What do you want your professional legacy to be?
This is very personal.
Only you can decide what you want your legacy to be and what price you are willing to pay to make it happen.
If you don’t decide for yourself where you ultimately want to be, the decision will be made for you. You will end up ceding control over your future to your employer and probably feel like a victim as a result. It is very likely you will take the path of least resistance.
For some people identifying what they want their legacy to be is easy because they have already done the self examination necessary for the process. For others, the end goal is not so clear.
Here are some questions to ponder as you contemplate what you want your executive legacy to be:
What do you want to accomplish by the end of your executive career?
To start with the end in view, you need to be able to visualize what the end is. Then you can work backwards to determine what you need to be doing now to make that happen.
For example, you may want to look back at the end of your career and think fondly of sharing your knowledge of the field in TV interviews or perhaps being published in the mainstream media as well as in a professional journal. To work towards this goal you can start now by building professional relationships with journalists and editors of professional journals so that they know what you have to offer. It’s usually easiest to start with your local paper and work your way up from there if you eventually want exposure in the national media.
How do you wish to be remembered by colleagues and direct reports?
If you want to be remembered as a collegial, highly competent executive, then you need to be building that legacy now. You need an accurate assessment of how you are currently being perceived, and if that perception does not accord with how you want to be remembered, work on changing that perception now.
What aspect of your work life do you find most enjoyable?
It would truly be a shame if you look back at the end of your career to realize with dismay you never really found your sweet spot. You will be happiest and most fulfilled at the intersection of what you do best and what you enjoy the most. My advice is that you should maximize your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. By focusing on what you do best and what you enjoy most, you will make your greatest contribution to the world.
Do your current resume and social media profiles reflect what you most want people to know about you?
In order to set your sail on the right course to accomplish what you want with your career, you need to send a consistent message about who you are and what you are capable of. Up to 80% of all employers are now vetting candidates through social media before they call them for an interview. If you are not communicating your brand effectively through social media, you lessen the chances of getting to your end goal. What you communicate to employers can have a profound effect on what type of opportunities come your way.
The following video embed is the recording of a recent webinar I facilitated. All current and “wannabe” executives should watch it.
Executive legacy image from Shutterstock