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This week the inaugural Australian Graduate School of Management Military Scholarship was awarded to a deserving Australian Army infantry officer. It was an honour to help bring this award to life in memory of a fallen mate.

Let’s put to one side that there are plans to scale this model across education and vocational training institutions around the world. Instead, take a look at the anatomy of creating an enduring legacy.

To many, the my-name-is-on-the-wall-so-my-name-will-be-remembered perception of legacy exists because we lack the context for the behaviours and actions that were taken in the past to create the legacy we appreciate today. And in many cases we believe that legacy is a fixed construct, forgetting that everything in the world that endures is a product of iterative progress.

For a great many of us making large financial contributions to a cause or moment isn’t realistic in our lifetime. What IS realistic for everyone is being the best at what you do in life, no matter what it is. Using the momentum from your life’s pursuit to regularly contribute to iterative progress provides the raw materials to forge a legacy. It then comes down to these three elements.

1. Inspired leadership

“The world relies on inspired leadership to enact change…”

I often use this quote because it is profoundly true. In the case of this scholarship Julie Cogin and Clinton Free understood and navigated a complicated landscape to facilitate a richly positive and industry-leading outcome. They could see what was possible and brought their knowledge, influence and compassion to create air-cover for this scholarship to thrive. In doing so they inspired others to achieve shared objectives.

This isn’t an isolated occasion, it’s habit. It’s how they do their life’s best work in education. And it’s this unique collection of behaviours which paves the way forward for what’s possible and dispenses with that which appears impossible. It’s innately resident in the best leaders. More important is the fact that anyone can bring their unique knowledge, influence and compassion to a challenge, you just have to want to.

2. Sustained urgency

Urgency drives progress. Sustained urgency requires energy and it’s of little surprise that those with a clear vision for the future (in whatever their passion) have a deep pool of internal energy from which to draw. Be mindful however that no one human possesses the talent, intelligence or charisma to achieve iterative progress alone.

Behind every driving force there is at least one other pillar of strength. They may not be immediately obvious but they are there playing an essential role. After all, it takes a village…

3. Luck

Luck has a checkered past. It makes people anxious because often times luck and timing masquerade as one-another. If your timing is right and you have the opportunity to meet, work or learn with other incredible people, the chance of creating something special increases. It doesn’t guarantee success but if that is the outcome, the original intersection where the journey began (with the benefit of hindsight) will usually be put down to luck.

The opposite also applies.

That’s why when people talk about ‘creating their own luck’ — by striking up a conversation, speaking at a gathering or embracing the challenge of learning something new — they’re making the conscious decision to put themselves out there and create or strengthen relationships that can lead to opportunity.

Make ‘creating your own luck’ your default setting, it inevitably exposes opportunity.

Frame your desire to shift the status quo as an effort in iterative progress. And to help it endure, follow or become an inspired leader, sustain urgency and make your own luck.

I hope this approach is as successful for you and it has been for me.

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I write about what I see building companies. Currently growing dropbio.com

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