Lessons in Legacy From a Surprising Source

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I was having a pretty good morning. You know, I liked my outfit. I felt pretty pulled together. I even preplanned my day and remembered to bring a lunch to work.

I was ready.

Let’s Do This

I led my first meeting for a summer program, it went well and the team seemed excited. Then, I had a meeting with another staff member as we planned some future events.

All was well in my world.

“You’ve got this. You are rocking today.” I said to myself with confidence.

Then, I went to the office kitchen to make a coffee. As I was chatting with a work friend, she looked down at my feet.

Then this.

This happened. Two unmatched shoes. One on each foot.


All of a sudden, I was actually the least pulled together person on the planet. Slightly consoled by the fact that none of the 10 people I had seen in my meetings had noticed. But still, completely mortified.

Who does this?

Who wears two different-colored shoes to work and doesn’t even notice until 11 a.m.?


I do this.

I wish I could say this was the first time anything like this has happened to me, but honestly this is actually part of who I am. I’ve left town with all the keys (husbands love that), I’ve chased rolling cans of peanuts under cars in parking lots, I’ve tried to start cars that weren’t mine, I’ve lost bank cards into the dash of my car, put groceries in a stranger’s cart, walked into vaguely branded men’s bathrooms, and in my most horrifying moment I almost went live on national television with the full leg-size sticker running down the front of my new pixie pants.

I do this.

This Is Who I Am

But it’s not all I am.

I know I’ll be remembered for some of my Shelly-isms, but I’m determined to make my legacy about more than mismatched shoes, inside-out shirts and unfortunately placed leg stickers.

We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control who we are in all our situations. Every reaction, every response, every word is all part of our legacy.

We are creating legacy each and every day.

I used to think legacy was just something we left behind, but more and more I think legacy is about the present. How we live our lives each day. One day we will all be remembered by those who loved us, and we can help shape that by intentionally living a legacy-filled life now. We can purposefully participate in what we want our legacy to look like.

We have a choice in how we love, how we serve, what we say, the way we respond, what we value, where we spend our time—everything we do is our legacy.

And while I want to leave a good one behind when I go, I want to intentionally live legacy life each day now.

Legacy living is a choice.

Let’s choose to let our life speak loud for who we are.

Maybe you’ll have some mismatched shoes along the way.

Or people staring at you as you run through a restaurant.

That’s OK.

We will always leave something behind, but we can choose who we want to be now.

#chooselegacynow {eoa}

Shelly Calcagno is a Toronto-based author, blogger and speaker.

This article originally appeared at shellycalcagno.com.

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