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How articulating your legacy simplifies your life

Amber Daines | 9 August, 2023


How have you thought about your life in terms of your legacy? That is seemingly heavy stuff, I know – but before you think this blog is about fire and brimstone or making a bucket list, hear me out.

Last month I had my first-ever experience of a “legacy lunch” with Sarah Nelson, who holds the snazzy job title of Chief Legacy Officer. The process was easy and joyous. Spending 75 minutes unpacking my drivers, my team inside and outside of my career, and my formative life experiences over the decades over lunch at the serene Saddles restaurant was the deal.

There was some prework—a chart to clarify my self-described VIA character strengths. During the workshop, we started by writing down the teams around me, listing my core beliefs, values, and strengths, then exploring how I was coded and what I have somehow collected along the way. This idea creates a picture or a phrase of the legacy you’d like to make.

In just a few moments, I am suddenly the CEO of all the teams in my life.

This exercise reminded me that life is long and short, depending on where you are and how confident you are about your direction. This strikes me as far more than a narcissistic endeavour. One of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs’ most famous and enduringly inspiring quotes is, “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?”. This is really what many of us are striving for.

Your dreams, goals, and accomplishments are never just about you. As business owners, team members, community leaders, a parent, a partner, a sibling, a child, and a colleague, we need to ensure everything we do (ok, not the laundry, perhaps, that is a life essential) comes with a purpose. It moves us forward to what we want to be remembered for most. It can be hard to craft boundaries, walk away from lucrative ideas, and disappoint others, but our legacy is all we have at the end of the day.

Where my legacy lunch landed was writing out what is my (initial) legacy statement – “living a life full of value to my team, me, and the planet.”

It may refine over time, but right now, I love it because it feels right. It also makes saying ‘no’ to things that don’t serve this statement suddenly very easy!

If you are curious about your legacy and what that means and missed my interview with Sarah, please tune into our podcast.