Leadership & Legacy
In terms of leadership, I'd like to propose that longevity does not necessarily equal legacy.
Think about it: just because someone has been in a career for 25 years does not necessarily mean that person will leave a significant legacy of influence. Duration of time isn’t the goal; making a significant impact during a given amount of time is the goal.
In the same way, age doesn't necessarily equal wisdom. We've all met old people who act like children and we've met young people with wisdom far beyond their years.
Additionally, you’ve probably heard this profound truth before but it’s worth repeating: there’s a profound difference between having 25 years of experience and having 25 years of evaluated experience.
I believe the person with evaluated experience will be the person who leaves the greater legacy. And to be sure, we will all leave some kind of legacy. The difference is what kind of legacy we leave and how long it lasts.
Before we dive into leaving a meaningful legacy we should probably attempt to define legacy. In reading Season's of a Leader's Life by Dr. Jeff Iorg, I like how he defines legacy as three primary things:
Wisdom you've gained
People you've influenced
Convictions you've modeled that will influence subsequent generations
Let's take Iorg's definition and expand it and break it down into manageable pieces. I think it's helpful to ask a bunch of questions in each category in order to craft a practical road map for us in our attempt to pursue living and leaving a meaningful legacy.
If legacy is about wisdom you've gained, then:
- what are you intentionally doing to gain wisdom?
- what kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Are they wise?
- how often do you reflect on your experiences in order to gain wisdom from your successes and your failures?
If legacy is about people you've influenced, then:
- are you investing your time, energy, and knowledge in someone or multiple people? Are these people faithful, reliable, available, and teachable?
- what are you influencing them toward? Are they living well?
- how are you doing at mentoring, coaching, and equipping them to be a person of influence that invests in and influences others also?
If legacy is about the convictions you've modeled that will influence subsequent generations, then:
- what are your core convictions?
- how did you arrive at those convictions?
- are those convictions worth passing on to the next generation? Why or why not?
- how intentional are you in modeling these convictions to those you’re investing in and influencing?
We all want to live a life that has meaning, purpose, and positive impact. I believe Dr. Jeff Iorg has outlined a solid definition for what legacy can look like and I’m thankful for his leadership and books that have shaped me and caused me to think deeply on the topic of legacy.
What kind of legacy are you living right now? What will people say about you when you’re gone?
Regardless of where you’re at today, every day is a fresh opportunity to influence the current and future generations towards something bigger than themselves.
Leadership is a humbling responsibility; may we steward it well for the benefit of others and the glory of God.