Your Legacy

2013

Another year has passed and we are one year older, one year wiser, and have one more year to be thankful for. Thankful you say? “This has been a bad year, this went wrong and that went wrong. Things didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. Yes I am one year older but no farther ahead than when the year started. In fact I am no farther ahead than I was 5 years ago” We’ve heard people say this or we’ve made some of these comments ourselves.

It’s a New Year and that means it’s time to begin a new beginning. I had a mentor tell me years ago, “You can’t work hard enough to overcome a negative thought process” so let’s start with changing the way we think.

Let me give you some thoughts to help guide you towards your incredible future.

First…. Be thankful you are here to read this.

Second…Let’s change our input. What we tell ourselves. Maybe we need to change who we associate with. Pick up some good books, CD’s, DVD’s that challenge your thinking to improve. Attend a seminar or find a good church. Find a mentor who will be willing to coach you and to whom you will stay accountable to.

Third…Define what the rest of your life will look like……Your Legacy

Benjamin Franklin had 3 phases of his life. He was first an Entrepreneur, then an Inventor, and finally a Statesman. I could give countless examples of people who started late in their life, who started over, who failed at first and then succeeded beyond their wildest (and their in-laws) expectations.

Don’t let another year slip by. Begin your legacy today. I want to share the importance of starting on this journey today by sharing an article from a friend of mine Kristen Seidl.

I spent some time talking with a woman who was 82 years old the other day. She was in an assisted living facility where, because of some health issues, she couldn’t take care of herself on her own anymore. Her husband had already passed away and she only had one son who never married and moved away about 13 years ago. I could tell there was an emptiness inside her as her only son calls about once a month and has only visited once since she first moved in over a year ago. I began to ask some questions about her life and some of the memories she had from when she was younger. But the responses I got were completely not what I expected. I knew this was a divine appointment.

Looking back on her life, she shared some regrets. Her first regret was not having more children. In her generation, it was not uncommon for families to be 5-10 children deep. She had mentioned that in her earlier days, prior to being married, she experienced sexual abuse which scared her to the point that she never wanted to get married or have children. She said that if it wasn’t for the stigma and pressure for women to be married back then, she might have been alone her entire life. She carried that fear with her and was never able to resolve it even after having a child. She said her second regret was not having a better relationship with her son. She knew that he was her priority but because she couldn’t erase the memories from her past, she just ‘did what she had to do’ to raise her son but that was it. As he grew up, he became more and more distant to the point where he moved out at 16 years old. Her son is now in his early 50′s and he too never got married or had children. Her last regret was that she feels like she wasted most of her life by living in the past. She told me that as a child, she wanted to be an actress and travel all over the world. She loved being in the spotlight and making people happy and said she was a very lovable young lady. After the abuse, she couldn’t imagine being in the spotlight. She gave up on all her dreams and isolated herself from the world for years. After she married, she said her relationship with her husband was cold and distant and she said if it wasn’t for her commitment to God at the alter, she would have never stayed with him. “We were basically roommates” She said.

Today, looking back she wishes she would have pursued her dream of acting. She wishes she had a better relationship with her husband and son and she wishes she could go back in time and start over and live a more purposeful life. Now she lives with the pain of regret. Upon learning all this, I feared asking her about legacy because I didn’t want to hurt or offend her, but ended up asking anyways since she seemed to be very comfortable around me. I proceeded with, “Now I know I am young but I think about this all the time. I think about my actions today as a reflection of my legacy later. I don’t know how long I will be here so I want to make sure my actions count now. Have you thought about your legacy and what type of legacy you would like to leave behind?” I may be a bit naive but again her response surprised me. She told me that practically her entire life she didn’t even think about the end of her life.  She focused so much on things in the moment that the future rarely entered her subconscious. She knew that if she thought about the future, it would guilt her into changing and pursuing something bigger. She felt safe in her mediocre lifestyle and was afraid of letting go of her past. She was trapped in her own thoughts and found peace there. But now looking back she says she thinks about legacy all the time. Although now she feels it’s too late. I tried to encourage her and offer some suggestions so that she could find peace with her regrets and still leave a positive legacy. I also asked if I could share her story with others to give hope to those struggling with an addiction, abuse, trauma, divorce, neglect or any other crisis so they could hopefully overcome those struggles and still be able to live a life of significance and not look back on their life with regrets. She was so delighted by that and I could just feel the weight of regret being lifted off her shoulders. I told her I would help her leave a legacy that will impact so many lives through her story. I will also continue to visit her and help her relive the positive memories from her past and share comments from people who have been impacted by her story.

Leave a comment and share what steps YOU will take starting this New Year on building your legacy.

Christmas

Christmas is soon upon as it is Christmas Eve and many little children will be anxiously awaiting that special morning tomorrow when they wake up to find presents under the tree.

