How to Take the Wheel and Create Your Own Legacy

“What we do today will affect us for the rest of our lives.”

Growing up, we learn from others around us — our parents, friends, mentors, teachers our loved ones. The people we are surrounded by impact our lives tremendously. But the question we need to start asking ourselves is when will we start impacting our own lives? When will we start making decisions that create our own legacy that will allow us to step out our comfort zone and change our lives positively?

It is great to be influenced by positive individuals. But a wise person once told me, “You are either the influencer or the one who is being influenced.” Therefore, in order to be the influencer, you must take opportunities that come your way or create positive ones yourself, even if it is something you are not comfortable doing. When you take those chances, then you begin to create your own path, and your own legacy. Then, others will look to you as a leader because of your decisions.

Here are three ways to create a powerful legacy of your own:

  1. Change your thinking. When you change your thinking positively, you start to have positive outcomes. Even though everything may not be going right at the time, it is important to remember about what is going right in your life and how much you have accomplished so far. This change in thinking will not only help you create a legacy that is strong and fulfilling, but it will also help you grow as a leader and others will follow.
  2. Find what you are passionate at doing or curious in learning. In order to create you own legacy, you must find what you are passionate about doing. One way to figure this out is to start doing things you are good at, essentially working your strengths. Whether you are good with communicating, collaborating with others, or using your creativity to construct something, do it with passion. Whatever you are good at, your passion can steer you in the right direction towards fulfilling your goals. Once you find this passion, you can start to plan what you will do to develop your own legacy for others to remember.
  3. Seize opportunities that will better your future. Many times, you can get so wrapped up in wanting to help others that you forget about yourself and stop developing your skills. When this happens, you must remind yourself that it can never hurt to seize opportunities that may come your way. Doing this will allow you to continue to develop, impact others positively, and learn something different in your areas of interest. You can start with taking other opportunities within your workplace — opportunities that others may not find desirable. You might find joy in something that others are too afraid of to take on as a challenge.

These easy tips will help build your powerful legacy and, most importantly, bring you closer to the philosophy of “whatever you do today will affect you for the rest of your life.”

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Wanda Dandridge is a subject matter expert on financial management systems for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Her government career spans over 15 years, starting as an Army intern in financial management, then subsequently emerging as a transformational leader with DLA specializing in budget analysis, logistical support and employee development. Wanda’s greatest career accomplishment is receiving the Federal Employee of the Year Award with DLA Energy Pacific in 2012. Her philosophy is to lead by example while fostering others for their desired purpose. She is a Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) who enjoys volunteering in her local community.

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Avatar photo Nicole Blake Johnson

Such an insightful piece. This line is so true, especially for managers who are focused on investing in others: “Many times, you can get so wrapped up in wanting to help others that you forget about yourself and stop developing your skills.” We have to fill our own cups too. So good!