4 Tough Questions That Can Change Your Life
“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your
ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less
the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.”
—Thomas J. Watson
Fireworks, friends, family, and BBQ. Independence Day is a whirlwind of fun and relaxation, but in between the buffalo wings and reruns of Top Gun, let’s not forget that the reason we can enjoy those things is the passion and hard work of our Founding Fathers. They left a legacy that we still enjoy today.
They built a country that gives us the freedom and opportunity to create our own legacy, one that maybe even goes down in the history books as well. While that won’t happen overnight, there are a few things you can do today to make sure that you’re building a reputation and legacy that you’ll be proud of for years to come. Start by asking yourself these questions today.
1. What do you want to be known for during your lifetime?
“It takes many good deeds to build a good
reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
Reputation and legacy go hand in hand. I like to think of reputation as the way people talk and think about you during your lifetime, and legacy as the way people remember you after you’re gone. Building a great reputation is the first step toward constructing a positive legacy.
So, what do you want to be known for throughout your lifetime? Being…
· A hard worker?
· A family man/woman?
· Addicted to social media and your smartphone?
· Too busy to help others?
· A loyal friend?
· A liar?
· A positive and motivational person?
Obviously, no one would choose to be known for their heavy social media and smartphone usage over being a hard worker or loyal friend. Yet, how many times do we find ourselves on social media at work or tapping around on our smartphones when spending time with friends?
The point is that how you spend your time dictates the kind of person you are and how others see you. If you always give 100% at work, you’ll be known as a hard worker. On the other hand, if you constantly flake out on buddies then you’ll gain a reputation for being a bad friend.
Decide what you want to be known for and take a long, hard look at how you spend your time—do your hopes match up with your actions? If not, it’s time to break bad habits and create new ones.
2. What will be important to you in 20 years?
The things that we value now will not always be what we value in 20 years, but it’s easy to get caught up in short-term gratification here and now rather than focus on long-term payoffs. Shake off that mindset by jotting down what I like to call your “ideal reality.”
It’s part of my 10-80-10 system. Your 10% ideal reality is what you would like your life to look like in the future, including elements like:
· Where you’d like to live
· What you’d like to be doing
· Who you’d like to be surrounded by
· What you’d like to have accomplished by that point in the future
· How much money you’d like to be making
Right now, for instance, you may value money over everything else if you’re concerned with paying rent or getting rid of student loans. In 20 years, however, family and friends may be your #1 priority. If you think that will be the case, focus on cultivating great relationships that you will still want to have in 20 years rather than just hustling for money. Sure, being financially stable is important, but not as important as playing the long game to ensure that you’re happy in the future.
3. What gives you purpose?
We Millennials talk about “passion” so much that we often confuse it for purpose. We forget that being passionate about something only takes us so far; unless that thing gives us purpose, we’ll be unfulfilled.
For example, I’m passionate about dancing but that doesn’t give me purpose in life; it doesn’t make me want to get up in the morning and celebrate. However, my passion for dance did help me realize my true purpose when I was younger. I loved dance so much that I decided to teach it to children and ended up realizing that my purpose in life is to motivate and encourage other people. Dance was just a fun avenue to that realization.
Write down a list of things that you’re passionate about—it could be working in the film industry, singing, designing, art, sales. Then, go through the list and see what really makes you tick, what you would love to get up every morning and do. That will help you distinguish between things you just like spending your time on and things that provide meaning to your life.
4. How do you want to be remembered?
“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
—George Washington Carver
If you were to hear your eulogy right now, what would you want to hear? That you were incredibly wealthy with a large house, or that you were a kind person who loved traveling and giving back to others? Maybe you want to be remembered as the person who always made others laugh and forget about their worries.
This is your legacy. Only you can decide how you want to be remembered after you’re gone. Note that there’s no right answer here; only you know what feels right to you.
If you’ve never thought of this question or you’re struggling to come up with an answer, take out a piece of paper and write down 10 things you’d like to be remembered by/as. Afterward, brainstorm a few actions you could take every day to make sure that you’re moving toward those goals, and consider hanging your list in a conspicuous place that you will see every day to remind yourself to take these small steps.
Stumped about how to make your reputation and legacy a reality?
Grab a quick one-on-one coaching session! You’ll leave with the perfect plan of action.