The motivating force behind aging and how it propels the elite to grow exponentially.

By William Thomas Knight

 If today was your last day on earth, what would you be remembered for?

Each day we’re one step closer to the end, but until we recognize the signs of aging or the reality of death, we don’t confront our mortality.

And yet, this is a fundamental difference that separates the merely successful from the extraordinary.

Not only do some of the most successful executives, philanthropists, and leaders confront their mortality, but they use signs of aging or the passing of a loved one as fuel to strengthen their fire.

Steve Jobs, fighting health issues, began to confront his mortality daily. Others, such as Warren Buffet, made their greatest contributions to society in response to a loved one passing away.

What will be your wakeup call? What follows is a simple way to envision your future, refuel your desire, and leave a mark on this world that you are proud of.

Clarity of Purpose

It all comes back to goal setting. Ask a group of 100 business professionals and the majority will have an idea of what they’re expected to achieve in their career (as in company or team-imposed expectations.) About a quarter will have their own career-related goals. Less than 10% will have goals that span their career, health, relationships, and more. And, the top 1% will know exactly what they want and the legacy they want to leave behind. Which one are you?

It is clarity of purpose and your goals in life that makes decision making and focused effort simple.

As I work with executives, I’m often surprised to see the number of people who have a clear direction and meaningful purpose in their lives. But truth be told, I’ve fallen victim to indecision and lack of direction in my own life. Haven’t we all?

Often we’ll find that if we are unhappy in an area of our life, it is because we are either unclear about what we want (our career, for example, or a relationship), or we know what we want and don’t yet have it.

In order to prevent such a scenario, take a distraction-free moment to ask yourself the following question: What do you want to be remembered for?

You may find the answer is not so simple. More often than not, it will take time to reflect. Days and even weeks may pass as ideas flow to you during quiet moments, continually forming a response.

As you continue to form and clarify your response, there is one caveat: Don’t limit yourself. If you limit your vision, you will limit your legacy.

Don’t wait until your health falters, a loved one passes, or until the end of your life. The sooner we clarify how we want to be remembered and the type of legacy we want to leave, the more energy and ferocity we will have to embrace each day and make sure every one of them counts.

Be part of the 1%. Leave obscurity behind and build your legacy. There is a certain beauty to aging, understanding first hand that our mortality is real, knowing an unknown deadline looms…and that we must do everything in our power to make our vision a reality. Before it’s too late.

William Thomas Knight is the founder of Elite Executive, a coaching program that helps business leaders avoid burnout so that they can lead their industry and achieve balance.