Leave a Lasting Legacy Or Be Completely Forgotten

Do you know your great grandfather? How about even his name? If you are a grandfather right now, do you ever talk about your father to your grandchildren? If not, then why not? Was he not an important man to you? I ask these questions now because I guarantee nobody has ever asked you these before. In today’s politically correct, “everybody is special” society, you have been forced to think only in the present moment; to think about what satisfies you today. So I challenge you to think differently for a few minutes as you read on, and open your mind to the possibility of building a lasting legacy for you to be remembered eternally.

As you live today a father, mother, grandfather, or grandmother, your impact on the lives of your immediate family may vary from casual visits to central focal point in frequent family gatherings. But what would happen to your living memory if you were to pass on tomorrow? If you have not laid the groundwork for a lasting legacy, the memory of your existence will completely vanish within the next generation. Shocking? It matters not how great you showed your love for your family or how your family showed their love for you. Only recorded, measurable accomplishments are ever truly remembered. Legacies are not about who you are, but about what you did. And it is what you did that will shape people’s perceptions about who you were.

So what kind of legacy would you leave? Chances are, if you are reading this article, you have not won an NBA championship or an Olympic medal, you have not founded a well-known international charity organization, and you most likely did not win a Nobel prize. The good news is that you do not need to perform miracles to be remembered for all time in your family tree and by your community. But you do need to take action now. The decisions you make today will shape how you are remembered tomorrow.

Who are the people you remember that had a positive impact on the lives of many? Let’s look at their similarities. There are the industrialists and inventors, like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. They are the major political and community figures like our President or Governor, and not members of a representative group, such as Congress. They are authors, musicians, and athletes that have reached the pinnacle of notoriety in their field not just based on their income earned in their field. They are the people whose names are on street signs, hospital wings, and community centers. What is common in most of these cases is that the people you most remember are not living in the “wage” system, but in the “profit” system.

An exception would be sports figures, but remember it is not their money that makes them memorable, but their moments in accomplishment. Also corporate executives and political figures that are famous and collect a wage also either collect company stock, write books, go on lecture circuits, or all of these which are sources of “profit” and not wages.

Making money for money’s sake will not make you remembered for more than a generation, even if you were a billionaire. It is what you do with your money and your time that matters. You can have a greater lasting legacy in your family and community than the typical professional athlete if the actions you take benefit the lives of hundreds or thousands. When you discover financial freedom, you will see that your greatest benefit is more time, and not more money. Financial freedom gives both the time to dedicate to your definite major purpose and the money needed to support your positive actions. Imagine working with community leaders to build a much needed activity center or medical center. Just donating money for the cause may be enough to put your name on a building, but is the combination of time spent within your community making a difference and money spent to fund projects that are both critical to your lasting legacy.

Make the decision now to work to escape the “wage” system and start moving toward the “profit” system. Employees collecting a wage, and retirees collecting a pension are hardly ever remembered after a generation, if not sooner. Once in the “profit” system, work towards systematizing and automating your efforts so that your time is freed to pursue your purpose and your goals. Time freed will also be enjoyed by your family as your bonds grow and your importance to your entire family is recognized and appreciated.

So what “profit” system should you choose? That is completely up to you. There are so many options available in America and around the world, your choices are endless. You can write books, create products to sell, become a paid mentor or coach, provide a service, start a franchise, and so on. Thinking of your main goal of freeing both time and money so you can build and realize your legacy, it would be best to start a home based business that has a proven system for marketing, active leaders and coaches to guide you to success, a large community of members for support, a compensation plan that is based solely on your efforts, and a product or service offered to the public that is both unique and not saturated.

