Good Morning, Friends!
What is your legacy? Or, more importantly, what is your leadership legacy? I was recently asked this question, and it gave me pause. I had to reflect for a moment before I could entertain a response. Not that I haven’t given my leadership legacy considerable thought – I have.
But I had to consider if I was living my legacy or was it some future aspiration. Was I being what I wanted to become?
So, what is your legacy? What will you leave behind?
You might think it’s too early, or you’re too young to think about your legacy. After all, isn’t it something that you do at the tail-end of your career? I believe that it’s never too early to consider the long-term impact you will have on others. You are in a position to influence. You are making a difference. Whether you realize it or not, you are leaving a mark on those around you every single moment, of every single day.
“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.” – Maya Angelou
Your leadership legacy is less about what you will build or what you will accomplish; it’s more about how you make those around you feel. Your legacy is built by your influence and impact you have on others. Your legacy is shaped by the guiding principles you apply to every decision and action. You can be intentional about building your legacy.
When you are intentional, you significantly increase the likelihood of leaving an ennobling legacy that represents your best self. Intentionality creates a catalyst for your action. It allows you to respond rather than react to your circumstances. Being intentional creates urgency; you don’t wait for the perfect time to enable the impact you want to make.
“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” – Maya Angelou
Imagine your life as a blank whiteboard, and you can choose what you write. You can write with a dry erase marker, or you can use your favorite Sharpie. Now is the time; there has never been a better time to take a step back and seriously consider whether you are leaving an enduring legacy behind you.
It’s your legacy; it’s your story; create it.
[TED] What is Your Story?
Have you ever looked at an old family photo and wondered what the story was behind it? Minke Haveman examines a selfie taken with her mother at an airport and reveals it was much more than a mother and daughter on vacation. Minke’s TED Talk, “The Importance of Leaving a Legacy,” will touch your heart and make you think about your legacy.
[Video] Pouring Happiness
Have you ever bought the person behind you a coffee? Have you smiled at a stranger in the supermarket? Have you complimented a cashier? You may not think those little acts of kindness matter. These small behaviors have the power to produce significant positive results. Check out this Goalcast video where Ryan Estis shares an inspirational story about the impact of a simple act.
State of American Leadership
Gallup recently released its 2020 State of the American Manager report, and it’s eye-opening. They estimate that ineffective leaders in the workplace cost American businesses between $319 billion to $398 billion annually. Their research states that great managers possess a rare combination of five talents. They motivate their employees, assert themselves to overcome obstacles, create a culture of accountability, build trusting relationships and make informed, unbiased decisions for the good of their team and company.
Furthermore, this sought-after combination that characterizes great managers only exists in about one in 10 people. Another two in 10 people have some of the five talents and can become successful managers with the right coaching and development. Do you have what it takes to be a great leader?
In light of Martin Luther King day, here is an inspirational quote to ponder:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
As intentional leaders, we are driven by our core ideology, including a set of inner values that fuel the courage to stand up in the face of adversity. When challenged, we do not look for the easy path; we follow our inner authority and do the right thing. Our convictions drive our feelings of being part of something bigger than ourselves; it moves and inspires others.