When considering your legacy I believe most people only consider their professional legacy. Professional accolades and achievements are sought after. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s pretty amazing that the granddaughter of a sharecropper is a practicing attorney. I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. But I am a firm believer that the kindness you give will serve as your legacy and may speak louder than any professional accolade. Here are a couple of tips to ensure that your legacy is truly what you wish it to be.
- Be kind. Sounds cliche, but it really goes a long way. You never know how people are hurting or what kind of issues they are battling. Kindness is important and for some strange reason, people don’t really expect high-level executives, lawyers and other professionals to be nice. You would be surprised how a simple act, such as saying hello in passing is interpreted.
- Treat everyone with respect. This is related to the first tip, but is referencing treating the custodian with the same respect as the Judge. People remember how you treat them and others. People also realize when you treat people differently based on their status in society. Don’t do that. Treat everyone with respect.
- Be authentic. This often comes up when my friends and I are discussing local political candidates. Often times, my issue with the candidate is their lack of authenticity. Something as simple as saying “Hello” goes a long way. Speak even when it’s not election season and you don’t want or need anything from people, especially when you don’t want or need anything.
- Honor your word. Do what you say you will do, full stop. That’s not to say that plans won’t change or that you can’t change your mind and decide not to do something. But generally speaking, do not over commit yourself or take on more than you can do well. Also, a little communication can buy you more time. If you’re honestly struggling to find the time to do something, let the other person know. You do not want to be known for flaking on people.
- Do a good job. Do your work and work hard. Your work ethic will speak for itself.
I know all of this seems simple and it may be cliche, but these little tips will take you far. Strive for excellence. Go after your dreams. As you build your legacy, protect your legacy by remembering these tips.