Finding the right home based business is a critical step, but it is not your first step. Determining your goals is more important because chosen correctly, your goals will help you determine the right business model for your needs and will lay the necessary groundwork for your success. Remember, your ultimate goal is not to be stinking rich, but to be a leader in your family and community whose actions positively impact the lives of others. Financial wealth will match your effort and desire to leave a legacy. Your next step is to find a home based business that not only will meet your written goals, but provides both a support system of automated marketing tools that are inexpensive to implement, and a business coach that walks you through the entire process and helps you set up your business. Your third step is to act by signing up for a system, setting it up as quickly as possible, then begin working the marketing system with passion and commitment, always keeping your goals as a driving factor to your success.

This is your business, not a hobby, so take these steps seriously. Do not simply settle for a multi-level marketing “sponsor” who does not care about your personal success so as long as you keep paying your monthly membership fee. Businesses do exist where your coach is positively incentivized to make sure you succeed. Take advantage of those businesses, find one you like, and go for it. Work your business as if your life depended on it, because your living memory does. When you start giving your time and money to the betterment of your family and community, you will continuously be driven to achieve more, ensuring your lasting legacy and the admiration of thousands. Your life will have meaning and purpose. You will live a much happier life. And your legacy will live on long after you.

Leave A Legacy – Who Will Benefit?

Who will benefit from your legacy?

This question is probably of more concern than the ‘what will be my legacy?’ question, since it smacks less of self-interest and the pride of being remembered and actually looks at who might gain from your legacy.

Traditionally we have looked at our legacy being things we pass down to our relatives to help and prosper them as they make their way in the world. Who else could benefit from how you creatively choose to live your life? And will the impact be huge for a few or a gentle touch for many people?

When it comes to the people affected though, how much does scope matter? I was talking to a friend recently who has started to think about the legacy he will leave, particularly in terms of the children that he teaches. As we kept talking though we realised that if all he accomplished in the course of his life was to bring up his own children in a stable, secure and loving home then that in itself would be a great thing. Maybe we will only be remembered by one person for a single throwaway comment we have made but if that touch changes the course of their life or starts to alter their thinking then who knows where the ripples might go.

I suspect that when we think about how far-reaching our legacy goes then it will be hard to keep pride out of the equation. However, if we think about the quality of our impact on others and get less hung up about quantity then we will leave a longer lasting legacy. Mother Teresa probably didn’t set out to create an order of 4500 nuns when she started the Missionaries of Charity – she simply wanted to bring Jesus’ love to individuals but look where her wholehearted commitment to that goal took her.

Who will you make a difference for? Two other simple examples spring to mind. I was sitting in a pub with a great friend recently. Outside a dog was running out of control around the middle of the road. I disinterestedly saw an animal, she saw a situation where she could make a difference and went out to stop it getting run over. In the end she wasn’t able to collar it – it was remarkably vicious in its response to help – but yet her actions challenged my thinking. What consequences, planned or unexpected, will our positive attitudes, actions and intentions have on those around us? Secondly, I was working at a children’s activity camp a few weeks ago where all the children volunteered for an afternoon to Make a Difference. For some it was clearing up a beach but for others it was befriending elderly people around a game of indoor curling. You could see the joy and pleasure writ large on the faces of the participants, from simple words and actions.

Who will benefit from your actions and what impact might that have long into the future? How will those you impact pass on the blessing to others in their lives?

What are the foundations and how is the building progressing?

So if you want to leave a legacy behind you, you need to decide what that will be. Yes, you may have an impact accidentally but the experts are right when they say that we can achieve so much more when we are deliberate about it.

What is important to you, who do you want to impact, how do you want to make life better? If you can’t answer these then now is the time to go away and address them. Maybe start by thinking about your values and what is important to you in life. My article on values and the worksheets you can download off the website will help you delve deeper.

Once you know though, what are you going to do about it? Are you the right person to leave this legacy or do you need to change who you are or how you approach life in order to be the difference that you desire?

Have you got all the resources you need in terms of capabilities, skills, position, authority, time or money in order to bring this legacy to fruition? If not, what else do you need to put in place a foundation on which to start the building process?

