“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” —Shannon L. Alder
As I progress through the years, I find that I am often more reflective on my life, my journey and ultimately my impact on the world and population around me. Like many before me, I wonder if I am leaving a legacy, an imprint, a path for others to follow, or just dissolving to dust like my ancestors before me.
I think about how the development of Doobert, which started as a tool to help me keep track of my own rescue flights, has blossomed into a technical portal connecting hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers together in a common goal…to save more animals. But is Doobert truly a legacy or simply a tool that helped along the way and consumed my passion and restless energy on the weekends? By my definition, a legacy is something that is lasting, sustaining, and a foundation that future generations can build upon. With the rapid and constant change of technology, it may be easier to replace Doobert with something more advanced than to continue building upon it after I pass.
Have you stopped to consider the legacy that you are leaving in animal rescue? What happens when you are personally out of the picture? Will your organization continue to thrive under the solid path and trajectory that you implemented for the future, or will they quickly fold and dissolve like the hundreds of animal rescue charities that fold up shop every year? How do you leave a mark that is lasting, genuine, unique and foundational?
I invite you to pause and reflect right now on the development of your legacy in animal rescue. If you were to pass tomorrow, would people remember you a month or a year from now or would they return to their daily lives only remembering your memory when reminded by the date of your passing. Do you capture your best practices and lessons learned and more importantly share them with your peers and the next generation of rescuers, or do you hold your secrets close in this competitive world of fighting for donors, volunteers and adopters? Do you invite collaboration, criticism and learning? Do you proactively challenge yourself and your peers to think innovatively and do things differently?