She willingly lived as few would ever choose to live. She wore no makeup. She never adorned herself in jewelry nor dressed in fashionable clothes. Her belonging were few and her life was anything but easy. Barely four feet tall, she did not stand out in a crowd. She was not known for her stature nor for physical beauty. She did not seek public recognition. Yet, on September 14, 1997, the world mourned the death of one of the most unforgettable public figures of our time…Mother Teresa, the diminutive, Nobel Prize winning Catholic nun who headed up the Missionaries of Charity order and made her mark on the world. By caring for the poor, the downtrodden, the lepers and the Harijan (Hindu India’s untouchable population), she aligned herself with her purpose and vision. This Saint of the Gutter touched the lives of thousands through her spirit and her work, and the world has been changed forever. It can be said of this tiny giant of a woman – She is an enduring influence.
You don’t need to be a Mother Teresa to leave a legacy of value. You just need to be someone who is intentional in living your purpose and your vision. Recently my brother-in-law, Kevin Moody, was honored posthumously by having a youth home in Lansing named after him. Kevin believed in giving more than he received. He also believed that society had a responsibility to do whatever was possible to help underprivileged youth have opportunities to succeed. And to that end, he took action. Over the past twenty years, he gave thousands of hours to helping kids–the reason the youth home chose to honor him. The applause was never important to him; the result of his effort was what mattered most. Kevin gave of his time, talent and treasure to the youth home and the kids who benefited from it and, as a result, his legacy will be felt for generations to come.
As a leader, take the time to consider:
1) What is your purpose and vision? Are you keeping it in front of you at all times? Daily reminders keep you on track.
2) What kind of a legacy are you leaving? Whether or not you are aware of it, positive or negative, you are leaving a legacy.
3) What commitments are you making today to guarantee you leave a legacy of significance?