What's Your Legacy?

Do I ever think about what my legacy will be? Do I believe my legacy is about money or material items? Or do I believe legacy is about something different? Legacy means so many things to so many people, and it's easy to judge someone else's beliefs, even if we aren't sure of our own. Join Melissa and JJ as they enter into this interesting conversation.

November 2, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
I was at a leadership retreat the other week. And one of the activities that we did was around talking about what our legacy or what we wanted our legacy to be. And so this started we had, it was like, kind of like a worksheet. Right, then it had a bunch of questions. And one of the questions was, what, what do you want your legacy to be? And that question really threw me.

Melissa Albers  0:49  
Yeah, I have really strong opinions about this word,

JJ Parker  0:53  
as I wrote, and a on my answer. Not Applicable. I might have just been being a smartass. But I really didn't know how to answer it. And it really actually kind of like, threw me into a mental Tizzy for a while. I did I didn't want to not answer it. But I really didn't really know how to how, what to what to say.

Melissa Albers  1:20  
Just out of curiosity, did they frame the word any further than that? Or was it a foregone conclusion that Oh, everybody, everybody leaves a legacy?

JJ Parker  1:29  
Well, right. Yeah. It was kind of like a, like a foregone conclusion.

Melissa Albers  1:35  
super interesting.

JJ Parker  1:36  

Melissa Albers  1:37  

JJ Parker  1:37  
So let's, let's just let's talk about that word first.

Melissa Albers  1:41  

JJ Parker  1:42  
What do I like?

Melissa Albers  1:43  
Yeah, what legacy means?

JJ Parker  1:45  
I feel like, it means like, in one way, it's very tactically, like passing on, like, money and things to the next generation. Right. That's one thing that I think it means. One, one might be like, what impact sort of did you have on the world? That yeah, people remember? Yeah, right. Yeah. It's, it feels like it's a thing like, do people remember you after you're gone?

Melissa Albers  2:17  
Right. Right. Yeah, I am. Yeah, I would agree with you. And I would then think that, for me, that word legacy, it's super funny. Like, sometimes I'm just really open to the dialogue and the conversation and how it feels to talk about it. And other times, boy, I just really get annoyed. And it has everything to do with the nature in which the topic is brought up.

JJ Parker  2:43  
How are you feeling now?

Melissa Albers  2:46  
Really open because we're just having a conversation. I find it interesting, though, that when you get around certain energies. So okay, this is I'm going to make this I'm going to say this stuff. But I don't want it to sound judgmental. This is my observation. And I might be wrong. And I'm okay if I'm wrong. But my observation is, is that when business owners, people in leadership, people that have great influence, I kind of feel like there's two camps, the people that are naturally growing their influence and their legacy every day, by not trying to, but just are. And then you have the opposite people that are focused on legacy as a thing as an ego trip. As a, I've seen it used in control. I've seen families broken because of this idea of legacy. So yeah, I think it's a really interesting topic. It's way deeper than just, you know, a single question actually.

JJ Parker  4:01  
Yeah, well, that's kind of where I went initially is that I felt like, like, legacy, and thinking about your legacy and, like, wanting to leave a legacy is all very ego driven. Yeah, it was my first reaction is, this is like an ego thing. Like, like, you want to feel super important. So that so you drive this idea that you're gonna leave a big legacy and people are gonna remember you forever and your name is going to be on buildings, and you know, they're going to name the whole city after you. It's like an ego thing.

Melissa Albers  4:40  
Yeah. Yeah. I think also tied to the ego bit in an opposite direction is fear. The ego says, I want to be, I want to be thought of as important and I'm scared that I'm not fear that you'd be forgotten. Yes, fear that What you did didn't matter. Yeah, our fear that this stuff that you thought was super important doesn't translate to anyone else. Honestly, I think that's at the core of a lot of this stuff is fear.

