Building your legacy

So the gun goes off and the sun rises on a new day. Phrases like “the early bird gets the worm” drive us to rise early and finish our days late. Such is the life of an executive.

In this fast and furious world where the pace is ever increasing, we thrive on the energy created by discovering new opportunities, bringing innovative solutions to the marketplace, inspiring our teams and honoring our community. To do anything less, to give any less of self, is simply not an option and, in fact, out of character.

Redefining success

I recently read two outstanding books, “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance” and “Finishing Well: The Adventure of Life Beyond Halftime,” written by Bob Buford, that address similar themes.

The premise of “Halftime” suggests that we spend the first half of our life pursuing success (often as defined by others) and the second half pursuing things that are significant — most often things that are focused outwardly versus inwardly. With “Finishing Well,” I think the title speaks for itself.

Regarding “success,” be it fame or fortune, the common expression “you can’t take it with you” is absolutely true. Many leaders redefine success as their life experiences become ever more inclusive of accomplishments outside of their careers.

Leaders begin to measure success not in terms limited to professional growth but rather in terms of personal growth and how their lives positively impact others and contribute to the community. Legacy building should not be something we begin to consider as we approach retirement.

Uplifting others should start now

We often read stories of legacy becoming more important after a life-changing event — stories that highlight a leader who is facing a major illness or other tragedy and how it has a profound impact on changing his or her direction in life.

I would like to suggest an alternative thought. Legacy building — what we leave behind — should start on the first day of your career, if not sooner. The ability to impact others doesn’t have to be a second thought.

Developing your self and contributing to others are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would argue that they are mutually inclusive. The best way to gauge your personal leadership effectiveness is to simply look around you and see if you are uplifting others.

Achieving a balance

It’s important to balance priorities and manage resources. A lifestyle that encourages and supports balance is a blessing. When your life is truly in balance, success can be achieved in many — if not all — aspects of life.

This is not to suggest that life is, or can always be, in perfect balance. We all have moments of joy and times of challenge. Yet, every moment of every day creates new and exciting opportunities to grow, develop and contribute. Enjoy each moment and take full advantage of it.