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What Will You Be Remembered For?

The sudden death of someone has a way of forcing you to think about your own life and the things you value most.

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I was stunned by the news yesterday of the passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other lives lost.  Kobe represented many things to many people, and the extent of his impact is just now beginning to come to light.

The loss of someone like Kobe-who always seemed to have such a larger than life presence-is a brutal reminder of how fragile and fleeting life can be.  One of the saddest parts for me has been reading more about his work, and learning that his real greatness may have just been beginning.

Without question, Kobe was a generational talent and all-time great in his field.  Growing up, he was THE athlete my friends and I would try to embody when we played basketball.  If there was a paper ball to be thrown away from a distance, you better believe his name was shouted upon release (I still catch myself doing this sometimes).

As the world mourns his death, what’s been striking to me is how his life is being remembered.  The countless tributes in large part aren’t about his unmatched work ethic, will to win, or greatness on the court.  

They’re about who he was as a person.  As a loyal teammate, as an advocate for the advancement of women’s sports, and most of all as a loving father.  

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If there’s any silver lining in this, it’s the opportunity to stop for a minute and take an honest look at your own life.  Consider how you’d want to be remembered by the people closest to you.  

Are you living a life right now that reflects that vision? 

At the end of the day, I think our legacy is less about our accomplishments and more about how we showed up each day as human beings.  There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to achieve professional success, but it’s the qualitative things-how kind, authentic, reliable, generous, etc you were-that you will ultimately be remembered for.

My FinTwit pal Jeremy Walter summed this up perfectly in a thoughtful blog post last year:  

“Our resources, our money, our assets, our time are all tools that demonstrate what we value most highly.  How we use them shows others-positively or negatively-what’s important to us.  And that’s what they’ll remember.”

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As events like this remind us, tomorrow is never guaranteed when it comes to your life.  

Live and love every moment of it, and stop telling yourself that after “X” happens then you’ll make an effort to be that person.   Start living it today. 

You never know just how long you have to make your impact on the world.




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Brett Koeppel is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Buffalo, NY and the Founder/President of Eudaimonia Wealth, a Buffalo, NY fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm.  As a fee-only, fiduciary registered investment advisor, Eudaimonia Wealth provides independent, objective financial planning and investment management to help families gain financial clarity by aligning money and purpose in their lives.

[Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash]