When you think of somebody that left an extraordinary legacy, who comes to mind? I immediately think of the likes of Elvis, Steve Jobs, and Michael Jordan. There is simply no disputing the impact these dudes had on our society through their music, tech products, and sports skills.
But what if you aren’t a celebrity? Do you still have the opportunity to leave behind a legacy that is significant without being a multi-millionaire? Yes, you most certainly do! And it’s easier than you might think.
Your Legacy Can Be Defined By Those Closest To You
I look at my iPhone hundreds of times throughout the day. It’s almost getting to be an extension of my arm now since all of life’s information are at our fingertips. And do you know how many times each day I think of Steve Jobs? Zero! The guy who developed one of the most popular tech devices of all time is only in my thoughts maybe once per year, during the yearly Apple iPhone launch meeting. And only because the media (and Tim Cook) makes a point to mention him.
Even though millions of people use his product, most likely the only people that think of his legacy often are his family, friends, and former close associates. The very same type of people that mean the most to you and I in our own circles. And that is exactly who will remember you when you are gone, for better or worse.
Will Your Legacy Be Remembered Favorably Or Negatively?
Time has a way of revealing people for who they really are, and what they’ve been up to. The King of Rock and Roll is largely remembered for his pain killer addiction. Steve Jobs, while brilliant, was a prick to work for. Even Michael Jordan has had gambling problems and people calling him out for being a lousy teammate back in his day. Nobody is perfect, and even the brightest stars can be tarnished.
Let me give you a very recent example. Jimbo Fisher, the former coach for my beloved Florida State Seminoles, was the toast of Tallahassee after leading the Noles to a championship in the 2013 season. He brought the program back to relevance after a down decade in the 2000’s and was an ace recruiter that formed a competitive team almost each year. Until this season which turned dreadful real fast that is.
Fisher opted last week (December 1, 2017) to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M. No big deal, coaches come and go. But it was the way that he left that will tarnish his FSU legacy for ever. When he accepted the job, he hopped on a private plane for Texas and didn’t even tell his team that he had resigned. The players found out through social media of course and many were devastated. After seeing his newly signed contract, an astounding fully guaranteed 10 year $75 million dollar deal, I can certainly understand why he left. But it was the way he did it that will be negatively remembered for a long, long time and will cast a large shadow over his reputation.
How Will Your Legacy Hold Up Over Time?
So how do you avoid the pitfalls and build a favorable legacy that you can be proud of?
1) Make family the biggest priority in your life. Spend quality time with your spouse and teach your kids the difference between right and wrong. We all want financial security but don’t let your job and the money chase consume you to the point of neglecting your loved ones. And leave something behind for your kids.
2) Build up other people and don’t be constantly self promoting.
3) Be charitable and help those in need. Volunteer, help the youth. Things that I plan on doing more actively in the coming years.
4) Keep your word and be truthful. When you say you are going to do something, follow through with it. Set a good example and be upfront with others.
5) Bury the hatchet with someone that you are at odds with. Apologize, make amends, and get it over with. Don’t take trivial stuff to the grave. If Axl and Slash from Guns N’ Roses can do it, so can you!
The Wrap Up
You don’t need to be a famous celebrity to leave behind a memorable legacy. In fact, just doing the little things that should come naturally will put you well on your way. Millions of people don’t need to adore you for your life to have meaning. The masses are too busy focusing on their own circles to remember historical figures from days gone by anyways. Be a positive influence to those that are the closest to you and your memory will be thought of fondly by the most important people.
Question for the readers- Have you thought about the legacy you are leaving behind? What are the things you want to be remembered for?