My ears used to turn off when I heard the word “legacy.”
Growing a legacy seemed too big a task—one in which I already felt behind! I’ve made too many mistakes, I thought, and there have been too many twists in my path for it to add up to anything good anytime soon. I wanted my life to matter, and to do something good in this world, but my life felt more like a mess that needed cleaning up before I could build anything meaningful. (Ever felt that way?) Even things like family traditions seemed far from being solidified—everyone else seemed to be more organized and focused than me! It all felt defeating.
I know. You’re saying to yourself, “Lara! How in the world could you have thought those things?! Of course your life matters.” Well, my friends, you can’t know the light until you know the dark. And it turns out that messes can become messages—they’re actually the fertilizers of legacy.
Legacy feels like a big concept, but it’s simple. It begins in small steps—steps that add up over time. Steps and stories become seeds of legacy.
When my days here on this earth come to an end (which doesn’t scare me now—it motivates me), I want to know I planted seeds of faith and hope and joy, as I wrote in my PowerSheets above.
How did I go from feeling defeated to feeling the confidence that I’m growing legacy?
This is probably going to blow your mind a little because it’s so simple, but you can do it starting now, too: I remembered.
Sometimes we know what matters to us (right?), but we just flat-out forget! The rest of life takes over and, in the quiet moments (which can be few!), we remember, like a shock to our system. Oh YEAH. That’s what I was supposed to be focusing on this whole time! I forgot and spent so much time on a million other things. Ugh!
Not only do we forget, but we tend to bite off more than we can chew. Our goals and steps are so big and overwhelming that it’s no wonder we don’t do them. Feeling that?
—Make it simple. Especially right now.
—Write down what matters. (Use the free download below to get started!)
—Then, take small steps. Really small.
I wrote down what matters in my first set of PowerSheets 8 years ago and I’ve used my Tending List to keep remembering where I want to spend my time (and where I don’t want to spend it) ever since. I need reminders. It doesn’t come naturally. We need to give ourselves nudges and keep what matters in clear view. After that, doing something about it becomes easy.
That’s it! I remembered. And I’ve practiced remembering ever since by the sheer act of LOOKING at my Tending List each week.
When you simply remember what matters, your actions change. You can’t help it. Those actions will add up—quicker than you think. They did for me.
My PowerSheets are my daily reminder and accountability to keep making those small steps. They’re also my reminder that my steps are adding up, no matter how small they might feel day-by-day! Every day, when I look at my PowerSheets and my priorities for the month, I’m encouraged to do something about my big-picture vision. In that way, something that feels lofty and overwhelming becomes attainable and actionable–and it actually happens, bit by bit.
Here’s an example from my Tending List this month:
My monthly goal of writing in our Legacy Journal (coming later this week to the blog!), as well as several of my weekly goals and daily goals, were all pointed toward what I hope to be my legacy AND things I can confidently take action on right now. I really could have used any of these lines as an example, because that’s what PowerSheets are to me and so many of you: the anti-busy tool, the one that clarifies our time and allows us to focus on the things that add up to an intentional life (right now and in the big picture).
Here is the only danger to using a tool like PowerSheets for your goals, legacy-focused or otherwise: that you would spend so much time planning, that you don’t get to the planting. Dig in right where you are. Don’t wait for perfect circumstances or the world to be right again—cultivate what matters and do it right where you’ve been planted. You might surprise yourself, and help a whole lot of others cultivate what matters, too!
And so, this is a success tip that might change everything for you as it has for me: when you have an idea of where you want to go, don’t waste time—take that first small step. No need to write it down or have a perfect plan, just get to it! (Really—get up from reading this right now and take whatever the next best step is to get you to where you want to be in the big picture. Just one tiny step. I’ll still be here when you get back. :))
Get the momentum going while it’s fresh on your mind and you’ll be more likely to take the next step, then the next, and the next… and before you know it, days or years or decades later, you’re there!
Every decision we make has an arrow attached to it, pointing us in one direction or another. However many hours or minutes are left in the day as you read this (even if you are reading this in bed), how can you shoot one of your decision arrows in the right direction?
I want my decision arrows aimed right at the target (my legacy). That’s what being intentional (a.k.a. legacy-minded) is all about.
To help you get started, whether you have PowerSheets or not, we made a special Wildcard page for you! Wildcard pages are usually an exclusive bonus for PowerSheets users, but we wanted all of you to have this one. This simple worksheet walks you through the legacy questions raised in this series’ introductory post.
Download it here:
After you fill it out, I’d love to hear one or two of your answers—share them in the comments, if you’d like!
Up next in our legacy series: simple steps (and journaling prompts!) to make a pandemic legacy journal! I’ll see you back here for that later this week.