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Life Purpose -- Why Heroes Live Forever
I’m preparing to head up to the Gold Coast to host the Go Vita Annual Conference on Tuesday. It’s always great to be invited back to an event (I also hosted it last year) and reconnect with incredible people in the wellness space.
This weekend’s episode is inspired by a moment during my week which really got the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I was doing some push-ups as part of my goal to do 100 push-ups without stopping, and listening to some of my favourite pump up music. One of my favourite songs that really gets me going is a little-known ballad from the Sydney Olympics by Vanessa Amorosi titled Heroes Life Forever.
The purists and maybe even the cynics that don’t like sport will point to this as a “sports” song, but for me it’s much more than that; it’s a song about humanity. The lyrics which really catch me are
And all the world will share the joy you bring
And all the power, the hope and inspiration
In all that glory that nations all will see
More than anything it points to the power of your example. We often feel like no one is watching us live our life; that no one is interested and that our life counts for very little. I truly beg to differ. Whether you’re famous or not is not the point. The point is having a belief that your life matters; that your example matters; and that the decisions you make about your life don’t just impact you.
Do you want to have a legacy?
If you don’t think I’m cuckoo crazy and you’re up to this part of the blog then I believe you want to leave a legacy. For me, leaving a legacy truly means you are a hero who will live forever in some way shape or form. Vanessa Amorosi has a legacy already -- her song has stuck with me and thousands of others and will carry on for years to come. This episode has only come as a result of Van Am doing what she loves to do.
3 Ways to Leave a Legacy
You simply being born will leave a legacy in some way, shape or form, because your life will influence your family, friends, businesses and so on. But what I am asking you now is how do you want to influence and even improve your legacy. If you died right now, would you be regarded as a hero? If yes, great! Celebrate that. If no, then time to get to work. Here’s where to begin
Heroes Live Forever Legacy #1 -- Your Family Legacy -- How will your family remember you?
What impact have you had on your family? The impact you have on your family is more important than the impact you have on a workplace. Assuming you are to die after your parents, consider the relationships you have with people sideways and below you on the family tree. The relationships with your siblings, partner and children (if any or all are applicable) will carry on in ways that will outstretch your life. Ranging from
- Your levels of acceptance (any multi-sibling family has opposite siblings.)
- Your ability to forgive
- Your ability to NOT be right and to acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake
- The health choices you make will impact your children
- Your career choices (tolerating a mediocre job vs doing what you love) will impact your children’s beliefs about work (and your friends, colleagues and so on)
- Your standards for communication (how you eat at the dining table, whether you use people’s names, how you treat strangers, whether you look people in the eye or not when talking, how you listen, and so on) are all idiosyncratic yet conscious choices that people will remember you for in the years to come. They’ll likely remember you more for your communication standards than your professional or personal achievements. Whilst many people acknowledge Steve Jobs for his legacy with Apple, his sharp personality and poor relationships regularly come up in the same conversation.
Overall, your family legacy has a focus on relationships. The hack to any great relationship is quality time. I call this a hack tongue-in-cheek because there is no hack for quality relationships. Try all the hacks you want for your marriage and I’ll confidently start preparing your divorce papers for you.
Heroes Live Forever Legacy #2 -- Your Community Legacy -- How will your friends and neighbourhood remember you?
Do you make the time to maintain and strengthen your friendships? Or have you bought into the socially acceptable mantra of “I don’t have time”? We both know the time excuse is BS. It’s clear that you have other priorities which you rank as higher. Are you a key member of your community? Have you been a great friend to others (this shows up mostly during times of need)
Here’s the problem though -- and I’m being a generalist here. When you stop working, or your nest is empty, and you and your partner are spending more time than ever together because you’re not working or raising children and so on -- what happens if you’ve lost the art of socialising because you “didn’t have time” for the last 20 or 30 years?Are you a key member of your community? Have you been a great friend to others (this shows up mostly during times of need)
Let me be very clear here. An exceptional social life is a muscle. It must be worked on time and time again. If you let your social life atrophy, you become socially week. You struggle with strangers, you forget your manners and your listening skills suffer. This doesn’t just impact your social life, but those same skills are required for every human interaction you have. Your children and partner would appreciate those skills in you for your entire life.
Furthermore, as outlined beautifully by Bronnie Ware in her book The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying, one of those 5 regrets is that “I wish I’d kept in touch with my friends”. You don’t want to get to the end of your life and feel an irreconcilable loneliness and guilt that you went missing for your friends. Just because they didn’t call you doesn’t mean they didn’t miss you. And you weren’t there for them. Don’t let those feelings become your reality.
Acknowledge that socialising requires leadership and initiative, so go out there and commit to being an active friend and an active member of your neighbourhood. Seriously, otherwise you become a ghost that no one recognises your presence or your absence.
Heroes Live Forever Legacy #3 -- Your Global Legacy -- How will your workplace, and depending on the type of work you do, the global village of humanity remember you?
This is where Steve Jobs focused and excelled. We all get to experience Steve Jobs’ contribution to humanity on a daily basis. You don’t have to be Steve Jobs though (I don’t want you to be). What is the most important point here is that you do the work to be you, the best version of you, and a very consciously behaved version of you?
What’s required here is to write the script for your life -- what you are inspired to be, do, and have in this world -- and why you were put on this planet. When you do the work you are able to put into words what your life is for (At this point in time).
To give you an idea here, I know that right now my life is dedicated to helping humanity rise from mediocre to magnificent in each area of life (and not just one). I live this through my work as founder of the Exceptional Life Blueprint and CEO of The WEllness Couch. I live this through my speaking events, online programs, podcasts, and through the example I set as a husband, father, brother, son, friend, cousin and neighbour.
I don’t share the above paragraph with you to gloat in any way -- I simply want you to know what it looks like when you have clarity as to what your life is about. I know that 93% of people don’t know what their life is dedicated to, and perhaps 99% of people would struggle to put it into words.