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Legacy and Impact

Light bulbs hanging together

Here’s a question that you may or may not find challenging. What impact are you having? As a man or woman, as a husband or wife, an employer, a co-worker, a parent, a friend? It’s potentially quite an important question, especially if one wants to leave a legacy, and of course raising the subject of legacy opens a whole other conversation. Perhaps we should start with that then, how do you want to be remembered, and what as, what legacy do you want to leave?

Most of us want to be remembered, or, at least, don’t want to be completely forgotten. Consciously or subconsciously, we want to leave something behind as a marker of our having existed and contributed. Very few of us work and create what we do without any thoughts whatever of wanting to leave something of value behind. Somewhere within us all, we suspect, is an awareness of the potential value that what we create could have on others. We do our best with our kids for their sakes, but also in the hope that we will be remembered kindly by them. We work to create wealth to allow them a leg up, our children being our most obvious and probably most important legacy. Innately, we want our ceilings in life to be their floors, after all, who knows what they could achieve with the help we can give them.  And, of course, we create legacy through our good works, our artistic creations and our interactions with other people, legacy, then is what we leave behind.

Let’s return to the initial question of the impact each of us is having. If legacy is important then it’s our impact that will determine it, and even if legacy is the furthest thing from our minds, the impact we’re having on life must surely concern us. Knowing the impact we have had, are having and can have on life can not only change the way we see ourselves but change our approach to the future. Knowing where our greatest impact lies gives us the opportunity to choose what we want to do about it. It can give us confidence and focus.

Our challenge to you this month is to spend some time reflecting on each area of your life and identifying on which of these you feel you’ve had the greatest impact in the past. Was it at school, in a relationship, as a sports person, in church, as a member of a club…and then, why was that? What was there in you that rose to the occasion? Were you simply in your element? Was it the subject, the people or your relationship to them in the moment? We’d suggest that in that moment you hit a sweet spot, a moment of impact. Then apply the same process to your life now. Where are you making an impact? Is your impact emotional, intellectual or even spiritual? How does it make you feel as a result?

This is where impact and legacy cross over. We can look at the legacy of how our impact on others moves on. How did our past impact change lives, relationships, thoughts even or the way those people’s lives changed as a result? And, knowing the answer, we can redirect the way we do life to create the deepest impact, to leave the greatest legacy.

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