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What’s Your Legacy?

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, it's made me, once again, think about my legacy in both my business and in my personal life.

I asked a similar question about making a difference last year here:
Are Internet Marketers Good or Evil? but I think this topic is one to think about on a regular basis.

So here it is …

How do you want to be remembered?

What IMPACT are you making?

What do you want people to say about you when you leave this earth?

What steps are you taking to get to that point of making a difference while you're here?

Mark Mason of says:

Wow — what a question. What do I want people to say about me when I leave Earth? Hmmm.

At the moment, I am sitting in the Cathay Pacific lounge at Taoyuan airport in Taiwan, about to head for Shanghai. I am watching Steve Jobs stories on CNN. After his passing this week, people had a lot to say about him. Most of the stories are about the impact that he had on Apple and technology. He certainly changed lives. It would be pretty cool to be revered and admired like that, but that sort of fame is not what I want for myself.

I just want people to say that I made their lives better.

I hope my family, friends, co-workers, clients and acquaintances look back on the time we spent together and are glad for it. I hope they see me as someone that made things better by loving them, doing the right thing, and having integrity.

Most of all, I hope they smile when they think of me.

Note from Nik: I already smile when I think of you, my good friend. 🙂

Connie Ragen Green of Huge Profits Tiny List says:

Thinking about our own mortality can be an uncomfortable topic, but I believe it is one that bears attention and exploration. I typically talk about my work with several charities and non-profits as the means through which I am leaving a legacy on this earth, but I believe it is more about the people who are closest to you in your everyday life.

My family has never understood exactly what I do each day, so I have taken it upon myself to explain it to them. I now have a daughter-in-law who works online full-time, and two teenage grandsons who earn all of their own spending money and savings.

In my mind, this makes more of an impact than anything else. I want the people who are closest to me to know that I made the effort to teach them how to have the time and financial freedom that comes from working online. This gives them the opportunity to share this knowledge with others in an ‘each one teach one' way. The years I was working 6 or 7 days a week and missing all of their daily activities did not make the kind of impact or build a legacy that I was proud of. Giving the gift of knowledge makes a difference people will remember and treasure forever.

I want people to say that I helped them to become the best they could be and to reach the potential they always knew was possible for them. Life is much too short, so we must make every second count as we deal with others in our path.

Note from Nik: You inspire me, Connie. As you know, I'm teaching my son about the business and he's working on his blog. I love that he understands that he has options in his life.

Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Webinars Made Simple says:

I've approached this differently from most people, probably because my father died suddenly when I was 16. I swore at that time that I wouldn't put off life – I would live each day as if it were my last.

My greatest impact has been with my family. I have three wonderful daughters, each of whom I consider a friend. Our family is very close. My daughters' spouses are exactly the people I would have chosen for my girls (had I had any say in it!) and my six grandkids are being raised very much like their mothers were. My husband and I have been happily married for nearly 42 years. That is my legacy – wife, mother, GrandMom.

My business is an added bonus for me. As a lifelong learner and teacher, my highest calling is to teach and mentor. And I do that daily through my products and member sites, even when I'm not personally with them. I love my clients and students. I love seeing the light come on in their eyes – whether on a webinar or in person. I love seeing them make that first dollar online and watching so many of them go on to making millions (literally!) online.

Let me encourage you NOT to wait to make an impact. Don't wait to be remembered. Become memorable TODAY.

Note from Nik: You gave me goosebumps with this “Don't wait to be remembered. Become memorable TODAY.”

Shannon Cherry of The Business Building Live Intensive says:

You know, as my life has evolved and changed over the years, so has how I want to be remembered.

I have always thought I would be remembered as a fiercely loyal friend… but now add to that the word advocate.

You see, once my daughters were diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, I have to be their voice, as they had issues that impeded their communication skills. So now, my business, Be Heard Solutions, has even more meaning… to help people without a voice to be heard.

Note from Nik: Such a beautiful statement, Shannon.

Kelly McCausey of Solo Smarts says:

Can I come at this from a different direction?

What do I not want to be remembered for…

  1. I don't want to be remembered as the kind of person who only cares about money. In business most feel like they have to be all about the bottom line, and while I do care about profits, I care more about the individual people I'm dealing with. I'm choosy about making recommendations and not quick to promote the ‘latest greatest' whatever. I probably miss out on some quick commissions but at least I can look back in pride, not chagrin.
  2. I don't want to be remembered as being financially irresponsible. My business is heavily based on affiliates and partnerships. This past year I saw how easy it is to get behind on the books and how difficult it is to get caught back up. To keep it from being a repeating trend, I've had to up my game.
  3. I don't want to be remembered as being inconsistent. Half the battle in an online business is being consistent. If I can't set an example in this, I've got no business trying to teach it to others.

