Leading You To Excellence: Leaving a Legacy
In our last newsletter we explored the concept of striving for excellence by identifying something we wanted to change in ourselves and that we were really ready to do differently, believed was possible and were willing to experience some level of discomfort with during the transformational process. I hope this newsletter finds you well on your way toward your end goal, having celebrated several shrunken goal successes along the way.
One of the ways we discussed helping you achieve your next level of excellence was to find a mentor, coach or colleague who could help inspire, motivate and hold you accountable for progress. Have you been able to find that person? I hope so! In this edition of the newsletter we will explore how to be this person for someone else by being intentional about the legacy you are creating each day.
First, let's explore what a legacy is. In general terms a legacy can be described as a lifetime of "truth" about a person. This truth encompasses many things, but the main area includes our relationships, accomplishments, values, character traits, actions and our general approach to life. Legacies can be positive, negative or mediocre; it all depends on what you choose to do each day.
Lets reflect for a moment on some famous people (i.e., Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela) who all left positive, inspirational legacies. Although they each achieved different things in their lifetime, there were four things they had in common. These things enabled them to achieve unprecedented success and leave an inspiring legacy for others to follow.
- They were inspired to make a positive impact on the world and never doubted their ability to do so.
- They knew the actions they took each day would lead them to the change they sought.
- They chose to consistently act despite any fears.
- They persisted in the face of failure and adversity.
If these four steps are all that is necessary to leave a positive and inspiring legacy for others, why doesn't our world contain more inspirational leaders? First, as I mentioned in the last newsletter, the path to excellence is not one many choose to take and is one fraught with challenges and moments of discomfort. Since most of us are really comfortable where we are (even if it's dysfunctional or less than our stated ideal), we never move to a better state. Second, it seems as though our societal standards have been significantly degraded over time, which tempts us to lower our personal standards. I remember when I was growing up in the 70's, there were only three trophies (first, second and third place) awarded in a competition and A's and B's were not handed out like candy, they actually took a lot of effort.
It seems nowadays our society rewards mediocrity, praises minimal effort (or worse bad behavior) and sends a message that as long as you "tried" you deserve an award. No wonder many individuals remain unmotivated and entitled, instead of being willing to work hard to achieve something special. Third, change is really, really hard. If it were easy, we would all embrace and engage in constant change. Habits die hard and it takes consistent effort and dedicated practice to transform ourselves.
Even though we all face these barriers, it's never too late to make a new choice. Think for a moment about your personal or work life. Where should the bar be raised? Is there anyone who you are avoiding or not providing honest feedback to? Where are there inconsistencies, double standards or a lack of accountability? Is there some aspect of your life where you are settling for less than you deserve? The answers to these questions lay out a Road Less Traveled for you.
If you choose to go down this road, you have the chance to demonstrate excellence, take a risk and make a difference. Remember, every time you choose to act or not act you are sending a clear message to everyone about what you stand for and what is acceptable. What messages are you sending? Are they crafting the legacy you will be proud of? If they are not sending the messages you want, make the decision now to make different choices and send a new message. Remember a legacy is crafted by what you send out to the world each day, so every morning you always have a new opportunity shape how you are remembered.
Keep in mind that no one was ever inspired by someone who was negative, a poor performer, or the person who just does enough to get by. People are inspired and seek out those who have achieved something great, took a risk to make a difference and made the world a better place. Think for a moment if your life ended today, what would be the legacy written about you? Would it be a best seller filled with examples of excellence or a book on what not to do?
Take advantage of the opportunity offered to you today and every day that follows. Leverage your strengths, take a risk to challenge yourself to be better than you have been in the past. If you do, you will find that not only will your world be transformed, but you will also transform the world of those around you.
Until next time, focus on intentionally crafting your legacy each day and keep to the Road Less Traveled.....
� Kimberly A. Miller, Ph.D. 2014
Dr. Miller is a licensed psychologist, coach and public safety consultant, coach and trainer who helps individuals and organizations reach their next level of excellence. Visit her website (www.KimberlyMillerConsulting.com) for information on her services, upcoming trainings and resources. Contact her at Dr.Miller@KimberlyMillerConsulting.com to learn more about how she can help you and your organization achieve your next level of excellence.
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