Are you Building a Legacy or a Résumé?

I’ve written on legacy before (Will Anyone Miss You? Live Out Your Legacy and How to Build a Legacy of Leadership), but today I’m prompted to write on it from a new point of view. I’ve always wanted to live a life that has a lasting legacy, but of course I don’t get to decide that. That is for others to determine.

I have recently been exposed to dealing with legacy from a different angle. Instead of passionately pursuing a legacy to leave, I have been inspired to continue a legacy of someone who has left. Until we get to experience this side of legacy, I don’t think we understand the magnitude of it.

Legacy is the lasting extension of who we are today. Our legacy is carried (or not) and continued (or not) by others. Many people retire, relocate or even leave this earth with only a résumé and no legacy. So what’s the difference? What do we have to do to create a legacy that keeps on living versus a résumé that just says I was here?

  1. Make your interactions with others meaningful. After people interact with you, do they leave feeling that those minutes were worthwhile? What about that new kid in your class or that new teammate? How have you brought them meaning? If you haven’t brought them meaning yet, then when will you, and how do you know you’ll have that much time? Be meaningful today!
  2. Be content with who you are. Contented people are able to give more away. They aren’t overly anxious to hoard success.
  3. Think with abundance instead of scarcity. When we have a scarcity mindset, we obsess over the seemingly limited resources available. We think, “more for you means less for me.” When we think with an abundance mindset, we willingly give away our resources and knowledge so that others can build something bigger than we could alone. A scarcity mindset is all about the take, while an abundance mindset is all about the give.
  4. Believe in others. Everyone needs to be believed in. I don’t care if you’re an elementary student or a CEO. We all need and desire others to believe in us. This simple belief can make an amazing difference in a person’s life. Who do you believe in, and do they know it? Who needs your belief in their life right now?
  5. Seek and teach potential. Look for people with potential then teach and mentor them. For me, there is no greater fulfillment than discovering someone that has great potential and just needs my love, my coaching, and my candor. As you coach others also teach them to do the same for someone else. This replication is how legacy lives on.

We cannot build a positive and lasting legacy by making sure we take care of ourselves first. If we want an enduring legacy then we must be a person that others will not just miss but someone whose actions they want to impersonate and keep going.

Legacies are more than memories. Legacies are actions replicated for generations.


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  • Earl Breon says:

    Wonderful post and I can relate. It was the death of my grandfather and seeing how his loss impacted so many that really woke me up. I have no doubt his legacy will last for many years and I only hope, when my time comes, I’ll have had a fraction of the positive influence on this planet as he did. I truly hope to carry on his legacy in my life.

  • Katherine O'Sullivan says:

    Beautiful! So true to Hank <3