A few years ago, I came across an article that shared life regrets from elderly folks living in hospice. What really struck home for me was that the biggest regrets were actually not about the things they had done in their lives, but rather the things they hadn’t done. They wished they had taken more chances, been more bold, been more of their true self, made more of an impact.
Now, if you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear my initial optimistic response was “YES! Exactly!”. And you also wouldn’t be surprised to know that it was quickly thwarted by fear and loathing, as if some imaginary cynic was perched on my shoulder going – “What are you doing with your life!?”
The article was a pretty powerful reminder for me to take stock in the kind of life I wanted to live – and to do so boldly. Because…why do anything less? Life is short. Carpe Diem! Excelsior! It made me take pause into thinking about the kind of legacy I want to leave behind – for my life, my relationships, my work.
So, lately, I find myself doing regular check-ins to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. Which is important, as my goals are definitely not small. It’s pretty clear we’re not designed for “Small”. I firmly believe we’re made to dream and go “Big”. To be bold, take chances…to build a life and legacy that creates an impression with others for generations.
At MRC, we try to impress this idea into our own internal values, which naturally rolls right into our client work. Legacy-thinking is SO important for our work – and yours. So, we put that legacy front and center when we start a creative relationship with our clients – always pushing for something bold and unexpected, and at the end of the day, memorable. And luckily, it’s paid off in spades.
Below, I’ve put together a short punch list of ideas that have helped me to own my legacy. Maybe some will help you along the way as well.
- Start super high level. Whether its the legacy of your life or the legacy of your business, ask yourself this: If someone only had 4 words to say about it, what would you want them to be? Keeping it very simple allows you to think of the big picture – not the details. This will also help you connect to the foundational idea and feeling – which is the most important part.
- Mark your goals down. Writing your goals down will help crystalize them in your mind – and ALWAYS think big. Always! There are a ton of great ideas in our creative well, so use them liberally! And, remember that they don’t have to be someone else’s “big” – just yours. These are personal goals. Here’s a hint if they’re big for you: If they get you really excited or really scared – you’re probably headed in the right direction.
- Create milestones along the way to achieve them. These will create benchmarks for success (everyone likes to mark things off of a list, anyways, right?), and help you pick away at getting the big stuff done.
- Re-evaluate them every 3-6 months. Don’t wait too far in advance as you might need to recalibrate and reroute your road map. If you do, that’s good. You’re learning. If you already know all of the answers, you’re not taking big enough risks!
- Don’t EVER get down on yourself for too long. It’s not worth it and never productive. If you get down, let it happen, but remember tomorrow’s another day.
Lastly, let me just say – I completely own up to the fact that I’ve been working out my legacy my whole damn life, so I’m in it just like the rest of us. But, you know – as time goes on, I keep getting a little bit better at it. And, that takes time, intention and patience. But, you will reap the rewards. I promise. Regardless – the bottom line is this: Life is short, but filled with incredible possibility. Let’s encourage each other to own the legacy we are crazy about.