In the age of Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and tablets–of endless emails and ceaseless connecting–how rare it is to stop and think about that question.
How rare it is to stick to the long game and not get caught up in short-termism.
How rare it is to look to the far horizon, instead of the incessant barrage of immediate distractions and concerns.
We all hunger for meaning and significance in our lives, but we leave them out of our daily diet. After a while, we starve for them.
The quest for legacy can be found in the deeper terrain of leadership. Though rarely discussed, it is much more important than the vast majority of activities that consume our days.
Talk of legacy can be intimidating to some. Some people demur, thinking that they don’t really make a difference. Others don’t think of themselves as leaders, confusing leadership with authority and failing to see that anyone can lead from anywhere, regardless of title.
Fact is, we can all lead and we can all leave a significant legacy. How to begin?
First, by connecting to something deeper and bigger than ourselves. To purpose. To enduring values and commitments. To a quest for service and significance.
Second, by working with others to build organizations that make enduring commitments and fulfill those fundamental longings. Most people want more than a paycheck. They long for opportunities to learn and grow, people to connect with, and chances to overcome challenges and make a difference.
Leaders can’t reap the harvest in the second area without planting seeds and tilling the soil in the first. Both areas require sanctuary and renewal.
What will your leadership legacy be–and what are you doing to create it?
1. What do purpose, values, and vision have to do with legacy?
2. Is meaning something you discover, something you create, or both?
3. Who do you know who is building (or has built) a powerful leadership legacy, and what do they do differently?
Bob and Gregg Vanourek are the authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations (McGraw-Hill, 2012).
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