We’re living in a world of change right now. It can be argued that 2016 was a tumultuous year, filled with upheaval and expectations of bigger changes to come.
To expect change is one thing. To know and experience it, well, that’s something entirely different and, as with any change, rather uncomfortable. It might even be that we let our hearts and minds slip into a negative space as changes take hold.
But I’m not willing to let that happen. I have for months intentionally sought change. I want and am ready to move forward, do things differently and positively make, yes, changes. And I want this because, like many of us, I expect my changes will serve to create or further define a legacy.
Perhaps spurred on by world events or just stirrings within, it’s time to think about just what legacy to leave and why. But how to do this?
To find this answer I took time to reflect and look inward to understand the work, the people and the personal times that moved me to feel uplifted, fulfilled and optimistic.
I discovered what motivates and inspires me. I can now tell you that to find your legacy is to find what matters most to you and to use it to serve others and have a positive impact upon them, i.e. creating positive change for, with and about them.
What matters most to me? This does:
When we were young we may have heard that taunt, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never heart me.” Sure, that may be true if you take this literally but, honestly, we all know that words can hurt, can really sting. And their impact can linger.
As professionals we strive to leave a lasting impression or a legacy. At the very heart of this desire are words and actions. And often, the words we use will – must – guide and inform our actions, especially as they are perceived by others.
How We Show Up Matters
A key entrepreneurial and business concept is to differentiate your brand and services. Differentiation is about how we view ourselves but, even more so, it’s about how others perceive us. For example, what do others experience when you walk into a room or start to speak?
At the heart of your differentiation are the words used to attract, influence and engage others. And while absolutely true that the words matter, what is equally as important is the story you tell and how you tell it. It sets you apart and, if done well, this story will leave the lasting impression you want others to receive, even if they choose not to engage with you.
Words. Story. Delivery. This is your presence.
Every day we make choices. It could be where we choose to eat lunch, what coach to work with or with whom to partner. There is an impact from every choice we make. It can be large or small, it can be short-lived or last for a long time, it can be ruinous or it can be uplifting.
And yet we make choices every day, all day, even though the outcome may be uncertain. We have to. It’s how we move forward in life, personally or professionally.
Choices are powerful. One of the most powerful choices for you to make is how you will step forward to meet challenges.
Will you do what is expected or instead follow what is your inner self’s desire, passion or purpose?
Choice results in a selection, come what may.
What does it mean to be a leader? Does it mean that you’re an executive with lots of employees? That you’re the guiding force of a movement? That you have wisdom that no others hold?
I’ve struggled with just what it means to be a thought leader. It’s a common designation and a lot of people want to be a thought leader. I’m not sure why.
Many of us are already leaders if you believe, as I do, that leadership really means being skilled, experienced and influential enough to be recognized for providing valuable knowledge and guidance, and often in a motivating or inspiring manner, maybe even quietly, so others take action.
At its most basic understanding leadership is, therefore, about being able to get things done – for ourselves and through others.
That leadership does matter. A lot.
Words. Presence. Choices. Actions. These are tricky things. I like to think it’s true that we all generally put a fair amount of thought and consideration into all that we say and do. If this is true, it follows that we should accept the outcomes. Easy to say, tough to do.
We have to give our full attention and commitment to our words, decisions and actions. We also have to be accountable to them, every day. They are ours and we have to embrace them, for better or worse.
This type of ownership matters, in so many ways and on so many levels in our quest for the fulfillment that is the underpinning of outward and lasting success.
Yep, I’ve done a lot of thinking. Not surprisingly, the change that I expected was on its way is now better known. I am confident in what matters to me and will serve my legacy.
Take the time to look and determine what most matters to you and how it can stimulate positive changes resulting in greater determination, commitment, influence and success. Maybe even create your legacy.
In this coming year of national change what do you think will matter most to you and what effect may it have on your life or business? Leave a comment below and let me know?