If you know me, you know I’m all about building a legacy. Not for self respect or for ego. No, I’m for building a legacy that gives others opportunities greater than I had.
I reflect regularly on what I want to leave behind for others. My greatest hero, my dad, taught me that whenever you meet someone – in passing, close friends, family, the waitress, everyone – you should leave a little bit of the goodness of your soul behind with them. I realize as I get older that the little bit of soul you leave behind is part of your legacy – a part that builds your legacy and the the legacy of the person you touched. I also realize that you can leave behind the goodness part of your soul or part of your baggage and that the choice of what you leave behind is yours to make.
I was blessed with the opportunity to sit with Sydney Grover. Sydney is an amazing young woman. I met her after I made a presentation to the Grand Canyon University College of Business on storytelling. Even though we have only met in person twice, I consider her a good friend. She lives with character, has an amazing heart for giving back and loves the journey of life. What impresses me so much about Sydney is that she truly relishes living in the moment, knowing that this moment is one more stepping stone laid out on the path to her legacy. At 20 years old, I was the kid trying to find my place in life. I had longer hair, played in a band and was trying my best to get through my studies at NAU. Unlike how I was at 20, Sydney is balanced, focused and driven. At 19 she started her non-profit, Can You Spare a Story; an organization built on giving the homeless a face and a voice. To listen to her goals for the future is to see her legacy being laid out before your very eyes. I realize that Sydney is living the “leave a piece of your soul” movement without even knowing it. As we last met, we discussed the building of her professional board of directors for her non-profit – I saw the future gleam in her eyes. Even though she may be wary moving into the unknown, I could tell she knew she was going to be just fine. To Sydney, this was just another stepping stone being placed on the path of her legacy. The future for Sydney is bright and I hope I can be there to see her legacy unfold.
It got me thinking about my legacy. Now a 44 year old entrepreneur, I started asking myself “what truly is my legacy?” After some strong reflection, I realize that my legacy is one where I want to provide opportunity to others and give them the tools to leave a bit of their soul behind for others to build on.
As I get older, I realize that life is about the “now moment.” Because, as I saw in Sydney, now is the next stepping stone in my legacy. To be present in the creation of your legacy is important. I also realize that legacies never truly die. That piece of goodness of your soul you leave behind – it becomes a part of the other person’s being. If you give of yourself with good intentions and pure motivations your legacy will live on in that person and all the people that that person touches in their life. When Sydney and I were wrapping up our planning session meeting, I asked her a question “what’s the value of propping up someone else and seeing them be something better?” The answer – it is invaluable and no amount of money can be placed on the value of someone becoming better. If you can use your goodness to help someone become better, you have just made that person’s legacy even stronger.
I ask that you take some time over the next few weeks and reflect on what you want your legacy to be.