JJ Parker  5:12  
So, like, the idea that lots of people want to live a life that had some impact, like, whatever their definition of impact is, yeah. Right. And then they want people to remember them for that they don't want to, they don't like the idea that like, like I was here on earth for a while. Nothing happened. Everyone moved on.

Melissa Albers  5:43  
So it's so not funny, and we're both laughing about it. Which I think is part of our charm, by the way, take really, really big topics, and then just made them very funny.

JJ Parker  5:57  
I guess I said that kind of flippantly. But like, I mean, in one way. Well, in one way, when I was thinking about it for myself, it's like, that's almost like my equation, right? I don't know, like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do the things I think, I think are important that I think better the world in the universe. If no one else, like cares about that, that's not me. I don't know that those affects me. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  6:29  
Yeah. I think, you know, I think that this, this notion of legacy, is also I think, people use it as proof, you know, for themselves, like, because, you know, whenever we get scared about something, whenever we have fear about something, we usually try to put up some fences of some sort, security, you know, security fences, or what have you. It's like, this fear of I just, I, what am I here for, like, I feel that that happens a lot, especially for people, when they're in the middle ages. People start to get afraid, you know, because they think. And of course, these are, these are time old conversations about midlife crises, you know, crises or however you say it. But that's, I think what the root of this is, I think, at the root of it has something to do with what the person thinks that they're doing in this world and halfway through, they're panicking or feeling depressed, because they don't really feel that they've made that much of an impact. Yeah. And I wonder if that impact has to? I think people define it in all sorts of ways Exactly. Like you said, their impact, like leaving money or things. Or, like they left an idea, or they left a concept or they left a movement. Sure, right. Yeah. Or they were part of a movement that was very significant. And this fear seems to wash over people at any certain times of their life lives. Maybe there's triggers for everybody. But when it comes from that place, I feel like that's a real gentle entry for me. Like, I feel like that's when it is worthy of a conversation. You know, it is interesting to talk to people about what's behind the fear of not, not leaving something. What's behind that, like, what are you picturing for yourself that you don't see manifesting? You know, like, to me, that's a more interesting way to talk about that word.

JJ Parker  8:41  
Yeah, I agree. We're going a lot of times when people talk about legacy, they are literally talking about like the monetary part of it. Yeah. Which is just one way to measure. Yeah, that's just like one measurement. There's lots of other measurements that are probably more impactful and more important.

Melissa Albers  9:04  
Yeah. Well, you have a pretty specific idea about money and legacy. I mean, you've always had a pretty strong which is an interesting belief, right? And it's, I don't know if you want to if you want to talk about

JJ Parker  9:17  
that, it doesn't matter.

Melissa Albers  9:20  

JJ Parker  9:22  
Yeah, I this my wife even struggled why wrote and a because, like, really, to me, like, like, I don't put a lot of value in legacy or really any like, or really any legacy. I think this like, stems from, like, my core belief that everything is temporary. Mm hm. Right. Mm. Hmm. Like everything. Yeah. So So

Melissa Albers  9:50  
that's interesting. So you're bringing it back to your, your spiritual belief?

JJ Parker  9:57  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So like in my model, of everything being temporary, even legacy is temporary. And you can I would have, I would argue you can see that in now. And, and, and that timeframe of temporary for a lot of things is really short.

Melissa Albers  10:14  
Yeah. Even like we have short, like even decades. Yeah, sure, right. Like

JJ Parker  10:18  
we have some legacy around, you know, presidents or different big events that are still happening. But the ones that happened 2000 years ago, are pretty much gotten there. Like maybe in a history book, right? But but then they're more portrayed is like this thing happened, right? More like events. Yeah. So like, for me, everything is temporary. So the, the idea that we actually work on establishing a thing that is going to fade, doesn't make a lot of sense.

