Here is an interesting exercise. Imagine you are in your death bed and before you die you have to leave a legacy. This legacy is the knowledge and experience you gathered throughout your life that must be passed on to future generations.
You are simply not allowed to die until you give your legacy to the world.
What would this legacy be? What have you learned throughout your life on this planet? What advice could you give, which skills did you develop which challenges did you overcome and what lessons did you learn. What are you good at that other people could learn from you? What is unique about you that you must share through your legacy?
We are all here with a mission. A purpose to create a legacy that outlives us. I’m not talking about a grand megalomaniac vision of changing the world single-handedly, but a personal gift that only you with your unique talents can give.
Some people love to teach, they are passionate about helping people learn things and grow. I am one of those, I love to teach and I also love to learn, so that goes hand in hand because everything I learn I want to share. I am also good at creating new things and making stories about them. I love telling stories and engaging people. Most importantly I want to help people grow, know more and empower them, give them options. I’ve always been like this since I was a kid, I would defend the smaller and shy kids from the bullies at school because I could never stand the injustice of it. For many years I thought I would become a lawyer and defend the poor and the oppressed. Instead I became a designer. But the spirit is the same. I design to empower the disadvantaged. So I know that somehow my legacy is about using these skills and knowledge to help people.
You must find what you want your legacy to be. Write it down and read it often as this will give you a clear guideline to base your decisions on.
I know a lot of people that loved to do one thing passionately since they were kids, but once they grew up, they were told that they needed to be realistic and study something practical that would give them job security. And so many of them did, and they studied something like business or marketing or law or medicine, or something ‘legitimate’ like that and they are miserable today. They hate their jobs and can’t wait for the weekends when they finally get to play their drums, do pottery, write short stories or sand surf. So all their lives they are working doing something they don’t love in the hopes to retire at 65+ and then be happy and do the things they really want to do. This illusion is none sense, not to mention that today job security is non existent and the digital age is accelerating that. The jobs of today will be dramatically different in 20 years.
We all want to be free to do what we love doing right? The thing that stops us is the fear that we won’t be able to make a living and that we might end up living with our parents at 40, broke and frustrated. But this fear is ridiculous… If you are currently employed in a job you hate and are not in that predicament that means that if you started doing what you love for a living, and you committed to constant growth and excellence, you would be exponentially “safer” than someone who doesn’t take the leap.
The formula for success at anything is : the better you are at what you do (good at solving problems) + the nicer person you are + the more trustworthy and reliable you are =guaranteed success.
The more people you solve problems for, the more success you will have. It’s actually really simple. But it’s really hard if you are not absolutely in love with what you do, because you will never be better at something you hate. You will just cruise and count the days. So make a plan today, be a realistic optimistic and set a date to quit the job you hate.
If you want to be a huge success, create something that thousands of people could benefit from. The bigger the pain point or the need, the more people will embrace your solution.
Help people grow, learn more, have access to previously inaccessible things. Empower.
For me success is not really about money, it’s actually about helping people. That’s why I love to design because through design I can solve problems that can really make people’s lives better. That’s why I feel everyone should learn the skills of design.
So I’d like my legacy to be to give my know how and my skills to as many people as possible. Because with that I can help anyone become a designer and help them solve problems for their communities.
Nobody knows better the challenges that a community has than someone that is close to it, living the struggle directly.
So my task here through this platform is to decant all my skills and knowledge and make them easy to use and understand so you can become a designer and solve problems too.
So just to conclude this post, determine what your legacy will be. Ask yourself, what are the unique things you have that you can gift to the world. Don’t wait until you die to leave a legacy. Start planing what that legacy will be and start living it.
Diana Simpson Hernandez
Designers For Humanity founder