What Legacy Do You Want to Leave Behind as a Leader?

FootprintsEVERYTHING in life has an expiry date – from tenure of office to life expectancy. By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. If you are successful, it becomes possible for you to leave an inheritance for others. But if you desire to create a legacy, then you need to leave something in others. When you think selflessly and invest in others, you gain the opportunity to create a legacy that will outlive you because you have nurtured followers who will carry on with your vision. While a successful person finds the right place for himself, the ultimate goal of a successful leader is to find the right place for others.

John Maxwell quizzed, “What do you want people to say at your funeral.” He further laid down the parameter of legacy when he said “Our ability as leaders will not be measured by the buildings we built, the institutions we established, or what our team accomplished during our tenure. You and I will be judged by how well the people we invested in carried on after we are gone.”

Legacy is about life and living. It is about learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. For instance, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former President of South Africa has been building his legacy right from his youth. He was incarcerated for 27 years as a result of his efforts to bring racial harmony and equality to South Africa. He began his efforts as soon as he graduated from law school and founded the first black law firm in the country in 1952. Having touched several lives, it was easy for him to ask for their votes during the 1994 General Elections. As widely expected, he won a sweeping victory taking 62% of the votes, inspite of the fact that the election was marred by instances of fraud and sabotage. True to his promise, Nelson Mandela stepped down in 1999 after one term as President. He never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible hassles, he never answered racism for racism. Mandela’s life is an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived, and to all who are opposed to oppression and depression. Even after his death on December 5, 2013, his legacy lives on.

Abiodun Fawumi is the Publisher of Ekocity Magazine.

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