Leaving a Legacy

Article submitted by: Peter van Kets

As you read this article I would like you to think about your own life story. What is the story you will tell your friends and your grandchildren one day? What is the legacy that you wish to leave behind you?  Is it one of daring and making a difference and success and most importantly, of significance? (There is a great difference between significance and success). How do we ensure that the story we will tell one day is one of both success and a significance?


In my opinion,  to be “successful” without being significant means nothing. We strive so hard to become successful that we lose out on one of the most important parts of our lives,  and that is purpose.


Significance is something of importance, or of consequence. A significant person is someone who lives their life with purpose and meaning and who has a positive  effect on other people. If you go to sleep tonight and you don’t wake up in the morning, have you left this planet a better place?  When you go to sleep tonight is there at least one person who is breathing easier because of what you have done for them?


If you had to fast forward your life by one year or one decade, do you believe that you will have a compelling story to tell at the end of that time?  Do you wonder about that story and its content?   I have put a process in place in my life to make sure that my story is met with success and significance and each of the chapters of this book has a key to unlock that process.


What is it that makes you come alive?  When did you last feel that thrill of excitement and creativity, butterflies in your stomach, an involuntary smile on your face, the feeling that time has absolutely flown by as you have busied yourself with the activity that switches you on.  Each and every one of us is wired differently and it may be writing, or playing a musical instrument or painting or surfing or cooking a gourmet meal or solving a complex set of problems or any number of things.  I really believe that God has planted a deep desire and passion for something in all of our hearts. Sadly, many sensible adults have forgotten what makes them feel most alive, what recharges their batteries (or worse still  they think its shopping, watching sport on TV or their sundowner(s).

When we make the big decisions about how we will spend our time and resources, it is so important that we ask ourselves what makes us come alive (rather than what is sensible or secure or expected of us).  And then we need to go out into the world and devote our time to doing what makes us come alive, because what the world needs more than anything are vital, passionate men and women who are doing what they were created to do and who have truly come alive.

We don’t all have the privilege of making our passions our livelihood, but that is never an excuse to give them up.  It is our duty to rediscover these passions and use them to re-charge our batteries, fulfil our purpose and help others whenever we can.  There is something about tapping into your passion regularly that makes the rest of your life fall into place.

Our passions are always a clue to our big dreams and ultimately our real purpose.


This is the basis of my presentation “Leaving a Legacy”

“The tragedy of life is what dies inside a person while they still live.”


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