I’ve frequently spoken about the importance of our living legacy, however, after losing a dear friend of mine recently, it really ‘sunk in’ - we’re creating our legacy every day of our lives.
Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone. It’s what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here that then happens to live on.
It’s your living legacy people speak about when you die.
Most of us don’t live our lives wondering what people will say about us when we die, however, many of us do care about what people think of us while we’re alive.
It goes without saying our living legacy is extremely personal and profoundly individual. It’s shaped not only as a result of what others say about us when we die but rather what they say about us while we’re alive. Our actions define our legacy, not our words.
A Tribute to Michelle, my dear friend.
Michelle passed away recently and her death was a terrible loss for her family, friends, colleagues and the many people she touched in her life. The outpouring of love and support before Michelle’s death and directly after was astounding. Personally, I was not surprised, Michelle was a special person. Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve asked myself, did Michelle know how much she was loved and cherished? I sincerely hope she did, however, it begs the question, why does someone have to die before we realize how much he or she is loved?
Michelle had a stellar living legacy, she always put others first, lived in the moment and shared her love and goodness with others. That's just who Michelle was. Words cannot express how much I’ll miss Michelle, however, I know her legacy will live on through her family and friends. In tribute to Michelle and her giving nature, the Michelle Harkness Mentorship Award was established in her honour by AllerGen NCE Inc. Donations to this award will support AllerGen’s researchers, trainees, and partners, something Michelle was very passionate about. If you are interested you can donate here.
The Gift of You
In my book, Giving Back, How to Find your Personal Joy and Make a Difference to Others, I discuss our living legacy and the gift of you. Here is an excerpt from that chapter.
The gift of you is part of your living legacy and will be unique for each person. You can determine what your impact will be today and what will you leave in the hearts of others. It is never too late to change our path and revisit what our legacy will be. While we cannot change the past, we have the power of the present and we control what happens today. We have the ability to move forward with purpose instead of looking back with regret. Each day is a fresh start where we have the opportunity to write and re-write our legacy through the way that we choose to live.