Joe Paterno - Why His Living Legacy Will Out Weigh His Asterisk

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Robert Michael Fried's new book, Igniting Your True Purpose and Passion, highlights the need to create a living legacy.

Joe Paterno Legacy

Creating A Legacy

Time has a way of restoring the legacy of people who did many good deeds while they were living and certainly the sum of Paterno's significant contributions to thousands of young people will eventually restore the legacy he reached while he lived.

The recent passing of legendary football coach Joe Paterno has caused many of us to take a step back and reflect on our legacy and how we will be remembered long after we've passed from this earth.

According to Robert Michael Fried’s best-selling book, Igniting Your True Purpose and Passion, “We need to lay the foundation for our legacy while we're still living”. Fried refers to this as achieving a “living legacy”.

However, Joe Paterno is a classic example of living legacy gone awry. For most of his 85 years, Paterno served as the ultimate role model on how to run a clean the winning football program while at the same time giving back handsomely to his Happy Valley, Pennsylvania community. His ardent followers embraced him fully by making him a well-respected icon, replete with an on-campus statue in his honor. But according to Fried, "If you live long enough, life is bound to throw you some knuckleballs along the way". Joe Paterno’s legacy has been at least temporarily tarnished by his admitted failure to do everything in his power to bring the Jerry Sandusky child molestation incident out into the open, so as to achieve a quick and just resolution. While that legacy will be marked with an asterisk, according to Fried, "Time has a way of restoring the legacy of people who did many good deeds while they were living and certainly the sum of Paterno's significant contributions to thousands of young people will eventually restore the legacy he reached while he lived".

If Joe Paterno would have only remembered to focus on the first two of Robert Fried’s Seven Jumpstarts To Create Your Living Legacy back on that day in 2002, when he downplayed the alert of the molestation, his legacy would have ended heroically with an exclamation point instead of an asterisk.

Seven Jumpstarts To Create Your Living Legacy

1. Define your core values – Decide what you stand for and correspondingly what you will not stand for.
2. Define what matters most – Get in touch with your vision or purpose bigger than yourself.
3. Write your own epitaph or obituary – How do you want to be most remembered and by whom?
4. Pinpoint where your legacy will come from – Sometimes history makes the man, but in most cases your legacy will come in four areas: your family, charitable giving, everyday good deeds, or in many cases your work. Pinpoint a specific area and live your legacy.
5. Find a higher meaning – Understand your basic skills sets. Do what you do well and view your job in a higher context.
6. Watch an inspirational movie – One good way to get in touch with your legacy is to watch a movie that inspirers you to help others. Movies like Blindside, The Pursuit of Happiness, It’s a Wonderful Life, Schindler’s List, Gandhi, and The Color of Purple might help lead you to your legacy trough.
7. Create a rippling effect – Visualize how your good deeds and core values can add value to a succession of others after you have left this planet.

Robert Michael Fried is co-founder of Thirdwind; a company dedicated to helping people achieve true success by making meaning as well as money. He is the best selling author of Igniting Your True Purpose and Passion. As a marketing executive, he guided the strategic direction for companies like Motorola, Hansen’s Natural, bebe eyewear, Marantz stereo, the Planet line of environmentally friendly products, and several emerging Silicon Valley firms.

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