February 3, 2012

What’s Your Legacy?

What is the most important thing in your life? What do you value more than anything else? Your relationship? Your career? Your health? Faith? What’s at the very top of the list?

It may sound selfish, but for me, there’s been one thing that’s always lingered near the top of my list. It’s not my family, friends, or career. It’s not about money or fame.

It’s about leaving a legacy.

At my core, at the very deepest part of who I am, I have a passion that cannot be denied to do shit that matters. Experience things that entice indescribable passion. Work with people who ignite creativity that cannot be explained. Say “fuck you” to fear. Make mistakes. Learn. Create. And when it’s all said and done, make a difference.

All so I can leave this place saying, “Damnit, I lived. And I had an impact. I contributed. I tried. I improved. I did.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. About what I’m doing, where I’m going, where I want to be, and how to get there. And while I’m incredibly humbled by everything I’ve accomplished in 26 short years, I know that there’s much, much, more to be had. That I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Where I may lack in skill and talent, I more than make up for in determination, drive, and hustle. It’s why I’m crazy enough to wake up at 5am every morning. It’s why I (at times) wear myself thin taking on too much and biting more than I can chew.

It’s not because I can’t stop. It’s because I don’t want to. Because I possess the need and desire to make great things happen. And even though I haven’t tapped into what my legacy will be, I’m going to do everything I can to continue working toward it.

Nick Reese recently posted something that was extremely timely to my line of thinking. In his post, he answered the question, “What are the most important things in life?”

  • Deep Connections with Family and Friends
  • Unique Experiences
  • Continuous Growth
  • Leaving a Legacy

Amen Nick. Amen. I can’t imagine summing it up much better. And I think he’s successfully tapped into what passion is really all about.

It’s not about me. It’s about we. It’s about contributing to the greater good and having an impact. It’s about making a difference. It’s about living, damnit, and leaving a legacy.

What resonated most about Nick’s post was his reflection in the shift toward what’s most important.

“…There may be some turbulence and some times of doubt but deep down I think a shift has happened. Just as the years after the first list where focused on happiness, I can see that the years to come will be focused on the important things in life such as legacy…”

The point? What’s important might change and it’s going to be reflective of the present, but at the end of the day, maintain your short list of what really matters.

Family. Friends. Experiences. Learning. Growth. Creating. Relaxing. Laughter. Tears. Happiness. Success. Failure. Love. Passion.

Maybe most importantly? Your legacy.

And so I turn the question back to you:

What’s most important? What really matters? What story are you telling? What story do you want people to tell after you’re gone? What impact will you leave behind?

What’s your legacy?

(Photo credit)

Join the conversation! 11 Comments

  1. Yes, yes, YES. You took the words right out of my mouth (and helped sort out some feeling I’ve been muddling through lately). Awesome, thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  2. I’m working on my legacy objectives for my legacy a lot right now. It started early January and will continue on. It’s so much powerful to work towards something that’s not about you, but is that much bigger than you and always will be. Beautifully put Matt

    Reply
    • Thank you, Natalie. And I agree. While there’s a lot I want to accomplish personally, the big picture is “what impact am I leaving?” – that ultimately is what drives and defines me. How I can do work that matters, enrich the life of others, and be personally fulfilled with my contributions. Cheers!

      Reply
  3. Legacy: leave no doubt in anyone’s mind how much I loved them. Legacy: write some good shit over the years, starting with blogs, ending up with epic poems and novels. Legacy: rescue puppies. Legacy: reach out to children. Legacy: find peace with myself.

    Reply
  4. This is outstanding. I love your post on what passion is really about. Legacy focus also makes it 1000x easier to make the tough decisions because over a long enough timeline the tough decisions are the ones that really count.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Nick (and thank you for the inspiration and helping me verbalize something I had been mulling over in my head over the past couple weeks). The tough decisions are, well, tough, but as you so aptly put, they’re the one’s that almost always really matter in the end. Here’s to continuing to write our legacy – and – here’s to hoping our paths cross for a beer sometime this year.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for this post and the reminder to focus our efforts on what matters.

    When I was in college, one of our activities was to pretend we were 50 years in the future and to write our own eulogy. It was an excellent way of getting us past thinking in terms of the next test and to see what we wanted to accomplish in the ultra long-term.
    I really need to do through this activity again to refocus myself.

    Reply
    • I remember doing something similar (and I wish I could remember what I said). I think ultimately we all want to have love, success, etc – but now that I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve began to think more critically about what I’m doing, what I want to do, and what legacy I’m leaving. The best part? It’s a story that will continue to write itself until the day I die…

      Reply

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About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. Connect on Twitter or check out the work I'm doing at Proof.

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