“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.” – Billy Graham
Have you ever thought about how you define success? I’m not talking about how the dictionary defines success or how others tell you what success is; what I’m referring to is how you define success. At the end of each day, what determines if that day was totally awesome, compared to just another day?
Recently, I had a great conversation with an old co-worker, and he opened my eyes to a great way to live a more purposeful life… a valuable tool that allows you live out your definition of success! Here’s the best part… you get to use your last name.
Before I continue, I need to give all the credit of this idea to my former co-worker. I had breakfast recently with Justin Rust (a.k.a. “JJ”), who I worked with nearly 10 years ago. JJ has always been a brilliant thinker, and he explained to me how he uses his last name to remind him how he wants to live his life. Specifically, he developed an acronym for his last name to remind himself of "what drives him, and what keeps him going, and what he wants to leave behind."
I received permission from him to share his his acronym: R is for him ‘Remember’ where he came from and to continually build his legacy. U reminds him to ‘Understand’ the entire situation; to gather facts from both sides of every situation. S reminds him to ‘Seek’ out guidance from others; to remember he’s not always the ‘subject matter expert.’ T reminds him to ‘Trust’ in himself and his past experiences when making calculated decisions.
As we talked, I took a few notes, and JJ noticed I was jotting down some words next to the letters of my last name. He told me he had spent several weeks pondering over his words because he really wanted them to define what drove him; what kept him going and what important things he wanted others to remember him by.
I asked him what he called this acronym, and he simply repeated the words, it’s what kept him going, especially in the toughest of times. We talked a little bit more and both agreed that since this acronym is so powerful, it should be called a “Legacy Statement.”
After several minutes of pondering about this idea, I kept jotting down some words for the letters of my last name and came up with a quick rough draft of my very own “Legacy Statement.”
G is to remind me to have and give ‘Gratitude’ every day, especially for the ‘little things.’ R reminds me that ‘Respect’ starts with me and that I should show respect to everyone. A reminds me about the importance of ‘Accountability’ and how I need to have accountability partners in many different areas of my life. U reminds me to ‘Utilize’ my God-given gifts to the fullest capacity, and not to leave anything ‘in the tank.’
As I stated above, this is my quick rough draft; a work in progress if you will. I will continue to ponder over each word carefully to ensure it defines “what drives me, what keeps me going, and what I want to leave behind.”
I absolutely love the idea of having a “Legacy Statement.” Ultimately, when we find ourselves at the end of our lives, we will be looking back at our lives and trying to decide if we made a difference. What better way then to use your last name to determine your path; what better reminder can you have that tells you what drives you, what keeps you going, what you want to leave behind?
I challenge you to start formulating your own “Legacy Statement” by using the letters of your last name. If you have a long last name, think of the extra letters as a bonus; the shorter last names must be real selective of the words they choose.
Best of luck, and please feel free to share your “Legacy Statement” in the comments below. If you need to ping your ideas off me, you can email me at [email protected]
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