What's Your Legacy?

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've no-doubt heard that, the 'King of Pop' has died. The tributes, memorials and media specials of the past week have shone a spotlight on a music-loving world, processing the loss of a favorite son.

It's been interesting to watch this mass farewell unfold. Like Elvis and Princes Diana before him, the life story of Michael Jackson is, minute-by-minute, morphing from being a tale of an undeniably talented, but bizarre man, into an account of an iconic star - a King. His life story is being re-written right before our TV watching, YouTube surfing eyes. Negative facts and events are being minimized, while recording achievements and triumphs are being highlighted and re-run, over and over. The Jackson family spin-doctors are hard at work and the result is a stunning demonstration of a legacy in the making.

With any change comes loss; and when the final curtain falls on a major celebrity, whether one of your favorites or not, you may find yourself feeling a sense of sadness, remembering the 'good old days'; replaying happier times.

Michael Jackson's music helped define a generation. He's a youngish Boomer who blasted on to the music scene in the 70's and deepened his star power in the 80's. He changed a generation's music landscape and now he's gone. Forever silenced. He was planning a comeback tour - no one will ever know if he actually could have 'come-back' or not. The question on everyone's lips now is - what will his legacy be? When the dust settles and the collective tears have dried, how will he be remembered?

Maybe you're a Boomer too. If so, you likely 'burst' onto the working scene in the late 60's or 70's. You may have rocketed to the top of your professional game in the 80's and 90's and now you may be easing out of the work force, or at least beginning to think about it.

Let me ask you - what will your legacy be? How will your clients and colleagues remember you? What contributions have you made to your workplace, industry or profession? And, how will your community, family and friends remember your work - and you?

Whether you plan on working only till RSP values return, or you adhere to the, retirement over my dead body philosophy, it's not too late to do something to create your own lasting legacy.

You can start today to:
Mentor younger colleagues. Those less experienced, newer folks at work need your encouragement, your support and the occasional nugget of wisdom that only age and experience can supply. Who can you take under your wing?

Document key company history and knowledge. You may be the only guy or gal left from when the company was first formed, or first went public, and you may be among only a handful of people who fully understand the rationale behind key decisions made, decisions that still affect business success today. What do you know that you need to get down on paper?

Look for opportunities to demonstrate core values. The new generation of employees is hungry for meaning and significance at work. What values have you stood for in your working career? Why are they important and who needs to see you 'walk the talk' now?

Think about it. Where do you, and your contributions, fit in the fabric of your company, industry or profession? Then do more than think about it - actively engage in legacy leaving activities. Get busy ensuring that your work outlasts your presence. Who knows, maybe your picture will be blasted across the company intranet on your last day. Hey - it could happen!