Photos of the 21st century will be chronicled as the era of “selfies”; everyone looking up at the phone’s camera. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like selfies. Yet, the other day as I stood on a rock overlooking the sunrise I was struck by my shadow. As I looked at the shadow, it made me wonder, ” how do I want to be remembered.” Try taking a photo of your shadow instead of a selfie. What do you see?
I have one friend who just despises the word “legacy”. She feels it is ego driven and narcissistic. Yet, for some people building a legacy is one of their primary strengths. And, it is a strength that is often misunderstood.
In a recent coaching session, a client’s number one strength in the Clifton Strengths Finder was “Significance”. This powerful strength is about building a legacy, driven by a higher purpose of wanting to make a difference. Big impact is the goal. I often introduce this strength through Oprah. She is driven to empower women and young girls around the world the world.
As my client read the description of significance she said….” I sound like an ego driven maniac”. Once we explored the strength she learned that the strength can be an ego driven strength when she’s stressed and overwhelmed. (More than likely the root of my friend’s take on the word legacy). This is referred to as a strength being in the basement; it’s not helping her and/or others.
Yet, when we shifted her lens to the power of the strength she shared her life long work in preserving forests of northern California. She shared that ever since she was a teenager she was committed to keeping our forests healthy. She is driven to build the next generation of forest advocates. She speaks passionately about trees and the forests. Significance at its best.
When the strength is helping her and/or others, we refer to it as the balcony of a strength If she took a photo of her shadow I would guess it would be her shadow and the shadow cast by a beautiful tree.
This week, think about your legacy. A few questions to guide you:
- What is the legacy you want to leave?
- What matters so much to you that you strive to empower others to leave the lasting change you are driven by?
- How do you want to be remembered by your family and friends?
- How can you share your “significance” in the balcony, so your passion empowers you and others?
And if nothing percolates up for you, Turn the Selfie switch off and cast your lens on your shadow.
What does it tell you?