The Legacy we Leave…
During 2018 we lost some of the world’s greatest and talented individuals; Professor Steven Hawking, world renowned British Physicist, who set out the theory of Cosmology and wrote the world-famous book: ‘A brief history of time’. Sir Ken Dodd, recognised for his stand-up shows, tickling stick and making people laugh. Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Winnie Mandela, anti-apartheid campaigner. Jarrod Lyle, Australian Professional Golfer, winning twice on the National Tour. Aretha Franklin, American singer, actress and civil rights activist. Their lives were all very different, their passion, commitment, skills and talents were vast and varied but one thing is true to say of them all, they left a legacy, they will be remembered.
Leaving a legacy is not about stardom, fame, the number of likes on Facebook or even if its trending on Twitter, legacy is about the difference you make to other people, real people who are part of your life, be it at work or at home with family and friends.
What will you be remembered for?
You may think you don’t make a difference to other people, but you do; maybe you listened when nobody else had time, maybe you helped build somebody’s confidence by giving them a compliment, you may have shared your knowledge and expertise when nobody else would, you may have taken an interest and showed you cared. What would people remember you for? Is there a discrepancy between what you would like them to say and what they will actually say?
We all leave an impression of ourselves on other people, sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously. In the words of Maya Angelou
“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.”
Our time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give, after all, once it has passed, we can never get it back. It is equally fair to conclude that denying somebody our time is probably the harshest act.
We frequently get caught up in a fast-paced life, our attention becomes absorbed, in some cases blinded by the materialistic things; houses, cars, holidays, cash, and many more designer tokens of clothes and equipment. Is owning all of this “stuff” what we feel proud of? Or is this what we want to be remembered for?
Be the person you want to be remembered for!
Taking time out for personal reflection and contemplation, asking yourself some deep questions, is the first step in becoming the person you want to be. In taking this bold first step you must of course be ready with the reality of the answers you find within yourself. The next 3 principal questions will help you recognise what you may want to change;
1. What makes me happy?
2. What are my own beliefs and values?
3. Do I live my life (including work) aligned to my own values and beliefs?
Building a legacy takes time, it also requires energy and enthusiasm to demonstrate both commitment and integrity in what you do and how you treat other people.
OnTrack recommends these three simple steps in starting to create your own legacy:
Seek out and welcome feedback:
Sometimes we are unaware of how we make people feel. As human beings we all have blind spots – what we don’t know about ourselves, but other people observe. Be brave and ask for feedback. Receive it and give it like a gift because it helps us grow and develop. Ask yourself and others both at work and in your personal life – ‘What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?’ Create a personal action plan of how you can improve the areas to develop in addition to doing the positive things even more.
Apply Emotional Intelligence
It does not matter what professional field or industry you are in; Emotional Intelligence starts with you. It is self-awareness, specifically being able to recognise your own feelings and emotions to enable a considered and controlled response to others, using social and communication skills. Developing your ability to demonstrate empathy will bring out the best in others, support their growth and build their confidence. As a quick starter use the SAL model to demonstrate empathy;
S- See things from another person’s point of view
A- Ask intelligent Questions to find out lots of information
L- Listen actively to what is said and how it is said
Develop Credibility & Trust
It is wrong to assume that we automatically have the trust and credibility of others. Trust and credibility are earned, and this can take time. The secret is in knowing how to build trust and credibility. Trust is made up of 3 key components; Competence, Integrity and Compassion. This is what others judge you on, often without you even realising it. Competence is their belief that you have all the skills and knowledge you need to be successful. Integrity is the belief that you will do the right thing by them. Compassion is that they feel you care about them.
We only get one shot at this life, some say building a legacy takes a life time. What is the most important thing you will do today to start to build your legacy?