From the Desk Of.. James Earl
2020 – January:
From the Desk Of…
James Earl, MPA, LBSW
Cancer Care Services Program Director
What does “legacy” mean to you? How do we define it? How do we quantify it? I don’t believe any of us truly have the answer to these questions since legacies typically are defined at the end of a career or journey, or posthumously.
However, what if leaving our legacy could mean something more immediate? What if we defined it as “witnessing our efforts manifest in others”? In this context, we actively build our legacy, one day at a time, every day.
This concept was unknown to me until I attended a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshop late last year. There, the idea of a legacy – my legacy – would be redefined.
The expression “passing the torch” references ancient Greek relay races, in which a lighted torch was passed from one runner to the next. In modern days, it typically refers to a person transferring responsibilities or leadership to the next person or generation. But a “handoff” implies that only one torch can burn at any given time. I’ve always thought of it this way, too. But at this workshop, one of the speakers stated that she “wasn’t ‘passing the torch’ because, instead, she’s lighting more torches every day.”
What a great lesson that was: you don’t have to retire, die, or stop doing something to build a legacy that will last for years after you’re done. Instead, why not empower yourself to live your legacy today AND light the torch for others to do the same? I will.