April 16, 2012

Leaving Footprints

“The impact of your life is measured by how your lessons live on in others.” 

I have often heard people talk about their “legacy.”  And, have participated in numerous conversations tied to the question —  ”what is your legacy?”  Previously, I considered this a significant, poignant question.  However, over time, my perspective on this has changed in a subtle, yet significant, way.

What is important to me, regarding my time here on earth, is not how will I be remembered; rather, on how my lessons will be shared.  I do not need any experience of these lessons to be attributed to me or credited to me, I simply desire they have enough of an impact on the lives of others that they live on long after I am gone.

There are those who worry about being forgotten.  They have concerns that what they accomplished when they were alive is remembered, treasured, and valued.  And, all this talk about “legacy” sounds like pyramid building — making certain I am remembered and not forgotten, when I am not gone.

If I have made an impact on people’s lives, I may not be forgotten by them.  However, once those folks are gone, very likely I will be, too.

What will always live on is not the lessons, the experience, the commitment, and the insights that I brought to people; but, it is the application of all those teaching that continue to exist in the lives of others.  When I touch people enough to influence their behaviors, attitudes, and conversations in a manner that they inspire, guide and love others, those lessons will live on even if no one remembers where they learned it.  And, I am okay with that.

That is why I spend so much time encouraging everyone to discover, embrace, and live their passion.  We have all been blessed with very unique gifts, talents, and abilities.  Our uniqueness is why we are here.  It is the open and free sharing of these gifts that enable us to make the difference in the lives of those around us.  When we touch people with what we have to offer at a time when they need it most, we have an influence and an impact in their lives.  And, that experience — that gift — will live long after you are gone, even if they don’t remember who gave it to them.

I have spent most of my life trying to build something to reflect my self-important brilliance, creativity and genius.  It was important to me to be something awesome and big! Then, I realized that what I do best didn’t need to be built, constructed, or promoted — it simply needed to be owned, embraced and shared.  When I discovered the incredible power of simply being me and the impact on others of sharing my gift, I realized the biggest challenge in my life is to be the best me I can be.

I have no concern about my legacy.  It is my focused commitment to use the insights and lessons from all of my experiences to help others navigate through their adversity to discover incredible outcomes in their life.  The lessons, when successfully applied and shared, will live on long after I am gone.  I don’t need credit. I don’t need people to remember where they learned it.  And, I don’t need any fancy eulogy.  My only quest is that these lessons make enough of a difference that they continue to inspire and guide for years to come.  End of story.

As you struggle to find your way in this world.  Focus on what provides you the most peace, joy, and energy.  Discover it.  Embrace it.  And, bring that emotional energy into your life every single day.  That is you living your passion.  When you share that energy you are sharing your gifts with others and you are making a difference every single time you do it.  Build that into your life and you will have something much more influential and powerful than any legacy — you will be touching people in ways you may not even realize possible.

Instead of focusing on legacy, leave footprints.  Unless someone knows whose footprints they are, no one will know they are yours.  However, footprints always leave a mark and let’s others  know someone has been there already and must know the way.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.