Cus D’Amato was a famous boxing manager and trainer. He once said that a “hero and a coward both feel the same thing. It’s what they do that makes the difference. It’s what the hero does that makes him a hero and what a coward doesn’t do that makes him a coward.” What we feel is not going to leave a legacy, what we do or don’t do will.
What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone? What story is your life writing that will be left for generations to come? These are deep questions to ponder about what kind of legacy your life will leave. Here are 10 ways on how to leave a legacy.
1. Live your legacy.
Our children listen to us most intently by watching us live. So live with character, conviction, and passion. The most indelible legacy is the way that we live.
2. Live like you mean it.
Engage this life with passion and gratitude. None of us know how long our lives may be. But we can leave the legacy of living like we care, and living in a way that honors our creation. People will remember how you live more than the details of your achievements.Loving our spouse and our children with commitment and enthusiasm is a legacy like no other.
3. Love like your life depended on it (it does).
Even when we have nothing else to give, we still have love. Loving our spouse and our children with commitment and enthusiasm is a legacy like no other.
4. Keep a journal.
Not a writer? No problem. Just develop the habit of keeping a regular record of what’s important in your life. One All Pro Dad we know simply kept notes in the front of his Bible. Jot down key events like births, weddings, and signal achievements, along with a comment or two. When he passed away, it turned out to be priceless.
5. Share the family stories with your children.
Be an open book. Share your stories. Believe us when we say the kids prefer these even to Harry Potter, and the telling can become a conversation they value well into adulthood.
6. Be honest.
Nothing communicates like authenticity. Share your failings as well as your triumphs. A legacy that speaks of transparency and an open spirit is a legacy that will benefit many generations.
7. Ground your purpose in a greater purpose.
We each live a story. The best stories are grounded in principles and purposes that are timeless, and certainly bigger than we are. Live a story that lasts an eternity.
8. Give your family the gift of time.
Most children and grandchildren remember presence more than they remember presents. Commit enough of yourself that your legacy is the fact that you loved enough to be there.
9. Live for others.
The great legacies of history are people who dedicated their lives to the service to humanity. On a smaller scale (but no less important) is our service to those we love, to our family, friends, and community.
10. Talk about your vision after you have departed from this life.
Share with your kids what kind of lives you would like them to live, even after you have died. Having those thoughts constantly play through your children’s heads can help navigate them as they face crucial choices. “What would Dad do?” is the most powerful legacy of all.
Sound off: What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you want to do with your life? What type of impact do you want to make?”