"Most of my books were written using my brain, for this one – I used my heart."
For some people, their purpose and passion in life is clear, but there are many around the world who are trying to uncover meaning in their lives and working to establish a legacy. Without a life purpose, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you.
Regardless of location, gender, age or occupation, uncovering your true purpose in life is a growing interest to anyone. It's also an interest to Dr. J. Mark Munoz, professor of management at Millikin University, who covers the topic in his latest book "Creating a Business and Personal Legacy" (Business Expert Press, 2020).
No stranger to the publication world, Dr. Munoz has authored, co-authored and edited over 20 books on topics such as international social entrepreneurship, microenterprises, managerial forensics, geoeconomics and artificial intelligence. His newest book on legacy is quite different from the business books he has worked on in the past.
"I actually have always been drawn to writing books and doing projects that leverage business skills to do social good," Munoz said. "I edited a book titled 'Contemporary Microenterprises' that aimed to help very small businesses thrive. Several years ago, I authored a book titled 'International Social Entrepreneurship' – doing business with a 'heart' while providing solutions to international cultural, social and environmental challenges. This book on legacy takes the discussion farther."
Munoz's book challenges readers to think about how they want to be remembered and to take proactive action towards planning for one's legacy. He captures this by using fictional, but highly plausible stories in the book focusing on key ideas.
"In this book, I used stories to drive lessons regarding legacy pathways," Munoz says. "I discussed eight types of legacies in the book – financial, social, political, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, physical and historical. In order to showcase how each legacy path can be pursued, I used stories. The stories were meant to engage the reader while highlighting strategic approaches that can be used to create one's legacy."
What is your legacy? What difference do you feel you have made in your work, for one person or perhaps many? Munoz says these questions matter because it shapes the way we view ourselves, our goals and aspirations, and even our happiness. The book underscores the importance of thinking about legacy and weaving it into the way we think about our lives and how we live it.
In the book, Munoz introduces an idea called the "Legacy Diamond" that can be used to provide a roadmap to finding your true self, and discovering meaningful and memorable pursuits along the way.
"The 'Legacy Diamond' underscores three conditions that need to be in place in order to create a lasting legacy," Munoz said. "These three conditions are: Notion (legacy idea), Ambition (legacy intent) and Execution (legacy implementation). When these conditions are in alignment, one can develop an effective strategic legacy plan that sets the stage for a meaningful business and personal legacy."
Munoz wrote the manuscript during summer 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. While he was finalizing edits, Munoz and his editor noted the growing importance of the topic.
"Many have died as a result of the pandemic, many were infected and dealt with the prospect of dying, many of us fear for our own health and lives every day," Munoz said. "When faced with this notion of our own mortality, it makes sense to think about how we lived our lives and the kind of legacy we leave behind."
In the end, Munoz hopes the book encourages readers to pause and reassess their lives, and think about ways in which they can make a meaningful and lasting impact in the world.
"As a result of the pandemic and its social and economic consequences, many are troubled, confused and depressed. When one lives a life with a clear goal and purpose, happiness may be found," Munoz said. "Thinking about and planning for one's legacy can bring about a renewed sense of fulfillment and joy. Incidentally, I am hoping that in a small and humble way this book offers some value to society and becomes a personal legacy."
Munoz added, "My book writing interests have evolved over time and continues to evolve. I am unsure what my book projects might look like in the future, but one thing is certain, I really enjoyed writing this book. Most of my books were written using my brain, for this one – I used my heart."