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melissa ambrosini, life, love

Are You Living Your Legacy?

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We are only here on this earth for a short period of time. Every second, of every minute, of every day, brings with it new possibilities that are there to be seized and used as a tool to carve out a better future from moment to moment.

Of course, what happened in the past — even just one minute ago — no longer matters. The past is just a story we keep telling ourselves; it doesn’t actually exist anymore. Neither does the future — what’s happening in an hour, tomorrow or next year is just a figment of your imagination. What matters is this precious moment right now. This second. That’s all!

When you realise you don’t have to stress out over what happened in the past, and that the future doesn’t exist yet, you are left with this beautiful, expansive space in the middle where juicy, infinite possibilities are at your fingertips. How exciting! This is where the magic lies. Right here in this moment.

So let me ask you this… How are you showing up? 

Right now, are you showing up as the fullest version of yourself? Or are you showing up as the cranky, half-assed version of you?

As most of you know, my bestie Jess recently left her physical form. And although there has been tremendous sadness, pain and heartache, I have also felt inspired — actually, blown away — by the beautiful legacy this woman has left behind. She has inspired millions of people all over the world by simply being her beautiful, unique, authentic self. She unapologetically lived her truth, and that is why I love her.

I knew Jess was an incredible influence on people’s lives, but I guess when you are besties with someone, it’s easy to become immune to just how huge their impact truly is.  After I wrote this post, I was filled with so much love and awe at how many souls she touched for the better. Through my tears, I read every comment, moved by the words that were pouring from people’s hearts all over the world. I could feel their love through the computer screen and I felt an enormous sense of pride to call her my soul sister.

This got me thinking about my own legacy:

Am I going to leave this earth in the best possible shape I can?

Am I acting as my highest self in every moment?

Am I showing up fully and completely in every moment?

Am I being unapologetically me in each moment?

Or am I playing small? Limiting myself and letting my Mean Girl run the show?

Yet again, Jess is my biggest inspiration here and is constantly calling me to play higher every day. In moments of despair I can hear her voice saying, ‘Come on Mel, you can do this beautiful’.

I remember this one time we were standing in her kitchen drinking green juice (of course) and I had just found out that I landed my book deal. I said to her, ‘My Mean Girl is telling me I can’t do this. Did you ever have that?’ And without a moment’s hesitation she responded, ‘Nup! Why would you think that? We can do whatever we want!’

That was typical Jess. She never doubted her ability, she never let her Mean Girl tell her she couldn’t do anything, and she never played small. I love this about her.

What you do in this moment matters and is shaping the story and message of your entire life.

The dictionary defines legacy as ‘gifts or a bequest handed down from one person to another’.

However, I prefer this definition: Legacy is about sharing what you have learned, not just what you have earned; material wealth is only a small fraction of your legacy. A more holistic view of legacy is when you are genuinely grounded in offering yourself and making a meaningful, lasting and energising contribution to humanity by serving a cause greater than yourself. The requirements of a legacy are that you embrace your uniqueness, passionately immersing your whole self into life so that your gift will be to all, and that you take responsibility to ensure that it will have a life beyond that of you, its creator, outliving and outlasting your time on earth.

Legacy is not an entity, but an ongoing activity — it’s what you do between here and eternity. The lens of legacy gives you a view of your life from a generational perspective, where you become aware of the desire to live beyond yourself, focusing on making a difference in the lives of others, and giving back.

The legacy you leave is the life you lead, and therefore legacy is the residue of a life well lived. Your life matters as everything that you say and do is a deposit into your legacy. Creating your legacy is a pathway resulting in a deep sense of significance, where true meaning is found somewhere beyond the pursuit of success, which results in a ripple effect that positively impacts society. Inherently, when you shift to living your legacy, your influence comes from who you are authentically at your core and you measure value and life purpose other than by emphasis on accomplishments, wealth, recognition, prestige, acclaim, power or position.*

So my darling I pose this question to you…

What legacy are you creating right now?

When you ponder that question, maybe losing it at your kid this morning for taking too long to tie their shoelaces, or stressing over the fact that your ebook design is taking a million years, or being peeved off at your partner for leaving his towel on the floor now feel insignificant and totally ridiculous. In the big scheme of things, none of that really matters. It all comes back to being present and showing up in every moment fully as your best self. That’s all we can ever do.

So what does your best self actually look like? It’s helpful to consciously map it out.

My best self is calm, grounded, present, patient, loving, honest, authentic, giving, loyal and open, just to name a few. 

Now it’s your turn… What does your best self look like? Share with me in the comments below. And remember, thousands of people visit this site daily. Your insights might be the one thing they need to read to ignite massive change within their lives. So please be open and loving.

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  1. First of all, I’ve only been reading your work for the past three or so weeks and you have genuinely made a huge impact on my life, Melissa, and for that I am so grateful. Your enthusiasm is a burst of sunshine and a breath of fresh air, and I mean that. I feel inspired, beautiful, and uplifted after leaving your website. I’m so grateful for your work! Second, I’m very sorry for your loss of Jess. Sending you lots of love <3 Third, my best self is calm, funny, quirky, passionate, and of high service to those around me. I hope to show up that way as often as I can while I have the chance!

