I was recently listening to one of Zig Ziglar's books. He spoke of the importance of leaving a legacy or making our mark in the world. He spoke of legacy as significance. I often think about this in the context of work.
How can we all be purposeful in leaving a positive legacy in our workplaces?
I write a lot about culture and employee engagement. Much of it points to what organizations can do to engage and retain their employees. This article will focus more on how all employees can work to leave a positive legacy for others to follow, despite the environment.
1. Choose to be positive.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. - Abraham Lincoln
I have worked in organizations with good cultures and I have labored in somewhat toxic cultures as well, but the one thing that made work life easier for me was my attitude.
Whether good or bad, we all have the ability to choose to remain positive and optimistic despite our environment. I know that this is often easier said than done. However, I have found that those who are consistently positive have a reputation for uplifting those around them. Their legacy is helping others see the "roses" everywhere!
2. Choose to give without getting.
The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving- Albert Einstein
When we think of men and women in history who have left a lasting legacy on the multitudes, we often realize that those individuals were "givers" in every sense of the word. Some examples include: Anne Frank, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Zig Ziglar, to name a few. All chose to give to others first without a definite reciprocity.
They were smart enough to know, as I once heard of Mary Kay Ash that, "What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own."
Some of my most memorable learning came from taking part in employee-led training on topics in their areas of expertise. Each time, I remember thinking about how wonderful it is that they chose to share their knowledge and gifts with others to help us all get better. They gave of themselves.
Those who leave the deepest legacies at work and in our world do so by giving first and receiving last.
Go about your day seeking to give. It will feel much better and take you a long way.
3. Choose to think BIG
Especially when it comes to the potential that lies within the people with whom you work.
I am sure many of you can relate to this one. Have you ever worked for or with someone who always saw the best in you?
Someone who knew you could achieve great things even when you doubted yourself?
Will you ever forget that special person?
When we choose to think of the big possibilities that exist within the people around us, we create a synergy and an energy that can fuel the stars!
Personally, I can think of examples of when I operated in this capacity and how much more bonded I was with the people with whom I worked.
Here's the cool part: Anyone can make this choice. This is not just for the manager or supervisor.
Looking for the positive in our co-workers makes our journey that much better. Heck, it might even make us love our jobs!
4. Choose to embrace the big TEAM.
Only by binding together as a single force will we remain strong and unconquerable." - Chris Bradford, The Way of the Dragon
When you think of the most memorable people with whom you have ever worked, do you think of them as team players?
Personally, I have always embraced the idea that teams are much stronger when they realized they were interconnected.
The weakest organizations are filled with people who are pursuing their individual passions without concern for the good of the whole.
For me, the most memorable teammates were those who put the needs of the team or organization ahead of their own. In fact, I would venture to say that teammates who hold the philosophy of "me" are not respected at all and would be voted off of the team if the opportunity presented itself.
I choose to be the person who embraces the big TEAM. I choose to find a way to use my gifts for the benefit of all.
How about you?
While I know too well that culture and leadership play a huge impact in how easy or difficult many of my suggestions may be to pursue, I wanted to highlight that we all have it in us to make different choices related to the impact we have at work. Enjoy designing your legacy!
Thank you for reading this article. I am always open to feedback and additional insights. Share the article if you think it might help someone today. What other ways do think we can all leave a positive legacy at work?