Legacy might sound like one of those words that get bandied about at retirement parties, funerals or when lifetime achievement awards are presented. But a positive legacy is far more than a footnote at the end of someone’s career, life, or otherwise.
Legacies are not just quotes set in a bronze plaque, they are living breathing entities, they are how you live your life.
When we’re young, life seems endless, but as we age we can begin to see the finite. This has many implications, but in terms of a career, it means the clock is ticking on doing things that actually matter to you.
A recent podcast guest, Alex Blauensteiner, talked about how working abroad and then returning home to Australia, having kids and working for Brisbane Marketing has helped him shape his legacy. Kids are an obvious legacy. They’re your contribution to the next generation. But beyond that, Alex speaks of how working to promote and develop the city gives him inspiration. He sees helping shape the future of Brisbane as a worthwhile thing to do. It's what he can hang his hat on when things are said and done and perhaps it’s how people will remember him after he’s gone.
Alex’s example is a great one to emulate. Here are a few other reasons why working toward a positive legacy is important:
- Legacy building is a participation in the ongoing foundation of life. So how would you approach your work differently if you really thought of yourself as a steward of the economy or the company or the environment? Those who come after us will get what we leave for them – and this matters tremendously.
- Your legacy can have a powerful ripple effect. Think of all the people throughout history who’ve changed the world for good or bad. Think of the power you have as a parent over the hearts and minds of your children. How you choose to wield whatever influence you have is important.
- Building a positive legacy largely involves selflessness. The type of legacy we’re talking about here is not ‘business tycoon who builds a library named after himself/herself’. So we’re talking about what the effect you have on the people around you. So did you make people’s lives better? Did you help create a better future? A lot of these endeavours require you to think of others. Which benefits not only them, but ultimately you as well.
We all have a finite amount of time and energy. Often this fact gets lost in the shuffle of daily life. Minutia pulls us in, we get distracted and rationalise or settle for less. Therefore focusing on your legacy is a counterforce that ensures you stay true(er) to yourself. In the end, it's not hard to see the difference between people actively building a positive legacy and ones just going through the motions…
Which one do you want to be?
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.