Leaving a Legacy

By Paul Yung

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room?

In fact, what will people say about you when you’re not around?

This isn’t a morbid thought, all of us must go someday, so what are we leaving behind for our children, our family, our community when we go?

What we say, how we say it and our daily habits, thoughts and actions are shaping our legacy. Your digital footprint, what you post, tag, forward, like and share leaves your followers, friends and fans with impressions of you. These impressions add to your legacy, what people say about you when you’re not in the room or when you’re no longer around.

You may be thinking at this point, Paul, legacy is huge, I’m too busy to think about this stuff and I don’t really care about what people say. Frankly, we cannot control what others choose to think. However, since becoming a father, I have learnt that it does matter the impressions, and legacy, I leave behind for my daughter. Look, If it’s already happening, why don’t we shape the narrative in our favour?

There are some negativities that we should avoid, I call them legacy blockers. In the daily, digital battle for likes, it’s easy to get caught up trying to live the life we see on social media. Newsflash, not everything is as pretty as what we see on Instagram. Here are the 5 legacy blockers that could be in your way

  1. Lack of focus aka. digital distraction
  2. Living the life others want you to live
  3. Bitterness, anger, and fear
  4. Consumerism. Buying things because others have it
  5. Defeatism. “I can never achieve that, so why bother trying.”

Build a legacy by eliminating behaviours and attitudes that dilute impact. Here are 10 ways you can build a powerful legacy:

  1. Live joyfully. Serve in ways that bring you joy. Angry, unhappy people leave sad legacies.
  2. Monitor your impact on others. What are you doing when you make the biggest difference. Do more of that.
  3. Develop yourself, your talent, strengths, and skills.
  4. Do what matters, today. Everyone who’s at the end of life says it goes by fast.
  5. Take small steps today. Stop waiting to make a difference.
  6. Start with those closest to you and the ones you spend the most time with.
  7. Bring your best self to work and family. Everyone has at least two selves. Bring out the best one.
  8. Think service not success.
  9. Relax. Don’t run around building a legacy. Run around making a difference.
  10. Do random acts of kindness. What goes around comes around.
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Maybe you’re thinking you’re just a “normal person.” You’re just a mom, or just an employee, or just a volunteer—just a regular old person, nothing fancy. While I would argue you’re pretty spectacular just as you are, even the most “common” person leaves a legacy. In fact, because legacies are often most strongly developed through one-on-one, long-term relationships, those with a small circle leave the deepest footprints!

Loving the people around you with your time and attention, living with integrity so you’re a trustworthy person to follow, and growing what you’ve been given so you have something to pass on—these are all parts of leaving a legacy, and they’re not limited to people with big followings, big families, or big bank accounts.

I was raised by my aunty in Seremban, a lady I lovingly call, Mama. She has never received any formal education and grew up poor. To make ends meet, she worked as a maid cleaning houses, did all sorts of odd jobs and raised and sold chicken and chicken eggs. She got married at 16 in hope for a better life.

Despite the huge challenges life has thrown at her, she has raised 4 amazing children who are successful entrepreneurs. She never had a huge bank account, and doesn’t hunger for recognition, branded goods or glitzy travel. While she doesn’t have many material goods, she has an abundance of kindness, compassion and empathy. She goes out of her way to help her neighbours, her family and strangers. She has never spent a birthday alone.

Mama has a strong moral compass of right and wrong, and she is straight as an arrow. She will tell you exactly what’s on her mind, and what she thinks will be best for you with no thought of how or whether it will be benefit her. How refreshing! I love this woman with all my heart, and her legacy of kindness and compassion will live long in the memory of those around her and me.

When you think of someone who has left a mark on you, a teacher, a friend, a parent.

What do you remember about them? Chances are, it’s their kindness, compassion, empathy

A legacy doesn’t happen overnight. However, if you practice the 10 habits above with dedication and meaningful contribution, you can make a mark that’s forever celebrated.

You can follow Paul and his thought provoking ideas on Instagram or LinkedIN at paulyung.kh