The Legacy You Leave

The Legacy You Leave

I remember as a child in school we were asked to write a eulogy to ourselves; the idea was that it made us think about living our best (child) versions of ourselves. A eulogy is a piece of writing that pays tribute and praise to someone who has passed. Sounds crazy to think about yourself in that way, right? Or to even fathom what you would say to your deceased self. But stay with me here and you’ll see how this all makes crazy sense.

Fast forward almost twenty years later to another training course. Being in the field of counseling and psychology I’ve mostly found myself on the side of the giver, rather than the receiver. So during this training last month, my assignment was to write a eulogy to myself. After an intense four month long course of deep soul searching and thinking, a eulogy no longer seemed simple. In fact, it was rather daunting; challenging me to dive even deeper into myself. I felt awkward and uncomfortable at first but only until I took the plunge that brought forth a flood of ideas I wanted to jot down.

As our own lives become fast paced, focused on rushed schedules and keeping busy with external realities, we neglect the inner dimensions of who we are and what we actually want. So if we are faced with this task at hand, we may tend to shrivel up and avoid it altogether. But I challenge you now to give this a go. As you delve into the activity you will be able to prioritize what you value, who you want to be and how you want to improve your life.

I took the plunge. It was compulsory as part of my exam but even so, I’m so glad I did it. Underneath the initial avoidance I felt was a person waiting to emerge, more aware of my life’s purpose and more focused on how I wanted to spend my life.

Encourage yourself towards a direction you’ve never been before. It is only when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones that we are able to excel beyond our average selves and find growth in the spheres we’d like to grow. Are you ready to give this a go?

Let’s get started!

Don’t over-think this exercise. Do not edit, censor, analyze or critique your thoughts. Just allow your pen to flow.

Step 1: Focus of your character traits, values and strengths.
Jot down ten things you know are your positive traits. These are things people may have acknowledged in you. It may be things you realized you are innately skilled at. Things that come with ease and grace to you that perhaps other people struggle with. This needs some reflection and thought. Take some time to ponder and introspect on what these could be.

Step 2: Visualize standing at the end of your timeline
Now, in order to fully immerse yourself in this step visualize yourself watching your life as if it were on a movie screen. You see a person reading a eulogy of someone. That someone is to be admired, respected and looked upon with awe as people praise his/her achievements, traits and legacy. You are inspired by all the accomplishments (perhaps tangible, perhaps not) and there is a sense that this person has touched the hearts and lives of many. People are ready to go out living more consciously because this person’s life inspired them to live their best lives. This person, whose legacy is alive, is you.

Questions to help you…
•What or who did you impact and how so?
•How did you care for and what footprint did you leave them with?
•At 20/30/40/50 what did you accomplish?
•What were your interests, light-up moments, passions?

Write how you want to be spoken of as a family person and then speak about how your colleagues would remember you.
Lastly, those in the community who may have known of you – your neighbours, the guy in the mosque/church, the lady at the grocery store – what would they say?


Step 3. Consolidate and summarize your points.
Well done on working on the more challenging parts of the exercise, the next step is easier.
In this step, take all the aspects of step 1 and all the aspects of step 2 and combine them into a written structure in the present tense. Come up with a short, precise three line paragraph summing up all of the above through patterns that you brainstormed above.

You have just shed some light on how to go out and live your most optimal life. A life with minimal regrets, maximum impressionable footprints, fulfilled with who you are and the kind of influence you’d one day leave behind.
Well done! Feeling enthusiastic about trying to live a more fulfilled and more purposeful life is an incredible way to start living your legendary life.

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