In another tribute to the Leonard program and its ability to shift my thinking, as well as the thinking of others, legacy is something that has been on my mind lately. As I walked up the stairs heading to North Campus yesterday, a subtle feeling of nostalgia crept over me as I began to think seriously about the fact that I have under four months left as an undergraduate at this University that I call home. The sights of north campus instantly became more striking and the entire atmosphere of campus became something that I no longer took for granted – even if only for several minutes.
Part of my thought process included what I will have accomplished here at UGA – what I will leave behind me when I finally walk under the arch. And also what the world has in store for me (I’ll address that in my next post). For now, I want to talk about legacy.
Dictionary.com defines legacy in a couple ways:
1) a gift of property, esp. personal property, as money, by will; a bequest
2) anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor
I think it is important to consider what your gift will be to those that follow in your steps in any given situation. This doesn’t mean that you have to have held a million leadership roles – or any for that matter. It means thinking about what you are giving back to the people around you.
In my case, I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my 4.5 years here. Some of them big, some small. Ultimately, I hope none of them have been so impactful as to define me in the minds of those that I leave behind. I hope that my legacy will be leaving organizations better than I found them (if only in very small details), investing time in those around me, never hesitating to give a helping hand to those that ask, and having a genuine spirit of service that reflects my desire to give back to my friends, family, and to the university that has given me so much.
Honestly, I have no idea what people will remember me for. I have no idea if my weaknesses out-weigh my strengths in the minds of others. But at the end of the day, I’ve tried my best to embody the points I made above.
My challenge to you today is to think about how you plan to make an impact on those around you. How will your younger friends think of you when you graduate? How will the organization be left when you are no longer an officer? How will your company remember you when you move on to a new job?
Leadership is an intentional action. Making an impact is a by-product. Legacy comes from both. What will yours be?