Photos: A mom and her sons! Steffon Jr., Saffeon, and Savon Salter.
By Dr. Lisa M. Coffey
October 10, 2021
Key Words: leadership, legacy, empowerment, mentoring, family
Just a few weeks ago, all over Facebook were National Daughters Day and National Sons Day posts. I enjoyed reading every post and seeing all of the great photos, but let's focus on legacy building for those sons and daughters.
The law of legacy states, "A leader's lasting value is measured by succession" (Maxwell). The book, Becoming a Person of Influence by John C. Maxwell gives a list of action items that positively influence others' lives. I believe this list is necessary when building your legacy. The list reads as follows:
Becoming a person of influence involves:
Modeling integrity with everyone you come into contact with
Nurturing the people in your life to make them feel valued
Showing faith in others so that they believe in themselves
Listening to better build relationships
Understanding others so you can help them articulate and achieve their dreams
Enlarging others to increase their potential by sharing your knowledge, resources, and power
Navigating others through life's difficulties until they can do it alone
Connecting with them so that you can move them to a higher level
Empowering them to become the person they were created to be
Reproducing other leaders so that your influence continues to grow through others
Building a Legacy
This list is an excellent starting point when building one's legacy through influencing others. Legacy creation includes more than building wealth, material possessions, and leaving behind artifacts. Legacy building is depositing pieces of you in others that impact the culture, make a positive change, and empower others. Be the example you want to be reflected through your sons and daughters. In my book iDid and uCan 2, I write about legacy building, the future, role modeling, and parenting behaviors. In summary, my proactive approach involves:
Developing my leadership capabilities through education, training, and practice so that I am a prepared leader/parent
Empowering the people around me by sharing some of my authority and giving them the freedom to innovate
Mentoring (my children and others) to increase their potential through knowledge sharing and resources
Blessing others to help them reach their full potential (scholarships, internships, shadowing, and life coaching)
Repeating the process to develop other leaders to continue the legacy (read about the Tony Dungy coaching tree in my book)
The beginning of my legacy involves developing my adult sons. We are in constant training mode. All that I learn, I share with them to help them grow as adults. Although we have different career paths and various degrees of leadership potential, I must continue to develop the leaders within my sons. Leadership is vital in personal/ professional relationships. It is imperative that I lead by example and positively affect the lives of those I lead. Jim Doran, a collaborative author on Becoming a Person on Influence, writes, "One of the greatest things about becoming a person of influence is that you actually get to see the lives of others change before your eyes." As my sons develop as leaders, watching them grow and change before my eyes at varying paces is incredible. I am proud beyond measure. If my sons were asked, who has influenced you the most? I would be disappointed if their answer was not mom, which means I am not putting in the work!
Building your legacy requires deliberate actions and begins at home with your children. If you are not a parent, encourage your nieces/nephews, neighbors, or youth in the community. Invest in those who are around you daily. I challenge you to
Serve others without expecting a pat on the back
Monitor your impact on others
Know yourself- bring your best self to those relationships
Live your life to the fullest, do what matters now, don't wait. Life is too short
Make a difference and not just a following
Are you making a difference?
Maxwell, J. C., & Doran, J. (1997). Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
© 2021 Lisa M. Coffey