This is my dad, Nana Nyantakyi Amponsem II. His legacy type is The Pathfinder.
He is 84 and a very successful retired Ghanaian lawyer, politician, philanthropist, entrepreneur, chief, and banker. As we are now in October, (traditionally Black History Month here in the UK) and as we mourn our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, it set me thinking on one issue that we as leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners often relegate to the back of our mental queue.
Legacy is a strange word. It’s had so many definitions and has been used in so many contexts, that it’s almost lost its original meaning.
We often think of legacy solely in terms of someone who’s passed or died and left some money, business or property in a will.
But the truth is legacy goes way beyond that. We are leaving a legacy every day, every moment with any decision and contact that we make.
This thought struck me hard in the last three months or so.
Working as a freelance pharmacist with a medium pharmacy group, we took on a contract with the NHS to join the national vaccination effort in the UK against flu and the coronavirus.
Over the past year, I have personally vaccinated, or directly supervised the vaccination of tens of thousands of people who have bravely and stoically travelled sometimes hundreds of miles to have the jab.
And my contact with every one of them has been literally one minute or less. But that one minute had the potential to completely change or save their lives.
Isn’t that what legacy is about?
Leaving something from you that can potentially change somebody else’s life?
For every customer that buys your product, uses your service, hears your podcast, reads your story on social media, listens to you speak, or meets you at a gig, you are leaving a little bit of your legacy.
Life is full of little legacies.
In my #1 bestselling book, Pay The Price: Creating Ethical Entrepreneurial Success Through Passion, Pain, and Purpose
, I argue that there are two categories of legacy an entrepreneur can leave – A Power Legacy OR a Place Legacy.
The Power Legacy describes a situation in which the CEO or entrepreneur’s legacy rests solely on his achievements apart from the company.
The Place Legacy describes a situation in which the CEO or entrepreneur is remembered primarily for what the company has achieved. In other words, she is remembered for what brought her fame in the first place.
Within these two legacy types, the entrepreneur or leader can leave a good or bad legacy.
So from these fundamental categories, we can discern four legacy types as summarised in the Legacy Grid 2 below:
So, as an entrepreneur, a coach, a business owner, a CEO, or a leader, do you ever think of
the legacy you're leaving?
My dad has. As well as being a very successful entrepreneur, lawyer, and politician, he has been an excellent husband, and a brilliant father not only to my brother and me, but to hundreds of poor Ghanaian children to whom he and my mother have provided education, shelter, encouragement, mentorship, and financial help. Not to mention the hundreds of pro-bono cases he has taken on where the clients could not afford to pay the legal fees.
So as Wharton professor and best-selling author Adam Grant says:
The ultimate test of success is not whether you’re proud of what you have achieved. It's whether you’re proud of who you’ve become. Accomplishments highlight your skills. Relationships highlight your values. If excellence is what you do, then the character is what you do for others.
The Pathfinder legacy = Excellence + Character. This is the legacy we should all strive for. The raison d’etre of success. Just like Nana Nyantakyi Amponsem II. My 84-year-old dad. PS. To learn more about how you can leave a pathfinder legacy, be sure to check out my new #1 bestseller, Pay The Price which gives an extensive framework, complete with questions and reflections, on the topic of ethical entrepreneurship, success, and legacy. On offer now at Amazon:
The Pathfinder legacy = Excellence + Character.
This is the legacy we should all strive for. The raison d’etre of success.
Just like Nana Nyantakyi Amponsem II.
My 84-year-old dad.
PS. To learn more about how you can leave a pathfinder legacy, be sure to check out my new #1 bestseller, Pay The Price which gives an extensive framework, complete with questions and reflections, on the topic of ethical entrepreneurship, success, and legacy. On offer now at Amazon:
And Waterstones and Barnes & Noble, Inc.