One of my mentors, Jim Rohn, said that we have an obligation to leave a legacy for those who come after us. What exactly is a legacy? When they think of the word “legacy”, many people envision money. They believe that a legacy is defined by the financial resources they leave behind for their heirs — stocks, bonds, real estate. Is that the only way to leave a legacy? Is it the most significant legacy that one can leave?
Another one of my mentors, Tony Robbins, says that a life worth living is a life worth recording. I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps the greatest legacy we can leave to our families and future generations is not money, after all. Maybe the greatest legacy we can leave is a piece of ourselves. Think about it:
— What life lessons have you learned that are worth communicating to your posterity?
— What mistakes have you made? What have you learned from your mistakes? Can you help others to not make the same mistakes you have made?
— What has been the central priority in your life? In the final analysis, was selecting that priority the right thing to do?
— If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Even the simplest of lives is rich with learning and lessons for future generations. Angus Buchan, a simple potato farmer from South Africa, is a great example of someone who has lived a rich life. Coming from very humble beginnings, Angus has become one of the greatest evangelists in that part of the world. His book, “Faith Like Potatoes”, is a powerful story of his life, how he has ordered his priorities, the results he has seen, and how his life has been blessed. It is a book that defines a pattern of life that is unarguably successful.
What will you leave as a relational legacy for your offspring and your future generations? It all starts with a desire, a willingness to record the important events of your life, those significant moments and times of reflection that have shaped you and made you who you are. A number of years ago, I started keeping a journal. The writing is not pretty. It is not neat. The thoughts are not always well organized. Often they are just a stream of consciousness, the musings of a man on a journey to become all that God created him to be. My journals contain my dreams; brainstorming ideas for business, speaking, and writing ideas; my favorite quotes; issues I have and am struggling with; and, perhaps most importantly, they are a record of my journey on this earth, what I have come to embrace as the most vital parts of my life, what I hold most dear, and what I want my life to have counted for when my journey is over.
Will you accept a challenge from me to start chronicling your life’s journey? Leave more than money to your posterity. Leave them a rich heritage that is the roadmap that your life has followed, with all its ups and downs, and allow the legacy that you leave to point them in a direction that leads to successful living and the creation of their own legacy.