Living and Leaving a Legacy

Those that own and run business affect many lives. They do so both positively and negatively. They affect the lives of their staff, their customers, business partners, suppliers, shareholders and many others. These lives are influenced by the decisions they make, and actions they take, as well as those they do not. If you are a business owner or business leader, it is important to appreciate that your circle of influence goes wide. When we are gone, many will remember us. They will remember us for who we were and for what we did and did not do. They will remember us for the lives we touched and the lives that may have gone into disarray because of our actions and inactions. The question of legacy comes to mind.

Our legacy is broad. We leave a legacy when we exit an organization. We leave a legacy also when we depart this world. For those in business, that legacy is not only felt by our family members, our circle of friends, our community but also by the many that we interact with in the line of business. Everyone in business interacts with so many other people. Many tell stories of the lives of business leaders and business owners across the globe. Some stories are great, others are bad, and others ugly. As we live our lives today, we must remember those that will tell our stories. Our staff, their families our customers, our suppliers our business partners will tell a story. Not many people are clear about the legacy they would like to leave. If you were the CEO, a senior manager, or even the business owner, what legacy would you like to leave? When we leave the organizations we own or lead, what will be or mark? When we are gone from this world, what will our legacy be?

The question of legacy is deep, complex and confusing. Our legacy transcends through decades of our lives. Legacy is not just what we leave; it is about how we live every day! Every day, we are influencing the lives of others. Are we a positive or a negative influence? The choice is often ours. Have we thought about the legacy that we are living? I believe this calls for living intentionally. To create a meaningful legacy, we must start by living our legacy now. That means being clear about what we stand for and the mark we want to leave. By living our legacy at the earliest possible, we can influence the legacy we leave when we are gone. It seems extremely difficult to erase any dark memories from our past.

Each person has a legacy. We write it every day as we interact with others. In the world of business, leaders and owners of all types and sizes of business need to be intentional about their legacy. Legacy goes beyond what we do for ourselves. Those in business need to focus more on those they lead and influence. Their legacy will be engraved in their memories. It is how we influence the tea girl, the guard, the driver, house help, gardener, junior staff, and just about everyone else. Our legacy good or bad will outlive us!

Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy

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