There is something I do want to be remembered for. I want to be remembered for the company I kept. Good friends, high quality people, admirable marketers and the like. Considering where this is being read, I think I'm headed in the right direction there 😉

Note from Nik: Kel, you know you were my first mentor and I owe you so much for taking ME by the hand and bringing out things in me that I was to afraid to do. I'll always love and appreciate you for that.

NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Wow guys. I really loved reading each of your responses.

When I asked this question, originally, I thought I new my answer. But now that I've read your responses, you've got me thinking even more about ways that I can make a greater impact on my family, my customers, my friends, and my world.

I want to be missed when I'm gone. But, I also want to be celebrated as someone who made a difference in people's lives.

Like Jeanette said, let's look at today.

How can I achieve these goals?

With my puppies, I hope they always feel safe, warm, and secure and know that I'll take care of them.

With my family, I want to raise children who are hardworking, kind, loving, and giving – and happy!

With my husband, I hope to be the person he thought I was when he married me, and more. He has always seen me in a totally different light than I see myself. A better, brighter light. 🙂

With my parents, grandparents, and extended family, I hope they know without a shadow of a doubt that I love them all.

With my friends, although I'm oftentimes “busy” – I hope they always know I'm here for them if they need me.

And, with my business – I hope the people I touch understand how much they mean to me. That I don't take this business lightly. And, although I can't possibly please everyone or personally connect with most of them, I do make every decision in my business asking myself “Am I making people's lives better?”

As far as a larger impact – I'm working on that one. I want to publicize and give free advertising to more organizations that I support, so I started to set up a page listing my favorite organizations and how you can help. I donate regularly to charities. And… I have a few other ideas in mind, that I'm not yet sure about how to proceed with them – yet.

So, Instead of rambling on myself, let's hear from YOU.

What are you doing to make the world a better place – and your small corner of it? What steps are you taking to make it happen?

Nicole Dean (and friends)



I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Marilyn Southmayd

    I believe in a hand up not a hand out. I believe in helping others with whatever I have to offer…be that family, friends, acquaintances, etc. I ask that they pass this on to someone else. By doing this, I hope to make a better world. I hope to be remembered for all the good that I did in life to make other people’s lives a better place to be. So far, this has been in the beading world but who knows where it will go from there.

  • The Mom

    I loved reading this one, Nik. And, I think everyone really showed their heart in their responses.

    Love this…

    from Mark: “…look back on the time we spent together and are glad for it.”
    from Connie: “…that I made the effort to teach them…”
    from Jeanette; “Become memorable TODAY.”
    from Shannon; “…as my life has evolved and changed over the years, so has how I want to be remembered.”
    from Kelly; “Considering where this is being read, I think I’m headed in the right direction”
    from Nicole; “I hope they know without a shadow of a doubt that I love them all.”

    Each of you can be sure that you have already created a legacy of love. You each have hearts of gold…Without a shadow of a doubt.

  • Clyde

    I find my legacy desires mixed in almost every answer you received when you asked the question.

    I am a Christian, preacher and businessman. I suppose when I look at it that way my biggest desire would be to be remembered as some who lived what they preached and influenced people for the cause of Christ. From there I hope my business experience can be passed on to others who might remember me as someone who taught them something that changed theor lives or at least made it easier.

    As far as my family goes I spent far to many hours working to build a business to leave them much of anything that really counts but, I am trying to change that now.

    Thanks for asking,
    Dr. Clyde

    • Nicole

      Thank you, Clyde! I, too, spent too many hours working when I first started.

      It took some firm talk to myself to bring things back to where my priorities were in line with what my day to day life was reflecting and vice versa. It’s a constant battle – only having those 24 hours in a day, in all. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Clyde

    Sorry for the extra comment. I forgot to check the box to be notified of new comments

  • William

    My Wife would give her coat off her back in the middle of a Wisconsin snowstorm to a needed person. I only want to be the wind beneath her wings. Besides raising 8 of our own, for the past 20 years she has been giving a young person a place to stay in our house while she has helped them get their education. So far there has been about 7 people) Sometimes I put off paying a bill for an extra week, so she can help someone. And she holds down a full time job, as a care giver for people in the last stages of life. I just want to be remembered as her backup support system. Not that I plan on going real soon, but when the time comes…..

