How to leave a legacy

Entrepreneurs go into business for many reasons – to pursue a dream, find alternatives to an unfulfilling career or make more money. Most entrepreneurs are also driven by a desire to leave a legacy through their work. What does it mean to leave a legacy?

Benjamin Franklin put it this way: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Leaving a legacy through your work means doing something worth writing about – and changing the world. 

When you think about your career in terms of leaving a legacy and not merely as a source of income, it takes on a far deeper meaning. When you’re pouring your time, energy and passion into a business, you want to have a lasting impact. You begin thinking, “What does legacy mean? How can I build one?” Your legacy is an inheritance – it’s your gift of service to others. Learning how to leave a legacy is also a gift you give yourself, since it paves the way for finding genuine fulfillment in your life.

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What does legacy mean?

A legacy is a lasting impact on the world. It’s a gift that is passed down through generations: money, property or even stories. It can also be a business – or the profits from a business, set up in a foundation or charity. Leaving a legacy means dreaming big and changing the world for the better. And it is a powerful driver for the most successful people on the planet.

Great leaders in history who left a legacy

It isn’t just businesspeople who can leave a legacy. Every great leader you can think of today comes to mind because he or she left a legacy. Nelson Mandela helped defeat apartheid and became South Africa’s first Black president. Laurance Rockefeller conserved thousands of acres of parkland. Marie Curie discovered radiation and was the first woman to earn a Nobel Prize. Albert Einstein changed our understanding of the entire universe. Mother Teresa left such a lasting legacy, she was canonized as a saint. All of these people understood that leaving a legacy is the true purpose of life.  

How to leave a legacy

Many business owners sense that they want to leave a mark through their work, but they don’t know how to get there. To truly make a lasting impression, you must first answer a pivotal question: What does it mean to leave a legacy? You’re not looking for generic answers here – leaving a legacy must be meaningful and unique to you. Here’s how to get started learning how to leave a lasting legacy that will speak volumes about you well after you’re finished doing business.

1. Discover your purpose

Understanding how to leave a legacy can seem nebulous and out-of-reach if you don’t know what your purpose in life is. Without a sense of purpose, any action you take feels undirected. To discover your purpose, start with the end in mind. Ultimately, you want to be remembered for your values – so start by writing them down. Do you want to be remembered for hard work? Vision? Altruism? By writing down your core values, you’re able to pinpoint what will make you most fulfilled – your purpose in life – and then build your legacy around it.

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2. Reveal your natural skills and abilities

Think of your heroes: the people who inspire, encourage and uplift you. It’s likely that, in addition to treating you with dignity and respect, your heroes also stand out for distinct skills and talents. There’s something fundamentally poignant about watching someone’s gift come to life. It’s in self-actualization – living out the innate talents that make you uniquely you – that you demonstrate how to leave a legacy that others will admire.

3. Unlock your passion

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Living out your passions creates contentment in your life. And you’re only able to give to others if you are content. So when you ask “What does legacy mean?” what you’re really asking is how your passions meet a need in the world. Finding your passion and relating it back to your purpose and your innate skills and talents is the recipe for leaving a legacy. Once you’ve done the work to discover your true passions, you’re ready to implement practical strategies for leaving a legacy at work.

4. Determine your X factor

You can’t leave a legacy if you don’t provide more value than anyone else. You need to discover your X factor – what you have that no one else does – and leverage it. Consider how to improve your product or service so that it leaves a lasting impression. To accomplish this, your product must capture the hearts of your ideal clientele, adding real value to their lives so that no competitor can ever come close.

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5. Create a business map

Leaving a legacy is about building a business that lives on after you are gone. It’s not about having a job to show up to every day – it’s about creating something that can exist without you. To do that, you’ll need a mastermind business map for achieving record profits. When you understand how to leave a lasting legacy for investors, you’re also able to build a business that attracts future investment.

6. Inspire the next generation

leaders in history who left a legacy

Building a fulfilling career is the lynchpin of finding contentment in life. But leaving a legacy means not only finding your own fulfillment, but also inspiring others to achieve great things. There are many ways to accomplish this, from being a standout leader to nurturing a vibrant organizational culture. It might mean teaching others to refine company processes, train new talent or manage business finances. When you’re gone, your legacy will live on in the employees you mentored, the leaders you inspired and the lives you influenced.

7. Give back

If your values include giving back, education or financial growth, you might consider creating a leadership program or philanthropic foundation. Creating a customized program aligned with your product is a visionary way to elevate your brand while leaving a legacy. Giving back is also a proven way to find fulfillment: Contribution is one of the Six Human Needs that drive us in life.

Want to learn how to leave a lasting legacy?

Learn how to leave a legacy for the ages. Get the support you need with Tony RobbinsEntrepreneur Accelerator Toolkit.