Why the Way You Live Your Life is Important to Your Legacy

There are all kinds of different ways to say it, but if you sum up a collection of quotes about your life and your legacy, they often come down to one idea: The way you live your life each day is what plays the most significant role in not only your success, but also your happiness.

That’s right–it’s not just the grand gestures and once-in-a-lifetime events that make your life what it is! Instead, when you look back on your life and the legacy you’ll leave behind, you’ll see it’s made up of those things you did each day, each month, or each year too.

The way you live your life IS your legacy

In our recent focus on leaving a legacy, I’ve shared several blog posts on the topic. One of the common themes in these posts is that your legacy isn’t only what happens after you die.

Ultimately, your legacy IS the way you live your life. Not just what you leave behind.

Don’t get me wrong–leaving financial gifts to charities or organizations you believe in is a powerful (and often overlooked) part of a legacy. But it’s not the only part.

It’s time to make a distinction between leaving your legacy and living your legacy.

You’re here NOW, so what can you do today to live your legacy?

Eulogy virtues versus résumé virtues

To illuminate the difference between leaving a legacy and living your legacy, I want to look at David Brooks’ concept of eulogy virtues versus résumé virtues.

As he explains:

The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

Now, leaving financial gifts as your legacy certainly isn’t the same as your career contributions and work skills. But you can see how the comparison can be made between eulogy virtues and LIVING your legacy versus résumé virtues and LEAVING your legacy.

In a eulogy, the way a person made others feel, how they spent their days, their favorite hobbies, or their qualities might be discussed. While on a résumé, broader skills or accomplishments (or in the case of leaving a legacy, your final financial gifts) might be included.

Why the Way You Live Your Life is Important to Your Legacy

How do you live your life and your legacy?

By now, you might understand that leaving your legacy can include things like leaving gifts in wills. That being said, based on a 2019 study, only 5% of Canadians did so!

When we discuss how you live your life and legacy, it isn’t to undermine the importance of leaving a legacy too. Instead, it’s meant to highlight the differences between the two and the ways to do so in a way you’re proud of.

Depending on your goals, here are a few ways to live your life and your legacy at the same time:

  • Start giving back now: This doesn’t necessarily mean financially, either. Whether you set up monthly contributions to a cause you care about or you donate your time to the local food bank, you can live your legacy right now. Click here to read some of the incredible benefits of donating to charity.
  • Inspire others: Do you want to be known, and then remembered, as someone who inspired others to take action? The best way to do this is by setting an example. Live a life you’re proud of, and it will inspire others to do the same.
  • Plan for the future: It’s true–you CAN live in the moment while still planning for the future (more on that here). As you focus on living your best, most fulfilling life now, you can give yourself peace of mind about the future knowing you’ve planned ahead.

When it comes to not only planning for the future but living your life and legacy right now, I can help.

Once we discover what really matters to you and your legacy, we work together to create strategies and utilize tools to 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, I can get you there.

So, if you’re ready to live a life you’re proud of and know your legacy is secure, let’s talk.

In the meantime, here are three more articles you might also enjoy:

Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be?
It’s Not Just About After You Die: It’s Time to Start Imagining Your Legacy NOW
How Values Shape Our Legacy: Key Insights

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