Are YOU living a Legacy Life? What does it even mean to live a Legacy life? In this article, we’ll talk about the concept of Living a Legacy Life; more importantly I’ll give you tips that can help you identify what you want YOUR legacy to be and ideas for how you can spend more time on actually living your legacy life.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for a bit of wisdom for life, perhaps some of the tips on this page can help you. If you find something that’s particularly helpful, be sure to let me know with a comment below or send me an email, and also share the wisdom with a friend so they can benefit as well.
What is a Legacy Life?
Let’s get started by defining what a legacy life is. I would suggest we use the following: “a life that has a positive impact on someone else.”
I added the ‘positive’ wording because I believe most of us would like to have a beneficial impact on others and I’m hoping that’s how you feel too.
Could we peel back the onion on our legacy life definition? Obviously. But rather than get into the weeds, I suggest we just go with that simple definition for our purposes today. Cool?
Do you have to be famous to leave a legacy?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that people like Ben Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, and countless others of their ilk created a legacy that included FAME and individuals like this will long be remembered for the legacy they created. The world owes them a debt of gratitude for the work they left behind and untold millions of people continue to benefit from their legacies.
But what about Average Joes like you and I? Do we have anything to look forward to from a legacy perspective?
I’d argue that one need not be famous in order to live a life that creates a legacy. Instead I believe we all have the opportunity to live a Legacy Life because every one of us can do something that has a positive impact on someone else.
So ask yourself – what will YOUR legacy be?
Wait, perhaps the better question is…
What do you WANT your legacy to be?
If you already know what you want your legacy to be, then more power to you – you’ve already completed the first steps towards living a legacy life. However if you don’t know what you want your legacy to be it will be very difficult to live a legacy life because you won’t know what actions to choose to do (because they will help you create your legacy) and what actions to avoid doing (because they pull you further away from your goals).
For most of my life I didn’t know what I wanted my legacy to be. As a result, I wasted a lot of time and effort pursuing activities that ultimately had nothing to do with my legacy life goals and therefore left me unfulfilled.
Don’t let that happen to you.
How Did I Figure out my Legacy Life Goals?
It wasn’t until my early 40’s that I finally figured out what I wanted my legacy to be. That’s a shame because I obviously wasted a lot of time I can’t get back. But it can be different for you – with a bit of wisdom and direction, you can find out your own legacy life goals sooner and live your legacy life longer.
How did I finally figure out my legacy life goals? How can YOU?
I followed the advice and example of mentors like Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, and yes even Leonardo Da Vinci – I spent time journaling, free writing, meditating, and thinking about what I wanted out of life and how I wanted to be remembered when I was gone.
The more time I invested in these activities, the more clear my vision of my ideal legacy life became.
I suggest you do the same. Consider doing any of the following activities (or better yet ALL of them)…
- Pick a book from Tony Robbins and actually DO the ‘life design’ exercises (my favorite is still Awaken the Giant Within).
- Start a journal (I actually use Google Docs to journal online so it’s available on all my devices whenever I think of an idea or want to write no matter where I may be). One of the best ways to discover your hidden legacy life goals is to engage in free writing.
- What is free writing? Basically you just start writing and don’t stop until you run out of ideas. You don’t worry about punctuation, you don’t worry about format, you don’t worry about spelling, you just write.
- You’ll be amazed at the ideas that emerge from deep within you when you just allow yourself to relax and write and see what comes out.
- I wonder – what ideas are hidden inside YOU? Don’t you want to find out? Your legacy life goals are there, waiting for you to discover.
- Read the book How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci (it may sound corny but it’s actually really productive AND fun). Who knows maybe there’s an artist inside you yet?
- Meditate – it doesn’t have to be hardcore “OM” meditation like a Buddhist monk (although that’s cool too); it can just be you spending time alone, focusing on your breath for a few minutes, and allowing your mind to relax. I’ve found that once we disengage our minds from the everyday bustle of life, there’s a lot of great ideas floating below the surface consciousness that start to emerge – many of these ideas are likely related to your legacy life. Meditation helps to unlock them.
- Keep this bit of wisdom always in view from the Gospel of John: “Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life.” (John 6:27) Think about how you spend your time. Are you wasting your time/life on that which is fleeting? Or are you planting seeds that will produce fruit that lasts beyond just your life? Creating food that endures is the key to achieving your legacy life goals.
What’s the bottom line on how to discover your legacy life goals?
Find out what activities work to help you discover your legacy life goals and keep doing them so that you can gain a clear vision of what you want your legacy to be.
What are the benefits of KNOWING your Legacy Life Goals?
When you become more aware of what you want my legacy to be, you will feel more empowered about life in general. Why? Because when you know your legacy goals, you’ll enjoy a significant benefit related to how you spend your time…
You will know that IF you make conscious decisions every day to DO the activities that are related to your legacy, THEN you will be actively LIVING your legacy life.
That’s an awesome feeling.
It’s a FULFILLING feeling.
And perhaps just as importantly, because you’ll have this clear-eyed view (@JalenSmith) of your desired legacy, you will also be able to make conscious decisions each day on what actions to avoid. For example…
- various time-suck activities;
- pursuing seemingly easy but ultimately unfulfilling goals;
- mindlessly chasing after money;
- wasting time on TPS Reports 🙂
- Etc, etc, etc.
If certain daily activities are not related to your legacy goals then you should try to avoid doing them as much as possible.
What are my Legacy Life Goals?
Because I always try to be honest and transparent with you on this blog, I will share my legacy life goals with you. Although they may not mean much to you, perhaps they will give you some ideas that you can use in shaping your own legacy goals.
