0 Items  Total: $0.00

What Will Be Your Legacy?

By Orrin Woodward

George Washington took an incredible risk to be part of the Revolutionary War. He had plenty of land and was doing “pretty good.”

Why would someone get involved in a conflict where the colonists were severe underdogs?

George lived by principles and he would rather sacrifice his wealth than his principles. There were many times during the war where it was George’s convictions and character that held the army together.

To compromise on your core convictions is cowardice. In the end, George Washington and his principles overcame England and a new country was formed.

We need more men and women with the courage of George Washington.

In his home-run book, The Centurion Principles: Battlefield Lessons for Frontline Leaders, Jeff O’Leary writes:

“The greatest leaders were also great risk takers. Stop for a moment and decide if you are willing to become that kind of leader. If not, move on to the next chapter. This risking is costly. If it wasn’t everyone would be doing it. Who wouldn’t want to leave a legacy like Washington’s behind him?…

“The key to getting beyond the illusions of fame, money and power is to take the long view. It is paradoxically both simple and difficult. Take the long view — not the quarterly, monthly, or daily view of your business or calling.

“When you finish your race and look back at the footsteps of your life, what are you going to see, and what are you going to be proud of? …

“Near the end, I was offered the opportunity to continue my service and be promoted to brigadier general within a few years. I politely declined and turned in my papers for retirement at the same time my book was released.

“This infuriated my superiors, and I was quickly moved from my special status of ‘golden boy’ to untouchable leper. But I believed then, as I do now, that we are created for a destiny greater than accumulating power, money, or fame. (Certainly, being a general could be a high calling for someone if that was his or her destiny. It just wasn’t mine.)

This is some incredibly courageous thinking! A colonel that is offered and opportunity to be a general turns it down to follow his destiny.

Very few people will do that. Most settle for the immediate and give up the long term. Leaders must stay focused on the long term even through the inevitable criticism.

How is your legacy coming together? Have you even considered a legacy before? I know I was 25 years old and had never thought about it. That is why I am so thankful for Dexter Yager.

When I was 26 I heard Dexter say,

“You must be willing to give up everything you have to accomplish everything you want.”

This thought resonated with me and I realized I had been playing it safe with my life.

Why are we playing it safe? Haven’t we all figured out that we are not making it out of life alive? So if we are all going to die; the only question is, are we going to truly live?

When you make long term decisions in your life you will be criticized. The myopic thinkers cannot see what you see or think what you are thinking. They will see your choices as foolish, self-serving or worse.

You can take heart that George Washington was criticized greatly in England for his choices. Abraham Lincoln was criticized horribly from people in the North and South during the Civil War. Winston Churchill was a pariah for his thoughts on Nazi Germany before World War II.

Albert Einstein said,

“The biggest people with the biggest ideas will be criticized by the smallest people with the smallest ideas.”

Sometimes you have to take the road less traveled. Follow your dreams! Follow your destiny! Leave a legacy!

If it hurts, then you know you are right on track. What will be your legacy?


Orrin Woodward is the co-founder of Team, a leadership development and training company, and the New York Times best-selling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution.

Named by the International Association of Business as a Top 10 Leadership Guru, he is dedicated to building leaders and entrepreneurs and promoting freedom and prosperity.

Orrin blogs regularly at Orrin Woodward. He lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida with his wife and four children.

Connect With Orrin:

facebook_icon twitter_icon2 linkedin_icon


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Geneva Murphy. Geneva Murphy said: RT @thesocialleader: @Orrin_Woodward asks if we're all going to die, when are we going to start living? http://bit.ly/fbcsxn […]

Speak Your Mind