Creating a Living Legacy
It was a simple question, really.
I was sitting in a networking meeting of life coaches. I have recently volunteered to serve on the local chapter board of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) which includes attending in-person meetings once a month.
I've been going to rub shoulders with coaches who are a few steps ahead and to learn more about my profession. My goal is to be open-hearted to what God has for me.
Each of the monthly in-person meetings includes some form of presentation and then a time to discuss at round tables a subject related to our field (how very coach-y of us).
I have loved learning from the other coaches at the table each month. Choosing to be open to learn from those who have gone before us helps us walk in grace and humility and hunger, doesn't it?
Back to the question. How would you define legacy? And what kind of legacy are you leaving?
Leaving Behind My Original Definition
My own journey has led me down a path of thinking deeply about what legacy really means. For years, I was intent on leaving a legacy by finding my purpose and living out my calling. I would leave a legacy because what I did for a living was significant.
I longed for a job in ministry as I worked in the business world hoping for a career that would one day feel both significant and that would change the world. (I blame my Meyers-Briggs type INFP affectionately called "The Dreamer")
When I finally arrived at this dream job of significance, I learned that there was more to a job filled with purpose than meets the eye. On the outside, the job seemed full of purpose. I was changing the world (with God) one heart at a time. But behind leading Bible studies, and leader trainings and one-on-one appointments were paperwork and deadlines and the little things like making sure I collected all the money for the books.
Purpose in the middle of your everyday life
What I didn't realize then was that no matter what my title, I could live with purpose and leave a legacy in the middle of my mundane, go to work everyday life. Purpose was not found in a job or a role. Purpose and legacy were found in living the message on my heart. Living the life message God had given me. Living out purpose and courage in the little moments of my life. In my relationships. In my family. in my work.
Your Intentional Legacy
As I sat pondering what I would say to these life coaches who were steps ahead of me, I was stuck. I kept thinking back to last fall when I walked my group coaching clients through my Purposeful Steps Life Planning curriculum. I had each client walk through the intentional steps of leaving a legacy. Living their values. Thinking through how they wanted to be remembered by the people who matter to them. Identifying one step they could take to start building a legacy today.
It all feels kind of listy, doesn't it? I mean, if you and I check off all these things and we live intentionally that we can leave a legacy. Don't get me wrong, as a life coach, I believe that the way we leave a legacy is by being intentional and embracing our values and our priorities. But as I considered answering that, something was missing....
A Living Legacy
So what's a living legacy? A living legacy is now. It's acknowledging that what you and I do today matters. And the more I thought, the more I knew I needed to share what I'm learning on my own little path.
When I started to realize that my "dream job" was really a job with meaningful and mundane parts I started to realize that maybe I was called to something different. I wrestled for years with what that something different was and then a few more of letting go of a dream job I worked hard to find. I wasn't ready to jump and let God catch me. I wanted a guarantee that the next thing would be just as meaningful as the last.
Until one day, I felt God tap me on the shoulder and say it's time to go. Just trust me. Since He was speaking so clearly, I chose to follow and obey. I quit in a flourish because God told me to. Surely the next gig would matter. The next step would be even more of a world changing.
What I found instead was the quiet reminder that my greatest impact will come from the being small. From relationships I already have. As I sit across the table in Starbucks or welcome women into my home for group coaching, this is where the magic happens. Not on stages. Not in leading hundreds. Not in super successful businesses.
The Power of A Moment
As I reflected on what I've learned on my journey I realized that building a legacy includes two things. Living a legacy means being present in each moment. For me, to be present with a friend or client who is sitting across the table from me. To be present with the people who matter to me. To be present enough to really know them and provide a safe space for them to belong - that is the making of a legacy.
I'm learning that God only made one me and He only made one you. You. Your gifts. Your talents. Your personality. Our world needs you as you are. As I work on myself and work with clients, the greatest legacy is learning to show up and embrace who God has made me to be. It's showing up authentically whole and messy and real.
Be You Beautifully
I haven't mastered this yet, but I'm working on it. I'm learning to live on the outside who I am on the inside. I'm learning to appreciate my gifts and my flaws in the middle of my messy life one step at a time. I'm reminding myself that the point isn't always the most successful business but showing up for the life God has given me - and learning to love and be loved.
I bet you're wondering what all those sage coaches thought about my legacy thoughts. They loved it. I'm not gonna lie - it made me feel grounded and not crazy for just one moment.
But the point in life isn't to impress it's to live your life beautifully. It's to be real and present and to learn in the middle of the journey just who we are and how God has made us. It's to embrace all of us - not just the good parts. We do it by showing up in the small everyday moments when we have the privilege of speaking truth into our friend's life or use our skills to help another. It's by being awake to the moments that matter and living fully in them.
So, I end with a question. What does living a legacy look like to you? And who do you need to become to live your legacy?
I'd love to hear your answers and pray for you along your journey. Simply leave a comment here or send me a message through my contact page.
Need a little help in living your legacy?
Life coaching can help! I offer a free no-obligation life coaching session so that you can experience first-hand what life coaching can do for you!