How to Build a Powerful Legacy
Most people associate legacy with wealth and assets that get passed on to the next generation, something that happens in the future. But legacy is about more than just the financial assets you bestow on others. Legacy is about the actions in which we choose to engage (or not engage) on a daily basis.
How people think of us now is how people will think of us after we are long gone.
A legacy isn’t a project. It doesn’t happen overnight. But if you connect your legacy, with your values and daily actions, you can make a mark that’s forever celebrated.
"If you are going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark in the world that can't be erased." — Maya Angelou
How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
Knowing what’s important to you, what drives you, and how you want to be remembered creates tremendous clarity in how you should live your life each and every day — and how you’ll eventually impact others. The problem is, very few people actually take the time to draft their Life Goal, an outline of what they want their legacy to be, we like to call this statement the "VEST Her Statement".
Here is a quick three step guide on how you can develop your VEST Her Statement:
1. My VEST Her Statement
Develop a paragraph of four to six sentences on how you would like to be remembered after you leave an organization, career move, or after you are no longer part of this world.
Ask yourself the following questions: What’s important to you? What are your values and beliefs? How do you want your life to impact others? What would make you proud? If you had to do one thing to improve your world, what would your contribution be?
The answers to these questions will help you develop a meaningful life philosophy that goes beyond just creating financial wealth. Your words will become a personal commitment to yourself and the building blocks of your legacy.
2. Get Rid of Obstacles
It’s not enough to develop a powerful statement and make a list of positive behaviors. In order to build a powerful legacy we must also eliminate bad attitudes and behaviors that get in the way.
Here is a list of things you should eliminate:
Lack of focus. Living life on the go, with no plans, often leads to a life full of reactions. Intentional actions are what get you closer to your goal.
Living life on someone else's terms. Many people go through life without a plan so they end up chasing someone else's dreams or living the life others want them to live.
Resentfulness. Life is too short to be remembered as someone who was always mean, bitter, angry and fearful. Unhappy people leave sad legacies.
Consumerism. Although legacy is not all about wealth, how you use and leverage that wealth is very much part of your legacy. That's why we always encourage everyone, but particularly women, to shift from being a consumer to being an owner and creator.
False sense of urgency. Rooted in anger and anxiety, false urgency creates a surplus of activity without productive results and smothers true priorities.
Safety. Mitigating risk is smart. Letting fear of failure take over the life and legacy you want for yourself is not.
Cynicism. Knowledge is often the culprit of cynicism. The more you know pain and disappointment are a possibility, the easier it is to become cynical. Just remember, the over critical constant feeling of "it doesn't matter" often leads to defeat without effort.
3. Build a Legacy that Matters
Now that we've identified and eliminated behaviors and attitudes that dilute impact, let's talk about what can help you build a more powerful legacy.
Dare to be intentional and maximize your impact. Serve in ways that bring you joy. Identify the things that make the biggest difference and do more of that. Dish out anything that steals your joy or minimizes impact. When you’re on the path to be your best self, you have no time to waste. Use your time wisely.
Develop a growth and ever-learning mindset. If we are not growing, we are dying. Obsess about learning, understanding, and mastering new things. Invest in yourself. From feeding your mind with books, classes or lectures to taking a chance, a risk, or putting yourself in a situation that may be out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s learning a new language or skill. Repetition is the mother of skill, which is why for so many of us, growth is addictive — the more we grow, the more we are able to master. The more we master, the more we grow.
Think service not success. The secret to living is giving. If you focus on contribution and how you are adding value to others, you will make a big difference in your community. Start with those closest to you! It's easy to lose sight of the fact that giving begins at home, so don't neglect those closest to you as you change the world.
Develop a mindset of gratitude. When you are grateful, fear and envy disappear. As humans we are conditioned to approach life from a place of scarcity. Believing there aren’t enough resources to go around, we compete with others and with ourselves. Getting beyond that scarcity mindset and into one of abundance, we begin to think of life as a place to give, not to get. We begin to Build Power Collectively™
Last but certainly not least, RELAX. Don’t run around building a legacy. Run around making a difference. Seize small opportunities and big ones will follow. It’s the small changes and habits, that when done consistently, lead to the biggest growth.
Our VEST Her Statement
For too long, prevailing systems of established regulations, societal norms, systemic and structural barriers, have led women to believe we must compete with one another in order to achieve career mobility. We exist to change that narrative. Expediting the pipeline of more women in positions of power and influence enable us to Build Power Collectively™. More women in positions of power means more influence over markets, equitable policies and flow of capital.