Do you believe that you have a legacy? How do you like the world to remember you?
Fellow toastmasters & guests,
These questions have been floating in my head for the past 20 years. Since I graduated from the university, I always asked myself whether I will add any value to this world! And when I started to work, the same questions chased me every single day, and after I became a mother, those questions became more persistent and more determined to get the right answers!
For years, I envisioned that my legacy as Nevine would be to become a senior HR Director, or a school principal. In other words, it my legacy had to be attributed to a title or a corporate affiliation. And after I became a mother, I spent nights in my pajamas on the lazy boy depressed and disappointed that I will never achieve my vision considering my unexpected extra responsibilities with my sick son. I could not believe that I will spend my whole life changing diapers, sweeping floors, and cooking! Will that be my legacy? There is no way that GOD created women only to do that!! It took me long years of self-reflection, training, and reading to realize that I totally misunderstood the true essence of the word “legacy”.
We mostly think of legacy in terms of the money, land, jewelry that we might pass on to our children. Legacy is anything that we receive or transmit to others such as values, beliefs, or even inventions. Money or property can be easily lost, but beliefs and values can never be taken away from anyone. They stay forever! Legacy is a summary of who we are and how we want to be remembered if we die today!
To better understand yourself and the legacy you can leave behind, it is useful to ask people around you to describe how they see you as a person, your strengths, attitude, and what they admire about you. In a life coaching training that I attended few years ago, I learnt about a technique called “The Gohari Window”. It is a 4-quadrant technique used to help people understand more about themselves from their own perspective as well as others. This is an incredibly good exercise because people will usually see us from a different angle than the one through which we see ourselves.
After that exercise, I discovered I was totally wrong about my interpretation of the word legacy!! I realized that I had many strengths that I was already using to benefit others “unknowingly”; when I volunteered to train students in schools and universities here in Qatar, when I joined toastmasters and led Qatar Open Youth Public Speaking championship, and even when I gave an honest constructive evaluation to fellow toastmasters. That was all part of my legacy! At home, I was amazed to find out that the mentoring and coaching I do to my boys are also part of my legacy! These past few years were an eye-opener, they taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of!
If you ask me today about my legacy, I will humbly say that everyone who learnt something from me, everyone person I inspired through my speeches, and my boys with whom I spend a lot of time guiding and advising, these are all the pillars of my legacy.
My fellow toastmasters and friends, life is shorter than we can imagine, therefore, we cannot afford to lose time till we discover who we are and what our legacies will be! Start now, look within you, hear from others, use your strengths, and work on your weaknesses to become a better you, and leave a rich legacy for people around you.
I am proud to say I finally found the answers to the questions that have been chasing me all my life. What about you? Do you know what your legacy is?!