“In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way.”
Yesterday saw the passing of the probably much lesser known Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Quite possibly one of the most influential people of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries and not only because he helped popularize the most prevalent computer operating system.
When you read about all his accomplishments and all of the various ventures he was involved in he almost strikes you as a modern day, rich, Da Vinci. He leaves quite the legacy.
How much of Allen’s legacy was driven by his wealth or his early encounter with cancer, which expedited his leaving Microsoft, is hard to say, but for your own personal brand legacy you need neither to have an impact.
What is the legacy you want to leave?
It’s hard, and often a scary question to ask oneself. After all, in part, it is facing your mortality. We are all going to leave a legacy of some kind and you get to decide what that will look like and are the person most in control of that.
Here are three suggestions to help make the process of exploring this perhaps a little less daunting;
1. What are you already known, admired and respected for? We may not be able to or want to, leave a legacy that is defined as great. But what could great mean to you? It could be as a business leader, a community facilitator, or a supportive parent or partner. Take a moment and ask a few of the people who know you in the ‘role’ you decide. My daughter wrote on my last fathers day card “You are the best Dad in the world!” – that’s a legacy I am proud of.
2. If you could choose a word or a phrase that sums up that legacy, what would it be? A quick Google search for ‘your eulogy’ or ‘your funeral’ will uncover a number of similar exercises to take you through the process of what will people be saying about you when you are gone. Believe it or not, this can be a very enlightening and energizing exercise.
3. How much of what you do now each day are actions that grow that legacy? We can all too often get caught up in the unnecessary or the distractions versus truly making an impact. Start each day by reviewing what you feel your legacy is and then what is the one thing you can do today that reinforces, grows or expands that legacy.
Remember that you already are making a difference. In what you say, do, explain, encourage. They can be good or bad, the choice is down to you to decide which one.
What is the legacy you feel you are working on? Please share.