Creating a Legacy That Leaves a Lasting ImpactJan 27, 2024
Legacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in the sports world. It's this idea of leaving behind something meaningful, something that people will remember you for.
When you're in a sport with a career span of just a few years, it's important to think about what kind of legacy you want to leave from Day 1. You have such a short amount of time to make an impact, to leave your mark on the game.
So you constantly ask yourself, how can I perform at a level that people remember over time; one that makes me beloved or a household name?
But it's not just in sports that we have to think about our legacy. We all have a professional legacy too. And most of us don't always give it the same level of thought. It's too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, in the hustle and bustle of our careers. We think we have all the time in the world to figure it out. We think we have to keep climbing the corporate ladder, even if it means compromising our values. Or we settle for a job that doesn't fulfill us but pays the bills. We put our authentic selves on hold while we "pay our dues."
But life is short. And if we want to leave behind a legacy that we're proud of, we have to start thinking about it now. We have to start making choices that align with our values, that fulfill us on a deeper level. We have to stop settling and start living our lives with purpose.
So let's take a moment to think about our legacies. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? What impact do you want to make? And most importantly, what are you going to do today to start building that legacy?
The Impact of Daily Decisions
As an athlete, I learned to appreciate the intentionality behind building for long-term success. When you pour yourself into a career could end at any moment, urgency becomes a way of life. You can't just coast through the days, hoping for success to come your way. You have to actively pursue it. You have to make the most of every opportunity and constantly strive for improvement. Every decision must be intentional; each one can impact your career and ultimately, your legacy.
What if we looked at our professional legacies the same way? What if it's not just about getting to a certain position or status, but about building a lifestyle that aligns the daily decisions we make (or don't make) with who we aspire to become?
Every day, we make decisions - big or small - that shape our careers and the legacy we will leave behind. From the way we communicate with our colleagues to the work we produce, to how we handle challenges and setbacks - these are all opportunities to either build or tarnish our legacies in real-time. What is the driving force behind your decisions?
Defining Your "North Star"
As an athlete, the first thing I had to do was figure out what success truly meant to me. Everyone had their opinion of success for my career, but ultimately I realized none of them mattered. The only judgment that truly mattered was the one I made when looking at myself in the mirror.
That vision of success became my north star. It was the driving force behind every workout plan, every therapy session, and every aspect of my preparation as an athlete. It articulated the impact I wanted to have on my teammates, the game, and my position. It defined where this journey should lead. Once I had it, I could align my decision-making with my goals.
But to make it happen, I had to proactively chase my that vision, no one else's. No distractions, no detours, no shortcuts. It meant I had to take purposeful action every day. Even when it wasn't the action I wanted to take, it's what the vision required, so I did it anyway. It made me become ruthless with my tie and energy in order to protect the vision.
In order to build your legacy, you must find the focus and sense of urgency needed to take purposeful action every day. It all begins with defining your "north star" - that ideal life you envision in vivid detail.
Then, ask yourself some important questions:
- What does success really look and feel like to you?
- How will you know when you've achieved it? What truly matters to you?
- What values drive your daily professional activities?
- What strengths do others see in you that can guide you toward your north star?
- What weaknesses might hold you back?
The journey won't always be smooth sailing. You'll face tough decisions and moments of self-doubt. But if you stay true to yourself, trust the process, and invest in your own growth, the legacy you build will be truly worth it.
The path to a legacy worth achieving should not be easy. Embrace the discomfort, stay focused, and keep growing; the rewards are immeasurable.