Where are you going to?
Who am I?
I was once talking with a vicar about a recent funeral that he had conducted of a wealthy local resident, and he said he had been asked how much the deceased had left. He leant over to me to share the answer he had given, lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper and said: “Everything”.
Stephen Covey talks about leaving a legacy as the highest of four human dimensions, occupying the same place as self-actualisation in Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs. Tony Robbins has described this as the two “Needs of the spirit” for Growth and Contribution, and others too have explored this space.
“To live. to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.”
~ Stephen Covey
It has been said that we will all have a life sentence, a sentence that is used to describe our lives after we are long gone. If we can get the chance to influence what that sentence will be during our lifetime, what would we like it to say? If we want to create an intentional legacy then it may be worth considering before it has become history.
In order to explore what our legacy might be the most popular and effective approach is to seek what is usually called your “sweet spot”. In sports such as cricket or baseball that refers to the part of the bat which yields the best connection with the ball and with the right stroke sends the ball out of the park. So far as personal development is concerned it has a similar meaning, of finding what makes you and me unique and using that uniqueness to best effect.
Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” discusses the following three questions, and questions similar to these can be found in various places elsewhere:
- What you can be the best in the world at (and, equally important, what can you not be the best in the world at)?
- What drives your economic engine?
- What are you deeply passionate about?
Many people struggle with achieving adequate clarity with these three questions and might say “I don’t think I can be world class at anything”, “I’m not really passionate about anything”, or “I care about so many things I can’t choose.
“Everyone ends up somewhere, but few people end up somewhere on purpose”
~ Craig Groeschel
A key element that these questions all seem to miss is: “What is life telling you?” A really helpful way to explore that is to consider your past experiences and to do that in such a way that you can draw the lessons from them. This is especially helpful for those people that feel less than certain in finding a solution from the previous three questions and often acts as a reinforcement of the conclusions for those that did find an answer.
Craig Groeschel has produced several resources that can be used to help with this journey and they are all available for free from a website dedicated to the subject. This can be found at a site that uses the Hebrew word for “Dream” or “Vision” in the title, at www.chazown.com.
“Your past often holds the key to unlock your future”
~ Craig Groeschel
Here, along with exploring our core values and our natural gifts, we are encouraged to draw out a timeline from our experiences, and pay particular attention to the key experiences that were maybe painful or difficult to experience, and to draw out the main lessons that emerge from that analysis. It is often through exploring both our sorrows and our successes that we become prepared to fulfil our purpose and to leave a uniquely personal legacy.
“What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”
~ Margaret Mead
People say a lot, and they do a lot; to know what they believe watch what they do. By exploring our past in terms of what we’ve done, by exploring both the sorrows and successes and drawing the threads that connect them together we can gather a valuable insight into ourselves, our values, our passions and our strengths. This can then bring some additional clarity into the three questions that we explored earlier and can help us to understand the legacy that we want to leave as our life sentence.
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.