With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s passing the idea of legacy has been on my mind. RBG’s legacy, politician’s legacies and indeed, what my own legacy will be.
Now I have no illusions that I will create the type of change and progress that RBG did, but I do know that I, like every other person on this planet, has a contribution to make. This idea fills me courage and excitement.
It also got me thinking about how empowering the question of ‘what’s my legacy?’ is in making decisions and taking action in our lives. Here’s how.
Leaving a legacy is inevitable
Whether we consciously think about it or not, we will all leave a legacy. After all, a legacy is simply something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor from the past.
It is the lasting consequences of our life. For some, this is a deliberate consequence of actions taken over a lifetime and for others, it is the unintentional by-product of living.
For me, the idea of inevitability is liberating because regardless of what I do, my life will leave a mark. So why not intentionally create and leave behind something I’m proud of?
Defining what I want to be remembered for
When we consider the lasting impact we want to leave, we can usually identify at least a few things. They may be humble things like providing security and a loving environment for our family or they may be dauntingly ambitious like creating systemic change to an issue close to our hearts, like in the case of RBG.
But regardless of what it is that we want to leave behind, defining it allows us to create a plan by reverse-engineering accordingly.
If your new to this idea and haven’t considered your legacy before, a good exercise to do can be writing your own eulogy. This will give you clarity on your purpose or desired outcomes (details of how to do it can be found here).
Legacies take time
There is no such thing as an overnight success and few memorable things are the result of a single instant. Instead, they are usually the result of small consistent actions.
Again, this is empowering as it allows us to start small, knowing that our actions will produce lasting results.
Simple actions are often the best way to get started. It could be as simple as volunteering, acting as a mentor or mapping out a business idea.
We do not need to know every step we will take to create our legacy. But we need to start taking actions consistent with what we want to be remembered for.
So let’s honour the memory of the great people who have impacted our lives.
Let’s stop playing small, shying away from our dreams or doubting our own abilities.
Instead let’s commit to creating positivity, hope and opportunity in the world through our own actions right now.
What is the one action you can take to start consciously creating the legacy you want to leave? Share in the comments below.