Legacy Leadership – Part 4 – Leaving a Legacy

 

LL - 4 - 1You and I can have an impact upon others that outlasts your lifespan on this earth. In fact, it is unavoidable. The big question is whether or not that it will have been a positive impact.

Following certain Biblical principles, you can leave a legacy, a spiritual inheritance that will affect the lives of others for all eternity.

I have discussed this in my previous articles. And many others have discussed the idea of leaving a legacy as well. Presidents often speak of leaving a “legacy” when their term is done. You hear expressions like: “President Clinton’s legacy is…” or “What will President Bush’s legacy be?” These expressions are referring to the impact that their presidency will have upon future generations. It means, how will history remember them?

I want to talk to you today about leaving a Spiritual legacy, a spiritual inheritance, for those who come after us. Passing on to the next generations a legacy with eternal value is far more important than a temporal inheritance of money and property.

Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.

But what does that really mean? I have already said that things of eternal value are of the utmost importance. So, on a practical level, what can I do?

LL - 4 - 2My wife and I recently met with our financial advisor. We looked at where we are currently and whether or not we are “on track”. He told us we are on track. That was good news. I asked him to share with us his projections and the parameters that he was using. He ran our life span out to age 90. And at the ripe old age of 90, he said we still had a little money left over to “leave to the children”. I felt pretty good about that. You know, leaving money to our young children and all. But then my wife asked him to run the projection out to age 100! Strangely enough we don’t have a whole lot of money left at that point. I was downhearted at the prospect of that. But, my intelligent and highly mathematically inclined wife quickly reminded me that when we are 100, our “children” will be in their early and mid 70s! They will probably have been retired for 15 or more years themselves! And their children will be in their 50s and probably thinking about retirement for themselves! I had it all wrong.

Well, consider the following as some practical guidance from a Biblical perspective.

Our children and grandchildren should be target #1 for our legacy. – Your primary task in life is

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Legacy Leadership – Part 3 – Restoring a Legacy

 

LL Part 3 - 1Restoring.

Restoration.

Something is either broken or old. In either case, the word connotes that something needs to be repaired. I am not sure exactly how that aligns with my understanding of restoration. But I think it is not too far from the reality of it.

There are several recent examples of restoration that are at various stages of the process. One example is from the industry in which I am employed. And the second is from the world of college football. Consider with me for a moment – the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico and the scandal that erupted involving a former football coach at Penn State University.

The Deepwater Horizon created an oil spill and plume covered almost 360 square miles with the most severe reduction of biological abundance and biodiversity impacting an area about 9 square miles around the wellhead, and moderate effects seen 57 square miles around the wellhead. Yet, once the flow was finally stopped and the initial massive cleanup efforts were concluded, the area today is largely unnoticeable from an ecological standpoint. I will not argue the relative merits or impacts to onshore locations or the local economies. Those seem to operate sometimes outside the bounds of reasonable expectations because of the human emotional impact. But my point here is, although potentially unpopular and controversial, that nature began to heal itself. Nature restored itself.

LL Part 3 - 2Now consider the scandal that erupted at Penn State over the deplorable and unconscionable acts of a former coach, Jerry Sandusky. Following a very tumultuous time in which the collateral damage was significant, the guilty party was sentenced to jail where it is my hope he will spend the rest of his natural life. I am not concerned about his legacy. I am concerned about the legacy of a good and decent man who died during the tumult that surrounded the scandal.  Joe Paterno died in the days following the scandal eruption and his son and assistant coach, Jay Paterno, is striving to restore his father’s legacy. Unlike nature, his father’s legacy will not restore itself. Even when the final chapter is written on the scandal and the record will show that Joe Paterno followed the protocol of the university, he will be forever tarnished by the scandal in which he played no part.

So, how does a guy like Jay Paterno go about restoring the legacy of his father?

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Legacy Leadership – Part 2 – Building a Legacy

 

Building a Legacy - P2 - 1Building a legacy involves many things. It involves a high degree of introspection. Legacy leaders are constantly asking themselves questions about their activities and interests. Here are just a few questions I want you to consider as we discuss building a legacy.

  • If you knew with absolute certainty that you’d die exactly 24 hours from right now, what would you do?
  • If you knew with absolute certainty that you’d die exactly 10 years from right now, what would you do?
  • Would there be any difference in your activities or the energy in which you went about them?
  • Who are the top five people that you’d want to invest your time in?
  • Do you know what you would want to pass on to them after you’re gone?

Every day, without knowing it, we are passing on to those around us who we are, what we possess and what we learn. But are we really passing along the stuff that matters for now and for eternity?

Building a Legacy - P2 - 2Most of us desire to leave an inheritance of significant value to those around us. Although we don’t always know what that means, what it includes, or how to go about it. We are bombarded in the media to plan for how to pass down our wealth. And we have some authors who are a part of Leadership Voices who can help you with those issues. But when it comes to the intangibles – the kind of stuff money can’t buy – we hear crickets from the media and from pop culture. Pop culture is concerned about the here and the now. In contrast, Legacy Leaders are concerned about those that come behind us.

We tell ourselves that we have lot’s of time. We tell ourselves that it’s OK and we will figure it out later. But the truth is, the average person will fail to pass on what matters the most to the people they care about the most.

Lord, please don’t let that be said of me.

Who comes to your mind first when you think about those you would want to pass down a lasting legacy?

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Legacy Leadership – Part 1 – Focus on Legacy Leadership

 

Legacy - Part 1 - 6A focus on legacy leadership will drive every decision that you make and every action that you take. So, what is Legacy Leadership?

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)

 Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value. — Albert Einstein

It surprises me how many husbands and fathers don’t spend enough time thinking about their legacy – what they will leave behind for the family that they love and the people they serve. I won’t even go into how many husbands and fathers only carry the life insurance supplied by their employer. But they seem to care more about the financial legacy they will leave than the Spiritual one that will be left behind.

Legacy - Part 1 - 1But the harsh reality is that each of us is leaving a legacy whether we realize it or not or whether we want to or not.  The question is whether or not it is a legacy that is positive and has far-reaching implications into the following generations.  And for me, the legacy that I want to leave is a spiritual one.  I want to leave one that is pleasing to God.  And if it is pleasing to God, I am pretty sure I will be OK with it as well.

Webster’s dictionary defines legacy as, “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

Legacy is not bound by age or time served. Legacy represents your entire body of work at each stage of your life as you establish the foundational building blocks of a family and accumulate the required wisdom to contribute to the success of that family unit. Your legacy grows with each new experience, with each test or trial, and each time you inspire others to see something beyond our current circumstances.

For many, leaving a legacy is associated with the end rather than the beginning of one’s life.

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Learn From Your Life

A few years back I wrote about how nothing in our life is wasted.  This post further explores some simple ways that you can learn from your life and use the lessons you can learn to help those who are coming up behind us.

I was sitting at a friends house the other night and began chatting with his 14  year-old son about girls, money, business, growing up, faith, and making good choices. I’m sure it was a fun conversation for a teenager on a Friday night, but he was kind and obliged my candor and strong opinions.

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