Have You Thought about Your Legacy?

“Passing Place” copyright, Craig Shillam

Have you thought about your legacy? Do you care about your legacy? Should you care? Does it even matter?

You are probably leaving a legacy whether you have thought about it or not, whether you care or not. Whether you are a visual artist, blogger, sculptor, musician, animator, designer, sign artist, or a dogcatcher, you are going to leave a legacy. The question is what kind of legacy?

Think about Your Legacy

If you never accomplish a whole lot professionally, but you are a great parent, when it’s all said and done, that’s a huge part of your legacy. If you are a “successful” professional, and a lousy person, that is also part of your legacy.

So If your going to have a legacy whether you try to or not, Why not think about what kind of legacy you want to leave to your family and your world?

What Kind of Legacy do You Want to Leave?

What ever your professional endeavor is, there is probably a little piece of it that you can stash away for your kids, grand kids, or the public that can benefit you and your family after you have retired or when you are gone. Photo’s, notes, original art, prints, a non- published work,  a song, something of your career that you save for the future, that can be enjoyed, admired, marketed, or passed on to future generations.  

If you have a fairly long career in your chosen field, most likely your going to meet some interesting people and work on some out of the ordinary projects that are going to turn out well. A lot of the day to day work can be a grind at times, with deadlines to meet, people to talk to, and problems to solve. Not very glamorous, and not every project is gonna be a masterpiece. But there will be those moments, those projects that evolve and become very successful, that you will be proud of, that people will see and love. On those projects especially, the ones that you really love, that are successful, try and grab a piece of those for your legacy bank. Whether it’s as simple as a photo, a rough draft, a piece of art, a personal item that you can sign, something, to save for the future. As the years go by, these will be valuable to your family and possibly others who have followed your career.

An artist that I admire greatly died recently. I never met him, but I have collected books, magazine articles, auction catalogs, etc. about him and his work. I wrote to him and he wrote me back, so I have two hand written letters from this great artist. I traded some of my own art for a watercolor painting by this same artist.  So now he is gone, and what is left behind from an art perspective? His artistic legacy of great, original paintings. I am aware that his family has their own collection, which is also apart of his legacy. This is just one example of a legacy for an artist. You could have people watching your art and your career and you don’t even know it.

A Legacy is More than just Memories

I’m sure if you sat down and thought about it, you could think of people in your own life that have made a lasting impression on you, good or bad. Those are more memories than legacies. I want to get you thinking about making an effort to cement you legacy where and how you want it, and not leave it to somebody else. Create your own legacy, just like you define your own success.

           Ways to Leave a Legacy with little or no money

1. Be a good parent and spouse – Your love and compassion will endure through them.

2. Give of your time – Be a mentor,volunteer, coach, or teacher.  Make an impact and they will love you forever.

3. Life Insurance – One of the most unselfish things you could ever buy, it could mean the world when your gone.

4. A Will and/or a Trust – Make sure you call the shots, even after your gone. Don’t leave a mess for others to clean up.

5. Write a Journal or a Life Highlight Book – Imagine having a highlight book of your parents’ lives, and the story’s it could tell! You wouldn’t have to guess.

6. Leave something special you created – You made it and know one else. Make sure it’s nice.

7. Hug your children every day – You only have them for a short time, but they need you forever.

Ways to Leave A Legacy if You have some Money

8. Leave some money – You can dictate how much and when with a trust and a plan.

9. Give to Charity – There’s a lot of people that could use a helping hand.

10. Land – A piece of land, or a cabin perhaps, passed down through the years, how cool is that.

11. Travel – Take your family traveling and show them what else is out there.

12. Education – If you can afford to educate your children well, while not guaranteed, could greatly improve the lives of any future grandchildren.

I can think of other ways to leave a lasting legacy, a website, a book, a collection, etc., but I think the above is enough to get your mind thinking about your own legacy, if you want to that is. I think you should.

Parting Shot – Do you have any other ideas on leaving a lasting legacy? If you do, how about leaving a comment? I plan to go into depth on some the topics listed above in future articles, so if that’s of interest to you, be sure and subscribe. It’s easy, simple, and free. In the meantime, how about giving some thought to your legacy?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Craig Shillam


  1. great article, keep it up!

  2. Found your web blog through Reddit. You know I will be subscribing to your rss feed.


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