How do you go about creating your legacy? I’ve been blessed to work with many of the world’s most gifted entrepreneurs and leaders. I’m always asked how I find such great partners and clients.
I share a thought I heard Warren Buffett once say “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield”. I believe it’s because I provide my clients a better view to their potential future than others might see through their past. So how might you use this information to create a lasting legacy?
When you grow up in a farming community, you learn some basic rules of nature that everything must follow. These rules work well when creating a lasting legacy.
- You cannot harvest without planting.
- You can’t predict the future but you can control your risk in the present.
- If you want a better future you must grow a better understanding of your past.
Now how does this apply to creating your own legacy? I find most entrepreneurs struggle with the legacy because they are so focused on their short term results they miss the bigger picture of what’s possible. For many entrepreneurs, we are always putting out fires. We have developed our reaction times to milliseconds of time. We hear a problem or a challenge and we immediately go into action. This skill has provided us with significant personal and financial growth. It has allowed us to accomplish things we could only dream of growing up. It may not insure a lasting legacy.
The first rule on creating a legacy is that you must invest the time to think, consider, and then decide to take action on creating your legacy. Your legacy comes from you actively cultivating it. You cannot always know when you can harvest, but you should go about creating a valuable contribution to our world.
The second rule on creating a legacy is you can’t predict the future but you can control risk in the present. A strong legacy cannot be based on an uncertain future. When dealing with others, choose to work with the people you trust. This not only mitigates risk but provides greater joy in your daily activities. I see many people chasing an unknown future instead of cultivating their relationships today. Many of my most interesting connections came while I was learning a new field or when I wasn’t trying to connect with others. I find we tend to attract people with similar values and outlooks into our lives. If you don’t force it you may be surprised who finds you when you least expect it. Take time every day to create a future you want for your children and your community.
The third and final rule of creating a lasting legacy is that if you want a better future you must grow a better understanding of your past. I’ve been blessed by having some incredible mentors in my life. They all have provided me a view into my past that I might never have uncovered on my own. Be willing to allow others to interpret your life and you are likely to find the hidden gold that you are too close to see. My biggest breakthrough moment came when others told me about something I hadn’t seen myself. Sometimes it’s in jest, sometimes in anger, but I took the information in and chose to listen to what they said. I did this even when it was personally painful to listen to what they were saying at the time. A friend once told me that I love to share great stories. Why don’t you stop telling stories and do the work the way we want you to. It stung at first; I thought everyone enjoyed hearing my stories about my other clients. I decided to include more of myself in both my writing and my stories. The rest is history. Maybe not history, but well on the way to it.
The bonus rule is to understand that you are the keeper of your history. You chose when to share and how you share it with others. I went on a journey over the past several years to thank the people who helped me become the man I am today. When I met the most influential people from my past, I shared what they had taught me in our time together. It was funny; none of them realized the important role they had in my life. Upon sharing it we both laughed and hugged. Their stories touch people every day.
In closing, you should understand you determine where your legacy will come from. I have found a secret that most people do not understand, but the great ones do. Next week, I show you how to use your strengths to build the future of your dreams because I believe your personal strengths are the foundation of your lasting legacy. See you then.