Most leaders want to leave a mark in their fields, to create a lasting imprint by their work being appreciated and remembered.
A legacy comes from the idea that everyone, regardless of position, can make a difference. Thinking about legacies requires moving beyond short-term definitions of success.
Legacies encompass the past, present and future, and force us to consider where we have been, where we are now and where we’re going.
A quest to leave a lasting legacy is a journey from success to significance. By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. By living each day as if we matter, we offer up our own unique legacy.
By offering up our own unique legacy, we make the world we inhabit a better place than we found it.
Leaders Serve and Sacrifice
“What will be your legacy?” does not have a single answer or a right answer. But asking the question opens students up to the notion that along life’s journey they’re going to be struggling with determining the difference they want to make.
Leadership often begins with pain and suffering and leadership can be as much a service to others. As John Gardner once observed, “A loyal constituency is won when people, consciously or otherwise, judge the leader to be capable of solving their problems and meeting their needs.”
John didn’t mean that the leader should personally fix the problems and fulfill the needs. He was suggesting that people willingly follow someone who’s attuned to their aspirations, fears and ideals.
Leadership Is Personal
People need to know more about the leader than the fact that the leader is their boss. They need to know something about the leader as a person.
Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. People want to know
People want to know:
● Your values, beliefs, aspirations and dreams.
● Who has influenced you the most.
● What prepares you for the job you’re doing.
● What you’re like as a person.
● What drives you.
● Your hobbies and other personal tidbits.
We are more likely to trust people we know, and the more we know about our leaders the more likely we are to trust them as human beings. We lead our lives in the company of others, and that is where we leave our legacy.
It is the quality of our relationships that most determines our legacy.
Failure Is Always an Option
Failure is always an option. In fact, if you’re not willing to fail at what you do, you’ll never become great and you’ll never innovate.
Imagine that you play professional baseball. The very best hitters each season will have a batting average of a little better than 300.
For every 10 times they get up to bat, they get about three hits. The real reality is that despite the probabilities, professionals believe in the possibilities.
Life is our laboratory, and we ought to use it to conduct as many experiments as possible. Try, fail, learn.