If you had to leave your current line of work today, what would the footprint be that you leave behind?
When you look back on your career, was it an epic journey so far, or merely a sequence of lucky escapes that will be forgotten fast? Will you still be talked about next week, next year, in five years? The urge to live a life of meaning is one of the most elemental desires for us as human beings.
Sure, if your only goal is to earn money, then the nature of your footprint probably won’t bother you. But, who wants to live a life where their career goes completely unrecognised?
Thing is, leadership is not defined at the end of the road but rather by the moments shared, the decisions made and the actions taken, and yes, even the mistakes overcome. You may have no immediate plans to leave your company which leaves you in a perfect position to start thinking about what you want your legacy to be. Fact is, thinking of your job in terms of how you will leave it, will present a different way to look at it altogether.
So, what is it about some leaders that enables them to make an impact during their careers and continue to change how people think and act even after they have gone? What would the next 10 years look like? What would you do differently?
Here’s how to create a career with impact:
- Start with the end in mind. Set short and long-term goals. Focus on how today’s steps will get you and your team to the end. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Communicate. Refine your communication skills. Learn how to verbally and non-verbally communicate with those around you so you are inviting an atmosphere of honesty and diversity.
- Be essential. If 5 people were to be selected on a leadership team, would you be one of them? Earn respect by knowing what matters to the company. Be intellectually curious and knowledgeable. Further your education, be the person who gets to answer the tough questions.
- Have the gal to think big. Believe that you can take on the world and develop a clear and expansive vision to do just that.
- Strive for and promote excellence. Lead by example without enforcing the idea that perfection is required for success. It isn’t. Dedication and team work can create excellence, as can learning from mistakes.
- Create value for others. People will remember you for what you did for them, not for what you said. Make an impact and inspire future generations; mentor a junior at work over lunch.
- Practice humour, humility, honesty and honour. These attributes will go a long way to build trusted long-term relationships, positioning you well within your team and organisation.
Positive legacies generally fall into the category of “making a difference.” Your legacy is how your work is deemed by your peers, colleagues, and customers.
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” – Dolly Parton