What is a Legacy? According to the Merriam Webster definition, it is a gift by will especially of money or other personal property or something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
I watched two very good shows last week, and the similarities between them were interesting. They were both heartbreaking stories that have stayed with me for a while. Even though these stories were very sad, watching them made me start thinking about legacies, and how we can influence today, what people say and think of us tomorrow.
Both shows portrayed the lives of two legendary people in history, Marie Antoinette and Buddy Holly. I watched the Marie Antoinette video with Kirsten Dunst, and enjoyed it very much. Later in the week, I attended the 5TH Avenue Theater in Seattle’s production of the Buddy Holly story.
These two heroic people not only suffered tragic and early deaths, they each left behind a unique and memorable legacy.
Marie Antoinette used fashion to make a powerful statement that shaped the public opinion of her. Her impact on the fashion world influences designs even today, more than 200 years later. She was said to be the Queen of Fashion.
Her strength and courage in the dungeon, prior to her beheading were admired, as was her beauty. There is no doubt, Marie Antoinette who married at barely 15 years of age, became queen at 18, and a mother at 23 and victim of the guillotine at 38, left behind a legacy.
When Buddy Holly died at age 22, in that legendary plane crash in February 1959, he became a legend. He left behind an incredible music legacy.
What he contributed to music had an enormous impact on the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Elvis Costello and Jimi Hendrix to name a few. He mingled country, rock and other pop influences creatively into his music and inspired a legion of followers. His versatility was both rare and admired, and continues to impact music today.
A legacy is something we leave behind. It is what others remember about us, what we are known for, much like our reputation. For example if you can be counted on to liven up the party, that is what people remember about you. If you are someone others count on, to do what you say you will do, that may be how people remember you, or your legacy. If you are quick to roll up your sleeves and help when a need arises, people will remember that about you, and so on.
If you knew you could influence your legacy, would you want to? Most of us want others to think well of us. We want to feel well regarded, competent and know that people respect us and will treat us fairly.
You can influence your legacy starting today. It is possible. To begin, answer these questions.
o What do you want to be known for?
o What do you want people to say about you?
o What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
o What will you do differently as a result?
Once you have answered these questions, begin a list of things you could do to create this new legacy.
Remember, what you do today influences tomorrow’s legacy.
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