Everyone has a different, unique vision. Our visions drive the choices we make. Those choices determine our legacy. Legacy is what people think, say, and do because of your actions and influence.

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how our visions affect our behavior and the world around us. My thinking was jarred by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, so let’s start there.

A Dictator

There are many reasons why dictators might focus on conquering smaller, non-threatening nations. The dictator may want security or natural resources, for example. Many experts suggest that Vladimir Putin has a vision of returning Russia to its glory days of yore.

What’s the result? If the international news reports are accurate, his soldiers are committing war crimes. His spokespeople appear to be making non-factual and unsubstantiated claims about Ukraine. Thousands of people have died and millions have become refugees because of Putin’s vision.

A Businessperson

A business leader I know created a vision for his work team. They were good, smart, and lucky. What they aspired to accomplish in seven years, became reality in less than half that time. The key people in the organization will all receive much larger financial returns far sooner than anyone expected.

That seems good, but my friend is troubled. His share of the bounty is more than he expected or needs. He is anxious that other beneficiaries might become unhappy because his rewards will be much larger than their rewards because of the agreement executed years ago. This could poison their relationships and damage prospects of future success. What he chooses to do next will determine the future of the team.

A Pastor

A pastor ponders a government policy he believes will harm the young and innocent. I won’t identify the issue because it’s not important for this discussion. The pastor can do nothing to change policy. Others have pushed him to organize demonstrations or engage in civil disobedience. Instead, he is challenging like-minded people to join him and serve the people he believes will be harmed. They will serve strangers with little power, influence, or the ability to repay to help offset the harm he believes may come their way.

What it means for us

Three distinct people, each with unusual choices are building their unique legacies. What about us?

It’s unlikely that anything you or I do make the paper or be noted outside our city.  Yet it is certain that the people around us will be aware of our actions and often recognize the consequences. We know that life is uncertain and sometimes what is planned for good could result in harm. Sometimes the best intentions produce a poor result. Generally, though, you can tell a tree by its fruit.

Others can and do assess the fruit of our lives. Whether you want to be famous or anonymous, people notice what you say and do and judge you based on what they notice.

Legacy is not determined by the number of people who follow your orders or obstruct your effort. It’s not measured by your financial wealth.  People who know you and or know of you will judge whether your life is worthy of imitation or a bad example to be avoided.

In the last year, I spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy attempting to understand who I was created to be and what I should do with my remaining time. I have been unusually fortunate to be surrounded by and walk with wise and goodhearted people who were attempting to find their best way to bless others. I hope you have people like that in your life.

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You may recall one of my dearest friends died unexpectedly 10 days ago. For most of his adult life, he blessed others who could never repay him. That is his legacy.

Sometime in the next 100 years, you and I will be gone. As we live out our values, we’re building our legacy. How are you creating yours?

If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear from you.

-o0o-

Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

Click here and find out how Terry and his team can help you make the most important financial decision of your next decade.

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