What's your legacy?

This week I have twice had cause to ponder the importance of legacy.

Many of you will know Mike Hill, who passed away earlier this week. It’s still raw and a shock that he’s not around. I know from many of the tributes that have been written about him already that we are all doing our best to celebrate all that he gave – his legacy.

Mike was the epitome of social activism. He was always striving to make the world a better place and took action to make it happen. I can’t actually remember how I first met Mike, I just know that he was everywhere, and knew everyone, in the world of sustainability. He was a master at inspiring others, and had an uncanny knack of making you feel special when you were with him. He always made time for me, and I appreciate enormously his mentorship and friendship.

Mike was passionate about sustainability and his eco village, WestWyck is just one of many projects that are his legacy.

The second occasion was the launch of Partners for Purpose, which I attended as guest speaker. An MBA group from Melbourne Business School was inspired by the opportunity to use their MBA learnings for social good, maintain long-term engagement within their group, and to leave a lasting legacy that they can be proud of. Like many others before them, they could have completed the program and continued on with their everyday lives. Yet this group chose not to. They chose to create something that will have an enduring legacy for the community as a whole.

Each of these occasions – one a beginning, the other an end – have sharpened my focus on legacy, including my own. In doing so, I will reflect on four key questions. If you want to focus on legacy, these questions might help you too:

  • What do you want your legacy to be?

  • What decision are you making today that will contribute to your legacy? What are you saying yes to? To what are you saying no?

  • What steps do you need to take to contribute to your legacy?

  • Take action. Take the steps that you have identified. What steps are you taking today?

Thinking about legacy should not be a sombre experience – it is a celebration.

Thanks Mike, and the MBA group, for giving me an opportunity to pause, reflect and act on my own legacy.

And finally: Mike, rest in peace. You certainly never rested while you were with us – you always saw something more that needed doing. Know that you are still inspiring us to be our best selves; to make the world a better place. You have left an incredible legacy of which you can be very proud. It was an honour to know you. Vale.

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