Developing a Legacy That Matters

What do we want people to say about us at our funeral?

This may be a morbid thought, but there is a good reason that we all should be asking ourselves this question. The majority of those reading this blog live pretty hectic lives between work, family, sports, hobbies, etc. Trying to get all our tasks done is like juggling chainsaws while balancing on an oversized ball, blindfolded.

Not only are our schedules already packed with work, family, volunteer work, sports, hobbies, etc., but we are constantly bombarded by people demanding even more of our severely limited time. Writing down what we want people to say at our funeral will help us prioritize our crazy schedule. Why, you ask? I believe that making an impact of those in my circle of influence is more important than fortune or fame. My desire is to leave a legacy for my family, team, friends, and co-workers. Prioritizing my commitments, with this in mind, has helped me to approach each day with a purposeful attitude. I have developed a new joy in knowing that my completion of each task places me one step closer to building a lasting legacy.

Important Groups of People in my Life

The first step to prioritizing life, to enable leaving a lasting legacy, is to write down the important groups of people in our lives in order of priority. For me it is,

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Team/School
  4. Friends
  5. Co-workers

What do we expect people to say about us?

The next step is to write down, in a few sentences what we would want each individual to say about us at our funeral. For this part, consider subdividing the groups into individual people such as: mom, dad, son, daughter, wife, etc. For example, I want my children to say that my faith is built out of relationships and not religion. This portion of the prioritization process requires much thought and focus so it is recommended to think this through without any distractions that may hinder the process. These will become our goals in which we link our commitments to.

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Building blocks forming the legacy

The building blocks that shape a person’s legacy plan are linked to consistent commitments. These specific commitments may occur daily, weekly, monthly or yearly… The commitments may range from working a primary jo to an individual committing time to attend their daughter’s volleyball game, to agreeing to help an athlete work on his/her skill development.

Each of the daily commitments should be linked to one of the building blocks described above. For example, my volunteer work as the football team’s strength and conditioning coach is linked to the legacy that I am working to leave for Heritage High School. If a specific commitment cannot be linked to one of our goals, we need to consider reformulating our goals. We must be careful not to allow the distractions in our lives to become obstacles in our pursuit of a lasting legacy. This exercise will help us identify these distractions.

 My personal commitments

On a consistent basis, I am juggling my full time job as an engineer, my volunteer job as a year-round strength and conditioning coach, my seasonal part time job of head freshman football coach, training for powerlifting meets, my family of 7, my volunteer work with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), and my church attendance and volunteer work within the church. With all of the commitments, I become limited by allowing distractions to control my life. I strive to make a purposeful connection between my commitments and my legacy. In doing so, I have had to turn down certain commitments in order to take on larger roles. In order to grow, I have been faced with sacrificing my personal desires to meet the needs of others. As humans, we must learn to sacrifice our personal desires in order to live a life of purpose so that we may have a purposeful legacy, here on earth.

Conclusion

This is a living document that should be reviewed every week or every other week. Make reviewing it part of a weekly routine because as we mature in life, situations and priorities will change. If having a legacy is made a priority, it is guaranteed that each individual will approach life and daily commitments with a new sense of purpose and drive. People often ask me how I manage all that I have going on. My answer to this question is due to the fact that I have developed an understanding that each commitment is a piece of a puzzle which I call my legacy.

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