But what about the story behind Christmas?

nativity

I mean we all know the story of the birth of Jesus of the baby in the manger. The celebration of the birth of the Savior by gathering our families and singing carols of joy,  but there is a story we don’t think about or may not even know.

Let’s think of what happened that day from a different perspective. Imagine, when the Holy Spirit appeared to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, Joseph’s world was turned upside down. He thought of leaving and could have, many men do when they found out their wife is expecting and they are not the father. And who could have anticipated all that of the horrible events that occurred as a result of his birth. When Jesus was born King Herod and the religious leaders of the day were troubled. They felt threatened. King Herod’s response was to have all the baby boys 2 yrs old and younger killed. He sent Roman soldiers to rip the young children from their mother’s arms and kill them.  How many innocent children were slaughtered as King Herod sought to kill baby Jesus? Mary in order to save her child had to flee to a foreign land and live there for years to protect her child. These were huge sacrifices made by Mary and others so we could be brought the Good News.  Jesus was the Light of the World, the Savior, but if you want to be the light for others you will have to reckon with the forces of evil.

The forces of Good and Evil will always be at battle.

Consider this that at the Birth – evil tried to destroy the child Jesus to prevent good from being done.

On the Cross – evil tried once again to end the hope.

Realize what it cost to save us.

What is the message of Christ that caused so much divisiveness?

LOVE – HOPE – PEACE

That message was met with anything but love, hope and peace.

Even today 2000 years later there is still doubt, disbelief, and divisiveness

In your life as you wake this Christmas Day what do you believe?

With whom do you trust your eternity?

One who brings a message of Love, Hope and Peace?

For those who believe – no explanation is necessary.

For those who don’t – no explanation is adequate

And as you face this New Year what do you want to do with the life you have left? What is your purpose? Do we aspire to do a great thing….perhaps impact the world for good, to be a service to others? Is it that we want to change the world without having our world turned upside down?

Joseph’s life in playing his role being the husband to Mary had his life turned upside down.

The Disciples’ that followed the Savior born on Christmas day had their lives turned upside down in order to change the world.

Don’t expect every day of your life to be like Christmas morning where you sip hot chocolate and open presents with everyone cheering, or enjoying seeing the children’s joy of opening presents. Recognize that for every prize there is a price. Are you willing to pay the price, not of death, but maybe of discomfort?  To turn others lives upside down you just might have to turn your upside down as well.

As you awaken tomorrow morning Christmas morning be thankful that comfort is yours because of His discomfort. And follow his example if you want to lead others to a better more comfortable life.

Forbes Thought Of The Day

“ Take the tools in hand and carve your own best life. ”

— Douglas Lurton

Whatever your profession this thought alone could change your life.

Are you using the tools of your trade?

Are you using the resources at your fingertips?

What do you have access to that could be used as a tool to carve your own best life?

A friend, a mentor, a spouse, a teacher, a seminar, a book,  CD, or DVD, a blog?

Tools are everywhere, seek them out, and Seize the Day (Carpe Diem)!!

Carpe Diem

Youth in Motion

We hear today about the youth of our country and how we wish they were more involved in making our world a better world.

Kids on drugs, kids getting in trouble and dropping out of school. What is happening to today’s young people?

Well…..one thing is for certain, there are many who are actively involved and contributing to society and making it a better place to live.

One comes to mind recently that I heard on the EDGE Series, of a young man in Canada, 13 year old Wesley Prankard a young man who has raised thousands of dollars to help the Aborigines in Canada. His wisdom and efforts are an example for all young people that they can do more to make a difference. My Canadian friends should be proud of this young man.

For me personally, I know a young lady here in Pennsylvania that is making a difference. A little girl I have watched grow into a young lady who is out locally on the streets of Philadelphia making a difference…….Maile Hoffman. Let me share an article (click to read) that was recently written about Maile and her efforts to reach people to make a difference in their lives.

Maile’s accomplishments have been preceded by a lifetime of effort from her parents Tony & Sharon Hoffman previously featured in Profiles in Leadership, and her grandparents, and her mentors in her school and youth program from her church. Wesley Prankard speaks of his parents and the mentors who have shaped and continue to shape his life. There is power in proper associations and relationships. Parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, pastors, and friends all play a role positive and negative in helping young people to make life choices that either destroy lives or do good and change lives for the better.

Who are the young people you know who are making a positive difference in the world?

(Share their story in the comment section)

Because HE Lives

I was in church yesterday and we sang the song Because He Lives.

The lyrics made me think of the tragedy of our world society today.

The partial lyrics are as follows

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;

In our world today so many do not love and need healing and have a terrible time forgiving.

