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What Legacy Will You Leave?

In the last month I’ve had two people I know, one I would consider a good friend, leave this earth and transition to the next life. They were both departures from planet earth that were not immediately anticipated. Knowing that we all have an expiration date is hard to think about for many, and when those we know depart, it can be that stark reminder- none of us gets to take up permanent residence on this side of heaven.

Death can be a taboo topic for many people. We don’t want to think about it, we often don’t plan for it, and we don’t do well when it’s imminent with someone we love.

It is full of unknowns, and we can quickly become anxious about what we do not know.

Lawyers and financial planners espouse the importance of things like estate planning, having a will that is up to date, and thoughtfully considering what you want to have happen to your money and assets. Yes, those things matter, and can be the difference between your money and assets getting tied up in probate, or your surviving relatives having an easier go of dealing with the loose ends of your affairs.

But there is an entirely different matter to consider that has nothing to do with your money or estate planning.

That is the person you are and how you will be remembered .

Once we leave this life as we know it, the only thing that remains of us are the experiences and memories we have made with those we know, lived with, loved, worked with or touched in some way.

What is the legacy we are leaving behind? More than the money we leave to our loved ones, is the important question, how will they remember me?

Will people recall that you were kind, filled with love, hope and encouragement toward others, or will they recall only that you pursued the things of this world and did not really make time for the people in your world? Will they say you operated with integrity and concern for your fellow human, or that you were selfish, unkind or self centered? Will they remember you with awe that you left them feeling inspired and capable, or will they recall that you were mean spirited, inflexible or difficult?

The good news, is that if you are reading this, you have time to now consider how you would wish to be remembered. What would you want people to say about you at your funeral?

Then consider how that matches up with how you generally show up at home, at work, and in all the places where other humans interact with you. If you died tomorrow, what would people who knew you say about you?

While I am not suggesting you become a people pleaser- that’s often unhealthy and exhausting, what this blog is aiming for, is to encourage you to slow down long enough to ask yourself, am I operating with the level of integrity and good character that I desire?

Am I congruent in how I show up? Do people genuinely enjoy my company? Do I live in a way as to encourage others? Am I imparting important life lessons to children/ grandchildren by my actions? Am I living from a place of core values that drive all my behavior personally and professionally? Am I open minded? Curious? Able to show up and be present?

There’s no” 6 steps toward a better you” here… this is about you slowing down long enough to ponder what kind of legacy you want to leave to those who know / knew you when your expiration date is up? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

More than the dollars and cents, more than a stout life insurance policy, leaving behind the legacy of being a decent, kind, honest, hardworking, joy filled person who lived according to their faith and values, is the gift that keeps giving through generations, and ultimately, is priceless!

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