Melissa Albers  10:58  
Okay, so now let's shake the tree. I'm going to talk I'm going to come from a completely different angle, which is, my spirituality says, Everything is forever, meaning energy. Energy is forever. Not stuff, not individuals, not personalities, not decisions, but energy is forever. And so for me, the way I look at it is I'm really not too worried about what kind of legacy I'm leaving. For after I go. I guess more of what I'm worried about is what am I leaving for energy? What am I leaving for every day now? And I know that might sound rather short sighted, but I don't mean for it to what I mean is, while I'm here, I feel like I have a responsibility to set a good tone set a good example. Be open show, by my example. My willingness to adapt to the changing environments.

JJ Parker  12:07  
But more in the present.

Melissa Albers  12:09  
Yeah, more in the present. Yeah, yeah.

JJ Parker  12:11  
I don't think you and I are saying too, too far off. Yeah. Maybe like my idea. Like, like, the legacy things are temporary. They'll they'll fade eventually. But you're saying like, why like what you're saying about affecting the right now? Because really, that's the only thing we can actually have any influence on. I totally agree. We can influence the past. We have a delusion that we can actually influence the future. Yes. Yeah. And the only thing we can actually do is affect what we're doing right now at this moment. Mm hmm. Yeah. And, and how we are right now.

Melissa Albers  12:48  
And and you know what, I think that takes a certain amount of courage, actually. I think it takes a certain amount of courage, I think it takes a certain amount of awareness about how you think and feel about things. Because it's really easy to get swept up in something other than that, you know, like, and you and I travel in circles, where, you know, some some folks have lots and lots of money. And, you know, they're constantly talking about how they're going to move this pile of money to go do that this pile of money is gonna go do this, and this pile of money is gonna make these other piles of money. And, and it becomes this mental haranguing game. Yeah. And which there's nothing wrong with that. There's, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's, it's fun, like playing with money as fun. So but the idea, though, that there are control mechanisms, or things tied to those piles is where I start to get I find myself backing out of the room quietly, even energetically like no, this isn't, this isn't where I'm at.

JJ Parker  13:52  
Yeah, why? Because a lot of that gets positioned as status symbols. And, and control. Yeah. And ways to like compare against other people. Yeah. Right. Which we're not fans of.

Melissa Albers  14:07  
Right. You know, though, again, like, and I think this is why people have a negative stigma around people that have a lot of money. You know, you hear people talk about you hear people talk about oh, he's just, you know, what a jerk. Look, he's got this big car, he's got this or he's got that. Well, in fact, that guy may be an absolutely wonderful person, but people have stigmas about that because there is so much tied to that idea. That money creates power control legacy that will continue on the name will stay, you know, whatever. I think I think that's where things get really bummed up.

JJ Parker  14:51  
Yeah. That is true. I mean, you can see that a lot right like where There's definitely a stereotype there. I've met lots of people who have lots of money and are extremely nice and well rounded apps. And I've met a lot that are just like, you're just like, that is a whole different world that I can't even engage

Melissa Albers  15:13  
in. Yeah, that's absolutely my point. But if you talk with the general population and ask, what's your initial reaction to? Right, this is where this is where people will have a natural reaction that may or may not even be accurate. Yeah, but I think it's, I think that's really an interesting thing, right? And so like, if you take, like, if you if you say, legacy, as you listed, as you know, one of the first the first definitions was leaving money in things. Yep. Right. That's what a lot of people think legacy is.

JJ Parker  15:48  
Yeah. Well, I think even in the dictionary, it's like literally the definition

Melissa Albers  15:52  
of Did you. Of course, you looked it up. Now. Of course, I

JJ Parker  15:55  
was. Just like, you and I were talking about this the other day, this? I guess, my view on money. Yeah. Right. Don't forget to separate podcasts on it. But like, my quick my quick definition or my the way I see money, yeah. Is that all money is is stored up time? Oh, yes. Right. Yeah. Money. To me. Money is time. Right. Yeah. Because, like, the thing I use money for is to like, not just do the thing myself, right. Like, yeah, if I wanted a house, I could certainly like cut down trees, and then build milling machines and create two by fours and like build a house and forge nails and do the whole thing. Right. But it takes way too long. I don't have that much time nails, feet like, so I use money to like accelerate the process. Right. Yeah. So to me what I think about having a lot of money. Mm hmm. I actually think of it more like I have a lot of time I've stored up a lot of time. Hmm. Right. And I can use this paper. Yeah. To trade to trade time. Hmm. And after I'm dead, what good is that? Any of that time? Oh, that's the best you could do is give more time to someone else. Right. So if you look at money, like trading time, yeah. It's an interesting perspective.