Is it possible it’s because so many in our society are trying to deny He Lives and trying to convince others to not believe He Lives

And when you read the words to the Chorus, you have to wonder is it this denying that causes so many not to want to face tomorrow and to live in fear uncertain of the future?

Chorus

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Many can’t face tomorrow

Many live in fear

And many take their own lives and those of others because to them life isn’t worth living

Perhaps it would do us good to use better judgment and to listen to the words and realize that;
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

Live a BIG Life

If you want to do something BIG you need to believe in something BIG.

J. Paul Getty said he learned too late in his life that it took almost as much energy and commitment to do a small project as a big one. He said had he known that he would have spent less time on small projects and more time on larger projects. How many of us spend our time this same way, doing things that are small where our impact in this world could be much greater.

So to improve our opportunities to make our life count more by effecting greater change and make greater accomplishments let’s look at a few things we can do to get started.

If you want to do something BIG you need to position yourself to do so.

Position Yourself:

1. Physically – pace yourself

2. Emotionally – develop emotional maturity

3. Mentally – be a student

Christian Bernard the renowned Heart Surgeon- came from a small town, with dirt streets, but he saw a BIG World and the world was better because of it. You don’t start at the top. It takes time and commitment to develop a significant life that lives big. Pace yourself for the journey. I’ve heard the phrase life is a marathon not a sprint. It’s true. My mentor Orrin Woodward has a statement I found has helped me put the journey in perspective. To paraphrase it; most people expect too much in one year and too little in 5 years. Give yourself time to succeed.

The react test – how do you react when things happen to you? Are you learning to develop emotional maturity? Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “stuff happens”? Many times our response to these, our reaction determines whether the experience helps or hinders our life. A higher level of reaction is responding. Learn to develop the level of maturity that you no longer react (a panicked less controlled action) but you respond (a more controlled action). This comes from experiences and knowledge that prepare you for times that are out of your control or for the unexpected.

Have a BIG heart and be generous. A big person lives as a Servant Leader

Proverbs 11:24 says; The generous soul becomes rich. I have found that the more you give of yourself to others the more that is returned in many ways, ways you cannot count, ways in which may not be apparent in the moment but in ways far more valuable than money. In the book The Servant by James Hunter he shares this principle in a profound way.

So many people live in a small world. To live a bigger life be a bigger person. How do you do so? First be hungry to learn and learn from those with the knowledge and life experiences you seek to live. In the bestselling book  Launching a Leadership Revolution the authors Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward describe hunger to succeed as the number one attribute of those who do. Of the top 100 leaders in America most did not graduate in the top of their class. Many who succeeded in this world did not even have the opportunity to go to college but learned by studying as a protégé. Sir Issac Newton said I have seen further because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. Why not learn from the giants in your field. Whether it is medicine, sports, the arts, religion, or business you can find books, seminars, articles, to learn from or a mentor to guide you through the process.

Surround yourself with big people. Who do you associate with? Are they people that cause you to stretch and grow as a person. Have you ever noticed that most people who play a sport prefer to play with someone better because it causes them to raise their level of play to the better player? If that’s the case why do so many people in life then associate with people who are less successful? Is it possible that it then causes them to play the game of life to a lower level as well? It sure stands to reason it will. Change your associations if necessary. Find people who live bigger in life than you and associate with then. I heard years ago that if you can find someone who is more successful in the area of life you aspire to, buy them lunch and glean all you can, for it is better to learn the crumbs of knowledge of a successful person than a feast of knowledge from a fool. If you get the opportunity to meet with successful people – Do It!

Stand on Principle

Societies have always had division among it’s citizens. America is no different. Recently over the last few years we have become increasingly divided on a number of fronts; politics, race, religion, gender, class division of the middle class, and most recently marriage.

The result of so much division has been a rapid cultural decline in America.

It’s time American Citizens take a stand, for the decline of our country hurts everyone of its people. But rather than take a stand by political party, or gender, race, etc. It’s time to take a stand on principle.

This video is one that takes a stand based on principle not politics. (Turn up your volume for max effect)


I am not a Catholic, but I applaud the Catholic Church for standing on their foundational principles. It seems we live in a day when many leaders have lost the courage of their convictions and in the case of religious leaders, many have done so in favor of protecting their tax free status or concern of government oversight (sounds like a socialist concern).

After watching this video ask yourself these few questions:

1. What basis is the foundation of my beliefs; principle or media/public opinion?

2. Do I fulfill my responsibility as an American citizen and vote?

2. Do I vote politics or principle?

3. What kind of America do I want to leave for my children or grandchildren?

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

I challenge us all to Stand on Principle and to be that Courageous American to keep our country free. America has always had those who were Resolved to better themselves so they could have a better nation. The Founders of this great nation were men who had the courage of their convictions to put their families, their success, and their lives on the line so they could build a free nation. Will WE Stand on Principle?