What is Your Legacy?

We mostly think of legacy in terms of the money or property we might pass on to our survivors. It is actually anything transmitted or received from us including intangibles like values, beliefs, or attitudes.

Life Legacy of Mr. Rat

Often the intangible legacies are more valuable than money or property because they can guide one’s life. My mother, for example, gave me a cup-half-full view of the world and the belief that I could fill that cup to the brim with whatever I chose.

Money and property may be lost. Empowering beliefs passed to you by your predecessors are yours forever.

While we are alive, our legacy is a mere abstraction — an idea about what we hope to leave behind. We might think of it as our mission or life purpose. At any moment our legacy is a summary of who we are and how we will be remembered should we die in this moment.

It is probably a good idea to occasionally poll your closest friends or relatives and obtain a snapshot of how you appear to them. How might they describe you — your strengths, your weaknesses and what do they appreciate or value about you?

Often our own sense of who we are is very different from the experience of others.

This exercise can be a huge eye-opener. What we think of as our crowning achievements might actually be perceived as intimidating or off-putting. Do we need, for example, to spend a little less time on goal-attainment and a little more on our friendships and family?

Many of us lead lives dictated by old programs formed in childhood about how we should be or do. This can lead to being cautious, people-pleasing, controlling, resistant or even rebellious. Is this who we really are or want to be?

According to hospice nurse and best-selling author Bronnie Ware, the number one regret of the dying is not living a life true to ones self but rather the life expected of them.

What is most important to you? If money and time were not an object, what would you do?

The second regret of the dying is working too hard and not taking time to enjoy oneself.

This second regrets always encourages me to slow down a little and take a breath. Would it help you to take a breath? We live in a hyped-up world, everyone on caffeine competing for our attention. It takes awareness and effort not to get caught up in that raging stream of group consciousness. It requires moment to moment choices.

The best legacy we can leave is action guided by inner wisdom and joy. When we are true to our self, share our gifts and love ourselves, we shine. This will encourage others to shine.

 Discovering who we really are, what makes us shine, can often be a journey in and of its self.

Here are some questions to consider in assessing your journey:

  • Are you hiding any dreams or gifts in the closet?
  • Are you waiting for more time, more money, more education, more courage or something else in order to move forward?
  • Do you feel over-committed, overwhelmed, or over-stressed?
  • Do you put other people’s needs ahead of your own?
  • If you died tomorrow, what would you regret?

It is never too early or the wrong time to consider such questions, i.e. to reflect on your life and ask how it’s going. There is power in such reflection. It can show us where we need to adjust our guidance system, where we need to course correct so that we go where we really want to go.

To help you with your self examination and to plan your authentic legacy, go ahead and get my Life Purpose Challenge Kit HERE.

I am of that age when more and more of my contemporaries die each year and often unexpectedly. A neighbor down the street died of a heart attack last week. This triggered that old a comparison game of how-old-was-he/how-old-am-I. Of course those numbers don’t mean anything at all. You can’t predict the future and since you can’t you might want to be prepared. By prepared, I mean, live each day as though you might die tomorrow.

Are you living fully, deeply and consciously? If not, what are you waiting for?

The wonderful thing about death is that it puts a time limit on life that holds us all accountable.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dr. Michelle Peticolas is a national speaker and expert on the topics of loss, emotional wounding and unresolved grief. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and over 18 years experience coaching people through major life challenges.  If you’re ready to change the habit of rushing, download and listen to her Stress Release Body Scan audio recording. Find out where you are holding energy and learn to release it. www.releaseandthrive.com

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