Does a person who leaves a legacy of change, social andindividual improvement and self-challenge have to be larger than life? No. Theperson who leaves a legacy could be you, me, or the trainer down the street.
Does each of us have the opportunity to leave a legacy thatmakes all the difference in the life of at least one individual? Yes, we do.
Jack LaLanne was larger than life and was called "TheGodfather of Fitness." As a youngster his muscles, abilities and fortitudemesmerized me. Our TV set allowed me to workout with him and to feel hisencouragement like he was right there with me. Yes, he inspired me, along withmillions of others. I picked up his gauntlet of challenge and pursued fitnessas my daily way of life, fitness as my business and fitness as my mission.
It was Jack's inspiration, his lead, and his action that ledto the development of health clubs and fitness centers as we know them today. Jack'sfocused pursuit of purpose and his undying belief in the power of a strong bodyhelped propel exercise science and natural health fast forward.
The power we have to change people's lives is much more realand much more than simply training people to exercise. That power is held in asmile, a nod, a gentle push, a kick in the butt, a pat on the back, a simple "Letme show you," and a shared "Well done!" That is the power topropel and that power is held by each and every one of us.
Jack grew into his legacy by doing and giving, and doingsome more. He first had to find his passion and purpose and then he pursuedthem relentlessly, increasing his knowledge with a combination of schooling andpractical action on himself. With every new success, he would strive for more.
He saw the lack of means and method, so he designedequipment to help people achieve their specific fitness goals. His weightselectors and cables are still in use. His ideas evolved into bands and tubesmore lightweight, affordable and easy to use for the average person. Providinga means to achieve success, offering the encouragement to pursue that success,living that success by example, all with purpose and love... isn't that what alegacy is all about?
At the end of our lives, when we can turn around and see theripple effect of our actions on the lives of others, will we be surprised? Thecountless people whose perspectives we shifted into hope by spending thatlittle bit of extra time showing them how to achieve something we thought wasso simple... the countless people whose hope escalated when we worked with them,side by side, to help them see, feel, and taste success... the countless peoplewhose successes we recognized and applauded, feeding their passion anddetermination for more... and the legacies those individuals are growing and willleave behind because we pursued our passion and gave of ourselves... will you besurprised?
There is always one more challenge awaiting us, one moreperson we can inspire, one more thing we can do... Jack LaLanne taught us muchmore than how to grow a strong and healthy body. He taught us to share and tocare, to never say 'never' and to reach outside our perceived limitationsbecause we CAN.
Thank you, Jack, for leaving a legacy of possibility,inspiration and achievement while being an example that we may follow inbuilding and leaving our own legacies.
GregJustice, MA, CPT, is the founder of AYC Health&Fitness (www.aycfit.com) and the Corporate BootCampSystem (www.corporatebootcampsystem.com).He hasbeen actively involved in the fitness industryformore than a quarter of a century as a club manager,owner,personal trainer and corporate wellnesssupervisor.