“Do not strive to be successful, become a person of value instead” – JSP
Many people desire to be successful in life and to leave an inspiring legacy when they’re gone. Legacy is something passed on to the next generation, which they receive as an inheritance. We can leave a legacy of monetary value or something far more valuable such as a positive influence on character development in others.
When it comes to character development we’re talking leadership and that means influence. Our greatest legacy will be in leaving others better off than when we met them. Think of it, your influence on people today, can have a positive impact on generations you’ll never see! That makes your life significant.
Significance is not an accident
Regardless of who we are, we will all leave a legacy, what that will be is completely under our control. Significance is better than success, because, the thrill of successful living that other people experience is a win for you because you influenced them!
It will truly be an honorable thing to achieve something significant in your lifetime, it will be far more honorable if you became a person of significance. Something significant ends with you, but, as a person of significance, your life continues to influence future generations by the people you’re adding value to today.
Live the life you want to be remembered for
What do you want to be remembered for? How will your family remember you?
What will your relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers say about your impact on them? You have it within your power to decide what your influence will be.
“What character traits would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember? Look carefully at the people around you. What difference would you like to have made in their lives?” *
It takes integrity to live a disciplined focused life of adding value to others. To become a person of significance requires living an “others-oriented” lifestyle. What will it take for you to become that person?
“No legacy is so rich as honesty” – William Shakespeare
Ten Questions to Help You Measure Your Integrity
- How well do I treat people if I gain nothing?
- Am I transparent with others?
- Do I role-play based on the person(s) I’m with?
- Am I the same person in the spotlight as I am when I’m alone?
- Do I quickly admit wrongdoing without being pressed to do so?
- Do I put people ahead of my personal agenda?
- Do I have an unchanging standard for moral decisions, or do circumstances determine my choices?
- Do I make difficult decisions, even when they have a personal cost attached to them?
- When I have something to say about people, do I talk to them or about them?
- Am I accountable to at least one other person for what I think, say, and do? **
It’s the answers to these ten questions that will guide you in shaping your life and direct your future. These questions will help you develop those character traits that you can instill in others. Those traits are how others will remember you, and what you’ve done for them. That’s leaving an inspiring legacy. That’s how you can stand out as a person of significance.
* “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
** “Motivated to Succeed” by John C. Maxwell
*** Featured image: Safra Catz, co-CEO of Oracle. Photograph by David Paul Morris -Bloomberg via Getty Image