The Legacy Mindset – Why It Matters (Part 2)


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Last week, we featured part 1 of a guest contribution around having a legacy mindset for success. Enjoy part 2.

What can stop us from having a legacy mindset? What we forget in the 24-7 race that consumes our lives these days is a reminder of what is truly important in life. We want more than just to earn and consume. We want to matter in our lives. And in the lives of others. We want to make an impact on the world, not just make an income. And to do so, we need to change the definition of what it means to be successful.

Business people often think only of the bottom line but adopting a legacy-driven mindset puts you in a position to make that quantum leap forward, which will drive and sustain relentless development for future generations.

The Magic of the Arts to Shift Paradigms

A prime example of legacy-driven mindset resulted in one of the great paradigm shifting moments in business and culture. Business decry the lack of people who can write well and communicate in new ways. But in our short-term drive to believe that technology will solve all problems, people ballyhoo the arts as not really needed in our new digital world. Yet the magic of the arts is that they allow people to think and communicate differently—which if you’re a business, is exactly the edge you are looking for. Look at Steve Jobs who loved typography—and how form followed function in such a beautiful and timeless way—that he almost became a type designer. But instead his enduring love of beautiful and functional design manifested itself in the I-phone. He never lost sight of what drove his inspiration.

To Be Lucky or Be Prepared—That is the Question

What makes adopting a “legacy-driven” mindset so compelling is that you are always prepared. And in the capricious world of business and life, being so steadfastly prepared makes you constantly able to meet luck as if it’s an everyday occurrence. “Luck Is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” is the timeless quote of Roman philosopher, Seneca. You hear people say all the time talking about someone becoming an “overnight success” or reaping a windfall. Was Steve Jobs just lucky or was he always prepared?

A legacy-driven mindset is the basis for all profound changes in people’s lives. Though many of us will not change the world like Steve Jobs, we still deeply desire to touch those around us and to leave a lasting impression. Yes, we want to make an income but we desire to make an impact.

Leave Your Legacy Inside People

You want to change the world? Then leave your legacy inside of people. Inspire them with how you walk your talk. When leaders adopt a legacy-driven mindset, they leave something in people—and not just for people. Want to change the world? Inspire people to inspire themselves. That is truly living your legacy, which then is constantly renewed in others. Leaving people with things or information is not enough. Leave people with inspiration.

Why People “Undo” Their Legacy

I’m always amazed when a business or a person decides to “undo” their legacy for the short-sighted pursuit of an immediate gain versus the long-term success of a legacy-driven philosophy. It’s the candy-in-front-of-the-kid syndrome. “I want it now because I can have it now.” That’s how children think. Think of Wells Fargo or Volkswagen. Or Google or Facebook. What was Google’s mantra? Do no wrong—where did that go? But we excuse their behavior by saying, “They are big corporations with a bottom line and shareholders to satisfy.” But what really happened? They forgot who they were and why they were. A legacy-driven bottom line is much different than a ledger-driven bottom line. Which do you think will endure for a hundred years? Any enterprise that is led by people will possess the same characteristics that can be undone by people.

You Already Have the Answer—You’re Just too Busy to Hear It

How do you begin thinking in this “Legacy-Driven mindset?” Decide in your life what is important. You don’t have to do it overnight. But ponder it a bit. Make a list if you need to. When I ask people if they could do any three things in the world right now, what would they be? And they’re always surprised they have an answer. You’ve already prioritized things in your heart but your mind just doesn’t know it. Sometimes you have to cut through all the myriad noise and malarkey in your busy mind to find the truth that’s been there all along. Many times we’ve already made the priority in our hearts, but our minds just can’t—or won’t hear it.

The 4-Ps’s of Creating the “Legacy-Driven” Mindset

Another simple but effective way to help you think about the “Legacy-Driven” mindset is to use what I call the 4 P’s! These are: Passion, Pursuit, People, and Peace.

Passion is what makes you smile. What brightens your eyes when you think about doing it. This passion is the heart of living a “Legacy-Driven” life.

Pursuit is making this passion a reality.

People are real. Communicate with them. Be with them. Put away the electronic barriers that make real communication a false reality. Dance with people you really want to dance with. And don’t be afraid to dance both backwards and forwards. When people believe in your passion, they make the pursuit of it so much more worthwhile.

Peace is finding or creating peacefulness inside of you—one of the most difficult actions to attain in our brutally busy lives. It’s the being mindful of being human—and truly aware of being alive. Do this small step at the end of everyday—it’s a lovely way to put yourself to sleep. Ask yourself did you do a small act of kindness that day? Did you stare at the clouds for a moment? Do you put really listen to someone? Did you just stop and quit thinking for a moment? And if you did any or all these things—smile to yourself that you lived well that day. And if you didn’t, then go to sleep saying you’ll try again tomorrow.

A legacy doesn’t mean the end, but the beginning of a new phase in your life or the next chapter. In order to succeed, you should identify and evaluate your legacy at each stage in your life, whether it’s career oriented or personal. In your quest to make an impact upon yourself and others, you will discover how well this “Legacy-Driven” mindset creates a much deeper sense of a life well lived, while you’re actually living it.


Carew Papritz is the 5-Time award-winning author of the inspirational book, The Legacy Letters, which was featured last month in INC.: 5 Gifts That Will Do Good Long After You Buy Them