Be Like Ray – Know & Appreciate Your Legacy


What do you think of when you hear “The Wizard of Oz”?

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!”

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

Or do you start singing “If I only had a brain….”

I loved the Scarecrow. The whole time he longed for a brain, but he was the one throughout their journey that pretty much had all the ideas!

Ray Bolger, the wonderful actor who portrayed the Scarecrow was once asked if he was upset that he did not receive royalties for the movie. His response was wonderful:

I have something better, immortality

That is his legacy, and what a legacy it is.

Now is the time of year that many take stock of the ending year, then look to the next with enthusiasm and perhaps a new sense of purpose. If you are one to make resolutions, might I suggest that they be based on this one question: what is your legacy? Or better yet – what do you want your legacy to be?

A summary of a dictionary definition of legacy is a gift or something left behind to others. What are you giving to others, what are you leaving them with, what gifts are you giving them?

As a contributor – what gifts are you giving your teammates and your clients?

As a leader – what gifts are you giving your team and your organization?

As an individual – what gifts are giving to your family and friends?

Your legacy is not limited to one aspect of your life. It spans across all those that you come into contact with and beyond. The most important starting point is this question:

What are you giving yourself.

If you do not take care of yourself, treat yourself as valuable, how can you add value to anyone else?

Start refocusing on you by practicing these attributes:

  • Know thyself – be honest about your strengths, set goals and believe in a vision.
  • Encourage and uplift – Set stretch goals and provide encouragement and a roadmap for achieving them.
  • Communicate clearly – let there be no ambiguity in what you expect and what you will do. Stay focused.
  • Set boundaries – be clear on what is acceptable and what is not and but your bite behind your bark.
  • Appreciate fully – genuinely give thanks when thanks are due. Celebrate victories no matter how small and use them to inspire.
  • Be human – ask for help when needed, don’t get tripped up on mistakes – use them to learn. Empathize. Take a step back to look at the whole picture. Remember you are not superhuman – great things are achieved with collaboration.
  • Believe – in yourself, in the greater good, in your vision, in others, in the possibilities.

Practice these with yourself and you can then transition them to others. In doing so, you will leave a truly great legacy.


A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish – to find out more about how we can help you.

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