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Carolyn Anderson

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Woman's Unexpected Million-Dollar Legacy

Posted: 05/ 2/2012 12:32 pm

Recently there was a tragic story of a fit 30-year-old woman who collapsed and died after running 25 miles in the London Marathon. Claire Squires was raising money for the Samaritans during this particular race and participated in other charity events including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She had raised £500 before her race and after her death, thousands of people donated more in her honor. At the time this article was published, the amount had reached over £900,000 (1.4 million USD).

This story got me to thinking about legacies. Claire Squires had a wonderful legacy of activism, and even in her death she was able to make a difference for others. Although it is a morbid exercise, I want you to think about what your obituary will read one day. What words will people use to describe you and how will you remembered?

It's doubtful that some of the things that consume so much of our daily lives will make it into the obituary. Have you ever seen an obituary that said "She was an avid Facebook user and loved watching Glee, Bones and American Idol"?

Most obituaries list the person's family and their contributions to society. Our families and our volunteer and sometimes professional work are the things that we leave behind and that make up our legacy. I want to be remembered as a loving daughter, wife and mother as well as someone who made a difference as a cataract surgeon and with my motivational writing.

With this in mind, take a look at your daily activities. Are your activities in line with your values and what you want to be remembered for? We all have hopes and dreams, but it is sobering to realize how little time we actually allocate to making them a reality. Figure out a way to include your legacy-building activities into your daily life.

There was a quote in the movie Barbarella that said "A life without cause is a life without effect." What effect on the world will you make? Whether is improving the lives of someone in your family, neighbourhood, country or world, start building your legacy today.

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