Melissa Albers  17:26  
Well, I love that perspective. And I would add to it too. For me, I think that is one exchange. The other I think is energy. I think money is nothing more than an energetic exchange. It's just paper. It's just paper, right? You know, like, if you ever want to like, yeah, we're getting off topic, but we should do a podcast on money, because that's really fun. But yeah, like, if you ever want to talk about that, it's like you. If you ever wonder like how you're very, very attached to money, like go to a different country that the exchange rate is so different. You can't figure out what money means, then you actually get to burn up. You know, like, how it really works, how the world really works.

JJ Parker  18:05  
We were traveling once and there was this. There's this like, kind of cool painting, or like, Ooh, yeah, well, we should get that painting. And it was like $20, right? Yeah. And it just like a little sort of souvenir thing. Yeah, we got hold on. Like, why is it? Why do I have this charge on my credit card for $200? Cuz we had, like, messed up the exchange rate. I like that IMAX. Right. Wait, we want to pay $200 for this thing. Oh, my God, it was okay.

Melissa Albers  18:36  
That's hilarious. Oh, so glad you didn't buy a car.

JJ Parker  18:41  
We ended up loving the thing. So it's worth it. Yeah. It told us to hug in our house. Yeah,

Melissa Albers  18:45  
it is. But I just really liked this, you know, this, I think this conversation should be a good conversation for people to just sort of sit with this idea of what did they define legacy as first of all, not their own but just generally speaking, like, what do they define legacy as and, and it would be really interesting to do an exercise to start listing out what things you thought were going to be your legacy? Or how much energy on a scale of one to 10 Is that important to you or not? And it's really important to you. I think it would be very interesting to think about why, what's behind that? Is it truly altruistic, like for me, like whatever I'm, you know, whatever I make for money, I don't even think about it. It's like, I'll just make more like, I do think like that. It's kind of a big joke, because, you know, it took me four CPAs to find a good one that could manage me and helped me understand money better. I was just like, I'll go make it you just figure out what to do with it.

JJ Parker  19:50  
Finally, I met with my financial advisor the other day and he's like, you're super frustrating. Quiet cuz you literally have no goals and you don't want to leave any legacy. cooler jobs easy.

Melissa Albers  20:03  
And you still get the same percentages, isn't that? Yeah, right. Why are you complaining? But when you consider what your own legacy is, I think, you know, to really understand what's behind that. Is it fear? And if it's fear, what is it fear of? And if it's not fear, if it's generosity? Um, you know, that's a different story. You know, like, if it's coming from a place of, of not constriction, but of growth rate of expansion. It is an interesting topic for sure. Yeah.

JJ Parker  20:33  
And I love what you said this, this idea that you could reframe legacy from not a thing that's happening in the future. Yeah. But it's a thing that's happening right now in this moment,

Melissa Albers  20:45  
right? Yeah. Because the truth of the matter is, just like you said, that's all we are is right in this moment. That's all we actually have. And, you know, there's so many times in, in coaching moments where people are like, well, this is what I want. I just want to be a better leader. I want to be a better husband, I want to be a better parent. But that aspirational want is what you're putting out in the universe that that it's not here for you right now. It's only a future in which means you'll never ever hit your future. So by turning that into an I think this topic is no different. It's like turning that into, but what are you doing even in this moment that's already creating that and while that feels better to I think I think that feels really good to think about like,

JJ Parker  21:29  
Yeah, like that.

Melissa Albers  21:32  
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Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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