I once read an interesting quote: “They say you die twice – once when you stop breathing and the second a bit later on when somebody mentions your name for the last time.”

We all leave a footprint on this earth. Our family and friends don’t necessarily have to be actively involved in our circle of influence to see the obvious contributions we give and leave behind.

​Do you wonder if the books you write, the speeches you give or any other tangible achievements you make have any impact not just for the here and now but for generations to come? Maybe you want to be known for having high standards and values.

Do you ever wonder why it’s always ‘the other guy’ that creates such a monumental legacy? Some people just seem to leave a more notable legacy behind due to their own ambition, and not necessarily because of some left for them from a previous generation.

Accomplishing a memorable legacy is not as challenging as you think, and yes, the books and speeches and the rest of your contributions make that permanent footprint.

Relentless mind

In real life, being relentless is a state of mind that can give you the strength to achieve, to survive, and to overcome. To be strong when others are not, that means craving the end results so intensely that the work becomes irrelevant.

If you wonder how women through the years made great “stands” and shifted the hearts of people (e.g. Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Theresa), take a look at their relentless passion for the cause. It is evident that they did not allow oppression or limited resources to sway their decision to move forward and make an impact both in their day and long after they were gone. They had a passion that welled up inside of them that was so strong nothing could stop them from achieving their mission.

Consider the following insights to influence your determination:

  • Define success for yourself. (It’s not the same for everyone.)
  • Set personal, academic, and career goals.
  • Keep your expectations high.
  • Understand your abilities and disabilities.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Develop strategies to meet your goals.
  • Use technology as an empowering tool.
  • Work hard. Persevere. Be flexible.
  • Develop a support network.
  • Keep company with people smarter than you.

It has been said over and over again that the average person only uses 10% of their brain, which would leave 90% as wasted potential. Contrary to that popular belief the human brain is being used in full for some of the most simple tasks, writes Robynne Boyd, Scientific America: “Take the simple act of pouring coffee in the morning: In walking toward the coffee pot, reaching for it, pouring the brew into the mug, even leaving extra room for cream, the occipital and parietal lobes, motor-sensory and sensory-motor cortices, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and frontal lobes all activate. A lightning storm of neuronal activity occurs almost across the entire brain in the time span of a few seconds.”

Seems like we use all the brain all the time so having a brain that’s “mostly wasted space anyway” isn’t a valid excuse for your own lack of achievement!

A heart to Listen

If you have ever been so distracted in your mind you cannot concentrate on what is being said, or, you have literally said out loud, “I do not have time to listen right now,” you may want to consider the following:

  • You must have a heart to listen. We all want to be truly heard. A listening ear will practice patience without the intent of speaking. You will gain wisdom and insight that will propel initiatives into an unstoppable trajectory.
  • People feel valued and appreciated by a listener who has a heart to listen and ask questions about what they hear.
  • Effective listening offers you many benefits and encourages the speaker to feel valued as well. Good listening connects you to the world around you and helps you understand your responsibilities as well as your contribution to your footprint. Aside from the practical benefits, being a good listener is important for the quality of your social life.

What is your takeaway? What can you add to your tool box as you journey through your life?  You will leave a legacy and be assured that the small things matter as much as the monumental and will surely be noted far beyond today.