Leaders who aspire to make a difference in the lives of others understand the importance of leaving a legacy. They live life in a way that will continue to have lasting impact long after they are gone. Unfortunately, these types of leaders are seemingly scarce these days, and the world desperately needs more of them. Leading for a lasting legacy is no simple task or something you just “do.” It is a daily pursuit that is purposeful, focused, disciplined, and intentional. More on that in a minute.
Think about your own life and all of the various demands on your time. Taking even just a few minutes to think about leaving a legacy is probably not something that enters your mind on a daily basis. You are not alone! More than ever before, we as humans are consumed by our own self-interests, paying little attention to hurting people and a lost world around us. We are all busy with life, and we are inundated with information at a speed and volume never before seen in human history. These daily distractions and demands can be overwhelming, and dangerous. I say dangerous because we can easily lose our way, and as a result, our opportunity to lead a life that positively impacts others.
The world is crying out for legacy-minded leaders, the kind that stay focused in the midst of all the distractions, challenges, and circumstances surrounding them day in and day out. What sets these special leaders apart from others? In my estimation, there are four key differentiators:
1) Clear purpose. Legacy-minded leaders are clear about their reason for existence. They understand that they have a purpose in life—one that is distinctly designed for them. They also know what their purpose is, and they arrange the goals and priorities of their life around that purpose. There is power in knowing and pursuing your purpose.
2) Focused passion. Legacy-minded leaders are fueled by a passion to pursue and achieve their purpose. You see, the passion has to be focused on the purpose. It’s great to have passion, but we can easily become passionate about things that aren’t really that important. Purpose combined with the fuel of passion is a powerful formula for lasting legacy. When you do something with passion, you do it because you love it, not because you are obligated or get paid for it. Imagine if that passion points toward a purpose that impacts the lives of other people and the world!
3) Daily discipline. Legacy-minded leaders are great at leading themselves. Some leaders are good at leading others but horrible at leading their own lives. A legacy-minded leader knows the importance of having daily discipline to focus on pursuing the things that are most important, that align with their purpose in life. Every day we are faced with a myriad of decisions and opportunities, but the key is knowing when to say yes and when to say no. Having strong daily discipline means developing good habits and acting on those habits each day. Poor self-leaders often allow feelings and emotions to guide their actions. Legacy-minded leaders know their purpose and discipline themselves to achieve that purpose on a daily basis.
4) Intentional plan. Legacy-minded leaders have a plan for intentionally leaving a legacy. This means that they do not leave it to chance or just hope that something good will come of their life. Instead, they are purposeful, passionate, and disciplined in their daily pursuit of positively impacting people and the world around them. They have a plan, and they execute it. Such leaders realize that much of their impact could potentially occur long after they are gone. This is probably the most challenging part of legacy, because we as humans want to see the tangible results of our efforts. Legacy-minded leadership is not easy, and it is not for everyone. That is why these leaders are so desperately needed in the world today.
You might be thinking that this is all well and good for others, but not for you. Maybe you think it’s too late, that you missed your opportunity to leave a legacy. Nonsense. As with most things in life, it is never too late to start fresh, with a new perspective in life. This does not mean it is easy, but it does mean that it is possible, but only if you take the first step.
Get clear about your purpose, fuel it with passion, develop your daily discipline, and create an intentional plan for leaving a legacy that makes a positive difference in someone’s life. Follow that formula, and I promise that you will not regret it. You might regret not doing it sooner, but none of that will matter anymore because of your new perspective and focus on becoming a legacy-minded leader. The world needs you.