The dictionary defines “Legacy” as a gift or bequest that is handed down, endowed, or conveyed from one person to another. Today, we acknowledge that legacy is still very much about the seeds you plant for the next generation to continue to grow, but we associate legacy as much with unique learning, contribution, values, and the example of character as we do with material wealth.
Meridian Life Design more fully explains that “Legacy is when you are genuinely grounded in offering yourself and making a meaningful, lasting and energizing contribution to humanity by serving a cause greater than your own. The requirements of a legacy are that you embrace your uniqueness, passionately immersing your whole self into life so that your gift will be to all and that you take responsibility to ensure that it will have a life beyond that of you, its creator, outliving and outlasting your time on earth.
The legacy you leave is the life you lead and therefore legacy is the residue of a life well-lived.”
It has always frustrated me that when a human life comes to an end, all the wisdom, character, life experience, stories, perspective and persona that is wrapped up in that person disappears too. In an instant. One moment it is there to draw on, to soak up, to explore; and the next it is gone forever – its many intricacies and insights erased but for any downloads you may have been lucky enough to make. These downloads come in the form of conversations, photos, recordings, memories. Some write books to encapsulate and immortalise their thoughts. Some leave such significant teachings that the lives of many are changed forever forward.
The 9th of April marked the passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. In true British tradition, Westminster Abbey began tolling its tenor bell once every 60 seconds at 18:00 BST, ringing out 99 times to honour each year of his life. He had been married to the Queen for 74 years. Whatever your opinion of the British Royal Family, he was an incredible human encapsulating great character, loyalty, longevity, contribution and honour. Almost a century of life experience, love and influence that has positively touched the lives of many; not to mention supporting the British Monarch through her life and reign.
Each of us has a life. Each of us is a collection of life experiences, opinions, beliefs and values which we action every day. Each of us comes into contact with others whom we influence for better or worse every day. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know that I strongly believe that each of us is uniquely gifted with a combination of goodness that only we can deliver to the world – that none of us is left out of this gifting, and that it is only up to us to uncover, develop and deliver those gifts.
Building a Legacy
Everything we say and do becomes part of our legacy. The choices we make, the way we respond to each person, each conversation, is an invitation to choose a certain path. Legacy is, however, about authenticity and consistency. Consistency of character, of contribution, of passion, of purpose. It is to actively seek to give back to something greater than yourself. Your legacy comes from who you authentically are at your core.
When building a legacy, intentionally or otherwise, consistent authentic contribution sticks, whereas the inconsistent and inauthentic fall away or knock down the building blocks previously added. Inconsistency and inauthenticity disperse very quickly, not being of significant value to be kept alive other than as a lesson to others. Legacies built of stronger stuff stand the test of time, continuing to send ripples out sometimes for many generations.
Legacy is about the value of your contribution. Historically, this has often been measured in monetary terms, although material wealth quickly becomes energetically dead itself. Legacies that pass on the energy of values, moral fortitude, intention, passion and purpose, instilling those in following generations of people live on long after money has dissipated.
Each of us is building and leaving a legacy. It’s something you’re doing on a daily basis already. Whether it is intentional is another question. Whether what you are uniquely gifted with will be contributed or remain locked up inside of you is a personal choice. How you share your life experience, values, passion and purpose is also up to you. I personally believe that each of us is a powerful piece of a greater puzzle and that each of us holds a space designed for only us to fill.
What legacy do you wish to leave? Where are you consistently and authentically adding to that legacy? Is what is consistent what you would like to be known for and to pass on? What is the unique part that you play that no one else can contribute? I guarantee there is one because no two people are exactly alike. Where are your inconsistencies knocking down or diminishing the authenticity of what you’re building? What do you truly want to leave behind?
by Christen Killick
April 12th, 2021