What Legacy Will You Leave? by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
It’s really easy to get caught up in the details of everyday life without giving too much thought to the future. As you grow as a leader, however, and increase your visibility in your organization and community, it’s time to think about the legacy you’ll leave behind after you’re gone. Even if you’re still young, you can begin to plant the seeds for what others will think about you down the road.
Think About What’s Important to You
Your legacy should be a reflection of the things that were important to you during your life. To create the legacy you desire, you must devote time to the things that really matter to you. If you want to be known as someone who improved her community, for example, it’s important that you are making time, right now, to do volunteer work and support the causes you care about. When you’re building a new business, it can be tempting to focus all your energy in one place. But, no matter how busy you are, there is time to work for other things you really care about.
Create a Plan
Once you’ve listed the things that you most want to be remembered for, create a plan that ensures you are taking steps in the right direction. It may not be possible to put energy into everything you want to include in your legacy right away. However, if you have a plan, you can start small now and add on as time permits.
Consider the Cost
Part of your plan should include the cost of leaving your desired legacy. Maybe you want to be able to leave money to your family, a cherished organization or an alma mater. If so, plan early how you’ll ensure the money is available. A life insurance policy is a great way to ensure you can leave a financial legacy.
Even if your goal isn’t leaving a large sum of money, there will certainly be costs associated with your desires. Budget the amount you can spend promoting your cause or donating to charity just as you would any expense.
Make the Change
Your soul searching may lead you to see some simple changes that need to be made right away. For example, maybe you want to be remembered as a great Mother or Father, but you’ve been devoting an inordinate amount of time to work, at the sacrifice of your family. If so, determine how you can make this kind of change quickly.
Everyone wants to leave some sort of legacy. But not everyone takes the time to plan and devote resources to this desire. With a little attention to the details, you can leave the world a better place and ensure you’re remembered for all your contributions.