What is your legacy?

I’m finishing up Winning by Jack Welch, and I wanted to highlight an excerpt from the very last page.

When asked at a conference about his legacy, Jack responds:

First off, I hate the word legacy. It just sounds so arrogant. Presidents and prime ministers have legacies. I ran a company and wrote a book or two.

But here we are at the end of this book, and the question did get asked, so I’ll attempt an answer.

If there is anything I’d like to be remembered for it is that I helped people understand that leadership is helping other people grow and succeed. To repeat myself, leadership is not just about you. It’s about them.

I would also like to be remembered as a huge advocate of candor and meritocracy, and believing that everyone deserves a chance. And I’d like to be remembered for trying to make the case that you can never let yourself be a victim.

He goes on to talk about his family and how much he loves and admires them. I very highly recommend this book. If I had a company, it would be required reading for everyone from the janitor to the top executives.

I think that’s probably the best definition of leadership that I’ve ever heard: Leadership is about helping people grow and succeed.

If there are three kinds of people in the world, people who tear down, people who build up, and people who just scrape by, the choice is clear. Become the type of person who builds others up. Learn to manage your own life, and then pour yourself into finding ways to help others find their passion, overcome challenges, and reach their dreams. You won’t regret it.