What if your life story could change the world?
In fact it does, in little ways every single day. The Legacy Links process helps you be more aware of the meaning and impact of your life.
A Legacy Link is a personal journey of self-discovery. It can also be a special gift you share with family and friends. It can be a meaningful exercise to celebrate the birth of a child or grandchild, or to honor the death of a parent or grandparent. A Legacy Link can be a blueprint for living and an intentional way to lay out your meaningful impact in the world.
The Legacy Project's new beta version of the Legacy Links template has been developed based on extensive social science research. It guides you through the introspective and empowering process of creating your Legacy Link. For teens to elders, it's all about how you connect the dots – your life to other lives, and to life itself, before and after you.
As the Legacy Project logo suggests, our lives can be a path along which we ask questions and make choices. The questions we ask and the answers we find determine the kind of life we live, the relationships we have, and the ways we shape our world. Our legacy evolves as we move from childhood through adolescence to young adulthood and older adulthood. What's your legacy?
We are all just passing through this time and space. Says eco-philosopher and literature professor Dr. Roy Scranton, "We are all going to die. Eventually. Of something."
Death is touching more people more often in this Big Moment in history. We start to ask ourselves what really matters. Illnesses like cancer take the lives of people we care about. As climate change causes more extreme weather events, entire communities can lose large numbers of families, friends, and neighbors. And the COVID-19 global pandemic has meant people die without those who care about them being able to say goodbye or have a proper service.
In addition to being a personal life review/focusing process, Legacy Links is an opportunity to reflect on and honor someone's memory. It's a way to work through your feelings. It's a way to say goodbye – and make sure that the person, and what they've left behind, isn't forgotten. In many cultures, as long as a person's memory remains alive, they are still with you.
"Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most."
Frank Ostaseski, end-of-life teacher
Death informs life. It not only informs your life, but all the lives around you and the lives that follow. So if someone you care about has died, we welcome you to create a Legacy Link to keep their memory alive. Please share it with us. The Legacy Project draws on the wisdom in Legacy Links as part of our work. Creating a Legacy Link adds to an ongoing human process of wisdom-keeping.
A Legacy Link is an opportunity to create something that represents the uniqueness of YOU.
Legacy is your superpower – your ability to create a meaningful, lasting impact. We all live our own life story. But often we get stuck in little stories of "me" that fail to sustain us or effect real change in the bigger context of "we." This is about a bigger story.
You create your legacy every day through everything you do. Through each person's legacy, we are creating the future right now – and we don't take that power/responsibility seriously enough.
In keeping with the LegacyCubed concept, this is about Your Life in the context of the People and World around you. From a 7-Generation perspective, it's about Your Generation, Three Generations Before you, and Three Generations After you.
A Legacy Link looks at where you've been and where you'd still like to go. In keeping with the tradition in some cultures of writing an ethical will – which, instead of passing along valuables, passes along values – a Legacy Link is a way to explore who you are, your relationships with others, and your impact on the world.
As you create your Legacy Link, you'll connect with the essence of yourself – that part of yourself that's most important and that you want to live on to make a difference in the world and other people's lives.
Said the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates: "The unexamined life is not worth living. No one is wiser than you." There is personal value in thinking about who you are.
But a Legacy Link goes beyond just you. It takes the essence of who you are into the future. Said James Baldwin: "You can write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that [the words] we leave are indispensable to the world… The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it."
The real measure of our lives is in what we learn from our life experiences, the ideas we bring into the world, the values we live by, and our hopes for the future. Life stories, memorials, biographies, and even mission statements are often a recitation of facts, events, and goals without the personal meaning behind them. A Legacy Link is the "why" behind the "what" in a person's life.
There is no one "right" way to create your Legacy Link. You can follow our template which guides you through a process of three steps:
1) Connect. A process of life review/refocusing reconnects you with your experiences and your values, and takes you through your childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to pick out those key moments that reveal the most about you. As you use the triggers we suggest, you'll bring back many memories and think about many things. Allow yourself to reflect and connect with them; focus on how they make you feel. You'll see that certain moments start to resonate as most important to your life and who you are. You can also connect your life story to the bigger story of life writ large.
2) Create. As you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you want to describe the most significant moments from your life. The goal is to tell a story – not just recite facts. Stories are what bring a life alive on a page, and connect most deeply with others. After you write your first draft, put it aside for a few days. Then review and revise until you feel the truth of what you've written.
3) Change. Whatever you create has the power to change your own life by refocusing or redirecting you. It can also change the lives of others, as either a window or a mirror. A mirror helps people see themselves; a window gives them a glimpse into something they may not have understood or felt before.
Want to read more and get access to the beta version of the Legacy Project's complete Legacy Link template?
Our goal is to make the Legacy Link template available to everyone who is interested. At the same time, we'd really appreciate any financial contribution you can make to help us with this work and the other community work the Legacy Project does.
Please e-mail us to get the limited-access Legacy Link beta template. Let us know if you can make a contribution of $25-$50, or any other amount you can afford (we'll e-mail you a PayPal invoice before sending the limited-access beta template).