John Climaco | Defining Your Legacy As An Entrepreneur

Mental Models, Performance, Business & Entrepreneurship |

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Defining Your Legacy As An Entrepreneur

Whether you are a new entrepreneur just starting to spread your wings, or a seasoned vet of the game, it is vitally important to have a big why.

Why are you doing everything you’re doing? Why put in all the extra effort? What stops you from giving up when things get difficult? This goes beyond just having a ‘goal.’ We are talking about the ultimate goal – your legacy.

Legacy is a very powerful concept. It is ‘the thing’ that will remain after you are gone. It’s the final impression that you leave behind. How people talk about you, and how many people talk about you when you are dead and gone; that’s your legacy. 

In our amazing, thought-provoking conversation, John Climaco and I dove deep into how his company is on the brink of developing revolutionary new treatments for malignancies in the brain and nervous system. This lead us to discuss life, the ‘bigger picture,’ and of course, we talked a lot about Legacy.

John has an amazing story, and his vision for success is an inspiration. 

It inspired me to dive deeper into this topic for this article. I see so many entrepreneurs struggling, and gaining this new perspective can make a big difference. So, let’s get into it.

Why Define Your Legacy As An Entrepreneur? 

This is a very valid question. With the endless to-do list of tasks on your plate as an entrepreneur, why should you take the time to understand and define your legacy?

The answer is very simple: because it really matters.

Your legacy goes beyond the superficiality of money or success. It taps into a deeper desire inside of you. It is the legacy of innovation, creativity, and action that you leave behind.  It is the legacy of your values and beliefs, the legacy of your successes and failures, and the legacy of your relationships with others. 

Your legacy is about how you touched people’s lives, how you made a difference in the world, how you shared your knowledge and experience, and how you inspired others.

Defining your legacy is essential because it narrows your focus and direction. 

Having a well-defined legacy helps to remind you of your purpose and why you are doing what you are doing. It helps to keep you motivated and on track when things get tough. It is also a great way to stay inspired and to keep striving towards something greater. 

Being able to fall back onto a meaningful legacy will give you the courage and strength to keep going, even when the going gets tough.

Studies have shown that having a defined entrepreneurial legacy helps to keep companies more innovative, more connected, and more successful. 

How To Define Your Legacy As An Entrepreneur?

It seriously surprises me how many leaders don’t spend enough time thinking about their legacy. Most are caught in ‘fire-fighter’ mode, constantly reacting to problems and obstacles that come up in the day-to-day operations. It is vital to start getting proactive in your day versus always being reactive.

When you get proactive, you start setting the tone of the day. You stop having anxious, reactive energy, and start projecting confident, driven energy. Defining your legacy helps immensely with this. It gives you a guiding light to be working towards, so your efforts can be more proactive.

The first step to defining your legacy is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. 

1. What Do You Want To Be Remembered For

The best place to start is by asking yourself, “What do I want to be remembered for?” This will help you come up with a basic outline for the kind of legacy that you want to leave behind. 

  • What kind of impact do you want to have? 

  • Do you want to create a business that stands for something? 

  • Do you want to be remembered for something? 

Sitting down and being honest with yourself to answer these questions will help you to define the type of legacy you want to leave behind. 

In our conversation, John mentioned that right now, the biggest legacy he wants to leave behind is being the pivotal moment behind a breakthrough in GBM technology. More than money and fame, he wants to be known for bringing to light a new technology that saves lives.

With a powerful driving mission like that, you can see how it can affect your motivation, your work output, and your perseverance. 

2. Get Clear on Your Values and Beliefs

In order to define a legacy that will mean something to you, it’s important to set some time aside to get clear on what your values and beliefs truly are.

  • What values do you want to represent? 

  • What is important to you? 

  • What do you believe, fundamentally, is important?

  • How do you want to be seen in the world? 

Answering these questions will not only help you understand yourself more, but will make it much easier to define a meaningful legacy. 

