Writing New Year’s Resolutions or Living Your Legacy?

Jann FreedSage-ing Leave a Comment

It is that time of year when many people think about and some even set New Year’s Resolutions.  Usually these resolutions focus on self-improvement or on learning something new.  But as I was watching CBS “Sunday Morning” last Sunday, I was thinking about the value of living one’s legacy.  Jane Pauley remembered the many people who died in 2016 in CBS’s traditional “Hail and Farewell” segment.

As the people were highlighted, I was amazed at how many we lost this past year– artists, writers, musicians, politicians, business leaders, and others.  It made me think about the difference these people made and how they affected me.  As the expression goes:  “We all make a difference.  The question is:   What kind of difference are we making?”

So rather than writing a New Year’s Resolution, think about living your legacy or the difference you are making with each decision, action, and interaction on a daily basis.  Jim Kouzes, a leadership sage, says “The legacy we leave is the life we lead.”  

In my sage-ing workshops, I encourage people to write legacy letters or create an ethical will.  Both of these documents are ways to pass on what matters most to you in terms of values, beliefs, hopes, and dreams.  These are ways to pass on the wisdom you have gained from your life experience–lessons learned.  In the past when families lived closer together, these topics could be shared at the dinner table on a regular basis.  But as many families are spread out across the country or world, it is harder to have conversations about what is most important.

So I encourage you to watch CBS “Hail and Farewell 2016.”  Remember that we don’t have to be rich and famous to leave a legacy.  We are leaving our legacy on a daily basis whether we know it or not. Being intentional and aware of this should make us think about the difference we want to make.  I write legacy letters (or ethical will) to my sons on each of their birthdays.  Even though they may not realize exactly what I am doing, I am passing on what I want to share with them at that point in time.

Are you passing on what matters most to you?

How do the people you care about know what matters most to you?