There's a lovely
quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, "To
leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a
redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because
you have lived. That is to have succeeded."
times, when we think about leaving a legacy, we gravitate toward the idea of
leaving money or material items for the next generation. Our wise friend Ralph
hands down a refreshing reminder that our legacy is far greater than stuff.
Overall, it's how we live that truly matters.
Time Like the Present
Sunday is Grandparent's Day, which is a chance to soak up the love and appreciation
of being called Grandma, Grandpa, Mimi, Papa, or other darling name bestowed
upon you by your offspring. This is also a perfect time to think about your
personal legacy and the lessons you want to share with those you love.
you're not entirely sure where to begin this process, it helps to get a little
introspective. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and spend some time exploring these
do I wish to be remembered by those I love?
lessons would I like to pass on to future generations?
kind of impact do I want to have on my community?
contributions do I want to make to my field of study or profession?
will the world be better because I was in it?
Getting a clear picture on what you want your legacy to be can help
give your life meaning and purpose. It can also influence your day and allow
you to make better use of your time. Going through this exercise can prove to be
quite useful. Once you have your answers, you should be able to easily flow
into the next phase of planning, which includes making a list of how
you'll leave that legacy and start taking action.
- Start a blog or draft a memoir that
captures your life and words of wisdom.
- Write down and share all of your
favorite family recipes.
- Send thank you letters to close
friends and anyone who impacted your life.
- Mentor someone who would benefit
from your knowledge.
- Plant a perennial garden that will
return year after year.
- Pass along an heirloom and include
a story about what it means to you.
- Endow a scholarship for future
students in your field.
- Volunteer your time to a non-profit
you love and care about.
- Record video messages on your phone
for each member of your family.
- Simply share a
smile, because people will always remember how you made them feel.
What's important to realize is that it doesn't require fame or fortune
to leave a lasting mark on this world. So much of what you do, from the quick
compliment you shared at breakfast to the deep conversations you share with
friends, all have a profound impact. When you're intentional about being your best
self, all of the people around you – including your sweet grandchildren – will
benefit from your beautiful life.
Would you like a printed version of these questions and
ideas? Download your free Personal Legacy Planning Document below, compliments