Your Legacy Is Every Life You’ve Touched

In her Commencement Address at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Oprah Winfrey’s message to the graduating class was “The biggest reward is not financial benefits, though it’s really good, you can get a lot of great shoes! Those of you who have a lot of shoes know having a closet full of shoes doesn’t fill up your life. Living a life of substance can…. Substance through your service, your offering of your whole self… whatever is true for you, whatever you stand for.” She suggested three things to live a life of substance: a deep compassion for others; a life committed to service through your work and your life’s purpose; and being constructively engaged in life to change the world in “respectful conversation with others… be open to hear the truths of others and open to letting the process of changing the world change you.” Be a person of substance!

She captured the profound depth and beauty of her message sharing the counsel that Maya Angelou told her:  “You have no idea what your legacy will be. Your legacy is what you do every day. Your legacy is every life you’ve touched, every person whose life was either moved or not. It’s every person you’ve harmed or helped. That’s your legacy.” Winfrey concluded her address with the words: “Feel everything with love, because every moment you are building your legacy.”

May you often pause and reflect on these words knowing always: “Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.” So, feel everything with love and live your beautiful life of substance and purpose.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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1 Response to Your Legacy Is Every Life You’ve Touched

  1. Jack Beach says:

    “Every moment you are building your legacy.” What wonderful, powerful, yet sobering words. And, we should be ever more mindful of them during this weekend when we honor and render respect and gratitude for the legacy of liberty, freedom, and the willingness to sacrifice to make the world a better place for us and others that so many before us have left.

    Indeed, our legacies are what we do every day and as leaders we need to be aware that our biographies are being written minute by minute, day by day, year by year. So, as leaders we should continually be asking ourselves, “Would our autobiographies as leaders coincide closely with the mental, unauthorized biographies others are writing about us each day? Answering this question, of course, requires answers to several other questions. What would we want these stories to tell? What would we have to manifest in our day-to-day leadership to ensure that our legacy is one that will bring us pride and a sense of self-fulfillment? What motives and values would guide our behaviors? Are we more engaged in becoming a person of wealth or a person of value? Truly, being “a person of substance,” should be life’s greatest aspiration and is life’s greatest reward.

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