Reaching a certain point in our lives the inevitable question begins to creep into our minds; when I’m gone, what will I leave behind? It’s a question of legacy. It can mean many things to many people, and to some it means very little. But for those who do have the desire to leave behind a legacy they can be proud of, it’s a question that can cause a fair deal of anxiety. How can we know how what we’re doing will be looked on in the future? How can we be sure the legacy we leave is of worth?
Define ‘legacy’ yourself.
The first thing you need to decide is what legacy means to you. And this is harder than you might think. Legacy is largely a societal construct, albeit one that can still be very personal. However, we are often influenced what we think a legacy is based on how society define it. Don’t let others define it for you, but instead discover what your own definition is and work on achieving that. It can be about your family, your work, or something completely different. It’s a personal exploration that you need to figure out yourself, without any other influence.
Make it about passion.
Providing financial support to loved ones or donating to charity is certainly a great thing to be able to do, your legacy should expand beyond money. Likewise, while you can leave behind some amazing achievements at work, is it really something you can really be proud of? Build your legacy from passion. Think about what you really and truly care about and how you want to leave your mark on it.
Legacy can go far beyond the personal achievements you leave behind you, and it can be focused on the relationship you keep. With that in mind, you should consider how you want those who have known you to speak of you when you’re gone. Even more, how will those who you’ve met only briefly look back on you. This does not mean you have to put on a false smile and suppress your true opinions in order to be agreeable to everyone, however, it may encourage you to listen more, be kind and respectful to whoever you meet.
Think beyond yourself.
Your legacy is entirely yours, but if you want to leave behind something you are proud of, you may consider what you can do for others. Helping others and giving something back is always something to be proud of. No matter what method you do to reach out to others, it can be a legacy that is simultaneously a selfless act and something you can take immense pride in.