On Leaving Legacies: What Will You Leave Behind?
WE ARE ALL LEAVING A LEGACY, WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT.
The question is: are YOU ACTIVELY CREATING THAT LEGACY?
OVER THE WEEKEND, I had the pleasure of delivering a workshop to college freshman from universities across the state of Michigan. THE WORKSHOP WAS ABOUT Leaving Legacies. As I was preparing the presentation, I realized that I spent the vast majority of my adulthood not actively working to build a legacy. i was just going through the motions, and while i have always considered myself a good person, i don't want to be good. i want to be great. surely, had god decided it was my time, i would have still left a legacy behind, but i definitely wouldn't have been satisfied with it.
and the truth is, WE ARE ALL BUILDING a legacy EVERY SINGLE DAY, WHETHER WE ARE ACTIVELY THINKING ABOUT IT OR NOT.
personally, I only started thinking actively about my legacy after my father passed away last year. I THINK ABOUT IT EVERY SINGLE DAY NOW, IN ALL THAT I DO. FROM MY CONVERSATIONS WITH RANDOM PEOPLE I MEET TO my community work. i want to learn from my father's example: he LEFT US WITH SO MUCH TO BE PROUD OF, things we didn't even know he was doing. his impact made me realize that I, too, NEED TO TAKE the GIFTS god gave me AND start being more intentional about my impact on others.
we should all take ownership of the legacy we want to leave our loved ones with.
I think this is why I talk about Baba's passing so much. Aside from grieving a father and the love of my life, the aftermath of his passing truly inspired me to be a great person. with as many tears as i've shed, i've been able to keep my head held high, knowing my role model's legacy isn't going anywhere. i would love to leave my loved ones with more reasons to be proud and inspired than reasons to be sad.
for the past year, every single move I have made has been towards building this legacy. let me walk you through this thought process as you consider your own legacy:
WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY TODAY?
like i mentioned earlier, we all are building a legacy, whether we want to or not.
before we can move forward, we should probably look back: what legacy have you been building? THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN. THINK ABOUT EVERY SINGLE MOMENT THAT BROUGHT YOU HERE. IF today was your last day, WHAT WOULD YOU LEAVE BEHIND? HOW WOULD PEOPLE REMEMBER YOU? WHAT HAVE YOU CONTRIBUTED TO THE SPACES AROUND YOU? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN BUILDING? AND LASTLY, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS LEGACY THAT YOU'VE BEEN INTENTIONALLY OR UNINTENTIONALLY CREATING?
WHAT LEGACY DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?
YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE.
MANY OF US MAY BE OKAY WITH THE LEGACY WE ARE LEAVING BEHIND, but most of us will feel like we haven't been as intentional as we would have liked. even with this year of being intentional, I STILL AM NOT SATISFIED. THERE IS SO MUCH I WANT TO DO. SO MANY PEOPLE I WANT TO IMPACT. we are in control of creating this legacy, and it starts by taking ownership of the impact you want to have. write it down. what do you want your legacy to be?
here are the two things i would like to do before my time comes:
I WANT TO TRANSFORM THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES OF UNDERSERVED YOUTH OF COLOR ACROSS THE NATION, ESPECIALLY IN DETROIT AND DEARBORN. I WILL NOT HAVE FULFILLED MY LIFE'S PURPOSE IF I DON'T DEEPLY IMPACT THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES OF YOUTH OF COLOR, especially in the two communities that i call my own.
I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS THE WOMAN WHO DROPPED EVERYTHING AND LOVED. I WANT LOVE TO CONQUER ALL OF MY INTERACTIONS. I KNOW I WILL HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF LESS-THAN-POSITIVE INTERACTIONS WITH FRIENDS, FAMILIES, COLLEAGUES, ETC., BUT I WANT THE ONE CONSTANT thing TO BE LOVE. REGARDLESS WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN ME AND ANOTHER PERSON, I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS THE WOMAN WHO ALWAYS ACTED FROM A PLACE OF LOVE.
it wasn't easy honing in on these two things. it took a whole lot of trial and error, self-reflection, humbling experiences, growing pains. it took a lot of sacrifice, moving on from relationships, being alone, etc.
i am still honing in on this legacy, and, upon reflection, this is the recipe i have been using to help me get here:
Ri's RECIPE FOR A LEGACY
PASSION + PURPOSE + PERSISTENCE
WHAT DO I LOVE to do? WHAT EXCITES ME? WHAT ENERGIZES ME? WHAT IS MY SOAP BOX: THAT THING THAT, WHEN I START TALKING ABOUT IT, MY FRIENDS JUST KNOW I'M NOT STOPPING ANYTIME SOON? WHAT AM I WILLING TO LOSE SLEEP FOR?
WHAT AM I UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO DO? WHAT AM I BEING CALLED ON TO DO? WHAT AM I REALLY GOOD AT? WHAT FEELS ALMOST TOO NATURAL TO ME? WHAT ARE MY GIFTS AND TALENTS: THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE ALWAYS SEEM TO ENDORSE ME FOR?
ONCE YOU HAVE HONED IN ON PASSION AND PURPOSE, YOUR LEGACY WILL ALWAYS TAKE PERSISTENCE. BECAUSE YOU ARE SO SURE ABOUT THIS LEGACY YOU ARE WORKING TO BUILD, THE STAKES BECOME TOO HIGH FOR YOU TO GIVE UP, SO YOU DEVELOP A GROWTH MINDSET THROUGHOUT THIS JOURNEY. ANY OBSTACLES ARE MINOR SETBACKS THAT WILL SURELY LEAD TO MAJOR COMEBACKS. YOU NEVER ABANDON YOUR DESTINATION, YOU JUST RE-ROUTE WHEN NECESSARY.
this weekend's workshop was such an awesome opportunity. i believe god is giving me these opportunities to serve young people because that it what i am supposed to be doing. it just feels so natural. i don't know exactly what will unfold on this journey, but i feel closer and closer to achieving my life's purpose with every passing day.
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LEGACY; TAKE PRIDE IN IT; LET IT GUIDE YOUR EVERY INTERACTION; LET IT CHANGE YOU FOR THE BETTER.