How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

A few years ago, at the beginning of my mid-life clarity, I went to the memorial service of a woman I admired greatly. I remember sitting there, listening to people speak about her legacy, and when I left, I couldn’t stop thinking about what type of legacy would I leave behind. The question stayed with me for years, and it’s a question we should all ask ourselves.

Now, when working on my business and struggling between doing house chores and writing a speech or blog post, I think about that and tell myself: “Do you really want people to remember you because of how tidy your house always was?”

Leaving a legacy behind is something that inspires us to do our work.

Take for example Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite but who is mostly known as the founder of the Nobel Prize.

In 1888, when his brother Ludvig Nobel died in Cannes, the French press mistook Ludvig for Alfred Nobel. The newspapers then released an article under the headline “The merchant of death is dead.” The article went on to say: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Alfred was devastated and was inspired to change his legacy. He dedicated his enormous fortune to making the world better by founding and funding the Nobel Prizes.

What legacy would you like to leave? What changes can you make in your life to make that happen?

A Formula to Find Your Life Purpose

Need Help Finding Your Life Purpose?

Maybe this will help

One of my favorite teachers, Martha Beck, in her book “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World,” shares this very useful formula for finding your life’s purpose. It doesn’t apply to everyone, but perhaps you will find it helpful.

LIFE PURPOSE FORMULA PART I:

Have you spent 10,000 hours of your life doing something in particular? The 10,000 Hour Rule was made popular by author Malcolm Gladwell, and it means that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed in order to become world-class in any given field.

What The Beatles, Bill Gates, and Michael Jordan have in common is that they practiced their craft deliberately for 10,000 hours before they reached the heights they did.

LIFE PURPOSE FORMULA PART II:

What has been the most difficult situation you’ve experienced in your life (Martha calls it “your hell”) and how did you pull yourself out of that situation using what you learned from your 10,000-hour practice?

LIFE PURPOSE FORMULA PART III:

Use the resources you learned in Part I to help others come out of the difficult situations similar to those you experienced in part II.

_ _ _

Here’s how this is true for me. I have experienced many difficulties in my life: extreme poverty and hunger while living in Cuba, sexual abuse, child labor, being a single mother, making minimum wage… But none for me was as difficult as losing myself during the existential crisis I faced during mid-life. Being utterly lost (not knowing who I was or what I was here to do) was my personal hell; it was worse than any of the many other difficulties I’d faced up until then. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to help others find and live their purpose.

I’ve told myself: “Others aren’t going to go through what I went through if I can help it. Not on my watch.”

Now I help others searching for purpose and meaning in their lives by sharing what I learned during my 10,000 hours of research (reading books, taking seminars, working with life coaches, watching TEDTalks, etc.) and practicing, creating the life I love.

You’ve probably heard many stories of mothers losing their children to a particular illness (their most difficult situation) and years later finding their purpose helping other parents as they deal with grief.

My friend Sarah, who owns a tea shop in town, got so sick while visiting Thailand once that all she could put in her stomach for weeks was tea. She became obsessed with the benefits of it, and now she provides customers with a wide variety of medicinal teas from all over the world.

A beautiful young woman recently came to me and confessed that after being sexually abused at the age of 12, she developed severe issues with body image that caused her a deep depression and anxiety, eating disorders, and many other ailments. After 15 years of inner work, she now feels passionate about helping girls suffering from similar issues.

So, it’s your turn.

PART I.

What have you spent 10,000 hours of your life practicing?

Knitting? Biking? Giving moral support to others? Cooking? Gardening? Caring for homeless dogs?

PART II.

What has been the hardest thing you’ve been through, your biggest “hell”?

PART III

Put the two together. Your 10,000 hours are your gift to the world. The people who are experiencing the same thing you went through are those you are here to serve.