Why would a 43-year-old CEO of an IT services company be writing a blog post titled “Living a Legacy”? It’s a legitimate question and the answer is simple. Regardless of your age, career, or place in life, every one of us has a desire to live a purposeful and meaningful life. Maybe you’re here because you are asking these same questions and searching for answers. It’s possible that you are finding yourself living a day to day existence with no intentional thought of what impact you want your life to have. You are not alone. There so many reasons we fall into this rut, but the good news is each of us has the ability to lead a purposeful and influential life.
As a child, I was encouraged by my parents and teachers to set goals and plan for the future. Although these disciplines have undoubtedly been beneficial, they don’t necessarily equate to living a life that truly makes a positive difference. This impact that our lives make, whether for good or bad, intentional or not, is called our legacy.
It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I really stopped to think about my legacy. Raising young kids and running a small business consumed the vast majority of my time and energy. Fortunately, through a combination of advice from mentors and realizing I was entering the second half of my life, my thoughts began to turn to what my legacy was going to be. The best guidance I received was to start with the end in mind and work backward. This meant that I needed to start thinking about how my life would have a positive, long-lasting difference for my wife, my three children, my friends, the employees of my company and my community. I had to start asking some challenging questions of myself and recognizing that there would be habits to break and difficult changes that would require discipline and accountability.
Here are 10 questions to help you get started with defining your legacy:
- What do you hope to give in your relationships?
- What are your annual health and fitness objectives?
- What are your money and finance objectives?
- What are your retirement objectives?
- What are your recreation and lifestyle objectives?
- What are your spiritual objectives?
- What are your service and contribution objectives?
- What are your happiness objectives?
- Define your Personal Mission Statement – What is your purpose in living?
- Define your Personal Legacy Statement – What do you want your life to mean after you are gone?
How you respond to questions 1 through 8 should all tie in with and help you achieve your Mission and Legacy Statements that you define in questions 9 and 10.
Legacy planning is not an overnight process. It is on-going and requires time to think, plan, and share. This process involves examining every area of our lives, including our career, finances, physical and spiritual needs, relationships, hobbies, etc. How we choose to invest our time, our money, and our energy will have a substantial effect on our legacy. We will leave a legacy regardless of whether we are intentional about it or not. It’s never too early or too late to get started with living a life of legacy!
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