Live Life Backwards
Sometimes it's good to reverse engineer life or as I call it "live life backward." Often this way of thinking helps us to understand a process, realize how something is constructed, or discover how we arrived at a final result. But I believe even more it can help us to live and leave a godly legacy - which should be the goal of every man. So what does it look like to "think backward" about our life?
Legacy leadership is marked by how we're remembered and the impact we leave after life is done. When we take our last breath we'll each leave behind temporal things - golf clubs, cabins, boats, and even that retirement account we been investing in for years. That's because they are only temporal tools and enjoyments. While they hold value in the present, on the day you take your last breath they won't matter a lick. And this is evidence that legacy is less about temporal stuff. It requires us to determine what we want to be remembered for and then make conscious choices that will achieve that legacy. So how do we do this?
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First | Determine What's Important To You.
Begin by listing what matters when your legacy is complete: family; marriage; relationships; children; faith; and write them down. This is the kind of thing that is great for a journal which every man should have. Get one here.
Having identified the critical legacy items of your life, take some time to write a few sentences or a paragraph on each one that describes why these are important and how they will impact your legacy. Be specific. God has given you one life to live with limited time so the more precise you can be in each of these areas the easier it is to focus on the right duties now before then.
Second | Write A Plan For Each Area.
Our legacy is built one decision at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. It is about consistently paying attention to the essential areas of life and building a legacy through healthy habits and supporting disciplines in that arena of life. Take marriage for example. If you want to leave a legacy of a healthy, committed, close and happy marriage, it is going to require attention to your spouse and your contribution to that relationship. You need a plan, and then you need to work that plan. This is why it is helpful to have an annual plan that takes each of these areas of life into account.
Make sure that you can measure your progress and activities in each area. Remember legacy is built one decision at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. Annually, take some time to determine how you are doing in each area and what modifications you need to make.
Third | Be Accountable To The Plan.
Plans are just ideas, dreams, and visions unless they are combined with action and accountability. Remember that every time you give attention, availability, action, and accountability to your plan you're building a legacy. Without a plan and you will live "on accident" not "on purpose" and thus miss the point of living life backward. Work your plan and focus on the important issues and you will leave a powerful legacy that honors Jesus and leaves an example to those around you. To leave a legacy, you need to live life backward.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.