If you have all the basic blocks though, how is the building coming on? What do you need to put in place to ensure that work carries on? How do you need to speak to, what little action do you need to complete? Maybe, if it is not a one-off ‘building’ or it will not be complete in your lifetime, you also need to think in terms of who can you inspire to carry on the work once you are gone.

Whatever impact you want to make on the world and on individuals, get started now. Gather what you need and take action. Leave a legacy that makes the world better, even just for one person – they will thank you for it.

Creating A Legacy In The Community And In Business

“History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.” ~Unknown

What do you want your legacy to be? Never thought about it before? Women today are far busier than our grandmothers or even our mothers ever were. From being a mother to wife to student to now being an entrepreneur, our legacy – that which you will leave behind you – is in jeopardy. That fact of the matter is that when it comes to talking about legacy, women hesitate because it seems too self-centered. But I argue that we, as women of today, need to start preparing and designing our own legacy. It is not a matter of self-centeredness, but of creating a roadmap or blueprint for future generations

What is a legacy?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a legacy is “A gift left in a will or a thing handed down by a predecessor.” It can give and be created while you are still alive. It can also be public or private (we’ll talk about this more later). In other words, it is not for the rich only – a very common myth that no one talks about, especially women.

So, what is it that you want to leave behind for those you love when you pass? A legacy of obesity? A legacy of drug abuse? Or a legacy of service to others? I remember my mother once slamming her car into a tree because she fell asleep at the wheel while driving home from her third job. She survived, thankfully, but for many people, this is their life’s story and it does not often end with a happy ending. My mother has given me a legacy of hard work, dedication, tenacity, integrity and the importance of education.

Leadership, Purpose and Vision: A roadmap to building your legacy

When it comes right down to it, building a legacy is about being a leader. Leadership is positive behavior and/or influence on the community and/or family (this is a personal choice that can impact your legacy). Therefore, before you can build your legacy, you must know your purpose. How do you know what it is?

First, you must be open to it – listen to other’s ideas about what they see you as being good at. For example, if people are always saying to you “Girl, you make the meanest chocolate chip macaroon cookies! You should sell these,” they are confirming something the universe has been trying to tell you all along. Women, especially, tend to fend off these compliments by downplaying it: “Oh! This is nothing.” Don’t do that! You are essentially telling the universe (God, for some) that it/He made a mistake.

Your purpose can also come through tragedy: Average Girl was created in response to the murder of my cousin (a victim of domestic violence, she left behind 7 children). My writing experience prepared me for this in that I learned how to write and tell a good story as an English major and now teacher of literature and composition. When it came time to put together the editorial content and style of Average Girl, I was ready for it. Therefore, your purpose is directly related to what kind of legacy you want to leave behind for your business or family/community.

More important than you could ever imagine is Vision; how do you define it and get others to follow it? Tell your story when given the chance; how does it relate to your purpose? You will talk about it if you believe in it. Sadly, women tend to second guess their products/services and themselves. For example, I used to tell myself that ‘no one would buy my magazine because it didn’t look like other magazines on the newsstands and I was “a nobody.” No one knew my name and I had no money to bring to the table.’ It took years of encouraging self-talk (and the loss of a lot of potential sales) to downplay that horrible tape playing around in my head every time I tried to bring to life my vision.

Your vision must connect or resonate with others. We, as women, share a common bond: being a woman. I use this to speak about and promote Average Girl. We may come from different ethnicities or socioeconomic backgrounds, but we all experience joy, pain and heartache as women. We all have dreams that are sometimes crushed or deferred because of society’s pressure to make us conform to its standards of femininity (i.e., housewife, wife, and businesswoman).

You must also have a workable plan – this is where you need to spend a lot of time in development once you have hashed out clearly your willingness to be a leader and follow your purpose. You can’t ask people to follow you or to invest in your vision if you have no idea what it is or how it works, looks, smells, taste, etc. As a leader, you are responsible for not only your word and actions, but the well-being of others.

