This past week my father-in-law passed away. He was a World War 2 veteran and a master shooter. I gave the eulogy at his service, and it got me thinking about legacies -- and what my future legacy will be. What will people say at my service, and what will people say about me in 200 or 300 years?
We all leave a legacy, some positive and others negative. Some people are quickly forgotten and others live on, their legacy making such an impact as to change people’s lives long after they are gone. I recently wrote on Facebook that my legacy will not be money or success, it will be that others succeeded because of something I said or wrote.
Being an entrepreneur, what kind of legacy do you want to make?
You must consider these three things to guarantee your legacy lasts:
1. Be a better you.
Even back when I was only 16 years old I remember telling my mother, "If I ever make it big I am going to help people." In my life, I have read many books and listened to a multitude of seminars with the goal to reach into my full potential and become a person who could give back. Today I am still working on my own self-improvement. Three times each year I put aside time to work on my own continued education.
Investing in myself has never let me down and has helped me to reach to my full potential. Much has changed throughout my career, but one thing I have always been interested in is my own self-improvement. I remember many years ago reading Andrew Carnegie, Clement Stone, Napolean Hill, Og Mandino, Zig Zigler, Earl Nightingale, and more. I soaked in what they said and wrote and they made me better. Each of these men left a positive legacy to the world.
If you can do anything to improve yourself, do it. Becoming a better you is the first step to leaving behind a legacy.
2. Be the real deal.
I do a lot of public speaking. I never want to give people advice on the stage and then fail at my business or at home. I have made a commitment to a lifetime of self-improvement so I can be the real deal.
How do you tell the difference between the fraud and the guy who is the real deal? I’ve observed that the real deal guys usually have a business or multiple businesses with employees. They pay taxes, hire people and are running a business. They have tangible products and technologies that are measurable and not just inspirational.
If you take a look behind the curtain of someone who claims to have the secret sauce, you might find their lives falling apart. I have never wanted to be that guru that didn't walk the walk. I don’t want to be one person on stage and someone else at home. I want to be the real deal. To leave behind a powerful legacy, don’t be a fraud.
Related: Leaving a Legacy
3. Keep Stacking the Wood
It’s impossible to have too much wood on your fire. You and your business can never take too much action or have too much success. Don’t worry about getting too much authority, being talked or written about excessively, being covered too often, or working too much. With any fire, you have to keep adding wood to keep the heat and the glow. Obsess over how to keep your fire burning. If you don’t, it will turn to ashes.
Keep throwing wood on your fire until you either start a bonfire or burn the place down. Don’t rest and “take it easy”, and never stop. Your fire has to continually be stoked, and that means more and more fuel—and in your life and business—more actions. It is a myth to believe that successful people start “kicking back”.
Someone said to me once, “It is clear you have made enough money to live comfortably; why are you still pushing?” The answer to that is that I want to leave a legacy and make a positive footprint on the planet. Obscurity kills. There are plenty of solid ideas and great products out there but most don’t know how to get attention and so they disappear. Leaving a legacy is about how you will be remembered, not forgotten.
If you always work to improve yourself, become authentic, put into practice the things you preach, and take massive action by adding wood to your fire without stopping you will be on your way to building a legacy worth remembering. Success is your duty, obligation, and responsibility!