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What will you leave behind? The true meaning of a legacy

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What will you leave behind? The true meaning of a legacy

By Ligia Bonetti | CEO of Grupo SID

We are all born with a purpose or mission in life: to teach or learn. Some leave this world without knowing that reason that gives meaning to their existence; others, instead, find a little light that guides us toward what we think is our life mandate. Thus, following that instinct, we are leaving a mark: building a legacy.

Make sure to distinguish. I am not referring to material goods or what we teach others but to what is remembered with admiration and pride after our departure. It remains alive through time and inspires others who identify with it.

Indeed, a legacy has a much broader scope than its literal interpretation, “gifting a property through a will… it is understood that it is also the transmission of our internal patrimony, the inheritance of fundamental values, beliefs and experiences”.

Talk about what we want to leave as life lessons, joys, sorrows, mistakes, virtues, and learning. It is an emotional inheritance, which we build over time with the actions we visibly and consistently take in our professional and personal lives. It reflects those things we gave the most important and that, in some way, we want to last.

We are often mistaken in thinking that these are extraordinary actions or that it is only possible to leave a mark if you are successful, and that has nothing to do with it. The true legacy is left when we are remembered with love, when we are an example to follow, and when in the happiest moments, our name is mentioned. This does not require having a specific social class, status, or great titles. It is only necessary to act with coherence, empathy, solidarity, and ethical and moral values.

Because, as I always say, inheriting a material legacy is easy, building one can be achievable. However, inheriting an emotional legacy and transmitting it from generation to generation is only possible if we know how to interpret it, internalize it and make it our own in total depth.

Let’s find our life purpose. Let’s walk with the best intentions, with our eyes open to avoid not seeing how our steps affect others, teaching more by example than by words, and being consistent with our faith, beliefs, and convictions.

I want to add two valuable reminders for all leaders that purpose unites everyone, reminders that I read in the book “Leaders eat last” by the British author Simon Sinek:

“The legacy of a true leader is only as strong as the foundation they lay that allows others to continue to drive the organization forward in their name.”

“The legacy is not a memory of better times when the former leader was there. That’s not legacy; that’s nostalgia.”

Let’s build a legacy that lasts over time and makes us proud of our lives!

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