Michael’s Legacy Life Goals are…
1-Family Goals: each day I strive to be an awesome husband & father – that means spending time with my family and being actively involved in their lives every day. Here are a few examples…
- Ideally I try to have a specific action item for each person every day. For example taking a walk with my wife, reading a book with my 5 year old, drawing with my 10 year old, and getting kisses from my little yorkie Bella. It doesn’t have to be complicated because all these little things add up to a lot over time.
- I also try to consciously savor the “Now” moments of every day life by taking a mental snapshot of the moment while I am living it and encouraging my loved ones to recognize the moment as well. This helps to create a string of lasting memories for all of us that build a mutual legacy.
- Finally, my family goals also include helping each member of my family identify and develop a plan to reach their own legacy life goals. I’m trying to position myself as a ‘foundation of resources’ that family can build upon to pursue their own legacy (whatever that may mean for them).
2-Body-Mind-Spirit Goals: every day I strive for continuous self-improvement in the three areas of Body, Mind, and Spirit as I endlessly pursue the noble but unattainable vision of becoming a Body-Mind Master. This includes individual goals related to fitness, meditation, spirituality, and overall continuous self-improvement. I won’t bore you with specifics here because I’m sure you already have your own goals related to these categories, but I would point out that this is a THREE-Prong approach: building up your body and mind is great, but don’t forget to develop your spiritual relationship too.
Spending time each day ACTIVELY trying to grow closer to God can have profound positive effects on all the other areas of your life too. Try it. You’ll like it 🙂
3-Novel Writing: I enjoy writing books. So far I’ve written a handful of them and while none have made it onto any best-seller lists, I still enjoy pursuing the craft of writing because I feel that God has blessed me with a treasure trove of creative story ideas and a passion for exploring them. And so I write.
- Ideally I write every day. It may not be a lot – in fact it usually isn’t — but at least it keeps me in touch with my stories.
- I write for my own self-happiness and also in an effort to emotionally touch others (thus the legacy impact).
- To be completely honest with you, had I known my legacy life goals sooner in life, I wouldn’t have been in such a rush to leave home and instead would have pursued a career in writing from college. But the past is the past and can’t be changed. I’m grateful that I know my path now and still have plenty of time (hopefully) to pursue it.
- If you are a writer (or want to be), perhaps the best tip I can give you is one I heard from Tim Ferriss who said “my quota is to write two crappy pages per day. I keep it really low so I’m not so intimidated that I never get started.”
- Why does this wisdom work? Because the concept of 2 crappy pages of writing per day is achievable and realistic for anyone and when you consistently do it each day over time you end up with a lot of content. Most of it may indeed be crap, but there’s also a lot of gold in there that you would never have written if you weren’t consistent.
- Here’s a few of my books…
- It’s interesting to note that, although I’ve been dabbling with writing for most of my life, I never actually finished any books until I discovered my legacy life goals.
- In other words, although many of these stories have been with me for years, until I gained that clear-eyed vision of my goals and actually made the conscious decision to work on them I didn’t accomplish anything. I was living the age old cliche “a goal without a plan is just a dream.”
- After learning how to live my legacy life, I’ve jump-started my writing career — all of these books were written AFTER I turned 40.
4. Self-Actualization Goals: I can’t remember when I first heard about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (probably about 30 years ago) but this wisdom immediately stuck for me and I buy-in to the concept. If you’re not familiar with Maslow’s work, here’s a helpful graphic…
- For me personally, anything above the Love/Belonging step relates to living a legacy live, but as relates to the Self-Actualization step specifically, I have certain activities that provide me with a sense of fulfillment.
- My self-actualization legacy goals are related to pursuing the crafts of cooking, photography, and music/piano.
- But how are these related to my legacy?
- Because each of these activities can be shared with others – particularly friends and family and my hope is that by spending time with my loved ones doing these activities, we’ll be creating more of those precious Now Moments and building a stronger mutual legacy together.
- I don’t get a chance to work on these every day or even every week, but when I do, my day is undoubtedly brighter.
- What types of Self-Actualization activities are fulfilling to YOU? Is there a way you can spend more time doing them? If so, how much more fulfilling would your life be?
5 – Sharing Wisdom with Others (like YOU): Part of what I want my legacy to be is to be known as a person who shares meaningful advice, helpful tips, and life-changing wisdom with others.
- That sounds like a tall task, but hey, why not shoot for the stars, right?
- My goal is to share wisdom with others that’s helped me in the hopes that it will help you too.
- Often I share life lessons and certain wisdom that I wished I’d known earlier in life because I know it would have made a difference for me – wisdom that, once you know it, can make a difference for you too.
- My blog ThatHelpfulDad.com, YouTube Channel, books, and other online and real-life activities are often related to this goal and each day I am consciously on the look out to share helpful wisdom with people I run in to (because you never know if the seeds you plan can change someone’s life for the better).
But enough about me. Hopefully this part was helpful to give you some ideas.
Let’s talk more about YOU…
Further Resources to Discover your Legacy Life
Living a legacy life is not complicated. If you simply try to enjoy more of your life as you are living it — consciously focus on the NOW Moments that occur in your life and happily sharing you time/attention/essence with the ones you love. Spend time DOING your legacy life goals and you’ll find more fulfillment in life.
Here are some additional articles from myself and others about living a legacy life:
- ThatHelpfulDad: 4 Tips to spend more time on your legacy life goals
- Larry Stockwell: How to Live a Legacy Life
- HuffPost: 5 Ways to Leave a Legacy
- PurposeFairy: What is Your Legacy?
- All Pro Dad: 10 Ways to Build a Legacy
- Tiny Buddha: Living your Legacy