I have attended more than my share of funerals and memorial services in the last few years as my friends and colleagues have died before their time. It makes you feel pretty mortal when someone younger than you dies.
I have a client who recently attended the funeral of a high school teacher who died in his early 60’s and he was struck by how many lives this teacher had touched. The outpouring of emotions and love really touched him. Having spent a couple of years teaching at an inner city high school, I can relate that teachers are in the position to affect a lot of children’s lives in positive ways. Those effects can last a lifetime.
Most of us in our corporate careers have not been in a position to create such a legacy. Many of us are now thinking about giving back.
How can we do this?
Be a Mentor
Have you taken a younger employee under your wing at work and guided them? If you can provide nothing more than being a sounding board and providing encouragement, I can almost guarantee that they will appreciate it.
Serve on the Board of Directors of a Non-profit
Many non-profits need qualified people to serve on their boards of directors. These non-profits need your valuable professional skills. I have served on multiple non-profit boards of directors for professional associations and non-profits. I currently serve on the board of directors for Launch Pad Job Club, a thirteen year old organization that has served more than 12,000 individuals.
What about using skills that you do not use in your corporate life or develop new skills by volunteering? How about helping Habitat for Humanity to build a house? You might be surprised who shows up next to you. Jimmy Carter, maybe?
Find a cause that you are passionate about and go volunteer.
Over time you will meet many people and create a legacy in the minds of people you have helped.
I previously wrote a column called Paying it Forward to Establish Your Personal Brand. I like to think of Giving Back for your Legacy as paying it forward on steroids.
Will this contribute to your personal brand?
Does it really matter?
You tell me!
Check out my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers