At the age of 25, I released my Autobiography “Unashamed”. This was and still is my greatest career achievement to date, as it represents something so powerful, significant and meaningful to me. Though I have written 12 Books and each holds a very special place in my heart, this one was very different. One evening in 2008, I sat in my office reflecting on my life and all of the things I had been through, that only I knew. I had a very dark and blunt realisation instantly, ‘If I die, everything dies with me’. While this on the surface sounds very glum and far from motivational, you’d be surprised how this thought manifested into a very methodical determination and work ethic from that point on. I was driven by my life work outliving me, so much so, that I’d carefully write in a timeless context. I became less concerned about by how people viewed me now, and quite frankly, obsessed with how they’d view me when I am no longer here. Now, I’ll state here that I believe that legacy is important, and a powerful motivational factor and it can help you to be very deliberate about the moves you make, but it does also have it’s limitations if not managed correctly.
I have met countless people who work ungodly hours, saving like money is going to run out, working towards this ideal future life and living each moment with the viewpoint that one day, something will make their life meaningful and a joy. This was I, until many eye opening moments, the most recent being a family vacation to Disney Land, which changed my perspective. We were standing in a long line behind other families, waiting for Minnie Mouse to sign my Daughters’ Autograph Books. We waited for 2.5 Hours. While I was standing in line, I saw the joy on my girls faces, I saw that while I had been planning for my future legacy, one that would set them free for ever, one that would impact generations to come, I was missing out on this very present priceless currency. I use this example to place a magnifying glass on life. We get so concerned with chasing this future projection of an ideal life that we lose sight of real moments that matter. My hourly rate cannot compare to that unique and present beauty that was in the eyes of my girls.
Once we arrived at the front of the line, Minnie signed their books, and took a family photo, we captured the moment. This is legacy. These are the memories that live on organically. Nothing forced, nothing manufactured, just real life moments that live on in the hearts and minds of the right people. When we become infatuated with a future ideal, we become so dissatisfied with everything in our now that doesn’t meet or live up to that vision. True success and joy is rooted in appreciating each moment, moment by moment, without contrast. Now that my vision is non-contaminated with that which I cannot control, I am more aware of the precious moments in each day in each minute.
I said in one of my books ‘Sometimes people won’t appreciate you until you become a legacy or memory’. This we cannot control. But what we can do is create that legacy today with every step and piece of our grand puzzle. If we focus on each piece, we will create something much more significant and impactful in our lives and in the lives of others. Don’t get so caught up in the expectation of your greater self, that you lose sight of who you are right now. There are blessings in your life now that are crying out for your attention. There are miracles all around you and within you that perhaps you have become too preoccupied to notice. Legacy is not a long-term thing. It’s in the very essence of your now. Live your life as if each moment is all you have. It’s the little things you do each day which bring about an authentic legacy. Legacy cannot be manufactured, as it comes from a place of truth.
Whatever your vision is for you life, I encourage you today to live that out now. Take small steps and embrace each moment with passion.
This is not how your story ends.
W| By Steve Whyte @iAmSteveWhyte