Not because he's made more money and achieved more fame than most people, and has a way to finance the passions that fuel his legacy; not because he has buildings and cable stations named after him …
At 72 years young, Ted Turner is a legacy role model because of his attitude.
It's summed up in this statement: “I’m still working on [my legacy],” says Turner. “I haven’t finished yet.” Per this recent Forbes magazine article, Turner has already done a LOT of good in his business life, and he has personal causes, too.
Rather than a bucket list of personal adventures, Turner has a list called his "11 Voluntary Initiatives" – which he keeps folded up in his wallet. Symbolically, that's a nice marriage of idealism and money – which makes for legacies with the biggest impact. We should be so lucky to have more people publically articulating and working to bring about such promises.
1. I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings.
2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect, and friendliness.
3. I promise to have no more than one or two children.
4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in its undisturbed state, and to restore degraded areas.
5. I promise to use as little of our nonrenewable resources as possible.
6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other poisons, and to encourage others to do the same.
7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life including clean air and water, adequate food, health care, housing, education, and individual rights.
8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and I support the United Nations arbitration of international disputes.
9. I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and ultimately the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to improve the condition of the planet.
11. I support renewable energy and feel we should move rapidly to contain greenhouse gases.
I couldn't have written a better list to reflect my own convictions. Even with a far smaller financial portfolio, I hereby affirm that I'll do my best to fulfill all these items as well. And I'll add one more: "I promise to do my best to develop resources and deliver services to help anyone interested in building their own sustainable legacy project that makes a positive difference in the world". That makes it an even dozen for me … while I work on a few additional ones that are currently percolating around in my head.
I'll keep you posted. Let me know what's on your list, or comment if you want to adopt this one, too. If you want to take me up on my #12 promise, let's have a conversation – schedule a time here!