3. Think about your relationships. 

An old African proverb holds very true here: 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

In order to leave behind any sort of meaningful legacy, you must have good people around you to help you get there. No kingdom in history has been built by two hands, and neither will yours. 

  • What kind of relationships do you want to have? 

  • Who do you need around you to help you get where you want to go?

  • How do you want to be remembered by your family, friends, and colleagues? 

The best way to know what kind of people you need around you to help you succeed is to know yourself first. 

Know Yourself To Know Others

You will never know people until you know yourself first. The better you understand yourself, what you’re naturally good at, what motivates you, and your deepest desires and fears, the better you can understand the people around you.

Take the time to understand who you really are. 

Start by taking a personality test so you can get a better understanding of your natural strengths and weaknesses, your learning styles, and how you relate with the people around you. Once you get an understanding of yourself, you can begin to build an understanding of what kind of people you need around you. 

You should first focus on finding people who fill in the gaps where you are naturally weaker. If you are a great leader and marketer, you don’t need another great leader and marketer standing beside you, echoing everything you do. Instead, you need someone who’s better at day-to-day operations, customer relations, or another area in which you do not excel. 

Get comfortable in your own skin, have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, and start to build the relationships that will help you get where you want to go. Always remember that relationships are a two-way street. You must be willing to give back to those around you in order to leave a lasting legacy

4. Reflect On Your Successes And Failures. 

In order to get ahead, it’s vital to have time where you can reflect on your past. Not everything will work as planned, and some things will work much better than planned. You must know the results your efforts are producing, so you know where to double down and where to cut back. 

  • What has worked for you in the past, and what ended in disaster?

  • What lessons have you learned that you want to pass on? 

  • What have you gone through that you want others to learn from? 

Setting aside time every month to reflect on the past month will do wonders to help ensure you are consistently making progress and working towards a legacy that matters to you. 

5. Set Goals For Yourself. 

This is where the rubber meets the road. You will take all of the reflection, planning, and preparation and put it into action. 

You must define for yourself specific goals that will lead you toward creating this lasting legacy. Your goals should be broken down into short, medium, and long-term goals. Short-term goals might be what’s happening on the day-to-day level, medium-term might be things you want to be accomplished in six months from now, whereas long-term are your multi-year goals. 

  • What are the specific goals that you want to achieve? 

  • What small, daily actions will get you closer to these goals?

  • How will you measure these goals as successful?

Make sure that your goals are ambitious, yet realistic. You want to challenge yourself to make the most out of your life and leave behind a legacy that you can be proud of, but you don’t want to make it something that you could never actually achieve. 

For example, if you have never run a campaign, don’t have any public following, and have never done any political work - setting a goal to be president in four years might be unrealistic. 

Once you have your goals, you must act on them. Be consistent and persistent in your efforts, and don’t let setbacks or roadblocks stop you. Remember the lasting legacy you want to leave, and let this guide you forward.

6. Give Back 

The final key to leaving a lasting legacy is to give back. Whether it’s through mentoring, volunteering, or making donations - you must do something to help those around you. 

Giving back to your community is the best way to ensure that your legacy will live on. It is also the best way to make sure that the people around you are taken care of. No matter what type of legacy you leave behind, it is important to remember that it all starts with you. 

Remember, that your legacy is not only how many people talk about you after you are gone, but how they talk about you. If you want your legacy to be something that you and your family can be proud of, it should benefit the world in some way, even if it is only a small step in the right direction.


The importance of setting a meaningful legacy that you want to leave behind cannot be overstated. This will not only ensure that everything you are working towards is getting you somewhere meaningful, but it could also be the motivation and inspiration you need to push through the challenging times. 

Decide what you want to be remembered for, introspect on your values and the important relationships you need, reflect on your progress, set goals, and then give back to those around you. This is the recipe for designing and creating a lasting legacy as an entrepreneur. 

If you enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you. 

Reply to this email or tweet at me @ScottDClary and I'll do my best to get back to everyone!



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