Standing next to the casket at the cemetery, I told a family member I had not known the deceased. He frowned and said, “You didn’t miss much.” The deceased had created an amazing legacy. But it was the kind of legacy.
Not long ago I wrote an article about writing your own eulogy. It pointed out that as long as you are alive, you still have time to change your legacy. If you aren’t happy with the thought of how people will remember you, you can change it.
Would you like to change your legacy? Are there people in your life who will not have good things to say about you when you are gone? A few people won’t care what others think about the life they’ve lived. But I care about my legacy. It matters to me what people will say about me when They talk about me life.
What about you? If you couldn’t care less about your legacy, save yourself some time and stop reading. The rest of the article will be a waste of time for you. But if you care, there’s good news for you.
One of the 6 ReFIRE principles is based on the word endowment. It forces us to examine the question, “What am I leaving behind for others when I am gone.” Another word for this is ‘legacy.’ What legacy will you leave behind?
I’ve discovered how to change you legacy in only 24 hours, using only 3 words. What you are about to read doesn’t always work. But I’m guessing you will see results 95% of the time.
This is a revolutionary concept. The popular thinking is, “It took a lifetime for people to build an opinion of me, and it will take a lifetime to change it.” This isn’t true.
Here’s the secret to changing your legacy in only 24 hours, using only 3 words.
Begin by remembering that a legacy is wrapped up in what people think of you. Sure, it’s more complicated, but it boils down to the perception people have of you. When your neighbor hears your name he will remember the fight over property lines and how you threatened to sue him. Your neighbor on the other side of your property might recall you with fondness because you plowed the snow out of his driveway each winter. Legacy, in the simplest form, is based on how people remember you.
Who have you wronged? Who is holding a grudge against you? Make a list of those names that pop into your mind.
As you examine the list, put a checkmark next to the names of people who you care what they think about you. There will be people on your list that, for various reasons, makes no difference what they think of you. Focus on the names which matter.
Now, here comes the magic, consider reaching out to the people on your list with these words: “Please forgive me.”
Do not underestimate the power of these words. Yes, they are humbling. But that’s why not many people use them. And that’s why, when you say these words, people will take notice. It will start the process of healing a broken relationship.
Please note, this is not a manipulation tool. You are not saying the magic words to control people. Only use them when you are sincere. But when you can use them with full sincerity it is a beautiful thing. Not only will it change your legacy in their eyes, but it will restore a hurting and broken relationship.
Repeat this process with as many people as needed. Get busy. You have 24 hours to change your legacy. But it can be done by using 3 words one person at a time.
Well, that’s kind of a weak word to describe this process, actually.
I’ve done this in the past as a part of a 12 step program. Not easy. And could be more difficult (and consequently more freeing) if I were able to locate those who I believe most need to hear these words. Maybe they don’t care. I don’t know. I need to … care, that is. And follow through.
I found that the need to do this was amplified once I made it a point to experience this process and, more deeply, the freedom in forgiveness, especially later in life … after having the chance to make some monumental errors!
Thank you for the reminder Randy.
Thanks for your honest comments!