Every day we are confronted with hundreds of decisions - some big and some small. Among the many there are a few that have the impact to move our lives in a direction. The question I’d like you to ask is, "Do these decisions move me in the direction of my legacy?"
In this article I’m going to walk you through the process of identifying your legacy, understanding how we make decisions and show you a few key tricks for keeping your decisions in alignment with what matters most to you.
When I speak of legacy I am referring to the impact, influence or mark that a person leaves on the world and their circle of influence through the course of their life. Another way to think about your own legacy is through the question:
“How do you want to be remembered?”
In order to define your legacy you must first understand what is most important to you. For me, I’m passionate about the wellbeing of animals. Most of this passion came from my two adopted pitbulls, and the resulting love and joy they have brought my wife and I ever since they came into our lives. It got me wondering “don’t all animals deserve this level of care and love?” As a result of my decision to provide as much love and care I can for these special creatures, I spend time at my local animal shelter, supporting the amazing work they do for animals every day.
So, what is that passion for you? Think about how you spend the majority of your time, where you invest your money or what topics excite you most in conversation. Odds are, these are hints of the legacy you hope to leave behind.
Now that you have a clearer sense of what your legacy could be (or atleast a piece of it), let's talk about the decision making process. When we make decisions we contemplate the information we have at hand, weighing the consequences and potential outcomes. There’s also a healthy dose of intuition thrown in. However, many of our decisions are so automatic that we don’t even recognize this process. And this is where the rubber meets the road - we need to stop the automatic process during key decisions that have the potential to move us towards our legacy.
What can you do to ensure that your decisions (big and small) take you in the direction of your legacy, and override the automatic tendency? Here is a an exercise I’d like you to try:
Set aside 10 minutes in your day, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and write at the top of the page one way you’d like to be remembered - your legacy.
Next, write down the following:
- Three daily decisions that have an impact on your legacy
- One weekly goal to direct these decisions
- A daily commitment phrase
- One or two places you can post your commitment phrase and goal to help you remember your legacy.
It’s through a clearer sense of what your legacy is, and the ability to see and remember it that allows you to override those automatic decisions and build on what is most important.
My Legacy: “I want to be remembered for the impact I had on alleviating animal suffering created by our culture of factory farming.”
Daily Decisions that impact my legacy:
1. What I choose to eat for each meal of the day.
2. The food I buy at the grocery store.
3. How I talk about what I eat with others at the table.
My Weekly Goal: I will eat all of my meals from vegetarian sources on one day of the week.
My Daily Commitment Phrase: “Be good to all living things.”
My Reminder: “I will post my commitment phrase and goal on my fridge and in my car”
I hope that you found this exercise helpful in identifying your legacy and finding ways to move closer to it. As a final thought, I’d like to encourage you to be compassionate with yourself as you give this a try. You might find that you’ve been making decisions that are far out of line with your legacy, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you can start making new decisions today.
Working on your legacy alone can be a challenging process. We would love to support you along the way. Click HERE to schedule time with one of our experts today.
– Andrew Jacobs, CHC, CPT
Health Advisor and Personal Trainer | Email Andrew