Long after everything else fades away, your influence, your relationships, and how you impact the people around you…these things endure. 

Have you ever thought about what you would be known for in the future and with future generations?  Have you given any thought to how you want to be remembered?  

Recently, I had a conversation with a woman who was approaching her 81st birthday. Somehow, we got on the topic of legacy:  if we would be remembered; and how?  She stated, “Other than my son and granddaughter, there is no evidence that I ever lived.  Other than the fact that I was born and died, there is nothing in between.”  For some, that’s enough; for others, it’s not.  

You’re never too young or too old to start thinking about your legacy – what will survive you.  Here are five actions one can take to create a legacy that will endure – long after everything else fades. 

  • Know yourself.  Getting to know yourself means knowing who you are, what you want, and that for which you stand. When describing yourself, it’s important that you focus not on labels designed to describe your activities, relationships, age, physical characteristics, and the many roles you play, but words describing the inner “you”; the “you” who is separate and apart from what you do.  Knowing yourself also means being clear about your purpose and your passion – your reason for being, and that compelling emotion that gets you excited; that gets you out of bed each morning.  This is the foundation for creating a lasting legacy.
  • Create value for others.  You create value for others when you take an interest in them – their dreams, goals, families, lives. You also create value by sharing your knowledge and expertise. And, through your example – living in a manner that encourages others to live a better life.
  • Invest in relationships.  Help people feel better about themselves.  Maya Angelou stated,“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Make people feel good by showing appreciation, listening non-judgmentally, and saying thank you.
  • Give back.Your time, your talents, your money, a kind word. We’ve all heard the saying, “The more you give, the more you receive.” While that’s true, it’s not the real reason for giving. You give because it’s the right thing to do.  
  • Live each day as if you matter. You live each day as if you matter by asking yourself how you want to be remembered. When you ask yourself how you want to be remembered, you plant the seed for living your life as if you matter. By living each day as if you matter, you offer up your own unique legacy. By offering up your own unique legacy, you make the world a better place.

The way you live your life and the lessons you impart becomes your legacy. So I ask you, “How are you living your life? How will you be remembered? What will survive you?”