Close to my Heart – L • E • G • A • C • Y

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LEGACY. Typically when we think of the meaning, we often think of something old or left behind. Maybe something of monetary value. An inheritance perhaps.
When I pulled out my trusty Merriam Webster dictionary, it provided the usual information that LEGACY is a noun and means “money or property left to someone in a will.” Another source, the online Bing dictionary referenced something similar. 1. Bequest made in a will; 2. Something from the past; 3. Outdated or discontinued.

Hmmm, I was still looking for a different description that provided a newer concept. Let me explain. When I think about leaving a LEGACY, it takes on a whole new meaning. It pertains to now and how it can be used for development. LEGACY is a word I hold close to my heart. It is part of my being and pertains to leadership and developmental growth.

Simply said, “LEADERS today leave a LEGACY tomorrow.”

I believe LEGACY is an important partner with Leadership. To cultivate the spirit of leadership and develop that which inspires others to act with passion and lead with integrity as it means to transform life’s results in leaving a LEGACY.

“Leadership” – “Everything rises and falls on Leadership” – John Maxwell
Leaders are defined by the following characteristics found in Legacy.

Leadership
Enthusiasm
Generosity
Authenticity
Compassion
Youthfulness

Often the perception is that to be a leader, you’re older and experienced. Something that occurs towards the end of your life. Not true. LEGACY plays an important role in defining a good leader at any age. Leadership is not only about producing results or measuring success with statistics. Leadership is doing something with significance that makes families, organizations, societies, nations and the world a better place before you die.

“Leaders lead while inspiring with incorporating and building upon people’s confidence.”
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer
“Don’t find comfort in being followed because you’re feared, but rather, be followed because you’re respected. That’s true leadership.” – Unknown

“Enthusiasm” – “People who intensely believe in their purpose to leave a legacy behind.”
They have the ability to spread their positive outlook and a readiness to take action, involving all who come in contact with them. It’s the difference of being laser focused on what can be done instead of allowing inertia to set in. Enthusiastic people take action rather than setting up roadblocks or distractions. What helps grow enthusiasm and build on the momentum is to have a clear vision of what motivates you to remain focused.

“Generosity” – “Generosity is a strength, not a weakness.”
Generous leaders are confident and giving of themselves and their knowledge. The gain is not financial, it’s in growth and sharing. Generosity, when freely given, empowers people to receive what they truly want, knowledge, credit for their actions, praise for their efforts, responsibility because they’re capable and the authority because they’ve earned your trust. Generous leaders have faith in others to succeed. In turn, they receive ten-fold, loyalty, commitment, and a positive outcome.
“Authenticity” – “It’s not what you tell people but how you make them feel.”
I believe Leadership is a verb, not a noun when you factor in authenticity. An authentic leader’s role encompasses active participation with their team. Expressing strength and confidence to lead with their hearts, not only with their minds. Authentic Leaders are not afraid to show emotion and vulnerability as they share in the challenges with the team. Also critical to authentic leadership is to develop a solid foundation of trust with open and honest communication. It’s surprising to me when leaders lacking authenticity are surprised to find team members unhappy and leave.

“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” –Sam Walton

“Compassion” – “The secret to long-term relationships is providing kindness, caring and love.”
As a leader our purpose is to provide knowledge and generate trust through kindness. This will provide a foundation that allows others to make choices, right or wrong, and grow in a positive manner from the experience. Taking the time to go the extra mile when needed is the best way to develop solid leadership. Compassion is that special element that is often missed and makes the difference in building a positive environment.

As you can see, it’s very important to leave a legacy.

“Youthfulness” – We often think that leadership is something that only occurs when you’re older.”
Successful leaders leave a legacy behind at any age. The “Y” in legacy is to remind us that our future leaders are young and energetic, full of new ideas and eager to embrace the vision and principles of Leadership. Leaving a legacy is for all ages, developing everyone, our future leaders in society, our country and the world.

“You may ask why I’m so passionate about leadership and creating a legacy. It’s simple, to influence others positively so that the next generation of leaders can leave their legacy.” – Farshad Asl

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