Legacy is Becoming A New Trend

Used to be when I used the word legacy, people cocked their heads to one side like a curious puppy hearing a new command for the first time. Huh?

It gives me great joy to see the concept out from under the wraps of heads of state and philanthropists with enormous financial estates. While these folks may or may not create great legacies, it seems more and more people are stopping to consider what their lives really mean, and what difference it will make for them having been on this planet. And, oh boy, that’s where it starts.

I read a great post by a guy named Chris Guillebeau in Seattle, Washington, USA. Chris has a great take on his own legacy and his post inspired the comments of a great number of kindred legacy spirits including me. If you’re interested in these notions, you may well find it a great read too!  I couldn’t have said better what he did if I’d written it myself, and I swear I didn’t hire him to write about it. These notions of giving back and social entrepreneurship are springing up spontaneously all over the place. I am so glad to see the trend forming.

I am struck how common the concept of creating a legacy project seems to be among Gen X, Gen Y and the Millennials – even more than it is with people often of considerably greater financial means in the Boomer and beyond generations. There is a legion of humans developing on this planet with a penchant to give forward (as well as give back) and make a difference. And it is from that mindset they will find the means to get it done. You don’t have to start with a great deal of wealth or power to ‘leave a legacy.’ You just have to care about something and decide to act on it. Money can be raised to support something worthwhile.

What would you throw yourself into, whole-heartedly, that would be a joy to promote and even raise funds for if you had to because it did so much good and made you feel incredible?

A Client Motivated Evolution In My Coaching Work

I had an interesting discussion today with someone about my coaching work.  She was a friend and business owner I know, but we hadn’t talked in year – and caught up through Facebook.  That’s great fun – amid the folks friending me I sometimes can’t fully remember, every now and then you stumble on someone you really DO want to connect with. 

Anyway, prior to our actual chat, after FB and then email exchanges, we had both had the opportunity to visit each others’ websites and catch up on each other’s work.  She started at my old, original site, www.AllThrive.com, which was built to describe the focus of my practice back in the late 1990’s and crossing the ‘threshold into the new millenium’ — remember Y2K?  (I was studying strategic marketing design then with a company that at the time was called Y2Marketing – Y2M, for short – so I remember it vividly because people kept referring to the company as Y2K … they’ve since changed focus and names, but I did get great training from them in how to do direct marketing).

I really do need to get that old site updated, but it gave me the chance to explain a bit more about Creating Legacy – and how developing it has been a journey that my clients started me on. 

Creating Legacy and this blog/network site  were built as a result of so many of my clients saying they wanted to transition out of what they had been doing, to do something that really makes a difference and feels significant to them in terms of making a positive contribution.  Many of them came to me initially to help them build or develop a business.  The evolution came when, business operating smoothly with them at the helm (rather than the business running them …), they discovered they wanted to exit from it and had 20, 30 even 40 more years of life to do something with.

That something might involve different work or starting a new business – but the difference this go around is that they want it to be on their terms, meaningful, fulfilling, fun-even, and have some significance.  If they’re going to work diligently (some even more so than in prior careers) they want it to be good work, even great work – not just hard work.  Yes, productive; yes, profitable – they’d been around the block enough times to know that anything not run in a business-like fashion doesn’t run for too long.  And maybe even pay them a salary if need be – but whether a for profit structure or a nonprofit structure, it needed to be a social enterprise.  Something that made sense and not just money.

Somehow they find even more life energy to bring to the project that way. From a coaching perspective, it always seemed to me that’s how one’s work in the world really should be.  So my clients sort of led me toward the concepts behind Creating Legacy.  In a way, with and because of them I’ve been developing it all from there.  It’s not about what you leave at the end of life, it’s what you consciously build during it …

As I told her, I still do the business development/succession planning/exit planning and career transition work, too – depending on where the person is when they come to me.  But so often that has led into an “and what I really want to do is …” conversation.  That can go in so many different directions about what they decide to do or build next, or they choose to add on to an existing business from a social responsibility perspective, before they step away. 

It’s been really fun and fulfilling work for me, I think that with our generation, there is so much more of that coming.  Not to mention from Gen X and Gen Y – who already have the concepts of working with the world’s ecosystems and making thing sustainable well ingrained in their thinking.

Which is good – the world needs more of it!  And I’m just happy as can be working with people to help them build it.

An Environmental Tipping Point

Are you a leader, at least in your own sphere of influence, who cares about the environment? One of my favorite places is where I live in in the Florida Keys. When traveling for work, it’s hard to leave and is always a great place to come home to. But I’ve made it a point, no matter where I’ve lived, to find the best of the natural environment to immerse myself in – my cathedrals and places for spiritual connection (and fun – I believe joy to be a crucial component of spirituality).

The Keys, surrounded by ocean as they are, are causing me more concern lately. The more I learn about the environment and ecosystems, the more I realize that the Keys – like other places in the equatorial / tropical / subtropical belt around the planet, and the polar caps for that matter – are currently our “coal mine;” and here, the canaries are our coral reefs. Corals are little living animals, and those canaries are gasping – with some species of corals having been reduced to 6% of their former cover.

If you consider yourself a leader, or would like to, who cares about the environment, I wonder if you’ve seen this video, Wake Up Freak Out, from many months ago?  More about the illustrator and film’s background can be found at http://wakeupfreakout.org.  Where is that environmental tipping point anyway? When considering our coral reefs, all I can say is, it must be around here somewhere …

In my work, I am coming into contact with more and more individuals from Generation X (which encompasses the 44 to 50 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980, largely in their 30’s and early 40’s and on the whole, more ethnically diverse and better educated than the Baby Boomers – over 60% of Generation X attended college) and particularly Generation Y (also known as the “Millenials,” born in the mid-1980’s and later, these folks are in their 20s with numbers estimated as high as 70 million and include the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce). Do you know them?

I’m going to guess that Leo Murray, the illustrator of this film, is a Millenial.  Here’s an interview with him.   And another.  He’s smart, informed, talented … and very concerned.  And yet still seems lighthearted.  He may well still distrust anyone over 30 – if that sounds familiar to you.  In that, he may remind you of folks you know who used to feel that way (and who may still).  I, for one, find myself totally alarmed on some days about what’s happening environmentally. I have to actively look for places to find hope for the future, which I have not abandoned – mainly because of this generation (of voters, I might add).

Hmmm. Ready to up the ante on that reduce-reuse-recycle-and-rot effort, carry your own cloth grocery bags (or take your groceries to the car in your cart and pack them there if you forget?), drive less, unplug an appliance or two when not in use or write a few more letters to your representatives?

No need to reply to me, but feel free to talk to a few more Millenials and other folks who run things (leaders) … or pass this along.  Your planet, and my spiritual sanctuaries, thank you (as do I).