Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.
It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
I’ve spent the last couple of days since my uncle’s passing thinking a lot about the legacies we leave behind after we die. No matter what we do with our lives, we will each be remembered for the good – that much I know is true. But what do we want that good to be? If I die tomorrow, will what I’ve accomplished with my short, precious life be enough?
I want to leave behind a legacy for my children. I want them to be overflowing with happy memories of me. I want them to tell stories to their children and their children’s children about how great their momma was. Do I feel like I’ve given them a reason to tell those stories yet? I’m not so sure.
So, what do we do to create lives that we are so proud of that if we died tomorrow, we’d die with no regrets?
That is the kind of life that I want to live.
Today I got to meet Ali Vincent, the first female winner of the TV show The Biggest Loser. She gave a little speech at my work and something she said struck me to the core. She said, “If you are at a place in your life where you are feeling comfortable, then you aren’t creating. You have to break out of your comfort zone in order to accomplish great things.”
I am living a very comfortable life right now. I never thought that could be a bad thing, but it is. I don’t want to live a comfortable life – I want to live a GREAT life – a life that becomes a legacy. Slowly, but surely…
And now I’ll leave ya with a few questions to get your wheels turning as you finish out this week…
- What is one thing that you just HAVE TO do before you die? What’s holding you back from just doing it?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- What is something actionable that you can do TODAY to step out of your comfort zone and become who you really want to be?