You hear it all the time: “My children are my legacy.” Not true. Your children may inherit your legacy, they may receive the responsibility of carrying your legacy forward, but they are not your legacy. Your children may very well be your highest priority, the center of your universe, and perhaps you feel that everything you do is for them. Still, your children are not your legacy. Even if you are a full-time parent and caregiver, your children are still not your legacy.
You are your legacy, and the life you live, by choice or by happenstance, is the legacy you will ultimately leave behind.
Perhaps the most difficult part of being a parent is the realization that you now live and lead by example. The old “do as I say, not as I do” adage no longer applies, at least not if you want to be an effective parent. Like or not, your life choices are now under the microscope of your child’s eyes. That is why, as much as it is your responsibility to focus on your child’s needs and wellbeing, it is equally important for you to focus on your own happiness and wellbeing.
Now more than ever, you have to choose to live your best life, to strive to achieve your best self. Why? Because that is the example you are setting for your children. How you live your life is the best way to teach your children how to live their own lives.
Planning out Your Legacy
A legacy plan is not just about preparing for your death and what you leave behind. It is about planning for your life. Creating a legacy plan allows you to be intentional and purposeful in proactively creating the life you want to live. It empowers you to choose your life, instead of drifting from circumstance to circumstance.
Whether you are a full-time parent or the CEO of a major public company, your life should be your choice. It should be intentional. Not only will this propel you towards your own happiness and human fulfillment, but it will serve as an example and set your children up to achieve their own greatest success.
There are two parts to legacy succession: (1) passing along your own legacy, and (2) providing the flexibility and opportunity for the generation to define and achieve their own legacy, which may or may not be tied to yours.
Creating a family culture of intentionality and purpose is the beginning of legacy succession. The key is most definitely communication, both through your actions and words. However you define your legacy—as a parent, business owner, philanthropist, etc.—if your life ultimately serves to empower your children and future generations to define and achieve their own greatest success, if your story is that you chose to live your best life with intentionality and purpose, then your legacy will always live on through your children, at the very least as a model for success.
No matter how hard you work to give your children the best education, home, vacations, etc., the greatest gift you can ever give them is a blueprint for their own success. That blueprint is your legacy plan, and incorporates the knowledge, values, etc., that created your life and success.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues.