“Legacy is not leaving something for people it’s leaving something in people.” Peter Strople
What do you want your eulogy to read at the end of your life? Whoa, hold up. I just dove in too deep, too soon, didn’t I? Okay, let me rewind and pave a path to that thought.
Recently, we had an unexpected health scare with my mother-in-law. She was taken to the hospital for one thing, and less than a week later, we were planning for brain surgery. I certainly didn’t expect my family to experience two brain surgeries in less than a year, but there we were, preparing for her surgery AND talking about what might happen as a result of the operation. Those awkward and hard conversations you have as grown children, talking about what you will do with your parent who may not be able to return to normal life; conversations about wills, living wills, trust funds, nursing homes, and estate planning. I like deep conversations, but I can say that’s a subject I don’t care to revisit. While sobering, these times force you to think on some critical things; the most important things.
It’s pretty typical in the American culture to spend a lot of time, focus, and energy on the income we produce to pay for the things we experience here and now. But, if we get real, isn’t it less about the profit we make and more about the impact we create?
“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” Jim Rohn
Leaving a legacy is not just leaving a giant estate and filling the following generations’ bank accounts. In fact, I hear so many stories about the fights that ensue and bitterness that is created over those kinds of inheritances. While leaving behind financial inheritance can be an incredible blessing, money has limited impact…the biggest limitation is often the hands that hold it. But, that’s really for another conversation.
Now, back to your eulogy. What if it all ended today? What would be read at your funeral or life celebration? What hole would you leave behind? What have you created that will continue to live on? These thoughts are not meant to depress or discourage us, rather they can be a great sifter of the things we are investing in that have little long-term impact apart from the things that do.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I major in the minors. My “to do” list becomes my ultimate aim and if others aren’t on board with gettin’ stuff done, step outta my way. I know there are some of you that get tempted to focus on “doing” more than “being” too. I do NOT want my eulogy to read: “Jamie was an incredible list maker. She got so many things done. Her laundry was clean. Her house was clean. Her closets were organized. It hardly looked like she lived in her home. That’s what we will remember her for. She wasn’t available to hang out often, she wasn’t around much, and conversations were short because she was really busy completing her lists. We didn’t know her well, we don’t really know what she lived for, but we know she loved post-it notes.”
Post-it notes and highlighters may not be the minor you are tempted to major on, but what about that paycheck? I TOTALLY get the necessity of money, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard or that we can’t have or spend money. That’s silly talk. I just know that some of you make your decisions based on how much money you can make, and maybe the money making is causing you to sacrifice your memory making.
If we don’t want our eulogy to read, “She was rich in her bank, but poor in her soul” or “She made a lot of money, but I don’t have many memories of her,” what do we want it to read? Beginning with the end in mind is a beautiful way to start to align your life with where you want it to go, the places you were designed to be, the life you were created to live. It sets us up to leave a lasting legacy.
“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will.” Chuck Palahniuk
September CHANGE Challenge:
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want to be remembered for?
- What legacy do I want to leave behind?
- What is one thing I can do today to invest in that long-term legacy?
about the author…Jamie, the wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. “Fuel the body, mobilize the soul” is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1 or at bit.ly/JamieBeeson
Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s September 2018 issue.
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