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Leadership to Legacy: What is left in your wake?

Article by Jennifer Sertl - President, Agility3R - Co-author Strategy Leadership and the Soul

“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Personal leadership is about having an intention a clearly defined declaration of what you want to create in the world—and have every single thing we do geared toward that goal. If you want to be defined by excellence — then everything you do must resound with excellence. Not just the big important things, but the small invisible acts that no one sees or hears about.

Finally, for the first time ever, this year the goals I made are personal. Not about accomplishments but about enhancing my being.

In 2008 I declared I wanted to be wise, graceful and impact-ful.

As I write in my journal at the end of the day it is about acknowledging where I was successful in accomplishing these attributes as much as where I could have been wiser, more graceful and had a greater (positive) impact. The more I focus on these goals, the greater my potential for creating value in the world. I can think of few things more important for me than to continue this practice.

So what does that have to do with you? Part of what we need to realize here and now is that everything we do, every thing we touch, every conversation we have has our “print” on it.  Just like Cold Case can open a murder investigation 20 years old and determine the DNA of a person—we are leaving our DNA everywhere. When you own this, taking personal responsibility for your actions and their subsequent ’re-actions’ and truly appreciate the impact of you then you may actually hold yourself to a higher standard of accountability. Just like DNA has a double helix and an imprint. What is your imprint? What do you want to leave behind in your wake? What is your essence? If you can identify this and realize that everything you do has this essence to it- you leave your mark everywhere whether you take responsibility for it or not. Given that, make a clearer choice about what you leave behind.

Whether you realize it or not others are learning from your example. Others are watching you, learning from you, emulating you. Once you understand this you can ask, “do I want people to truly emulate me as I am?” If the answer is no, change your life so that you can be proud of your example and the legacy you leave behind.  From a business perspective—if you are promising adaptability or know-how or speed as your competitive advantage—then every choice inside your organization should demonstrate adaptability, know-how or speed. The more you execute these attributes internally—the more credible you are to your customers and shareholders.

I get frustrated when people talk about legacy—because it usually a privilege reserved for elders facing the end of their lives. “I want to build a legacy!” “I want to leave a legacy!” “I want people to know I was here.” All of these comments are very self-serving. These people are about trying to find a way to stay relevant, to be immortal. All we can leave behind is the impact that we make.

We leave a legacy every time we interact with another human being. Here is an image I use frequently in my coaching.

Water Drop and Ripple Effect

Look at this leaf.

As it cascades gently onto the water the leaf causes ripples. Fall with intention, “I want to lead. I can make a difference.” Your declaration of leadership helps ensure the actions necessary to leave a positive legacy. Other leaves simple fall by accident. I care deeply for those ripples three, four, five layers out. Whether you meant to fall, or accidentally fell, when you interact with others – you leave ripples. Claim your influence because if it happens unconsciously you may not be leaving behind ripples that should replicate. Legacy isn’t for elders. Legacy is for any responsible and aware adult cognitive of the fact that they do nothing in isolation. Personal accountability requires that you claim your influence and get clearer and clearer on what is being left behind. And with more intention you have the potential to leave many impactful, useful, and productive ripples in your wake carrying your life’s mission forward with incalculable momentum.  This level of personal leadership is what I call leadership to legacy.

We are human beings not human doings. The ripples I create are wisdom, grace, and impact. What will your ripples create?

I hope you will join me in the upcoming leadership series Strategy Leadership and the Soul to learn more about how you make impact.

To contact Jennifer Sertl, go to:

Her website: http://www.agility3r.com

Her blog: http://jennifersertl.amplify.com

Her Email: jennifer@agility3r.com
Twitter: JenniferSertl

Jennifer Sertl is a thought leader in the emerging field of corporate consciousness - the convergence of Neuroscience and Existential Philosophy. An internationally respected author, keynote speaker and the president and founder of Agility3R an organizational effectiveness company which primarily focuses upon the optimization of customer value by aligning corporate objectives with the individuals responsible for delivering results.

Jennifer’s book, published by Triarchy Press in the United Kingdom, called Strategy, Leadership and the Soul was released in Q2 2010 and is available on Amazon.com.

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