‘Limited time. Continuous journey.’ This is how one participant of my recent session defined life. The thought is profound; it is insightful and leaves an intense question. What is my legacy?
The legacy line is not new. Most people know leadership is all about having a vision and leading the path. But is that it? People are born and will die. Is it as simple as this?
The purpose of a human being is beyond just his/her vision in life. The vision we have and the process, through which we reach to it, is merely a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to have lived. Legacy is a higher standard it shows that we actually did something with our lives.
Individuals working in organizations have job descriptions. Life in itself is an organization. There are many people involved and we are the CEO of our life. To be successful in this organization and leave a legacy behind, following four are critical.
Life is all about learning. However, here it is not about technical skills or soft skills like communication, negotiation and team work. For life one needs to learn of oneself. ‘Who am I?’ is a useful question to begin with. Most people are disconnected in this area of self awareness. Learning about oneself is likedoing a ‘Training Needs Assessment’ of one’s own behaviors, attitudes, values, principles and mindsets.
Many people go through the learning process once and PERIOD! They fail to take it a step further. These are brilliant minds with rigid mindsets. They have learnt one thing but refuse to accept, learn or for that matter unlearn any thing more than what they have already digested in them selves. Greatest learning comes from observing ourbehaviors in different situations. This is why people say we learn from experience. On the other hand one experience repeated over 20 years simply fixates thatlearning and handicaps development and growth.
Nothing is good or bad unless we compare. This comparison could be a good beginning. You learn about yourself but develop based on the comparison with your surroundings. You maybe good but you can only feel it if you know what ‘bad’ is all about.
Many people learn and understand but few try to develop. For example you learn that your patience and tolerance level is an issue. The question remains are, you taking actions to enhance these qualities within yourself. If you are making a conscious effort to do so you are developing. Development is when as opposed to ignoring it you do something to improve it.
You learn about who you are and develop based on the comparisons you make. The next step is growing yourself – including development as part of your system.
Do at least one thing a day, which makes you feel uncomfortable. Push yourself; you will be amazed how far you can go. Remember: on the other side of fear is freedom. To remain stagnant is not to grow. To reach your full potential, you must rise above the fray and soar like an eagle.
The final stage of life is to apply what we have gained, in a timely manner. Life teaches that there are no rights and wrongs. There is heavy dependence on situation, circumstances, ulterior motives and many more dynamics. If you have truly learnt about yourself, developed your strengths, grow your capacity, it is time to apply. The way with which you apply is maturity. By now you would have learnt that not everything is to be used in all situations. You would have discovered that anger is as critical as patience.
To sum it all, the quest of life must be to Learn, Develop, Grow and Mature (LDGM) the rest are indicators of performance. If you truly follow LDGM, leaving a legacy is inevitable. Good work and intent spreads – irrespective.
Here is an interesting quotation that will hopefully leave a quest in your mind.
‘I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.
— Leo C. Rosten (1908-1977) American Author