How to Leave a Legacy

Many of my clients are entering the sunset of their lives. They have been in careers for years, raised families and completed many goals. But, it never fails to amaze me how many of them really want to leave not just a mark but a true legacy on the future.

They realize material possessions can lose worth or lack appeal to those they leave behind but that contributing something unique and personal is priceless.

Sometimes the thought of being able to leave a legacy often feels like it should be reserved for the rich and famous, but I can assure you anyone can leave a legacy that lasts for generations.

What is a true legacy and how do you really leave one for generations?

A legacy is defined as something handed down, contributed to, passed along or dedicated for a future generation.

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Most people plan to leave possessions via a will or other legal document for their loved ones but I am talking about something that creates more pervasive influence. Here are 5 ways to leave a legacy beyond just material possessions:

  1. WRITE A BOOK.  It doesn’t have to be a best-seller. Writing a book is often one of the items on people’s bucket lists but rather than wait until you get all your characters lined up for your novel or get the time to really sit down and write that non-fiction take action book you always dreamed of, why not consider putting together decades of family information to pass down to posterity or even recipes to keep the family enjoying for years to come. One of my clients writes a words of wisdom/memoir for each family member celebrating a big event (graduation, wedding, new baby).
  2.  START A NON-PROFIT. This also does not need to be an international venture or world changing product. You may have always had a heart for a particular cause and starting a little organization that directs proceeds to supporting that cause can be a way your family can continue to preserve your memory and continue your values beyond your wildest expectations.
  3. CREATE A SIDE BUSINESS. Been crafting forever? Why not try your hand at consigning some products to sell? People always asking for your advice? Maybe there is a coaching opportunity in your future that can expand your reach. When the husband of one of my friend’s passed, two family members continued his small photography business, adding their expertise in advertising and design. Six years later the business is thriving as much as ever and still bears his name.
  4. TEACH A PERSONAL SKILL. Sure, your family can go online and learn to do carpentry,weaving,gardening or wine making but wouldn’t it mean so much more if you could teach them directly? Why not capture your expertise through various media (recordings, video etc) to share with your posterity.
  5. BE PROACTIVE. Many people always talk about what they will do whenever they have more time or money but truthfully, few people ever seem to move beyond the talk stage and take action on issues that matter. Be the person that takes action to change the course of history, even if it is your own little course of history. Don’t just talk about saving more money, taking more trips, volunteering, being a better friend, getting out of debt, raising the morality bar, stopping discrimination. Leave tracks behind that demonstrate what you did whether you created a budget, attended a march, took someone to chemo treatments, made time for travel, refused to participate just because everyone else does, all demonstrate actions not words.

If you want to leave a legacy you need to stop talking and start acting.

So, how will you leave your legacy? Remember it does not have to be something magnanimous or spectacular but rather something that specifically says,” I left this for you because it mattered to me.”

Interested in writing that book? Jeff Goins has an amazing course out ( I know, I took it!) called TRIBE WRITERS. If you ever wanted to WRITE ANY KIND OF BOOK, the course will give you all the tools you need if that’s the way you’ll leave your legacy. CHECK IT OUT HERE 

Thinking about finally starting that business? LET’s TALK about how to make it a practical and profitable legacy.

 

 

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  • Great post Kathy and those are wonderful ways to create and leave a legacy for generations to come. I especially love that idea in the first one about a words of wisdom memoir. I wrote a book to each of my children from before their birth – just letters to them about them and what was going on in their lives from my perspective. My son Matt got married a few years ago and I presented his books to him at his wife’s bridal shower. They just had their first child (our first grandchild) last week and I already started a book for him. When my mother passed away I was 28 but I didn’t have much that was written in her hand – I started doing this because I always wanted my kids to have that. It’s great to be told you are loved and special – and I do that – but it’s also nice to have it in writing. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Oh, Ann, How lucky your children are! What an amazing gift you are giving them. I hope you have encouraged more in your family to do the same. You certainly have left a legacy! Thanks for stopping by to read and share!

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