In my class this week, we are talking about goal-setting. As you can imagine, this is one of my most favorite topics to talk about, so getting to teach goal setting this week has me on fire!
I love a good goal, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually started to put my goals down on paper.
I can’t express how much this has impacted my day to day activities. For those that know me, this may come as a bit of a surprise because writing is such a major part of my life.
When I talk about goal setting, it literally sends chills up my spine. While teaching this in class today, I had to pause because my heart was beating so fast I could barely catch my breath.
I felt my inner Rachel Hollis come out and I never felt more liberated and alive. This sounds dramatic and I can confirm it was most definitely dramatic and my most favorite lesson to date.
Back on topic, while I was talking to eighteen and nineteen year olds about their goals, one word kept coming to my mind.
This word has been on my mind recently and I have been thinking about the legacy I hope to leave behind one day.
Please do not think I’m morbid when speaking about this. To be truthful, I think we should live each day like it’s our last. I’m human. I have good days and bad days just like all of you, however, I wake up with the intention to make every day great no matter how I feel or what I may be going through.
The way I lived my life at eighteen years old is completely different from how I live at almost 27 (ouch) years old.
When I look back on my teenage years, that girl is unrecognizable, but I treasure and love her. My 27-year-old self wants to go up to her, give her a great big hug and tell her to hang in there because the best is yet to come.
In the last six months, I have changed so drastically. I wouldn’t have ever thought that I had the potential to change so much in such a small amount of time, but I have.
26 and 3/4th year old Jess is turning out to be what I think is a pretty okay chick! Heck, I’d be her friend!
So, back to legacy. What is this and how do we create a legacy we are proud of.
I envision this just like the 5th grade science fair.
Yes, you read this correctly and you all know what I’m talking about…
You spend weeks/months preparing the most insanely, amazing project to take home that first place title. You put hours into creating something you are proud of.
You stay up late at night with your flashlight working while your entire family is fast asleep putting every last minute into your project because that blue ribbon is all you have on your mind.
You wait anxiously as you are being judged and cross your fingers you get to stand on that podium with a great big grin as they announce your name as the winner.
Now, let’s put this into reality. I want you to imagine your fifth grade science fair project as yourself.
Take away the paper maché and news paper and replace it with positive affirmations bound together by positive, meaningful actions.
Replace the hours you spend perfecting your project by perfecting areas of your life you feel you can improve. Focus less on strengthening your weakness and spend time amplifying your strengths.
Think about those late nights you stayed up dedicated and committed to creating something you were proud of.
Put yourself in the now. Imagine staying up late, night after night, passionately working towards your dream, whatever that may be.
Finally, you have reached the finish line. You have put in all of the work to be the best you that you could possibly ever be.
What do you see? How do you feel and what does this look like?
After all is said and done, what does your legacy look like to your family and friends?
Powerful thought, right?
As I sit here thinking about the legacy I want to leave behind and all of the hopes, goals and dreams I have for myself, I always go back to a single thought that has resignated with me since I was 9 years old.
I talk about my Nana often. Aside from my GeGe, she was the most loving grandmother I could have ever hoped for.
Unfortunately, she was taken from us entirely too early
I remember her funeral so vividly. The church was choked to the gills. The amount of people that waited in line to pay their respects was extended out of the church doors. People stood in the back of church to attend her service because there were no seats available.
I think it is a bit ironic that we have to pass on to truly see the life we left behind. Don’t you agree?
I look back on this in utter amazement that one woman, a wife and mother of four, had such a heavy impact on the people of her community, family and friends.
I think about the legacy she left behind and I am reminded of it every time someone talks about her to me. The people that take the time to tell me how wonderful she was have absolutely no idea how much of a comfort this brings to my heart.
My Nana left behind the type of legacy I hope and pray for every single day.
So right now as I’m typing this, I’m asking myself , “What type of life do I have to live to leave a legacy behind that will be remembered like my Nana?”
I will live a life of kindness and service to others, always advocating for what is right and just no matter the majority, I will never be afraid to go against the grain.
I will be genuine and accepting of people in all aspects, never forgetting that humility is what keeps our hearts and minds in a healthy space.
I will do my best each day to spread God’s love and word because that is my true purpose in life.
I will hold myself accountable by living a life of honesty and commitment to the people in my life.
Most importantly, I will love people not only by my words, but also by my actions.
I will do my best every single day to make the people I love most know they are loved, treasured, special and worthy beyond their comprehension.
I think that’s a legacy worth living for.