The way you spend your days will define your legacy
Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer my time to help a couple whose daughter died of cancer last year at the age of 12. These parents are continuing to honour their daughter Natasha’s legacy by organizing and promoting an event she brought to Canada in 2016.
This event – Curefest – is an international movement formed to unite the childhood cancer community so that one combined voice can make more of a difference than many smaller voices.
I also recently attended a conference where the idea of having a personal legacy came up. That got me to thinking about Natasha.
This little girl (if you google Natasha Gould you will find plenty of coverage) created a lasting legacy in her last weeks and months on earth. From the time she found out she had cancer to the day she died, she lived 15 short months.
Natasha had 450 days to build her legacy.
If you had 450 days to create and leave a lasting legacy from your time on earth, what would it be? What would people say about you if you died tomorrow? How would you be remembered? What do you want people to say about you?How do you want people to remember you when you're gone?Click To Tweet
Those questions, posed by another coach at my conference, really got me thinking.
For those of you who read my work regularly, you know that making sure you are spending your time on what’s most important isn’t a new philosophy for me. I believe very strongly that we should be picky about how we spend our time and who we spend it with. The same goes for how we live our lives, and what we spend our days doing.
There is a quote by Annie Dillard that I often think of:
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
And putting all those days together turns into our legacy. It’s how we will be remembered.How we spend our days is how we will be rememberedClick To Tweet
So, let’s put our proverbial pens down for a moment and think about this. How do you want to be remembered?
Try answering the following questions:
- What do you consider to be a defining moment of your career?
- Describe one of your proudest moments.
- Who do you surround yourself with in your personal time?
- What lights you up about the work that you do?
- How do people feel when they’re around you?
- What’s most important to you?
- If you had one thing to say to people as your parting words, what would it be?
It’s also worth considering that people remember how we make them feel, not necessarily what we do.
And Natasha – a little girl whom I never had the privilege of meeting in person – makes me feel proud that she was championing others to be the best they could be, right to the day she died. She didn’t hide. She wanted to remove the veil of secrecy around cancer treatment and try to give other children the courage they needed to face it head on, no matter what happened.
Through Natasha’s inspiration, I believe many people have found the courage to do things they never thought they could. And I also suspect she didn’t think about leaving a legacy when she started her public work.
I’m confident her intention was not to die, but to live, and to live each day to its fullest, no matter the result.
What or who are you living for? I’d love to hear. Post your answer in the comments below or send me a private message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s start a conversation about making your legacy one you can be proud of.
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