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On Impact: What is the Legacy You Want to Leave Behind?

Pianist, Professor, and Department Chair at Florida Southern College, Paula Parsché (1950–2020)

Although I’ve been keeping my head down (and nose to the grindstone) during COVID, I recently found out that one of my former piano professors, Paula Parsché, passed away.

Despite her (many) gifts and accomplishments, her greatest legacy was how she made someone feel in her presence. She really knew how to make you feel heard, seen, understood — and excited to move forward, based on her guidance.

She left quite the impression. And she did this for thousands of students over the years during her time at Florida Southern College (since 1980.)

[Plus, I’ll never forget her amazing tone, musical expression, and collaborative skills.]

It got me thinking about the impact I want to make on this world and the legacy I want to leave behind.
[I usually hate that word “legacy,” but whatevs.]

We usually think about impact or legacy in terms of –
1. Making millions-of-dollars so you can contribute to various causes,
2. Becoming renowned in your field so thousands will speak highly of you when you’re gone, or
3. Curing a disease or solving a major world problem.

These are things that not everyone can attain, and even if you do, there are no guarantees that anyone will speak highly of you. [Just ask our former President. (This is not a jab, just an observation.)]


While we usually think of impact in the grand scheme of things, it’s those small moments that can really leave a lasting impression.

  • Did they feel seen?
  • Heard?
  • Understood?
  • and Excited to move forward?

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