Cultivate What Matters Core Truth: Legacies Grow From One Small Seed

Cultivate What Matters Core Truth: Legacies Grow From One Small Seed

by: Emily Thomas

One of our favorite 2023 additions to the PowerSheets® goal planner is the core truths sprinkled throughout. These core truths15 guiding phrases to ground your goal setting—summarize our "what-matters-most" approach to achieving more of what matters to you in a life-giving and joyful way.

Because it's one thing to have heard a truth like "any day can be a fresh start" or "naming what matters changes everything" and another to actually remember and believe it—and it's only when we move to this next level that our actions will follow. When life throws us a curveball or goal setting gets discouraging, we need to be reminded of what's true.

Enter: the core truths! As you work through the pages of your PowerSheets, you'll be reminded of what you love about this community and its approach to goal setting with every turn of the page. You'll be reminded of what's true.

Of course, we only had so much room in the PowerSheetsand so this year on the blog, we're giving each core truth its moment to shine. One at a time, we'll unpack what each core truth means, how it applies to goal setting, and how you can make the most of it.

Up next: legacies grow from one small seed.

PowerSheets goal planner highlighting a core truth

What is a legacy?

We're all familiar with the concept of a legacy—something of value passed down or received from someone who came before us. A legacy can also be defined as a gift, a definition I love. Traditionally, it would be a monetary gift, but here we'll think of it in a much more expansive sense: a legacy could be a gift of knowledge, or kindness, or love for the outdoors.

What does a legacy look like?

Legacies come in all shapes and sizes:

  • A collection of beloved, ingredient-splattered recipes
  • Policies and procedures put in place over many years that help things run smoothly at a nonprofit
  • A love of camping nurtured in one generation and passed on to the next
  • A family known for making music together
  • An advocate for adoption who inspired three other families to get involved
  • A business started by a mom and passed on to her daughter
  • A hearty, throw-your-head-back laugh whose joy is remembered by all who heard it
  • The ability to welcome everyone to the table, know matter how unlikely or disconnected 

Legacies look like memories from time spent together. They look like influence, over one or many. They look like stories. They look like beloved objects, no matter the monetary value (and their worth usually comes from the stories attached). Legacies are the result of many purposeful actions over a long period of time—often years, or even decades!

What does "legacies grow from one small seed" mean?

You know we love a good gardening metaphor around here! :) Legacies—what we leave behind when we're gone—can feel big and intimidating. This truth is an encouraging reminder. Like all good things, even the most impressive legacies are created one step at a time: one hug at a time, one lunch at a time, one conversation, one email, one phone call, one "are you busy" or "do you have a minute" at a time. 

The legacy you dream of might seem impossible to reach, but all that's required to start is one small action. And each one of us is capable of taking that small action! Around here, we know how to plant seeds.

What kind of person leaves a legacy?

Maybe you're thinking you're just a "normal person." You're just a mom, or just an employee, or just a volunteer—just a regular old person, nothing fancy. While we'd argue you're pretty spectacular just as you are, even the most "common" person leaves a legacy. In fact, because legacies are often most strongly developed through one-on-one, long-term relationships, those with a small circle might leave the deepest footprints! 

Loving the people around you with your time and attention, living with integrity so you're a trustworthy person to follow, and growing what you've been given so you have something to pass on
—these are all parts of leaving a legacy, and they're not limited to people with big followings, big families, or big bank accounts.

Why should I care about leaving a legacy?

The need for significance—for having mattered in the world—is a strong and well-established human need. Likewise, most humans feel an innate desire to help others, especially their family members. Whether you've named these two feelings or not, you've probably felt them to some degree—and they're both great reasons to think intentionally about crafting a legacy! 

Legacies are also strongly linked to hope. Hope is the belief that the future will be better than today, and when you build your legacy, you're actively building that better future.

What do legacies have to do with goal setting?

Everything! Your goals are the way you accomplish what mattersand goals added up over a lifetime are what create your legacy. This is a mark of cultivated goal setting: we work on our goals not only to benefit ourselves, but to benefit the people around usthose we love and those we don't yet know by name. This is the ripple effect we speak so much about, where the tiniest of intentional actions might set in motion something beyond our wildest dreams.

Though your most enduring and powerful legacy might be one you never expected or even intentionally cultivated, you can get started by asking yourself two simple questions:

  • What do I have of value to pass on?
  • Who is within my circle of influence?

This does not have to be complicated—start small and with what you know. For example, your love of celebrating, your care for your garden, your easy conversation with new friends, your ability to lead a lead a complicated conversationthese are all things worthy of being passed on. Your circle of influence might include your children, your spouse, your siblings, your neighbors, your best friends, your students, your nieces and nephews, or your colleagues.

From there, like all good things, legacies are created one step at a time—one hug at a time, one lunch at a time, one conversation, one email, one phone call, one "are you busy" or "do you have a minute" at a time. Of course, the best place we know to actually live out those small steps is your PowerSheets goal planner.

Your legacy might add up to a monumental oak one day, but it will start with one small seed.

We'd love to hear: what do you think might be part of your legacy? Please tell us in the comments!

P.S. For more about all 15 of Cultivate What Matters' core truths, click here!

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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