Archive for April, 2011

The Next Level or A Legacy?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

People today are consumed with the idea of going to the next level in their lives, be it in their relationships, careers, finances or other area of life. While this is great because it motivates them, I find it can limit our true potential. We need to be consumed with the idea of the kind of legacy we will leave behind at the end of the seasons of our lives. Thinking about your legacy every day, rather than thinking about the next level only, makes you a better leader. Thinking about a legacy makes you other-people centered while thinking about going to the next level tends to make one self-centered.

How do you transition from thinking about the next level to thinking about developing a legacy?

1. Be more focused on other people rather yourself

The idea of being a ‘people person’ has been around for a long time. Dale Carnegie’s 1936 masterpiece, ‘How to Win Friends and influence People’, has helped so many people over the years to develop a people-centered perspective that has enabled them to leave great legacies. I would highly suggest a reading of the book. 

2. Ask how you can help rather than what others can do for you.

President John F. Kennedy immediately became a world figure with his acceptance speech in which he said, ” And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of teh world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” In order to leave a legacy you must ascend in thought to where you are asking what you can do for others rather than what they can do for you. 

3. Be a giver more than a receiver

Nothing shapes a legacy more than the spirit of giving. When you give of yourself to others you become a part of the solution. It’s solution-centered thinking that sets the pace for the kind of legacy a person will leave behind. Again, when one is thinking of going to the next level, the pre-dominant question is “What can I get (or receive) that will take me to the next level?” When one is thinking of leaving a legacy, the pre-dominant question is “What can I give that will help others?” Be more of a giver and your legacy will be unshakeable because the truth is that what we give is ours forever!

4. Be a leader more than a follower

Leaders impact and influence other people greatly. The great thing about being a leader is that you are able to take other people to the next level as you develop a legacy. What a beauty! Leaders pass along the best in themselves to other people. I’m always pleased when I hear from people I led in high school and at the university. They always say things like, “Herman, that idea was awesome. It took our group to a whole new level.” While those short-term moves were great for whichever group I led, the best thing is that a legacy was developed because even today they still talk about what we did.

Are you living for the next level or developing a legacy for and with your people? Start shaping your legacy today.