Updated: Apr 9
“Who are you?” The theme song of the fantastically popular TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation blasts out to confront us with one of the most important questions of life. This is one of a number of foundational questions that we all must answer and revisit throughout our lives.
This series “Legacy’s Enduring Questions” seeks to ask you these ‘have to answer’ questions and then work with you to answer them. Asking them but not answering them is what cowards do. It takes a fool to ignore them. The result is individuals whose lives will likely never matter. I hope your does!
In the last blog I shared with you the story of my dad’s death this past December. At 89 he said, "You know Markie (his name for me) I still feel like I am 18. It doesn't feel any different. I think everything is still waiting for me to experience. Isn't that funny."
I challenged you to stop and get a chronological sense of where you might be in the span of your life; even if you still feel 18 years old.
1. Where am I in my life? I have lived 22,498 days. My life expectancy in my current zip code is 28,836 days. Here is a link that will help you calculate: https://www.countcalculate.com/calendar/days-lived
2. Am I making the most of my days? Such a simple question but when we look at the various facets of our lives, seldom is the answer a resounding "YES!" It makes sense, all the sense in the world, to STOP and ask, "...am I?"
Question number three in this series is also short and simple. For many it results in deep angst and uneasiness. It could slap you and leave you sitting stunned by the fear of honestly that asking and answering it will demand. On the other hand, it could infuse you with joy and optimism for the future because their words authenticate who you have determined to be in life.
So, what is this question? Who asked it? Jesus asked His disciples, twelve men who he lived with, travelled, ate, worked and who saw Him in every context of life. Jesus asked,
“Who do men say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13)
The question cuts to the very core of personal identity and motivation. It is a mirror; a multi-faceted mirror that reveals and displays the real you. Read the question again. Read it slowly another ten times. Let it sink deep. Allow ideas, possibilities and words to start developing.
I am not sure I could look at my closest friends and family and ask, “Who do people say I am?” Would you? Could you? I am working on it and want to honestly know the answer.
When people look at your life, who do they see? How willing would you be to put that question out in the public forum to be answered by all who know and observe you each day? Maybe not all but maybe three to five? When you get the courage to ask more, do it!
I was teaching a course for facilitators of a curriculum I developed called “Life Scene Investigation”. As part of the course, I have a section on “witnesses” and why they are so important in helping us discover talent. I ask the attendees to send out an email to a minimum of three people asking them to answer this same question.
One of the facilitators, a licensed counselor, Helen, came to the next session literally beaming. She was quiet, reserved and often a little unsure of herself. But she had courage, a lot of courage and had sent the emails and received words and descriptions of how they saw her. Helen’s eyes filled up with tears as she read the responses. Never would she have believed people saw her like they did and the depth of who she was. But they did.
This question could bring life and joy to your life like it did Helen. It could also challenge you to stop and make significant changes in your life.
Having clarity today gives value and direction to where you want to end up. How clear are you that your current behavior and motives align with what they want to leave as a legacy?
My challenge to you today is to work on these questions and exercises. They will help you answer , “Who do people say you are?”
1. Ask yourself, “What would my epitaph say?” An “epitaph” is a short, final statement that succinctly defines a person’s life. It is often what is written on a person’s tombstone. What 5-8 words would sum up who you believe you are, today?
2. Who would other people say you are? What short ‘epitaph’ would they use to describe you? What words would they use?
3. What would people who surround your life write as an “obituary” for you? An obituary is what family write, post in a newspaper, read at a funeral or memorial and post. It is a relatively short summation of the dead person’s life. It will start with when and where you were born. Cover the major accomplishments of your life. It list your close relationships, children and then ends with how and when you died.
4. If you had one page to write your own obituary, what would you write? I encourage you to begin today. Maybe get a journal or open a file on your computer. Just make a start.
"Legacy's Enduring Questions" are serious and may seem rather heavy. My purpose in asking them is to help you build a wonderful legacy. I hope to bring a sense of enduring optimism, reduce anxiety and help you create a lasting legacy!
Need help to answer this question? I would love to connect with you and work on this and other legacy questions. Go ahead and call or text me (425) 492-4300. If you would prefer to email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark R. Demos – Personal Advisor and Confidant.
The Legacy Forum is where you can turn when you need to talk about the things that matter most. When you look at today and wonder if your dreams for the future might not be as secure as you hoped, we are here when you need a safe, confidential place to talk about your legacy. When you need to focus on your life, family, addiction, mental health, career, relationships, education, succession planning, philanthropy and other legacy issues, we are here! The Legacy Forum is here for you when crisis invades your world, when you need immediate help for yourself or a member of your family. No one orders chaos and upheaval. When you know you can reach out to someone who will help bring stability and clarity to move forward, it makes all the difference. We are here to help reduce fear and anxiety by protecting and bringing clarity to the complex situations of your life. You want to walk confidently into your future and The Legacy Forum can help!