looking in the wrong place

I want to do something worthwhile, valuable, important. I want to leave a legacy. In an earlier post, I wrote about my discouragement and concern that I hadn’t left the culture change legacy that I wanted in the organization. Over time, the organization took on a different look, a different personality, and I felt like a failure…
Where was the legacy?

The other day, I was processing this struggle with my husband. The more we talked, the more I came to realize that I was looking for the legacy in the wrong place. I wanted an environment, procedures, and structures to display our influence after we were gone.

I think now that the organization simply provided the “front” for the work we wanted to do; it would not be my source of legacy. I believe I find my legacy in the people I worked for and worked with, in the changed lives – nurtured, grown, changed, empowered, hope-filled… in the environment we built to work from.

Perhaps the “temporary” place we created was never intended to last forever – maybe we built it as much for us as for others. It served an important purpose for a time. It provided a context for us to work out our calling… while we were there.

I am not really very concerned about turning organizations around. I do want to bring a positive influence, and I do hope to lay a path that makes it easier for others to follow. I think that I am more passionate about turning lives around. And that, thankfully, I did get to do from my leadership position.

Some of those changed lives will lead to generations of change. Many will use their influence to create and multiply environments where others can grow. Their changed lives mean changed families and changed businesses, and contribute to changed cities… and eventually a changed world! I feel more encouraged with my search… maybe my legacy is not so quickly and easily visible, but it is definitely a legacy that was worth the effort.

Where do you want to leave a legacy? Are you looking in the right place?

6 thoughts on “looking in the wrong place

  1. Terry, yo quiero crecer en ciertas áreas pero creo que necesito identificar cuales son de prioridad. Espero hablar esta semana contigo para hablar más de esto. Gracias por compartir lo que estas aprendiendo. Besos y bendiciones, mi querida amiga.

  2. Wow, Terry. This has a lot for me to think about. I can look back and see where I have fallen into similar traps of thinking in my own ministry in the past. Much to consider, pray about and digest. Thanks for your vulnerability — and the message of hope this gives me to continue moving forward!

    • Thanks, Jan, for your constant encouragement… it was a few weeks of processing my own pain and frustrations with God, Steve, and others to get to this point. I know I still have a lot to learn and grow… would love to have a chance some time in the future to talk about it more with you!

  3. This was a paradigm changing conversation! It is so key since we all have a wake behind us, and we desire to leave a lasting and significant contribution- a positive lasting legacy. Thanks for reminding me where to look…and where to invest and focus in the future.

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