One important question to ask yourself at New Year’s

Something small but important happened to me this weekend. It could help you change the way you think about 2018 and beyond for yourself.

On Friday, I drove back to my hometown in Illinois to spend some time with family. My parents’ old house is for sale, so I stopped by the house to check it out.

I was locked out.
I usually enter through the garage door but the door opener had a dead battery. No luck. And all of the doors were locked.

History helped me.
Then, I remembered a conversation I’d had with my Dad in 2009 when he and my Mom were moving into the house. He’d showed me where he’d hidden an extra house key in case of emergency. I found the key and let myself in.

Legacy comes in all shapes and sizes.
My Dad died in May. But I was benefitting from his words and actions from when he was living.

My experience is a perfect reminder of how your actions can live beyond you. And you don’t have to die for this to apply!

For the people who follow you…
Every single day, you have the opportunity to leave behind some part of yourself to help the people who follow you.

You’ll know some of those people — family, friends, co-workers. Some of them will have never heard of you, but it won’t make what you leave them any less valuable.

Sometimes you’ll get to witness the fruits of your legacy. Sometimes, you’ll have moved on. Either way, it matters to those who follow you.

Ask one extra, high-impact question in your New Year’s goal setting.
Soon, you may set goals or make resolutions for 2018. Often those goals are fairly “me” focused, e.g., “What do I want to create? How do I want to live?”

This year, what if you were to play the long game and ask yourself one extra question: What are you leaving behind for the people who follow you?

For example:

  • How can you set your current team up to thrive after you leave for a new role?
  • What will your kids take with them after they move out of the home?
  • What knowledge can you share that people will access in the future?
  • What are your encouraging words that will live on in someone’s heart?
  • How are you living and leading so that someone could model you years later?

I’m certain my Dad wasn’t thinking about legacy when he hid that key. But he did want someone else to benefit from his actions.

What about the people who will follow you?

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