Before every basketball game our team watches a video clip on our character ed word of the week and a motivational clip. One of our favorite motivational clips is a speech Ray Lewis gives to the Stanford men’s basketball team. The basic message he gives is to “leave a legacy.” We constantly ask ourselves, “Was our season a success? Is the life we’re living a success?” This week we’ll discuss three ways to leave a legacy that will endure long after we’re gone.
The first step is to inspire others by the example you set. You have to hold yourself to the highest of standards, work hard, and expect great things of yourself. You must be willing to hold yourself accountable. That takes great discipline but by holding yourself accountable and never making excuses, you’ll inspire others to do the same. You must also let your guard down and admit your mistakes. People can relate to honest, humble, and down to earth. They don’t relate to smug, arrogant, and pretentious. Talk less and do more. Have enthusiasm for what you do; it’s contagious! If you can do these things, you’re well on your way to leaving a great legacy.
A second way to leave a lasting legacy is to focus your work on being extraordinarily helpful to others. The best way to do this is to build people up rather than tearing them down. This is true in teaching, coaching, and in the business world as well. No one will give their best or follow someone who doesn’t believe in them and raise their self-esteem. Be an eternal optimist who always is looking on the bright side. Be the person who sees the glass as half full when dealing with students, players, and employees. One of the hardest things can be to find the good in all people, but if you’re able to do this you will bring out the best in everyone. And most importantly, find someone younger than yourself to mentor. Mentor that individual to be better than you. Teach them all you know and help them become the best they can possibly be. That’s the definition of leaving a legacy.
The third step is to live the life you want rather than the one society tells us we should have. Don’t be afraid to be different. No one remembers average. No one remembers the people who fell into the crowd. Find your own path in life and torch it. Don’t follow the beaten trail as so many have done before. Ignore the critics and cynics, because they’re just dreamers who’ve gone bad. Contribute to the lives of others. One thing that I have learned through all my reading is the best way to succeed in life is to help enough people get what they want in life. Take bold risks in life and do what makes you happy–as long as it’s legal!
We all wish we could live forever and don’t want to think about when our time here on earth is done. We can’t live forever in body, but we can live on through what leave behind. What would your tombstone say today? What do you want it to say when you’re gone? When you think about it, that’s your legacy. Leave a great and lasting one!
As Red said in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” Get busy living a life you want that will inspire others to achieve greatness.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!