I am feeling the sudden loss of a much admired and loved younger brother. I had a panic attack because I could not find a picture of him on my computer and have a task to rummage through my attic to find older prints. I have reflected on our conversations and shared experiences, his life and his legacy this past week.
I do not know when my lights will go out, but this tragedy reminds me to ‘start with the end in mind’. You cannot control what other people will think of you. However, you can set your intention, you can follow your path and you can make other people feel great. Legacy planning helps you to focus your time, talent and money, to make a lasting difference to the causes you feel passionate about and to those you love.
This has got me thinking about my legacy and how I can make a difference in the lives of others. It is OK to be a legend in your lifetime, but this does not make a difference in the world. What would be the point unless your space and time accounted for something that added value or created a positive difference?
The tendency is to be disappointed in our actions because one step may not make a massive immediate difference; my brother suffered from this tendency. Great insight can from Lao Tzu, who said “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begins with a single step”.
Here are my 10 steps to living and leaving a lasting legacy:
- Treat others as you expected to be treated – with respect.
- Attract the positive with positivity – it has to start somewhere.
- Always leave other people in a better position than when you started – add value.
- Think more than you do – the right actions begin with the right thinking.
- Take responsibility – You do not have to be driven, but you do have to drive your life and business.
- Smile – it is contagious.
- Touch someone every day – literally, we are social animals.
- Stand for something – 100% of something right or wrong (admit it) is better than 100% of nothing.
- Take the time to find you – who you are and what you want.
- Believe that you have a purpose – your path is to discover its meaning.
When I work with entrepreneurs, I get them to complete a timeline of achievements and lessons, because we forget how far we have come. When you look at your track record, you realise your endless possibilities, here is not one answer there are endless possibilities.
Believing that there is a bigger picture or greater plan, whether you are religious, spiritual or not. This helps you to realise that your path is part of a greater purpose, and you are on a journey of discovery just like everyone else. Your legacy is embedded in your shared experiences and the memory of others. My brother has left a lasting legacy which I will cherish. What is yours?