Thursday, April 6, 2017

Living Your Legacy




"I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me?  Did I choose to love?  Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things, I want to leave an offering...and leave that kind of legacy."

Those lyrics from Nichole Nordeman's song, Legacy resonate so deeply with me.  I often wonder...am I making a difference in the lives of my clients?  It can be so hard to tell sometimes.  Am I sending my writing (a very vulnerable part of me) into the great abyss of the internet, or could it possibly make a difference to someone?  How are the little boys I spend my days raising going to remember me?  Will the high school students I volunteer with remember how I cared for them, sat with them in the dark moments of adolescence?  

This is not me fishing for compliments or reassurance.  This is me really, truly wondering...how will people remember me when I'm gone?  What mark am I making on this world, if any?

I don't think these sentiments are unique to me.  I think we all wonder, at some point or another if what we are doing with our lives is making a difference.  So today I want to share an exercise with you that you can use to really think about who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to do with your life.  It's an exercise that will help you determine what you want your life to be about, and it will help you live out your legacy, starting today. 

1.  Write down 3-5 words that you want to characterize your life.  Another way to think about this is: how do you hope people will describe you?  Here are some words to get you thinking, but really try to choose words that are unique to you:

    Loving      
          Hard-working
                 Kind                      
Selfless
                      Bold                           
 Hopeful
                          Adventurous                 
 Creative
                     Fun                          
Godly
                            Generous                         
    Righteous
                          Trustworthy                 
     Confident
                    Loyal                      
     Vulnerable
           Faithful         
  Peaceful
                         Helpful                        
Calm
             Popular          
Funny

If you are still feeling stuck, you can write a mission statement for your life - 2-3 sentences that sum up what you want your life to be characterized by.  Then, circle keywords from that statement and use those for the purpose of this exercise.  

2.  Under each of your chosen words, write 3 goals...one for this month, one for this year, and one for 5 years from now that would help you exemplify or live out each word.  For example, if one of your words is calm, you could write:

Calm
One month:  Meditate 10 minutes per day this month
One year:  Go on a weekend yoga retreat this year
5 years:  Be in a new job (if my current one is still too stressful)

3.  Now write one thing you could do daily to have more of each descriptive word you chose in your life.  For example:

Calm
Be in bed by 10:00 every night

Loving
Speak a family member's love language in some way

Confident
Write down one thing I did well each day

We experience discord in our lives when how we are living is at odds with our values, or how we want to be living.  By taking a few minutes to really think about what you want your life to be about, what you want to prioritize, you can truly start to see the life you want to live become the life you are actually living.  Stephen Covey said, "Most people struggle with life balance simply because they haven't paid the price to decide what is really important to them."  If we don't know where we want to go, we're going to have a hard time getting there.  Likewise, we will struggle to find life meaningful or fulfilling.  We get one life, my friends...let's spend it living with purpose and passion.  


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