Playing and Paying it Forward
Last year around this time, LinkedIn created “If I Were 22” and asked around 80 of its Influencers to share advice to their younger selves. As I wrote in my blog post at the time, the responses were engaging and thought provoking.
It certainly started me thinking. But instead of advice I would give myself if I were 22, I began to think about the advice I’d like to pass on to my children and my as-yet-unborn grandchildren.
My father died young and I didn’t have the advantage of knowing his thoughts or his values. It made me more aware of my role in my children’s lives. I make it a point to share some of my values and family traditions with them as often as I can. I also pay attention to the opportunities for engagement to share my life lessons and insights as they grow and face new challenges and new situations.
But what if I were no longer around? Would they wonder, as I did, if I were proud of them or if I would have had some advice that could have helped them when they needed it?
These are usually questions that come up when someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or dementia. There have been movies on this subject; one that I remember is the 1993 film “My Life” starring Michael Keaton. There are also a number of books that have been written about what kind of legacy someone would want to leave; “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow is one of them.
I don’t believe you should wait for a traumatic event. And you don’t have to be a professional cinematographer or author either. All you need is a desire to leave a personal legacy for those you love.
The type of message or the extent of the messages is up to you. It can be as simple as writing a note to say how much you love them. Or you can create a journal of your life, your work and travels, important dates or shared events. You could also leave special wishes for future birthdays, graduations, weddings and anniversaries. Thanks to technology, you can create your own video or podcast. Or you can simply leave your written messages in an online safe deposit box.
All of us at LegacyShieldSM felt so strongly about this idea, we worked with a team of PhDs who are experts in storytelling to create a special section called MyLifeStories. It helps you record and archive special memories and moments in your life, your life lessons, the things you’ve learned, and even your values and family traditions. There are other services available that can help you but I believe that our service is the most comprehensive and the easiest to use.
We’re all going to leave a digital legacy whether we like it or not. Any online accounts or information about you that’s been collected online will continue to exist long after you’re gone. I would like to leave something more personal and in my own words for the people in my life to remember me by. Perhaps you do, too.