At Virginia Commercial Finance, we place a great focus on our corporate culture. Our PUSH IT values, Passion, Unity, Servanthood, Humility, Integrity, and Thankfulness, are talked about in our shop on a daily basis. Along with these six values come more than 25 associated behaviors, each of which we use as an individual theme on a weekly basis. It can be argued that the subject of “Legacy” may fall under more than half of our values, but it really doesn’t matter where you put it. It is important for each of us to be intentional about the legacy we are leaving behind.
The truth is, we have a choice in the legacy we leave and it starts with answering the question, “What do you want to be remembered for?” In Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, habit #2 reads, “Begin with the end in mind”. Is what you are doing today bringing you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? Are you, right now, living in a way you want to be remembered for?
In order to leave a legacy, you must live your legacy. Every day you are building your own story. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Life is fleeting and success doesn’t count for much if you leave nothing behind. It won’t be the material things that matter, it will be the imprint you left on the lives of others that will live on long beyond your time.
In John C. Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, he talks about the idea of building a “life sentence” – one’s goal and purpose in life. This “life sentence” will guide you and shape the legacy you leave behind. We must strive to live every day in a way we want to be remembered for. Maxwell states, “Only by changing the way you live will you be able to create the legacy you want to leave”.
The truth is, every individual’s life sentence and legacy will change and evolve over time. As you take on your first job or begin your career, you may have a certain impact in mind that you wish to accomplish, something that people will remember you for when it’s all said and done. As your journey down the path of life progresses, you will acquire greater knowledge and a shifting perspective will bring about new objectives and goals. The idea of your legacy may not completely change, but small adjustments to that end vision may occur as you explore your path and tweak your life sentence for the better. In the words of the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” In life, the learning never ends, and changes to your ideal legacy are destinations along your path. Everyone has the power to leave behind a great legacy. Start living yours.