Bust Past the Barriers to Imagining Our Legacy

One of the beautiful things about our legacy is that it’s not set in stone. We have the power to craft and shape our legacy by imagining the way we want to be remembered. When we imagine our legacy, we can ask ourselves what’s most important to us, how we want to be remembered, and how this can be accomplished. But all too often, there are barriers to legacy and taking an active role in shaping our own.

While we often use the term “legacy” in relation to what we leave behind, it’s something we create while we’re still here. That means you, yes – you! have the power to imagine your legacy and take steps toward creating it however you imagine.

Barriers to legacy

As part of my series on imagining our legacy, today we’re going to discuss those specific barriers. And even more importantly, how to bust through them.

But first, don’t miss the first parts of this series: How Your Experiences Shape You & Your Legacy and How Values Shape Our Legacy: Key Insights. You’ll want to check out those posts first for important information on exactly what it means to imagine our legacy and how our life experiences and values shape our personal legacy.

Once you’ve had a chance to look at those, it’s time to discuss barriers to legacy creation and how to bust past them and take a more active role.

Barrier #1: We associate legacy with death

The first, and often the most common barrier to imaging our legacy is associating legacy with death. If every time you hear the word legacy, you also think of your death, it’s no wonder it’s something you put off.

But the truth is, legacy goes far beyond death.

In one of my series of interviews for Imagine Your Legacy: Today Tomorrow and Beyond, I spoke with Codi Shewan, author of Everyday Legacy: Lessons for Living with Purpose Right Now, on this very topic.

He said:

Legacy. Legacy. Legacy. I realize everything I had ever associated with the word was that legacy comes after. And that is just something that’s there. And so often I think we lose sight of this idea that we can actually impact our legacy. It’s not a by-product of who we are. It is actually something we are in control of. So we can be in control of the legacy we leave – that was my first thought about it. Then I thought well…forget that! Why not realize the depth and breadth of our impact while we’re still here. And so that’s where the idea of everyday legacy sort of came from.

So, if you want to bust past this barrier, remind yourself your legacy matters NOW, today, right here. It’s something you can actively shape while you’re still living life to the fullest.

By the way, I talk more about living for today while still planning for the future in this post. Don’t miss it!

Barrier #2: We assume it doesn’t matter

Another barrier to legacy is assuming it doesn’t matter how we’re remembered. We think it’s out of our hands and since we won’t be here to see it, it really doesn’t matter.

But the truth is, your legacy affects so much more than just you. Depending on your particular legacy, it can play a powerful role in shaping the future and success of the people, charities, or organizations you support. Bust past this barrier by keeping in mind your legacy will affect others for years and years to come.

On that same note, you might think if you don’t have much to leave behind your legacy isn’t particularly important.

But hear me when I say this:

Even if you aren’t leaving tens of thousands of dollars to beneficiaries, your legacy still matters.

And one way to bust past this legacy barrier is having meaningful conversations about leaving a legacy with the ones you love. Often, their opinions and insights are all it takes to realize just how impactful your legacy can be.

For tips on having these conversations, have a look at this post.

Barrier #3: Our values aren’t clear

Without a clear idea of what’s most important to use and how we want to be remembered, imagining our legacy becomes particularly challenging. Values are one of the key factors in shaping our legacy. When we don’t know exactly what our values are, we take a more passive role in imagining our legacy. But with a clear picture in mind of what means the most to us, we can create a legacy we’re proud of.

To bust past this barrier, it’s time to get clear on your values.

Have a look at this post for an exercise on getting this clarity.

Barrier #4: We don’t know where to start

Finally, we must discuss how one of the biggest barriers to legacy is not knowing where to start.

In another interview for my Imagine Your Legacy: Today Tomorrow and Beyond series, I spoke with Heather Austin-Skaret, a co-managing partner at Mann Lawyers. She has developed extensive experience in the area of estate planning and administration, so I asked for her opinion on the biggest barriers she sees to imagining our legacy:

Some people just don’t know where to start. They have a number of charities that they give to and their [charities’] ideas change over time. And they’re not sure if they want to fix a particular charity. Sometimes, they don’t understand which charity they want to give to or how the charity is going to use their money or how they can be sure that they’re going to have enough to see themselves out and know whether there is going to be something left over for the charity.

Let’s bust past those barriers to legacy together

Each day, I meet with clients who are dealing with these, and other, barriers to legacy.

As a certified financial planner, I can say too much of financial planning has to do purely with money. It often ignores what I call “the meaning behind the money.” After all, the point of financial planning isn’t to make money, it’s to make lives. It’s to help people do what they want to do. And if you want to bust past these barriers and create a life and legacy you’re proud of, I am here to help.

Once we discover what really matters to you, we work together to create strategies, and utilise tools that can absolutely make your dreams a reality. Whether you want to improve your financial literacy, plan for the future while enjoying the present, or be more philanthropic while paying less tax, we’ll get you there.

Financial planning shouldn’t be a chore or an order. It should be an invitation.

So, what would you like to do?

Contact me today and let’s find out.

Are you interested in exploring your relationship with money and legacy further?

Here are three more articles you might also enjoy:

Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be?
Who do you want to benefit from your money when you are no longer here?
Estate planning with your loved ones

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