Legacy Is a Lie

Your life should not be focused on what shred of you exists in centuries to come… the names on buildings, the pyramids of stone. The true practice of leadership is all about creating art with your life today.

Yet so many coaches that I know talk about building a legacy with clients. And I get why. Legacy is sexy and it’s easy to sell. After all, what do you do once you’ve created more than you ever dreamed? You figure out how to not die. And legacy is basically a way for many of us to believe that some part of ourselves will remain after we’re gone.

It’s not that we shouldn’t help others, or try to have a lasting impact—it’s simply that legacy invites you as a leader to put your attention in the wrong place.

Nothing you will ever do will change the fact that all legacy is crushed in the vast gristmill of the universe. And though this thought may make it seem like I don’t think anything matters, that’s not true at all.

Because instead of focusing on what remains, this truth invites us to remember what does matter—which is what is here right now.

If you create art with your life now, impact the world now—not with your money or your business, but with your being, with the way you are with people and with yourself—this is what will remain. Not for centuries to come, but in your mind and karma.

And no matter your beliefs about the afterlife, this is what you will carry with you. In the form of karma, or final judgement, or if you believe this is all there is, into the final thoughts and memories you’ll experience as you leave this life.

That’s why the true art of life and of leadership isn’t about what comes after, but what comes today and everyday… until the cup is emptied at last.