Are you catching any of the Olympic action in London? I know that I have been staying up way too late watching, but golly, legacies are being created. Like Michael Phelp's legacy of being the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. It's amazing, inspiring, and emotional to watch. He decided what he valued in his life then committed to playing that out every day. We could all glean something from him for our own lives. As a member of my local Toastmaster’s Group, I have the opportunity at every meeting to get up and speak. At each meeting, one person stands up to present Table Topics. The presenting person announces a topic of their choice then asks a specific member of the group a question on that topic.
The topic at this particular meeting was about legacy and she asked me what I wanted my life legacy to be.
Now that’s not a deep, heavy topic or anything, right?
The great thing about Toastmasters is that you are actually encouraged to not say anything right away, but gather your thoughts for a few minutes before you speak. It may seem forever to you, but to the audience it’s really no time at all.
Phew, that’s good, because I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what I wanted my life legacy to be and what I would say. I’ve heard it talked about before. Pretend you are a fly on someone’s jacket at your own eulogy. What do you want people to say about you, to remember about you? Then whatever that is, go live your life in that manner.
Hmmmmmm… Do I want people to remember me for bringing books to countries in need? I donate to this, but no one knows that. I guess now you do. For empowering people to create a more fulfilling life on their terms as a life coach? Well yes, but that was still too big and heavy of an answer for me and it doesn’t affect everyone with whom I come into contact.
Then I remembered something my mother who passed away 5 years ago used to say. “Being kind was the most important thing”.
There it was.
Plain and simple.
It just feels right. Mentally. Emotionally. Physically.
I try to put this into practice as often as I can. Read try.
Anytime I’m about to say or do anything. I ask myself 3 questions:
Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it helpful?
Are the words I'm going to say actually true, or is the action I'm going to take based on my values?
Is saying or doing this thing kind?
Will saying it or doing it be helpful for this person or situation?
If the answer to all three isn’t a resounding yes, I need to ask myself why I am about to say whatever I’m going to say or do whatever I’m going to do.
Don’t get me wrong. It takes effort and I’m not perfect at it all the time.
But if I bring an attitude of kindness to everything in my life, the way I treat myself, other people, animals, the earth… Then really, I can’t go wrong.
Will that be my legacy? I don’t know. But it seems like a kind way to try.
On a side note. The woman next to me was asked the same question. She immediately said that it was too heavy a question and she would rather spend her time just living her life and not thinking about it. I thought that was a brilliant answer. Just live her life. Because that’s what works for her.
Your Turn: What legacy do you want to leave behind? Or are you just living your life? Leave a comment below, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for spending some of your time with me today. I really do appreciate it and hope you found it helpful.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.
Susan Grace McDiarmid, Life Coach email@example.com 907.374.6004
Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom...