Last week I went to a funeral for a friend’s mom. I never met her, but that sure didn’t stop me from weeping like we shared our deepest, darkest together. Yes, after much self-reflection along my journey, I’ve come to an acceptance around being that girl at the stranger’s funeral. I’m sure there’s part of me that connects this moment to all of those important and traumatic funerals that came before.
But now more than ever, as someone who helps people create lives driven by all that’s meaningful to them, I’m moved, held and tightly gripped by the ritual telling of a human’s story.
Who was she to her people?
What did she fight like hell to overcome?
What were her quirks that simultaneously drove people crazy and drew them close?
How would she want to be remembered and is that how we will remember her?
As a committed soldier to the practice of life transformation, bearing witness to the authentic recounting of imperfect and beautiful lives drives me to ask the questions:
Am I living my truth?
How do I inspire others to commit to living theirs, no matter how hard or unpopular it may be to do so?
To address my own truth, I’m constantly tweaking and checking in on who I’m being and the impact I’m making. And then, by writing it all down to share with the people who care, I recognize that I am, in fact, living it.
I’m fighting for a more equitable world for my daughters and for women, and I truly believe we will see change in my lifetime. All that said, I often feel I can be doing more, and it all looks pretty messy in practice. I fear the impact I want to make comes at the cost of the people I love and the time I have to care for them.
That’s where my focus goes when I think about my legacy.
I want to be remembered as someone who fought for a more equitable world so that all humans have the opportunity to create lives according to what’s most important to them AND I want my people to know that they are/were loved by me. That our connections are what change me and fuel me and make me want to do the work I do. Alas, this is the hard part and the area I know I can do better. And will do better.
When it comes to the people in my sphere—the lives I have the honor to touch—we zero in on whether they’re living intentional, meaningful lives by creating what I call a Legacy Gap Analysis. Here’s how it works:
Write your eulogy, the story of your life as if it ended right now.
Now, write what you WANT the retelling of your life to sound like, for your people and for the world.
Where are the gaps in your two stories?
What steps can you take right now to fill in those gaps? Hint: it’s less about goals you can accomplish and more about who you are being in your life.
Once you’ve completed your analysis, approach it without judgment. This is where you are. There are many stories you can create about where you are. Choose those stories that spring from compassion for yourself and how far you’ve come. These are the narratives that will help you connect with all the work still to do within your gap. It is your work to do and you can let every breath be a reminder that there is still time to make that impact on the world you are driven to make and to love your people the way you know they need to be loved.