    • Nicole

      Wow, William. Your wife sounds like a remarkable woman. What an inspiration she is! And, you exemplify what it means to be a supportive husband. That’s for sure.

      Thank you for commenting.

  • Kim

    One day I was listening to a podcast and I heard a lady talking about “making the internet a better place.” After listening to the interview and every one of her podcasts, I believed that I, too, could build a successful online business. I found these podcasts at just the right moment. Nicole, thank you for positively impacting my life.

    I am committed to be being a blessing in the lives of others-online and offline. I want to instill in my son that he can accomplish his every dream with hard work and perseverance. It is also important that I have taught him about the importance of service. I want to leave a legacy of love and service.

  • Angela Wills

    What a wonderful post with some beautiful replies.

    I haven’t thought about this question for a long, long time. Many years ago I was in a network marketing candle business and reading some related book (can’t remember the book) and the book told us to ask ourselves what we’d want people to say at our funeral. Fairly morbid thought but it was what you are asking – what is your legacy.

    I can’t remember what I wanted it to be then but I think quite simply I want to have made a difference. I want to be remembered as caring and kind, loving and understanding.

    I’d also like to believe that I’ll be remembered as a pioneer in an industry that is still so very new. It’s just not common to run into people who make a full living online, from home, doing it their own way. Most people still don’t even believe it’s possible. I believe what we’re doing here is changing the way people work and live. Just like industry took women out of the home, the internet has the ability to bring them back in and still make a great living. I’m proud to be part of that!

    I definitely need to think on it some more, but it’s a great question and I so appreciate and love all your answers!

    • Angela Wills

      Well now I realize I didn’t even answer your question! lol.

      What am I doing NOW to leave a legacy, today?

      Well I’m working to be a better mom. I think sometimes as a single mom my son gets too much of my stress and I HATE that.

      I volunteer time at the school and on school council. I like to be a voice for the students and be part of what’s going on with their education. Today I helped with breakfast club. I donate when I can and do like to support other internet marketers who do donation sales.

      I do my best to be the most helpful friend ever. My friends are so important to me, and I try to be the most reliable friend ever.


  • Jenny Dunham

    Loved this post! It’s wonderful to see this more human side of people who I only know as marketers. It helps me to remember that we’re all people first and marketers second.

    I think Jeanette’s comment about being memorable today resonated the most with me. After going to a college reunion this weekend, I found out that a fellow classmate suddenly dropped dead while preaching a funeral a few months ago. That was a definite wake-up call. It’s so easy for me to put things off thinking there will be a tomorrow, but who knows?

    What I’m doing in my personal life is trying to share love with family and friends any way that I can. I hope that my grandchildren will remember that I loved them and took time to listen to their stories and dreams. I never let any friend or relative leave the house with unspoken anger between us. I want to know that they will remember the last words I said to them as being positive ones.

    In my business, I strive to be helpful to other people, to be someone who puts the person before the dollar. I enjoy sharing things that will help others to be more successful both in their personal and business lives.

    I really enjoyed reading and thinking about this topic.


  • Dr. Bob Clarke

    Wow, Nicole this was so inspiring and amazing, thanks to all the experts who answered. After reading through this post, one can’t help but stop, sit back and reflect on what you want to be remembered for. As Connie said, it can be a little uncomfortable to think of your own mortality!

    As I think more about it, I like the others want to be remembered for different things from different people in my life. But in the end, I think its all summed up by saying that I want to be thought of as “a kind person who made my life better by knowing him.”

    Yeah, that’s about right! 🙂

  • Clyde

    After reading all of the other comments, honest I read all of them, I thought about something I heard a Youth Pastor say to a bunch of teens one day.

    “Of all the information placed on you headstone although you name is very important the date of your birth and death are not so important as the dash in the middle.”

    I think that pretty much sums up what all of us have said it is not so important who we are or how long we lived it is what we have done to make the lives of other people better.

    BTW, reading all the comments was really not a chore it was a blessing.

  • Savvy Subcontracting

    My legacy would be to help others accomplish what I have so they know they can work virtually. Teach them to set small goals to start and then go for the gold. I haven’t reached the end of the rainbow however I’m on a wonderful journey meeting brilliant people that I don’t plan on stopping until I reach my lifestyle goal. That goal being enjoyment, sense of accomplishment and a sense of relaxation each day.

    Collette Schultz

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