The Reader’s Digest published a list of “The 60 Most Ridiculous Excuses People Actually Used to Get Out of Work.” It includes an employee who called in sick because “bats got in her hair,” another who “broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich,” and one who had to “attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.”

Sometimes showing up is hard work – especially when it means working on matters of the heart. Likewise, many people want to leave a legacy that inspires and impacts, but they’d rather avoid doing the tough work of actually building one.

A “legacy” is more than leaving behind an inheritance or the “good stuff” you’ll be remembered for. According to author Bill High, true legacy is “building intentionally into others with a vision for the future instead of choosing the course of least resistance.” It starts by:

  1. Doing hard work. Author Lyndsay Green recommends doing a ‘legacy exercise’ of asking yourself uncomfortable questions like “If life abruptly ended, what responsibilities and commitments would be left dangling? What messes – concrete and emotional – would I want sorted out?”
  2. Cutting through excuses. Many people don’t create a will or talk to their families about important topics because they assume there’s plenty of time, it might be awkward, or it’ll ‘all just work out in the end.’ But anything left undone will only cause heartache. Getting serious about your legacy means you may have to push past the excuses holding you back.
  3. Being intentional. Just like creating an estate plan requires evaluating your assets and getting your affairs in order, leaving a legacy with heart means you decide to tell your loved ones what you believe, how special they are to you, and why you support organizations that align with your values.