Rather than simply being a financial matter, when I think about legacy, I think about the impact that my life will have had on those around me. I wonder if I am having a positive impact upon those with whom I come into contact every day.
In considering true, life legacy, it occurs to me that our financial investments and investing in our legacies are very similar; many principles of investment apply to both. Let’s look at the similarities between investing our money and investing our time toward an enduring, life legacy—our positive, lasting impact on others.
- Have a plan – Investing your finances wisely requires that you set goals and have a plan for reaching those goals. You must ask yourself how much you can realistically invest each month. Where do you think you can see the greatest return? What process will you put in place to manage your investments? Investing in people works the same way: set goals and have a plan. How much time do you realistically have to give? In whom should you be investing? Where will your investment result in the greatest positive impact?
- Start saving and investing as soon as you can – Most financial advisors suggest that you begin saving and investing as soon as you are able. You might not be able to invest a lot, but even 4-5% a month will get you started. Investing in people is no different. You may not believe you have a lot of time or experience to share with others. But there will always be someone who wants to be where you already are and know what you already know. Even if you are a new leader, find someone whose growth you can encourage and enable. Without a doubt, you will also grow in the process.
- Diversify as much as you can – In financial terms, diversification can help protect against you from investment risk; as the old adage says, “Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.” Diversification can also be your friend when you are investing in people. Rather than seeking to invest in people who are similar to you, look for people with different skill sets, backgrounds, and roles who can truly gain an advantage from spending time with you.
- Assess and rebalance your portfolio often – To find financial success you may have to buy and sell different assets from time to time. Keep a close eye on your “people portfolio”. Are the people you are spending time with still invested in your relationship? Are you growing as a result of your investment in your people? Make sure you continue to invest wisely.
- Don’t give up – Investing your finances and your time can be often be difficult. In the same way financial markets rise and fall, your enthusiasm and commitment to investing in people will probably grow and wane throughout your career. Stick to your plan, and don’t give up.
Your life legacy of positive impact will not be fully defined this week or the next; it will be determined over the many years of your investment. You only have a finite amount of time to invest, so be wise about where you spend it. The world needs leaders who care about the legacy they leave, and the world needs those leaders to keep investing in others!