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Episode in a Tweet: CEO Coaching International’s Mark Moses shares six exercises you can do to build a lasting legacy.
Quick Background: The BIGGEST and best businesses are about more than just business. They’re an expression of the CEO’s professional and personal values that can impact the world for generations. Building that kind of enduring legacy takes clear vision and intentional planning. That’s why Mark Moses and the CEO Coaching International team have developed a series of exercises that CEOs can use to clarify goals and create missions that transcend profit.
On today’s episode, Mark Moses walks us thorough those six exercises and explains how his own responses have shaped his approach to legacy planning. Mark also shares FREE tools that CEOs and entrepreneurs can download right now that will help you think about how you are living your life and what you may want to do differently to create a lasting legacy.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
6 Legacy Exercises from Mark Moses
1. Write your own eulogy.
“How do you want to be remembered at your own funeral or memorial service?” Mark asks. “Is that the way you’re living your life today? Are you going to be remembered that way or are you going to be remembered differently?”
If this exercise sounds morbid or depressing, it’s probably because you’re not happy with what your actual eulogy would look like right now. Being honest about where we are coming up short is the first step to getting on track for BIGGER and better things. Writing your eulogy is a way to see the life that you want to have. Pairing that vision with an acknowledgement that our time on this Earth is limited can be a powerful motivator.
2. Write your 80th birthday speech.
Your eulogy is about what you hope the world will one day say about you. Writing your 80th birthday speech is about what you hope you’ll be able to say to all your friends and family as you’re looking back on a great career and a great life. You can also use this exercise during a workshop or team-building event to break the ice a little bit and let your colleagues know who you are and where you want to go.
“I did this with my YPO forum early on,” Mark says. “We were getting to know each other. Nine of us read our speech to each other. It was so powerful because it forced us all to ask, ‘Are we living today intentionally, the way we want to have our lives to turn out?’ Or are we just way off course at the moment and we’re not going anywhere?’”
3. See 20 years into the future.
Imagine it’s 20 years from now. You knock on the door of your own home. Where are you? What does that house look like? What kind of car is parked in the driveway? Are there toys and bicycles scattered around the yard?
And, most importantly, who answers the door?
“What do you look like?” Mark asks. “Have you taken care of yourself? Are you healthy? Are you frail? Still married? Are you happy? What’s hanging on the walls? What’s the energy feel like? Have you been the success that 20 years ago you hoped you would be today?”
4. Write milestone letters to your children.
Dear Darian, I’m writing this letter to you just before your 17th birthday with the intention you open it on your wedding day, which brings tears to my eyes to even think about it now. If I’m standing here reading it to you, I’m still alive and I’m very thankful for that. If I am not, I hope you have wonderful memories of your father who truly loved you more than anything in life.
That’s the opening of a letter Mark wrote to his daughter for another YPO group exercise. His letter also included his reflections on what the world was like when he wrote it, as well as some of his hopes and dreams for his daughter’s future. “Imagine nine CEOs in a room crying, reading our letters to each other,” Mark says. “Super powerful in terms of thinking about what message we want to leave for the next generation and how we want to be remembered.”
If you put some real time and effort into this letter, it’s going to be a part of your legacy that your family will cherish forever. But writing to your children is also a way to remind yourself what all your CEO blood and sweat is really for. Anyone with a little motivation and a bit of luck can make some money. Building a real business that stands for something important, that improves your community, and that makes your family proud only happens when CEOs step outside of themselves and think about the BIG picture.
5. Record a video for your family.
None of us knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Mark has had experiences in his own life that taught him the value of appreciating every moment and never taking our time with our loved ones for granted.
That’s where this idea of recording yourself comes in. Mark says, “A good friend was worried about having Alzheimer’s down the road because both of his parents had Alzheimer’s. As he turned 60, he wanted to capture himself in an appropriate state with sound mind.”
Even if you’re not concerned about your family’s medical history, consider the value of memorializing yourself at this moment: full of life, full of excitement, proud of what you’ve accomplished and looking ahead to more BIG things in the future. Recording a message to your family allows them to hear you express what’s really important to you in your own words. You have everything you need to make this kind of video on your cell phone. If video makes you uncomfortable, you could record an audio file.
6. Complete your own legacy.
Mark’s final exercise challenges CEOs with a series of questions that pull together everything they’ve contemplated about their legacies. He was gracious enough to share his answers.
What are the words you want to come to mind when people think of you?
Mark: I would hope people would say that I made a meaningful difference in their lives, either in their business as their coach or as a good friend or family member.
What are the biggest lessons you hope that people will take away from looking at your life?
Mark: You can achieve anything you want in life if you believe in yourself. Live for today and live BIG.
What are two things you can start doing intentionally to build your legacy?
Mark: Get my foundation for entrepreneurs set up and hire somebody to run it.
If you died today, what would you wish you had done that you have not done? Are you living with any regrets?
Mark: I’ve lived my life with no regrets. I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve traveled to where I’ve wanted to travel. I haven’t left anything unsaid to anybody that I want to say something to. I have no regrets.
FREE Tools for CEOs and Entrepreneurs
If you need some more help thinking about the kind of legacy you want to leave behind, CLICK HERE to download the 6 CEO Coaching International Legacy Exercises that Mark described on today’s podcast.
You can also CLICK HERE to download the Building Your Legacy Exercise, which asks you to think about how you will be remembered.
If you’d like to see how Mark filled out his own Legacy Exercise, CLICK HERE.
Congratulations to Our Fastest-Growing Clients
Finally, we’d like to congratulate the 14 CEO Coaching International clients who just landed on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing, privately held companies in the US. We’re also so proud that CEO Coaching International made the list for the fifth year in a row. Helping our clients achieve their visions of BIG is part of the legacy we want to carry into the future.
1. Be intentional. Legacy-minded CEOs like Bill Gates and Richard Branson were purposeful about how they built their companies and impacted the world.
2. Follow your values. A legacy is about more than just making money. It’s about the people and causes that are most important to you.
3. Live BIG! Every moment is precious. Make the most out of each one.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with the world’s top entrepreneurs, CEOs, and companies to dramatically grow their business, develop their people, and elevate their overall performance. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 500 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 40 countries. Every coach at CEO Coaching International is a former CEO or President that has made big happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $1 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight and nine figure exits. CEOs and entrepreneurs working with CEO Coaching International for three years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 66.4% during their time as a client, more than five times the national average. For more information, please visit: https://www.