Living your Legacy

*This post was originally written for Trove Inc. You can check out their work in leadership and consulting at*

Living Your Legacy

Maclane Forbus | Trove Inc.

There’s a poem by Linda Ellis called The Dash[1]. It is an ode to life and the journey toward living life in a meaningful way. The poem concludes with this line:

So, when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?”

Most people want to live a meaningful life. In fact, we regularly hear from clients that part of what they desire from coaching is to learn and discover how to live a life that has meaning and has purpose. The values and beliefs that each person lives by can vary greatly, but the process for living a meaningful life remains fairly consistent. A life of meaning is discovered as we learn to live our legacy.

We like to say that our legacy is who we are becoming as we are living. Legacy is what I leave with others as I live among them. We often think of legacy simply as those things we leave behind to those that we love. Legacy is more than that. It is greater than that. Legacy is our emotional currency. It is those things we exchange with those within our community.

Legacy is not what you will leave in someone’s bank account; it is what you will leave in their hearts.

Living your legacy happens at the collision of self-awareness and self-discipline. It is when “who am I becoming” collides with “what I am doing.” It is at this place that I am most aware of flaws and gaps in my life. It is at this intersection that we discover a deficit in our emotional currency. It is here that we choose the disciplines that will mature our emotional currency.

Daniel Goleman, a leading scientific journalist and the foremost expert in the field of Emotional Intelligence, defines self-awareness as the ability to monitor our inner world; our thoughts and feelings.[2] Self-awareness, then, is our ability to react in real-time to our emotions. It is how we understand ourselves and how we adjust our emotions as we live. As we become aware of our emotions and how those emotions affect us, and how they affect others, we then know better the areas of our emotions that need strengthening. These areas become the focus of our self-discipline.

Self-discipline is the ability we have to control the rhythms, habits, and processes in our life. It’s why we can choose going to the gym over sleeping an extra hour, reading to our kids rather than watching Netflix, and choosing the fruit rather than the slice of pie. Self-discipline are the choices we make to close the gaps that our self-awareness has exposed.

Legacy living is finding your rhythm in the daily cycle of self-awareness and self-discipline. It is choosing to be intentional about how we live, despite the chaos that infects most of our days. Here are a few things we have found helpful:


Living your legacy means you have made some decisions about who it is you want to become. Life moves quickly as we balance our personal, professional, emotional, physical, and spiritual life. That pace can be overwhelming without clearly established core values. Ask yourselves these questions to help:

  • Who is it that I want to become?
  • What do I value about my character?
  • What do I value in others?
  • How do I want to impact others?
  • How do I want to be remembered?

Use the answers to these questions to establish your personal Core Values. Write them down and work towards a personal Mission Statement. Once you have established who you want to be, you are on track to living your legacy.


The Legacy Life is discovered as you learn to live your rhythms. Your rhythm is the intentional pace of life that you choose that helps you live your core values. Rhythm allows us to be intentional with how we live, rather than simply reacting, and often over-reacting, to the chaos of life. How often have we come to the end of an emotionally draining day, or even season, and discovered we lived without intention? How many times have we wished we could get an emotional “do-over” at work or at home? As we live our rhythms, we position ourselves to live our legacy life every day.

Choose today to live your legacy.

Choose today to leave your legacy on the hearts of others.

Legacy is not what you will leave in someone’s bank account; it is what you will leave in their hearts.




One thought on “Living your Legacy

  1. Hi Maclane, love this post. I was contemplating something similar a few weeks ago. I think we leave a legacy every day -by how we make someone feel. We don’t need to build a legacy, we need to be a living legacy. Great work here. Thanks!


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