thinking about legacyOur energy and passions are often focused on personal achievement, financial success and building a life during our 20s, 30s and 40s. Though we also spend time giving back to our families and our community in different ways, something seems to happen when we reach our 50s and 60s. We begin thinking about legacy.

Author David Brooks calls this the second mountain in his latest book titled the same. He explains how early in our lives we spend our time climbing the first mountain, expending most of our time and energy striving for professional and financial success.

Sometimes, we fall down the mountain, into the valley.  In that space, we may experience isolation and sadness. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or feel a lack of purpose or connection to others. Once we discover what we believe to be missing, we begin to think about ascending that second mountain.

“Here we can discover greater fulfillment and joy very different from that First Mountain,” Brooks writes. “We begin contemplating the legacy we want to leave our loved ones and our community, by making the world a better place in a small or big way.”

If you find yourself in that place and want to begin climbing that second mountain, make time for some self-reflection.

Here are questions to ask yourself when thinking about legacy:

  • Who are the people most important to me? How am I showing up in their lives?  Am I supporting them and sharing what I’ve learned to improve their lives?
  • What stirs my passions? What experiences, both personally and professionally, have motivated me to help, support and connect with others? What talents can I share?
  • How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me? How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me?

There’s no better way to enable our legacy to live on, than to spend time and resources on the people and causes closest to our hearts.