I can’t remember if I planted the Century Plant behind my house or if it was here when I moved in. But this plant has thrived in the 15 years I’ve lived in this home.
I mean…it’s huge!
And now…after all this time… it’s going to bloom. That fact is, one one hand, super exciting. On the other hand, it’s enormously sad.
Here’s the thing about Century Plants: Once they bloom, they die.
The Big Moment
Also known as American Aloe, the Century Plant plants grow for 10 to 20 years, always working toward this big moment when they develop a bloom—one bloom. Not just any flower, though.
The Century Plant’s bloom rises as a bud from the center of the plant on a stalk that grows about a foot a day (or so it seems to me) until the stem towers 15 to 20 feet in the air. And then the bud opens into many branches with greenish or yellowish flowers.
When the blooms die, the plant itself promptly withers away.
The Century Plant’s Legacy
But the Century Plant doesn’t die and leave nothing behind to remind anyone of its great last act. Nor does it take all its magnificence and presence when it goes, leaving nothing behind.
It leaves behind a root system that produces smaller versions of itself—small Century Plants that will, like the parent, grow and, eventually, bloom. They, too, will put all the years of their lives and the energy they possess toward growing strong and large—8 to 10 feet wide and tall—and to produce their life’s work…that one bloom. They strive to fulfill their purpose…to offer the world something truly amazing and leave a legacy.
What is Your Life’s Work?
The Century Plant’s pre-death bloom is its life’s work. Yet, that work will go on after it dies in the form of the tiny plants that will grow in its place.
Knowing that I began thinking about my own life’s work. What is it?
I touch a lot of people and make a difference through my coaching. If I coach well and successfully, I see the results of that work—people who live fully, become the best versions of themselves, achieve their potential and purpose, and make a difference. This is my legacy.
I believe, however, that my more significant contribution might be through my writing—these blog posts and the books I write. They will remain behind to be read long after I am gone. And, the books I’ve written to date about writing and publishing will spawn new authors—new books—that will make a positive and meaningful difference in the world with their books.
What is your life’s work? Do you know?
What Legacy Will You Leave?
I think it’s important to consider the legacy we leave…for our children, friends, and family, the world. Keep in mind, however, that legacy is often equated to money, like an inheritance, but it can be so much more.
Recently, I’ve realized that, while my kids have little interest in reading these blog posts now, one day—maybe when I’m gone—they will be interested in what I had to say. Each post is part of my legacy. The same can be said of my books.
What legacy will you leave behind?
Rise Like a Phoenix
My Century Plant’s life, death, and legacy remind me of the Phoenix. In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that cyclically regenerates or is born again. Its transition is made by going up in flames. Yet, a new life arises from the ashes of its predecessor.
I’m not suggesting that you go up in flames as part of doing your life’s work or even that you need to die immediately after producing your most significant contribution or creation. I’m not saying you must remove yourself to make space for others to follow and thrive. I am suggesting that you think carefully about what you want to do with your life and the impact you want it to have on others—now and after your death.
What is something you want to accomplish—something big—that will define you and your time on this earth? Consider how that work will impact others. How can you bloom in a beautiful and significant way while also lay the groundwork—the root system or ashes—that allow others to thrive and fulfill their potential and purpose?
Then let that aspiration drive your actions in this lifetime. Make your life meaningful and your creations gloriously impactful, so others feel inspired to step into their own glory and leave a legacy as well. Work toward your most important creation, and let it live on in some important way.
what will be your largest achievement and the legacy that arises out of it? Tell me in a comment below.
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If you are struggling to grow into your best self, give something important to the world, and leave a legacy, it’s time to take action. It’s time to bloom! Give me an hour of your time, and I’ll help you see how to move toward fulfilling your potential and purpose so you make a positive and meaningful difference in this lifetime. Apply for a one-hour FREE Certified High Performance Coaching strategy session. Fill out this application.
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