I wanna switch gears for a second and ask you to take a long hard look at what you would want your legacy to be. No… seriously… this isn’t one of my backhanded attempts to trap you in some twisted joke or play on words… honestly, what would you want your legacy to be? Have you given any thought to it… at all?
When I hear the word LEGACY is sounds so rich and so very powerful… yet it doesn’t take a rich and powerful person to have a tremendous legacy that extends beyond monetary boundaries. The word legacy is defined as either: “a gift or something handed down by predecessors or ancestors from the past.” How great would it be to have your life be a gift to someone else? Not just in terms of what you could provide for them, but legitimately enriching their lives by just being there?
Recently, I’ve had the misfortune of attending a couple of “life celebrations” (I hate to call them funerals) and attending those events always calls to mind a few things. First… my mortality. I am no longer the strong, young twenty-something… with nothing but youth and time on my hands. As I ease into my forties I think about how ridiculous I must have looked to those who were then in their forties…wow! Thank you for tolerating my utterly primitive and uninformed behavior - (which leads to yet another skill to be mastered tolerance/patience....to be continued).
The second thing that has given me cause for pause in the last few weeks is: “What do I want my legacy to be?” After listening to people at these attended "celebrations" speak about their loved ones, how they represented themselves and the tremendous impact they had on the lives of those they touched my wheels really started turning…
Here are but a few of the questions that I sought the answers to as my mind began spinning about the concept of “legacy:”
|What will your legacy be?|
Ø What would be said at my "celebration?"
Ø Would what was said be truthful or an “edited” version of my life?
Ø Who would attend?
Ø Would they come because they truly missed me or would they come to see who else showed?
Ø What would my kids say?
Ø What would my Grandchildren (if I’m old enough to have them) say?
Ø What would my spouse say?
Ø Would my nieces and nephews bother to come?
Ø Would any of the young men I’ve coached throughout the years attend… and if so... what, if anything, would they say?
Ø What about my colleagues and co-workers… what, if anything, would they say?
Ø Will I have made a difference in the lives of those I knew… for the better?
Looking at this abridged list of questions from an objective position I can honestly say I believe my “report card” is pretty good. That’s not to say that I don’t have things I need to work on because I’m reminded daily of my short-comings. However, I am willing to work on those things that aren’t as attractive as others…I mean let’s face it… there are definitely some things we shouldn’t pass on to our kids, right?
What I feel most blessed about is the opportunity I have each day to make a difference…to do something good for someone else… to have a positive impact in someone's life. Parenting, coaching, speaking, teaching and writing are all ways of making a difference…but if I wasn’t doing any of that would I still be considered a "good" person? Would it really matter what I accomplished? I'm sure it would matter to those whose lives I play a significant role in.
I've heard it said: “Think about your life in terms of significance. If you weren’t here... would there be people who genuinely missed you?” That statement has always stuck with me…and although I’ve made some really bad decisions in my life, I’ve always striven to be a person of significance. To my family, to the athletes I've coached, to teams I've been on and ultimately to myself.
Well....? What do you think? What will be said on your "day of celebration?" I think it's kinda shallow to think it doesn't matter what others think of you because perception is reality... regardless of right or wrong.
My legacy is far from being cemented…. and I can only hope I'm blessed with a few more years to work on that project. In the immortal words of Coach Holtz: "I refuse to believe God put me on this earth to be ordinary." I hear ya coach... I hear ya.