10/07/2013 - 15:44

Creating a personal legacy

10/07/2013 - 15:44


Save articles for future reference.

Prioritising your personal life and aligning it with your professional goals can provide added meaning to your endeavours.

Creating a personal legacy

Prioritising your personal life and aligning it with your professional goals can provide added meaning to your endeavours.

People often joke that the best moments of boat ownership are the day they bought the boat and the day they sold it.

As busy executives, if we’re not careful, our personal lives can end up as neglected as those boats, forever docked in the harbour or parked in storage.

I’m a big believer in building a living legacy. Your life will be more meaningful if you treat every day as if it were your last; instead of rushing from one obligation to another, proactively establish personal priorities and align them with your professional goals.

As readers familiar with my columns know, there are four decisions that need to be taken to build a thriving company – people, strategy, execution and cash.

In your personal life, there are parallel areas – relationships, achievements, rituals and wealth.

Commit to writing your goals in these four areas. To guide you in creating a personal one-page plan, go to www.gazelles.com/people-living-legacy.html


At the end of the day, what matters most in life are relationships. In business, you have a tremendous opportunity to influence your employees or customers. In your personal life, the important people in your life will likely include your family, your friends, and those in the various communities to which you belong. Make a list of 25 people, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

At the same time, there may be some people in your life who are destructive and/or distract you from your higher goals. Make a note of relationships you want to end.  Doing so is important, so you can free time for the people who matter most to you.


Many CEOs find that even when they reach critical milestones for growing their company, they feel they haven’t made a real difference in the world. Think about the major ways you’d like to make an impact through your work beyond reaching monetary goals—perhaps by mentoring others or setting up a non-profit organisation or pro bono initiative—and set objectives in these key areas.

In your personal life, you’ll want to think about how you can make a real difference to the key people in your life. For instance, you might aim to have a happy marriage, instead of just staying married, as many people do.  


Establishing regular routines in your life will help you achieve your larger goals. Examples of rituals might include a weekly ‘date night’ with your spouse and booking some ‘alone’ time with each child once a week. For distant family members, you might build a regular routine, like taking a holiday together every two years.  

You might also want to establish rituals with people whose presence in your life supports your bigger goals.

Like destructive relationships, there might be some bad habits or behaviours you wish to stop; make a list of those as well.


Rather than financial wealth being an end in itself, see it as a resource for supporting the rest of your personal plan.  Set goals for the amount of money you want to donate to causes that matter to you. Decide what you need to set aside to support activities with your family and friends, investing in experiences that create lasting memories. When you let money flow through you to help those around you, it seems to appear more effortlessly.

It’s not easy to do this type of planning, but just getting yourself to think about what matters most is 90 per cent of the battle. You want to make sure that what you leave in the wake of your life as you sail along is a legacy worth living.


Subscription Options