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Roger Fransecky

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Legacy Matters

Posted: 11/08/11 10:00 AM ET

We've been captured with the life of Steve Jobs since he died of pancreatic cancer on October 5th. The public response has been amazing, from long lines at Apple Stores to acknowledge his genius, to lavish media tributes, special issues of national magazines and television specials. Walter Isaacson, a distinguished editor and Job's official biographer, just published Steve Jobs, the result of more than forty one-on-one interviews with Jobs right up to his last days, as well as conversations with over one hundred people who knew Jobs.

Steve Jobs has been called the Edison of our times and a technology and marketing genius. His success shaping Apple into one of the most revered brands and most valuable companies, as well as his passion for creativity, great design and breakthrough products that captured the zeitgeist, were all driven by an uncanny intuition, overpowering ego and single minded vision. He was legendary as a difficult, demanding and often unreasonable perfectionist who didn't suffer fools. Those who knew him well knew he wasn't a "box of chocolates," but one of his closest senior executives told me, he loved Steve "as a mentor and leader."

I have been a "Mac addict" from my first Mac in 1985, with lots of time and treasure spent on every new CPU, OS, device, conference, lesson or user group since then. I celebrate what he created, and how, despite my need to live a "cross platform" working life, only the Mac delights me when it comes alive each morning.

His passing sparked thoughts of legacy and the actors who marched on stage since he died to remind us that Legacy Matters.

Within days of Job's passing, Libyan dictator Muammar el-Gaddafi, hovering between defiance and delusion after weeks on the run, was pulled from hiding in a drainage ditch and executed by his captors. Soon long lines of the victims of his ruthless 42 years of rule lined up to view his bloody body in a meat locker at the back of a shopping mall.

Both men built legacies, one out of the outrageous belief that he could change the way we all listened to music and experienced a new digital age. The other, that continuous oppression would mask fear and reprisal.

As someone who admires the accomplishments of Rupert Murdoch, it hasn't been easy to watch his legacy and his family dynasty fall under the scrutiny of the British parliament after the phone hacking scandal. He's tough. He has said, "I'm not looking for a legacy, and you'll never shut up the critics. I've been around 50 years. When you're a catalyst for change, you make enemies -- and I'm proud of the ones I've got."

By default or design, we are creating our legacy each day in the hundreds of small moments we have. They don't last forever. We all die. We can choose to live interesting and engaged lives and leave behind gifts of love and laughter, abundance in experience and wisdom, and conversations marked with courage and caring.

We can choose to tackle two of the "earth school's" core curriculums: to overcome judgment and learn unconditional love. It means allowing others to have their experience without our constant judgments, rebukes and need to be right. And, to trust that we can be more fully present in our own lives and in the moments of those we love, and simply love who they are and what they are becoming.

Sometimes it means sacrificing what we are for what we can still become.

Collette wrote, "What an interesting life I had. And how I wish I had realized it sooner!"

What better time to consider your personal legacy that this season of equinox? This is a half time of sorts, when you can sense fall's flame illuminating life before winter's chill begins. This ripeness has the smell of completion. It will offer its own reminder, it's legacy, in the year's final season soon enough.

There's still time to consider your legacy. Sense that tomorrow lies at your feet. Walk in the changes that you can create now

"We were meant to give our lives away. Spend more time living your legacy instead of worrying about leaving it"

Lee J. Colan

"No legacy is so rich as honesty."

William Shakespeare "All's Well that Ends Well", Act 3 scene 5