You will leave a legacy…a distinct mark, a unique fingerprint representative of your life’s existence.
Therefore, the question is not whether you’ll leave a legacy or mark, but rather…what legacy and mark you will leave?
Your legacy comprises of both ends and means. Is winning really winning when you are ashamed of how victory came?
The means by which you move through your life provide the working platform that supports your goals.
Style, courtesy, honesty, integrity, excellence and respect — these are the qualities that make for an inspiring legacy…these are the behaviors deserving of an exclamation mark.
The three end marks of punctuation tell the reader that a sentence has reached its final destination.
A sentence can only end with a period (.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation mark (!).
The same principle applies to your daily behaviors as well as your legacy.
Your final destination will have a time and date stamp that can only end with a period (.), a question mark (?), or an exclamation point (!).
A period at the end of a sentence does not garner much attention, nor stand out in any unique way…and a period at the end of your life sends the same message.
It means that there’s not much on the highlight reel, nothing of real significance…for the most part your life will be largely irrelevant, and certainly no reason for anyone to model and pay attention to.
In the words of, Oliver Wendell Holmes… “Most people go to their graves with their music still inside them.” That’s the embodiment of ending your life with a period.
A question mark at the end of a sentence calls for, in fact demands deeper interrogation of a point or topic.
I assure you that the last thing you want to do is have your life, reputation and legacy consumed with questions marks.
What were you so afraid of?
Why were you always late, unprepared and uncooperative?
Why did you favor making excuses, and blaming others rather than taking responsibility for your life?
Why did you settle for mediocrity when you were capable of greatness?
Why did you spend your life in a dead end job instead of pursuing your passion?
Why on earth did you not make your health a priority?
The greatest form of betrayal is self-betrayal. When we lie to ourselves, when we live without character, courage and conviction…when we settle for less, lower our expectations and sell ourselves short…we undermine our strength, discredit our own reputation and place a stain on our legacy that no amount of bleach could ever remove.
Do not under any circumstances put yourself in a defensive position where someone can question your character, integrity, professionalism, intentions, loyalties or work ethic.
EXCLAMATION OVER EXPLANATION
That leaves you with one choice…the exclamation mark.
An exclamation mark is a mark of distinction, something of importance, highly relevant and deserving of your time and attention.
Your life is your message to the world. Make it inspiring. Make it Big. Make it Fun…and by all means make it count, by making everything count.
If you want to make your mark on the world, you need to use the exclamation mark as your guide as there will never be a day of your life that does not provides numerous opportunities to showcase your greatness, unleash your passion, to lift someone’s spirits, to demonstrate gratitude and to advance your mission.
Choose to live out loud by placing an exclamation mark at the end of everything you think, say and do…as everything can be done in the spirit of excellence…and I mean everything.
We will all leave behind a digital fingerprint, our own unique identifier…one that’s either inspiring and something to live up to, or one that’s disappointing, that brings shame and which will be hard for others to live down.
We all continue in some way to participate in the lives of others when we are gone. Just what will that participation be? What inspiring example or unique mark have you made, or what stain are you leaving behind?
Be mindful that you get to decide what legacy you leave behind…you get to write, direct and star in your own movie…you get to get choose what distinct and unique mark that you’re going to make on the world.
You only live once, but once is enough if you do it right. Therefore, live your life with class, dignity, and style so that an exclamation, rather than a question mark, signifies it.