3 Steps to a Career Legacy: How to Make Your Mark

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“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy.  Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” These famous words by Dr. Maya Angelou are certainly inspirational. But some of us hear the word “legacy” and feel like we’re in a pressure cooker. How many more years do I have to “leave a mark that can’t be erased”?

We all want to make an impact that lasts beyond our own lifespans, but what does that take?

Step 1: Define Your Career Legacy

A career legacy is defined by Google as “the impact an individual had on a company, field or industry.”   

To define your own career legacy, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I currently employed by a company where I can make an impact? If so, what do I want my colleagues to remember me for?
  • In what ways have I already made an impact on my company, and what can I do in the future?
  • I may not be a Steve Jobs, but how can my work or ideas impact my industry as a whole? 

Besides impacting a company or industry, a career legacy can be defined by making a difference to other people:

  • Have I led a team to success? Have I mentored other workers? In what ways does my work give back to a larger community?

Perhaps a portion of the profits you help your company make goes to charity, or perhaps your product provides a service to the greater good.  In other words, why do you do what you do? “Reflect on your professional journey to discover which events represent meaningful milestones and times in which you felt most alive,” says Amy Blaschka of Forbes. “Were you leading a team? Mentoring and inspiring others? During a difficult period, were you forced to examine some hard truths and gracefully found your way out, turning your life around in the process?”

Taking action is the first step in developing a proactive mindset in contemplating your legacy. Being proactive is about empowering yourself to believe that you can initiate and respond to any situation however you individually choose.  Knowing this about yourself comes with incredible freedom.

Since 2005, Artemis Consultants has defined its legacy as a company which creates tremendous career opportunities for people who work at Artemis. In turn, its employees carry out the company purpose: to help companies achieve their goals while helping people find career opportunities that positively impact their lives.

Step 2: Take Practical Steps Towards Your Legacy

It takes work to move towards a professional legacy.  Some of us feel like we are too busy getting through each day to worry about the big, big picture. “Ideally, people should be thinking about their legacy at work by age 50,” says Phyllis Weiss Haserot , Thompson Reuters. “Sadly, many busy people tend not to think about legacy until late in their careers when they must try to make up for lost time. And they often don’t know where to begin.”

Begin by thinking backwards.  What steps does it take along the way to reach my legacy goal?  Am I passing my knowledge onto others each year?  If not, who could I help or mentor?  Have I identified and joined professional organizations where I can share my expertise in my field? Should I write and publish my ideas on a social network or other platform?

Step 3: Assessing the Path You are On

It is important to take inventory of your career path every year or so.  How will I know that I am still on track to fulfill my legacy? 

Set small goals like publishing a simple post. Purposely reach out to several people to offer help or even make a succession plan.  Think about how you can be a key player in the company’s mission. 

Artemis Consultants is an elite search firm that hopes to sustain itself long after its founders retire. To do so, it will continue to evolve and stay current with industry best practices. The recruiting experts at Artemis can help you take the necessary steps to be on track in fulfilling your dreams of a career legacy.

“Here is a hard truth. We’re allotted only a finite amount of time here and—sadly—each of us will die at one point or another. Knowing this fact causes many of us to contemplate whether or not we contribute in ways that will be valued long after we’re gone” (Terina Allen, Forbes).

-Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Content Writer Mellody Melville

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