With everything good and bad that has happened to me this week, I have been thinking more and more about what kind of impact I am having in this world. I hope to leave a positive impact on as many people as possible. However, it wasn’t until maybe five years ago that I started seriously living intentionally to leave a positive legacy. Yes, I still strived to be kind and positive to others before then, but it was much less thought out. When things are more intentional, there is more passion and impact in both your actions and purpose. Here is what I learned about finding my legacy and striving every day to live it out:
- In order to create a legacy that you want to leave this world with you must find your life’s purpose.– You cannot create a legacy that you would be proud of leaving if you are living aimlessly, because you will be too distracted by the goals and dreams of those around you, and the environment around you. In order to find your life purpose, you first need to ask yourself: “What do I value the most in life?” For me, I value glorifying God in everything I do and say, and the quality of my relationships with God and others. In order to find out what you value, ask yourself what you spend most of your time doing. If you spend the majority of your time hard at work, for instance, it means that you value your job highly. If you spend most of your time cultivating relationships with others, it means that you value personal relationships more. Then, after you determine what you value, ask yourself: a) Am I what I valuing now going to contribute to leaving a legacy in my life that I want to leave. If so, ask yourself: How can I fulfill what I was made to do? For instance, I believe God has made me to write about what He teaching me in life and sharing it with others. So, I need to ask myself: What do I need to write about to make maximum positive impact on the world around me? How can I convey what I want to say most effectively? Who do I need to write to? What do I need to do to improve my writing skills? Then, after you find the answers to these questions, work to tailor everything you to do to accomplish that purpose. If you think what you value now isn’t going to make the impact you want to, you need to change what you value to better tailor to the legacy you want to leave.
- Value the important.—In order to create a good legacy, you must value what is important to the memory you want to make. I would suggest writing down, or at least, pondering these following questions to determine what you want to value in creating a lasting legacy:
- How long will what I value last?—I would submit, the longer the person or thing you value will last, the more your legacy will most likely will be remembered and followed. For instance, if all you care about is money, and ways to get the most money in life without regard to giving some of it to those in need, when you die, the only legacy you will leave is how stingy and selfish you were. Hardly a legacy anyone would want to leave; I think! However, if you care about spreading love to others, the impact of your acts of kindness and sacrificial love would be felt by many generations to come.
- Is this going to matter in the long term?—So many times, we, me included, get worried or upset over things that won’t even last long! For instance, I know people who will get super-offended if you don’t say “Hi” to them when you pass by them. First of all, maybe that person passing by you was so busy that they didn’t even see you. Second of all, do you even remember all the people around you who said “Hi” to you this past week? If the thing that is upsetting you won’t likely be remembered next month or even next year, let it go. Let. It. Go.
- What sacrifices am I willing to make with what I value?–In order to truly value something; we must be willing to make sacrifices for it. For instance, if I say I value God, am I willing to sacrifice for Him? For another example, if I were married (I’m not, by the way), would I be willing to make necessary sacrifices for my husband to show I truly love him and want him to have joy in his life? If you say you value someone or something, you should be willing to make sacrifices for them.
- Believe in your purpose.—In order to create an effective legacy, you must believe in your life’s ultimate purpose. As I reiterated already, you must be willing to sacrifice other less important things to accomplish your life purpose. You must be willing to live your purpose, and not quit when something else enticing, but distracting, threatens to cloud your view of your life purpose. Also, the ultimate show of your belief in your life purpose is how vocal you are about it, both in your words and actions. If you are passionate about who you were created to be, it will show up in your discussions and focus with others, and will creep up in every aspect of your lifestyle.
Personally, finding my legacy has been an adventurous and insightful journey for me. I want to create a legacy where I love, first and foremost, God, but also the people here on earth. Yes, sometimes I may fail at that, but overall I want to be the type of person who, overall, never quits loving and caring about others. What do you want your legacy to be? Finding your legacy is important to having a purposeful and fulfilling life. I know finding mine has made joy possible for me.