Several years ago a friend asked me to meet with a young woman who had just lost her husband. So I dined with Chelsea Dinsmore at a local restaurant one day as she recounted the tragic story of sherpas carrying her young husband’s body off Mount Kilimanjaro. This ambitious couple had sold everything to live their dream, and this was the last stop on their year-long journey—to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Right before the final bend to the peak, rocks rained down; Scott was hit and killed. He died in Chelsea’s arms.
The beautiful, bittersweet irony of this story is that Scott had been blogging for years and founded a community called Live Your Legend. He died doing what he loved and living the life he was calling thousands to live—an existence of exploration and passion. He truly left behind a legacy.
Chelsea’s path has been somewhat parallel to mine in that she is carrying the torch where her husband left off, continuing the movement he started. She is also sharing her own message as a young and resilient widow, giving people hope in the midst of loss. Her life is incredible proof that you can survive—and even choose to thrive—as you move forward through pain. I remember telling her, “Your blessing and curse are that you’re young. I know you can’t see a future right now–but indeed, I promise that eventually you will.” Chelsea has chosen to be a hero amidst her circumstances; she is a feminine warrior.
Ghandi once said, “Your life is your message.”
It is through the tapestry of our lives—woven into the very manner in which we live—that we can all leave a legacy. We can choose a lifelong message of love.
Each of us has a story to share. How we live out that story becomes our message, our legacy.
What’s your story and how will you share it?
A powerful question is, “How do you wish to be remembered?”
It is neither morbid nor dark to think about what you’d like people to say about you after you’re gone. In fact, it’s an important practice to tuck your mortality into your front pocket where it stays close to your heart, instead of in the back pocket of denial where you live life asleep to the fact that you will one day die. Acknowledging—and making peace with—what is inevitable will allow you to live fully awake and experience the abundance available in every moment.
When we are young, in our twenties and thirties, we are building a life. Once people hit the decades that follow, many find themselves questioning the life they’ve built, calling it mid-life crisis. Values change with experience, and if you are in this forties, fifties, and sixties, you may be asking, “What have I done that will leave an impact when I’m gone? How can I serve; what is my legacy?”
This next phase of life is how you give back; it’s when you choose what you’ll leave as your footprints while here. Mother Teresa said, “We may not all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love.” And so, living intentionally with great love can be enough.
Few men and women will leave a library of books behind, like my late husband Richard did with his 30+ titles to his name, nor a blog-rooted revolution like Scott Dinsmore did. But we can all leave something of ourselves. Something of exploration. Something of passion. Something of love.
What is your life’s message, and how will you live your legend today?
I encourage you to keep these questions close to your heart. Be open to sharing your stories with others and asking to uncover what’s always been present in you. Discovering and recovering your life’s purpose is the way to living your most vibrant life. It is the way to leave a legacy of love.