a big impact on future generations through civic engagement (uplifting the downtrodden) or moral teaching.
But a legacy is so much more. And you don’t have to wait until you’re 5 years from retirement to get started on yours.
Beyond remembrance, your personal legacy can enrich your life, you whole life long. It can be a poignant expression of the essence of who you are and what your life is about.
Years slip by quickly. Now’s the time to focus on consciously, consistently offering the best of yourself in your work and personal lives. Living your legacy now.
How do you go about designing your Personal Legacy?
A common starting place is to imagine yourself on your deathbed. When you look back on the life you have lived, what do you want to see? Specifically:
Did you live your life to the fullest? Did you settle for okay? Or did your life just happen?
What do your family and friends remember most about you?
Are you satisfied with the contribution you made to your community?
What values did you live by? How consistently?
Now that we’ve primed the pump, use one or more of these fun sources of inspiration to guide your exploration of what your legacy could be:
Read. Biographies and blogs are great. From Gandhi to Gloria Steinem, choose people whose legacies you admire.
Volunteer. Choose the cause carefully; it might lead to a new career path.
Travel. Go to the town where your great-grandparents were born. Visit ancient ruins and read about the enduring legacy of their creators.
Journal. Capture those random ideas, hopes, possibilities, places, curiosities, stumbles and fears. Write about your dreams, from your earliest aspirations to your recent dreams. Keep writing; you’ll gather more information and insights over the years, as you evolve yourself.
As you flesh out your personal legacy, you’ll find that it reflects your passions, core values and deepest beliefs. In short, what matters most to you.
You’ll find that your thoughts revolve around these basic categories:
1. Your Relationships. You’ll honestly appraise the extent to which you have loved and cared for others. Did you touch the lives of strangers (through volunteer work or charitable contributions)?
2. Your Sparkle. Explore your diamond qualities. Write down what’s unique about you, where you shine, and what has given you the most joy.
3. Your Accomplishments. Make a list of your past successes. Then make another list of what you want to be your future successes (e.g., advance in your current career, visit new countries, or complete a meaningful creative project). Use these lists to guide your life and career.
4. Remembrance. What do you want to be known for? What would you like your obituary to be? If you prefer pictures to writing, create a comic book telling your life story or a scrapbook or collage of your major achievements.
5. Impact. In what ways are you making the world better, kinder, more generous? What causes do you care about, and how are you supporting them? A monetary donation becomes a legacy when you make a cause part of your lifestyle. For instance, if you love the environment, look for ways to save energy and promote conservation to your friends and family.
The next step is to bring your legacy to life. Create a plan for living your legacy every day. Ask yourself: what actions I take today will ripple out and become my legacy? ?Every week, take time for inspiration, reflection and learning more about your diamond self.
Living your legacy now will bring you a lifetime of joy and fulfillment. And a deathbed with no regrets.
Today’s Coaching Question: What are you willing to do today as a step toward creating your personal legacy?
Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. You can sign up for Discovering Your Values, a 5-day e-course at no cost at http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. She offers a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 13 years. Her website is http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com.
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