We will leave footprints on people’s lives today
You are living a legacy.
Wait a moment! Isn’t legacy about dead people? Isn’t legacy about what you leave behind, once you’re gone? When people say nice things about you at your funeral?
According to Merriam Webster legacy is a gift by will or something handed down from an ancestor or predecessor. It is money or property bequeathed to another by will.
Perhaps it’s time we rethink our understanding of the concept of “leaving a legacy.” Each one of us will leave footprints on the lives of the people we come in contact with today.
We don’t only leave legacies—we live legacies.
What impact do we have on people? What do people feel after you’ve separated ways? (Whether the meeting was in person, online, on the phone, or, reading someone’s writing.) What is the taste you leave in people’s mouth? In their minds? In their hearts? Did you add value to their lives, did you leave them indifferent, or did you succeed in fooling them, selling invisible clothes to the emperor?
It is less relevant whom you are (your age, gender, race, culture, language, or occupation, or calling in life) than how and why you interact with people.
It is less relevant who you are, than how you interact with people, how you make them feel.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a Harvard professor, a barista in a coffee shop, a writer, a nurse, a librarian, or a college student in Nairobi, is less important than the legacy you are living and will leave.
Who are you?
What is your calling?
“Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.” LEO TOLSTOY
Most of us want to change the world.
Most of us want to "make a difference.”
Many of us pursue the dream of becoming financially independent.
For many, the dream is to say farewell to a 9-to-5 job.
Others are hustling to make a mere living.
Others chase the ever-elusive dream of "being happy."
In the process of achieving our goals (daily, weekly, monthly, 90-day, and 5-year goals), how do we impact others? How do we touch their lives? Do we treat them with integrity, respect, and compassion, or do they become means to an end?
How helpful are you?
How often do you bless others? (With your time/ attention/love/ money/expertise/talents?)
How often do you encourage others?
“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.” C.S. LEWIS
Does everything you do have ulterior motives?
How often do you do or give without expecting reciprocity?
If you're a writer, do you respond to comments on your articles?
If you're a reader, do you leave reviews of books you read?
Do you share worthwhile articles and stories online?
Or is it all about you, your plans, goals, career; your growth and success?
“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” LEO TOLSTOY
Do you serve others?
Or do you believe others need to serve you, praise you, promote you, and follow your lead? (Is it only a one-way traffic?)
How much of ourselves do we give? How much do we really care about others?
“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” MAYA ANGELOU
Why do you do what you do today? Why do you bake that cake? Write that article? Record the podcast? Paint that scene? Put that patient to sleep? Repair that car? Do you do it for a pat on the back? For want of something better? For fame? For a paycheck? Or to touch a life?
Do people enjoy spending time with you—do you make them feel valued and special? Do you make them laugh, lifting their spirits?
It’s interesting how life works. Even in the midst of pain and suffering and struggle, when we reach out to others with love and caring, encouraging, lifting others up, assisting them in their pain, how the act of doing that, changes and transforms us, helps with our own hang-ups as we find new perspective and meaning. When we bless others with our gifts and abilities, we are blessed in the process. Giving meaning to other’s lives, in the end, bring meaning to our own.
The legacy we live and leave is a daily choice—it is part of the story we tell others, the world, and ourselves. Who am I? What is my purpose in life?
You are living a legacy. What footprints will you leave today?
Let’s touch someone’s heart!
Thank you for reading! Thank you for sharing!
A slightly different version of this article also appears on Medium where you can find more of my writing.
© 2019 DanieBotha.com. All rights reserved.
Image – Danie Botha