Create a living legacy that’s worth your time

What do you want to be your legacy?

The number one death bed regret is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” (Huffington Post) Now, I don’t mean to be morbid, but it’s easy to think of a person’s legacy only after they’ve passed.

I think that’s short-sighted. Thinking legacy only begins to take shape when a person dies devalues the ethos of legacy. Some of the most powerful legacies today are living legacies: people making a difference in the world around us. Entrepreneurs, philanthropists, social justice advocates, medical researchers, these are just some of the few creating wild significance while breath still inhabits their lungs.

What if we reimagined life years before that final death bed regret? What if you had the courage to live a life true to yourself now? What would you change? What would stay the same? What would it take to turn your life into a living legacy?

Create a living legacy worth your time - writetojoncook Jon Cook

How to build a living legacy

Spoiler alert: life is not about you. You’re not here to build your kingdom. God put you here on purpose with a purpose for a purpose: to make a big deal out of others, especially Him. Any attempt to build your own legacy with selfish intentions will crumble with time. Your life legacy cannot begin to take any significant shape until you start seeing others as more important than yourself.

You can start building a living legacy in a few simple ways:

  • Build someone else up every day. You can be a mentor, an encourager, advocate, even just a good friend, someone who adds value in someone else’s life today. Every one of us could use another person in their corner of the ring. Be that cheerleader.
  • Seek significant change, not just successful opportunities. Anyone can build wealth, but few achieve significance.
  • Live a generous life. Be generous with your time, attention, resources, money, connections, wisdom, even listening. A generous life is one of God’s greatest glimpses into heaven on earth.
  • Duck the spotlight whenever possible. This allows you to highlight others who deserve far more attention than you do. Tipping your cap to others who deserve the applause embodies a gracious life.

Five questions to ask when considering your legacy

When you see your life’s purpose is to enhance the lives of others, there are five questions you can ask to help build a lasting legacy:

  1. What do I want to be true of me?
  2. What is the significance I want to embody as a testament of my life’s work?
  3. Whose lives do I want to influence for tremendous opportunities in the future?
  4. How do I want my name to be remembered?
  5. What emotions do I want to inspire in others after they know my story?

None of these questions are bound by an end-of-life experience. All of these questions can be answered and refined as you live each day. Michael Hyatt recently announced his coming book Living Forward, co-authored by Daniel Harkavy, that’s due to be published by Baker Books next spring. This already looks like a tremendous resource to help you develop your living legacy.

What are some other ways you can build a living legacy?

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