How To Leave A Legacy

Jann Freed Leading Comments

This post is an introduction to the value of legacy work.  On this Friday, listen to my podcast interview of Meg Newhouse, author of Legacies of the Heart.  To learn more about legacy work, please watch for the podcast this Friday. 

In leadership workshops, I often ask the question:  When do leaders leave their legacy? 

People usually give responses such as:

  • When we die.
  • When we retire.
  • When we switch jobs.
  • When we leave.

Then I ask:  Leave what?

And the answer is really whenever we leave–leave the room, leave the meeting, leave the interaction.  Basically we are leaving our legacy all of the time.  Since legacies can be good or bad, it matters what we say, how we say it, and how we make people feel.  We can be honest with kindness.  We can give direct feedback and not be mean or extremely critical.

I call this legacy thinking.  If we think about how we will be remembered, we pay more attention to our interactions.  As reflected in the expression often attributed to Maya Angelou:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou.

I hope you listen to my podcast this Friday of Meg Newhouse.  She shares some of her favorite ways of leaving legacies of the heart.  Let me know what you think.