How can networking help to establish a legacy?

Networking is about building relationships, so you must select networking events that you are truly interested in attending and are in line with your business objectives/market. Time is money and once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. So, do some research first before attending any networking events. When you get there, talk to people about their business; ask them how can you be of service to them? Don’t just stand in a dark corner and cower or worse, stick to the click. Engage people. Be an active listener as it is not always about you and you only.

Use your gut instinct when choosing people to talk to people at these networking events. Truth be told, some people are just there to make money and will use whomever they can to do it: women are good with their instincts, so listen to your gut. Also understand that you cannot help everyone and everyone cannot help you – that’s why referrals are VERY important to not only your business, but in creating a legacy – but be careful about referring the wrong people. If someone has not paid you for your services, do not refer them to another business they could stiff. It will look bad on you, not them. Use those instincts!

Most people forget this vital part of networking: the follow up. Follow up the connections made at these networking meetings with lunch or breakfast or tea just to chat. While there, share your story here if asked to – don’t go into a diatribe: keep it short, sweet, simple and to the point. Discuss your products/services (don’t second guess their response) – you are building connections. Follow up this meeting with frequent communications via email or phone. This is simply confirming connections and building a strong network.

Once people know who you are and what you are about, they will remember you when they hear things “in the wind.” For example, when I was an executive assistant, I used to tell my co-workers that I was studying to be an English teacher. One of them heard about a teaching job expo and told me about it. I went and was hired on the spot. So began my career in education and eventually the birth of Average Girl Magazine.

Forging Business and Community Alliances

Work with people who are doing what you are doing, but perhaps with a different angle. Sponsor an event for a potential alliance to introduce their company to the community. This shows that you are willing and able to work with others. You can also host an event to introduce your company and your goals for the community. For example, I host a tea party every December for Average Girl, but I always donate proceeds from the silent auction to a local woman’s charity or non-profit. I announce this on all of the flyers and marketing material – message: not everything is about just my business. Invite some of your local competitors to be your guest.

If you are thinking about forging an alliance with an organization, research the company first before preparing to establish an alliance. Make an appointment to speak with key persons/decision makers. Before you go, however, prepare an informal plan of action – again, this is a chance to tell your story. At the meeting, establish how you can be of service to them and visa versa (ask questions to establish this further). Perhaps you could offer services such as, free products, time, space, PR, etc. Whatever you offer, do not let it severely impact your bottom line. This is about building alliances wisely that will benefit both businesses’ bottom line in the long run.

Market your business or persons as a community centered entity. Begin to establish yourself as having integrity, flexibility and service. Here is where private vs. publish exposure comes into play. Whatever you release to the media, make sure it is what you want released and that all parties mentioned are in agreement. Some things you may not want the public to know because you just wanted to do it (be aware of your motives). Sources of media to release information to if you choose to go public include: books, website, articles, public speaking engagements, e-newsletters, public service announcements (PSAs). In the end, your reputation will slowly begin to build as your alliances become solid and fruitful. Remember, people remember good deeds and spread the word – but they also remember bad deeds and spread the word.

How can community involvement add to the bottom line of your business?

It can, but is this your ultimate goal? Getting your business involved in community activities/activism is a move that should be carefully considered. It can bring more loyal customers/clients to your business. The company can grow financially and in size due to exposure increase. Your reputation for integrity, loyalty, vision will attract all of the above as well. But beware! People can smell greed and selfishness…and that can ruin more than just your bottom line.

Ultimately, we are here to serve others – if we keep this in focus, your business and/or personal life will prosper for it and your legacy will be the benchmark for others to emulate and prosper from. Remember! Your gifts/talent = purpose = vision = services = legacy = connection to God (or Higher Power).

So what do you want your legacy to be for yourself and your business? Write it down: make it plain, according to scripture. That’s the first thing. The rest is up to you.