Living Your Legacy: How Will You Touch Others’ Lives?


“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Recently a friend asked me what kind of legacy I want to leave for future generations. It was an unexpected question that really got my wheels turning.

Usually when people pass away there is a huge focus on the things they owned and who gets what, and the idea of handing down ideas and values was a totally new way to look at it.

What if the most important gift we can give our descendants is not a tangible item, but a piece of ourselves?

It seemed revolutionary!

So I started thinking about the things my loved ones (the ones still living and the ones who have passed) have shared with me.

I thought back to the backyard parties my grandparents used to have with friends, food, and music. My grandfather played guitar and sang us children’s songs in Spanish.

My dad’s sisters had been dancers in their youth, and as kids we would play for hours in my grandmother’s attic, trying on their colorful costumes and playing make believe. My mom’s sisters and brothers shared their love of games and books with us.

Some things were passed on and taken to heart. These are the ones that I want to continue as part of my legacy.

My grandparents on both sides demonstrated deeply held faith and never missed church on Sunday. Even at ninety-five my grandmother still gets upset that the family won’t let her walk to church whenever she wants.

My path isn’t the same as theirs, but I hope to inspire a deep connection, with self, loved ones, and with the divine.

There is magic in connection. Take the time to listen. It’s so easy to hurry through life, but it’s over too quickly and there is so much to learn and enjoy when you stop and take in the stories that are shared with you.

The stories of my grandfather bringing home people who needed a meal are family legend, and I have seen my dad fill a bag of groceries from our refrigerator to give to a young mother who was in need.

A few years ago my brother gave his Christmas money to a single father who needed holiday gifts for his kids. And those are just a few examples.

I like to say that generosity runs in my family. I am but one link in a long chain of sharing and lending helping hand to those who were in need.

And what I know is that the energy of giving is extremely powerful, and generous actions will bring you as much blessing as it brings to those you help. I hope to be a good example of generosity in action.

I have vivid memories of all of these things. They have become a part of who I am and I hope they will become part of future generations.

I’ve also learned a few things of my own that I want to pass along.

I hope I can leave others with a belief in the goodness and the magic of the world outside their door. Because I know that there is beauty everywhere, you just need to open your eyes and take it in.

And I want to be a reminder that you should keep going when things get hard. If I learned anything through my own hardships and challenges, it’s that I was stronger than I ever thought.

Going through divorce, financial struggles and bankruptcy, job loss, entrepreneurship, moving to a new state—all challenging—all tested me in ways I never could have imagined. I came out the other side stronger than ever before, and I will again when the next challenge pops up.

I want to remind people not to think about how you will find the strength; instead, just keep moving and the strength will come.

Looking at what I have taken in from others and also what I have learned from my own experiences has been a powerful exploration of who I am and what I hope to leave behind.

And I realized that in order to be that example, in order to pass on these beliefs and values, I have to live them consciously, right now.

Knowing the legacy I want to leave behind helps me stay focused on what I’m doing in the present so that my goals are in line with that legacy. It offers a concrete sense of purpose in choosing what I am giving my energy to.

And the whole concept of legacy can be a deeply powerful way of connecting with others. Looking at your roots, ancestral, blood family, cultural, spiritual, or whatever avenue you choose to explore, connects you to those who have gone before you.

Planning the legacy you are leaving behind connects you to those whose lives you touch, and that they touch, and so on, potentially for generations to come.

I encourage you to take some time and really look at the things you carry on from past generations. See what you need to leave behind, as well as, what you want to carry forward.

What’s your legacy?

Photo by SonicPower451

About Tina Robbins

Tina Robbins is a Core Spirit Coach, helping women rediscover who they are after years of letting other people drive their lives. You can find her at, on Facebook, or on twitter @openroadscoach.

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  • Tim

    This was a fantastic post, especially for this time of season, when families are getting together for the holidays and the year is close to over. Focusing on receiving and giving from others is a great idea to stop feeling disconnected. Your post is very helpful to key focused on the bigger picture in life. Have a great Christmas.

  • Talya Price

    I think the best gift a person can give to the world is to be his or herself.

  • James Hernandez — JoeFlows

    I like this post!

    I’ve been thinking the same way for the past few months being the my father recently passed away. Having someone close in your inner circle passing really makes a person look at life a little different. I think of all the lessons I was able to learn from my father and how they shaped me to be the man I am today. During moments of silence is when I’m able to appreciate all of those messages left behind by my father. So right now I smile — even though he’s gone, I smile knowing he was able to leave a legacy behind that lives through everyone he was able to touch while he was here with us in the physical form.

    What will be the legacy I’ll leave behind? How about you? How about him? How about her?
    Live righteous a life. Do good and it’ll last even when you’re no longer present in the physical.

  • Thank you Tina, for your thoughtful sincerity. I have long pondered the legacy I want to leave. To dream of lifting humanity is always anoble and arduous task. There is no way to measure the wealth that the domino effect of such a gift of self will produce.
    It seems you have been beautifully influenced by the generosity of your family, and from your own experience. That is certainly a treasure to draw upon.
    My legacy is a mind rich in wisdom and a light heart, whose mystery I labor to expand every day.
    All the best, Nicole

  • I can only agree with this wise statement. It is as well the most ambitious, challenging and fulfilling of self-mastery. All the best, Nicole

  • bongani sibeko

    A great article! We create our legacy everyday as we live, it is how we live our lives that create and shape the legacy that will remain behind.

    The most powerful legacy I want to live is that of a confident, audacious and convicted individuals who would pursue their dreams regardless of the society status quo and who would go on and chart their own course in life instead of succumbing to all known, all travelled path to nowhere! I live my life as confidently as I can and that is my legacy.

    You cannot stop a bold and convicted person from manifesting his/her dream.

  • Zee Southcombe

    I love the concept of leaving a legacy of ‘you-ness’ behind. If we live to inspire others, and they to inspire more, our legacy really can live on beyond our lives. Thank you.

  • Nice article Tina. Even though we aren’t celebrities, I would like to think our story CAN be remembered if we take the proper channels. Personally I am creating my digital Footprint because I want my great great grandkids to know my story. Maybe not in great detail, but just enough to help them understand who I was, what I did, and what I went through in life. And I hope others are doing the same.


    Wow! Just wow! Breathtaking!