Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Legacy You Leave

What signifies a life well-lived? Are awards, certificates and trophies mounted on the wall symbols of a successful life? Are the years spent on a job the indications of the quality of your life? Is the number of mourners at your funeral the litmus test for lifetime achievement?

What yard stick do you use to measure the legacy of a life? In your elder years when you look back on your life, what will cause you to say, “I have achieved great things in my life.”? What will you point to as proof of your success?

What if you raised a child who grew up believing her dreams were achievable because you told that was so? What if you raised a child that had a compassion and commitment to help others because she learned how to love while on your lap?

What if your children turned out to be dedicated parents because they had you as an example? What if your children grew into adults who supported and encouraged each other because you instilled in them the importance of family unity?

Are these indicators of a legacy of love? Is that legacy of love not proof of a life well-lived? What if you had no children? Does that mean you have no legacy of love to leave? What is your measuring stick of a life?

Imagine you are to be honored at a ceremony for your lifetime achievements. Who would you want to attend the festivities? What would you want said about you? Imagine there will be a presentation at this ceremony that is to represent the span of life beginning with your early childhood memories. What would be included in this presentation?

Now don’t just imagine such a ceremony, write down what comes to mind as you visualize it. Make a guests list. Jot down the things that may be said by the attendees. Describe what that presentation of your life would include.

The purpose of this exercise is to reflect and examine not only how you see your journey of life thus far but also to define how you measure success and achievement. By completing this exercise, perhaps you will become more conscious about building a legacy.