Leaving behind a legacy

I was in a virtual get together with a motely group of people discussing future career paths. When suddenly one of them, a very seasoned and experienced colleague who is authoring a book, mentioned that once he dies, he wishes to leave a legacy behind. There was silence in the room as everyone tried to grapple with this desire of his…

When one is dead, one is dead. Dead. Dead.

You have no way of knowing then whether the so-called legacy that you choose to be left behind would ever be cherished or remembered by your community.

You leave behind a legacy by how you live your daily life. You are remembered for your character and the grit that you display on a day to day basis. Your legacy stays when you have consciously worked towards creating one in this lifetime. 

You need to start thinking of your legacy now and lay the foundation for it.

  • Start accumulating your experiences

Everyday is a new day and brings with it innumerable opportunities wherein you get to showcase your skills and competencies. It does not matter whether the opportunity is small or big. Every act of yours has a definitive role to play in you leaving behind a legacy.

The first step is to be aware and mindful of experiences coming your way. You control how you respond to situations. It is your choice that will define the outcome. Take a moment to reflect and pause. Awareness creates choices to improve and improvise!

  • Be audacious

When was the last time you set up audacious goals for yourself? Most of us when doing our annual targets/goal setting stay within our comfort zones. Move out of that zone and get bold. Raise the bar for yourself by accepting projects that you have little know-how of. Attitude matters more! If you are agile and open to new learnings, you do not always need a specific knowledge to get started. Knowledge can be acquired along your journey. Make ‘giving your best to the unknown’ as your audacious new goal. Seize the moments that come your way. 

  • Embrace failures

So, what is the worst that can go wrong with bold goals and entering into new arenas? You may fail. Then what? You learn to get up and start all over again. Or, you learn to look at things differently. Be a seeker of solutions. That mindset gets developed only if you are open to embracing your failures. One easy and simple way to not let failures let you down, is by talking about them. By sharing your journey with your colleagues or friends or even family members. We all need support and encouragement.

  • Empower yourself

As you move up the career ladder and shift gears from an individual contributor to a manager leading teams wherein you will need to empower your colleagues, take a moment to reflect and ask – ‘Am I empowered enough?’

Do you have a mission statement of your life? How about penning one down? Before you focus on others, focus on yourself. Keep yourself updated with new skills and trainings. Be a student for life! Most importantly, believe in yourself and your strengths. Stop that comparison with colleagues and others. You are not here to join the rat race. You are here to carve out your own direction and find your own path. Put aside some self-time and be kind to yourself. 

  • Nurture relationships

Legacies get pronounced when you share your present with a network of connections. It takes effort to nurture relationships with people who add value to your journey. Often, people connect and then do not take the conversation ahead. Cherish the good will and stay in close contact with leaders who can play an important role in your journey.

We all have only one life to live. Work each day to create a legacy that gets spoken of in this life. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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