The 18th century explorer, navigator and world traveler James Cook memorably wrote, “Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”
In our everyday lives, we continuously repeat a set of actions, building experience and mastering the skills that over time will take us one step closer to our better selves. Recognized self-development gurus such as Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma have crafted a unique legacy by using experiential workshops and seminars to coach individuals toward peak personal performance.
Ancient yoga sages perceived individuals as having a connection to the Supreme Being or humanity’s higher spirit, with the potential to awaken the virtues of a more enlightened plane. Every acclaimed coach or healer is asking us what kind of legacy we want to leave behind or what we want people to remember about us.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want people to remember about you?
In this aggressively competitive environment where technology and its various gadgets and applications vie for the attention of our minds and, hearts we are constantly called upon to choose where to be – here and now or in the parallel virtual universe. But many of us still link our legacies to our effectiveness, goals, and life missions.
The revered Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism Lao Tzu said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” One of the biggest challenges we face nowadays is taking that step toward concrete action. No one can deny that leading lights of enterprise such as the deceased Steve Jobs of Apple and Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin empire have made an indelible mark in our world – today and into the future.
However the world is full of other influencers, often working behind the scenes on a local level and selflessly serving others. Motivational speaker and author of the book I Love Living M. Rajan had three hearts attacks before becoming an acclaimed trainer and coach in India. The enthusiastic reception he receives when he enters any room is proof of the enduring legacy he has a built up over the years.
Indeed everyone has the capacity to leave behind a lasting monument, but we don’t all find the inspiration to fulfill that potential. If you want to take that first step toward leaving a wonderful legacy in just one year, follow these eight simple steps:
1. Serve people. Find an organization that offers you the opportunity to contribute – a charity, NGO, or anyone in need.
- A classic example is Henry Giessenbier who established a global network for young citizens 100 years ago – Junior Chamber International. Previously unheard of, Giessenbier used the organization as an agent for positive change in more than 110 countries worldwide.
2. Share your time, efforts and skills wisely in business or any other activity you perform.
- Entrepreneur Ilja Laurs, chairman of GetJar, the world’s largest independent mobile application store, set up a venture capital fund to invest in early-stage startups and new fast-growth and high-potential value ideas. He writes books, hosts seminars, and acts as a pro bono mentor.
3. Engage with responsibility, whether in relationships or on a new journey. Be courageous and go the extra mile.
- Remember the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan. He failed numerous times before he succeeded. Once he started winning he never stopped.
4. Follow others to be followed. Learn to be a student to become a teacher.
- One of the pioneers of peaceful civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi epitomized the principle of non-violent communication for true leadership by becoming a student and teacher.
5. Encourage a positive environment. With an upbeat attitude and confidence, you can spread positive energy.
- In the movie “Kung Fu Panda 2”, the lead character Po taps into his dormant positive power and authentic spirit to protect his community and way of life.
6. Create an open-door environment for others. Accessibility and friendliness can be learnt.
- According to veteran business leader Jack Welch, “Before you are a leader, success is growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.”
7. Say “Thank you” and “Please” to spread the spirit of gratitude. Appreciation and inspiration create more meaningful relationships, while teamwork accomplishes more.
- In his best-seller How to Win Friends and Influence People sales and leadership trainer Dale Carnegie also stresses these two simple expressions – and their power to open doors.
8. Love what you do and who you do it with. Be present and sincere. Contribute.
- The deafblind author, lecturer and political activist Helen Keller used the power of her love for life and for people to enlighten and change the world for the better. Her example should inspire us all.
By taking that first step and practicing these simple steps every day you will find that you would have traveled a long way in just one year! Your story may not have a happy beginning, but that doesn’t define you – what’s important is who you choose to be.
Loreta Pivoriunaite is a training consultant by heart, a lawyer by profession and a writer by choice. She has served different international NGOs, and has traveled and lived in numerous countries to pursue with the interest of personal growth, cultural intelligence and leadership. Loreta was a member of the Nordic Business Report jury selecting young entrepreneurs from Northern Europe for the 30 under 30 ranking. More about Loreta at www.loretapi.com.
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