ingredients of a great legacy


We are all creating a legacy, and some people’s will be a great one and some will be a not so great one.  When people will talk about us later- heck, they talk about us now- what will they say? (To be clear- this is NOT about handing power over to others allowing them to determine our self-worth. Check out this blog for help with that.)

I bet you can think of an awesome person close to you – perhaps a grandmother, a parent or coach… and I bet you can think of a not so awesome person close to you- perhaps a grandmother, a parent or a coach.  They have written a legacy that impacts us. Maybe that not so awesome person turns things around before their life is done, and that life change can become part of their great legacy story. (Life lesson alert- it’s never too late to write a great legacy.)

So how is a great legacy written? I think there are at least three key ingredients.


A great legacy happens on purpose, and those stories begin with intention. There are no accidental great legacies. They require focus and attention. You and I decide what our legacy will be, or by not deciding our unintentional legacy will write itself. And of course, even though it starts here, a legacy can’t just be this one ingredient.  You know what they say about “good intentions”. They become nothing more than pavement on that great highway to Hades.


A legacy is written one day at a time. Day in and day out. There’s just no getting around it. No one can write a twenty year chapter in a weekend.  Yes, we all have good days and bad days, and overall though, consistency raises our authentic legacy story to the surface. A great question I ask myself on a regular basis is, “How do I want my kids to describe me to that special someone they meet when they get into their mid-twenties?” I imagine what I want them to be able to say, and that pretty much gives me my marching orders for the day.


There can be no great legacy without this ingredient. Name one person you feel has a great legacy who is arrogant and haughty. What helps us determine how we view someone else is how they treat others. The great ones do for others. You can’t be self-centered and humble at the same time.

So live like you want to be remembered. Even if your timeline has some troubled spots on it, it’s never too late to start writing a great legacy.

Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.

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