“A dear friend and an inspiring mentor, Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation.”
“Steve’s brilliance, passion, and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
“His greatest love was for his wife and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
“Jon Huntsman Sr., Utah billionaire and philanthropist, dies…”
“Jon overcame poverty to become one of the state’s most successful and powerful people.”
“After amassing his fortune, Huntsman gave $10 million to the University of Utah in 1992 to establish the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a research center dedicated to finding a cure through human genetics.”
He was a highly successful actor, known world-wide for his piercing blue eyes and his penchant for fast cars. But in his later years, he carried his success to the point of legacy by creating Newman’s Own Foundation, the goal of which was to “give it all away.”
These are examples of Legacy.
It is a word commonly used in today’s vernacular, but what does it really mean?
In John C. Maxwell’s book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, legacy is considered the pinnacle of leadership. It is that point at which the work you have done and the life you have led leads to influence that will outlive you. And according to John, that requires “longevity as well as intentionality.”
Essentially, legacy is built by being intentional for the long haul. Lasting legacy is built across decades – not months or years – and because it has been built to withstand the tests of time, it extends beyond the life of those who create it.
So here is the question for you…are you, in your leadership and life, leaving a legacy?
It may be too late to accumulate billions of dollars or establish an acting career. Those may not be your path to legacy. But it is never too late to create a legacy that is your unique contribution to the world.
Here is a legacy-building checklist. Do you have these?
Legacy leaders think beyond today, this week, next month, or even this year. They have big vision and the means to see beyond the scope of the immediate. As a leader, are you making reactive decisions based on the needs (or crises) of the moment, or are you considering the long-range impact on the decisions you make today? Yes, as a leader, you must make quick and informed decisions; but as a legacy leader, you must do so with long-range vision in mind.
Many can be successful in the short-run. Quick wins are easy and offer immediate gratification. But success over the long-haul is what truly tests leadership and develops character. A leader who passes the test of time is a legacy builder. Others are influenced by their powerful example.
Vision is critical. It is the right hand of leadership. But leadership’s left hand must be goals. When the right hand of vision works with the left hand of goals, amazing things can be accomplished. Legacy is rooted in vision and goals. The converse is true as well: No vision – No goals – No legacy.
Vision and goals work hand-in-hand; and actions are the legs, which carry them to reality. It is not enough to envision yourself successful, nor to set goals to get you there. You must take action on your vision and goals in order to carry them across the finish line.
Character is what keeps you moving. It is what you do when no one is looking that keeps you in the game, keeps you honest and trustworthy, and keeps you accountable to others. Guard your character above all else. Let every decision be made based on character and integrity. You have a choice – you can leave a good legacy, or you can leave a bad legacy. And you determine which it will be by the character choices you make each day in your decisions and daily habits.
Yearning to Make a Difference
What each of these highly successful individuals learned was that income was not the be-all-end-all of their respective careers in business. They learned that money was simply the means to a purposeful end. That purposeful end, for each, was different and unique to them…but it was rooted in a commonality. It was rooted in their deep desire to make a difference to others. Maybe you don’t have billions of dollars (or maybe you do), but if you yearn to make a difference, you have what it takes.
Where are you on your journey to Legacy?
Are you just starting out in a new business or career?
Follow the checklist like a roadmap. Begin with the end of making a difference in mind.
Are you toward the end of your journey?
It is never too late to make a difference in someone’s life. It could be that you mentor a developing leader, or that you spend time teaching and inspiring your grandchildren…or both. It could be that you contribute your time and money to build a charitable organization or to serve in one.
Someday, there will be a headline written about your life – a few short words that sum up your legacy. What will those words be? The fact is, to a large degree, YOU get to decide. And you start making that decision by what you do TODAY.
To learn how you can build YOUR leadership legacy, click here for information on the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.