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Alex,

      Firstly, thank you so much for being here and welcome to the tribe.

      Secondly, thank you so much for your beautiful, kind and heart centered words, I would hug you through my computer screen if I could.

      Thirdly, I LOVE the sound of your best self, please let her out every day and let her shine. The world needs it 😉

      xx

  2. Tara Bliss says:

    Absolutely beautiful honey. Love you xo

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks baby.

      xx

    • Tara and Melissa,

      Both of you women are so beautiful, inspiring and straight up, badass. I know that Jess was considered a soul sister to the both of you and I’m deeply sorry for your loss. As a fellow life coach who recently lost an inspirational friend, I think we can all agree these unfortunate events have a way of being simultaneously uplifting, by granting us the power to keep their legacy alive through our own teachings. I know the spirit of Jess will continue filling the world with radiance because she will forever shine through the glow of both you two, and your fellow soul sisters.

      I just want to reach out and send my love from across the ocean. Thank you for inspiring me and countless women around the world.

      Gennah

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you so much Gennah for your epically beautiful words. You have touched me heart.

        Sending you bucket loads of love all the way across the ocean to your heart my darling.

        xx

  3. Anna says:

    I love all your posts Melissa, but WOW, this one blew me away!!!!!!
    What an incredibly powerful, inspiring and wise message to wake up to.
    I’m going to do some deep thinking after reading this one, so I can answer these questions honestly and thoughtfully.
    I’m also going to share this article with my husband so we can share our insights with each other.
    Thank you lovely for this amazing post!
    Your awesome

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Anna,

      What a beautiful idea! Please share your insights with us once you’re done. I would love to hear what your best self is like.

      xx

  4. Samara says:

    I love love love this post Melissa. I started following yours and Jess’ blogs around the same time about 3 years ago. You have both been beams of light and inspiration in my transition to being more mindful in every aspect of my life. My heart and love goes out to you during this difficult time.

    My best self is grounded, open-minded, filled with love and kindness, honest, self-assured, patient, inspired, committed, motivated and present.

    I hope you have a wonderful day! xo

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Samara,

      Thank you so much fo your beautiful words and for being part of this epic tribe. We LOVE having you here.

      I love your best self. I invite you to stick it on your fridge so you see it every day 😉

      xx

  5. Boshka says:

    Beautiful post Melissa! Thank you for sharing your legacies. My best self is happy, caring, loving, giving, understanding, patient, relaxed, forgiving and now that I got the momentum I could go on and on! This is such a powerful exercise!

    • Melissa says:

      It is isn’t it Boshka. I invite you to write this down somewhere you can see it every day to inspire you to be your best self.

      xx

  6. Kate Caddle says:

    Talk about synconisity! My girlfriend Ange and I have had ‘playing big’ on our lips for the last few weeks too.

    I sometime get caught in my head, and forget the bigger picture. Thank you for reminding me that my purpose is so much bigger than me.

    Big love to you Mel xxx

    • Melissa says:

      You’re so welcome Kate. We all need the reminder. I find setting alarms in my phone also really helpful. You should try it.

      xx

  7. Russell says:

    Blown away that your email tapped directly into my being this morning honey!

    Seriously… I’m in Byron Bay for 2 days working on the purpose/intention for a new technology venture. Started the day with a meditation, walk along the beach… And now we are both sitting here reading your post to bring us closer to our own intention, or as you put it, legacy.

    Love you
    Russ x

    • Melissa says:

      How magical Russ! Have the most beautiful time, I can’t wait to hear all about it.

      Love you times a million.

      xx

  8. Naomi Arnold says:

    What a beautiful exercise Mel – thank you so much for letting us be part of your legacy and for sharing such inspirational moments that you’ve had with Jess.

    My best self is patient, understanding, genuine, honest, loyal, empathetic and giving. She is also a risk taker, an adventurer, an advocate, a hand-holder, and a puddle jumper 😉

    Big virtual hugs to you xo.

    • Melissa says:

      I love the sound of paddle jumping, I am totally in next time 😉

      Your best self-rocks and I can’t wait to hug you again soon beautiful.

      I hope you are well and thank you for your beautiful kind words.

      Jess is such an angel.

  9. Lynda says:

    The light of Jess continues to shine. Thank you for sharing. It’s a beautifully written piece Mel. How we lead is something so very important to me. It’s about our behaviour. It’s how we lead in the quiet moments when no one is watching. Its about our actions, standing up for what we believe in. And Jess (#blessed byJess) lead with such integrity. I seized the opportunity to thank Jess personally last January 2014. One of the things I thanked Jess for was her strong sense of community. It will be my legacy to information share, make a difference and always lead with integrity. Among other things I thanked Jess for was being a positive role modelling site that reinforces the potential of the human spirit and potential of community. On World Social Work Day in March 2014 I participated in a debate. Our argument was ‘Ethical’ Social Media is the New Facilitator of Caring Communities. Thank you Jess for reinforcing that media is both the message and the messenger. And when deployed wisely through an ethical framework can reduce the harm and capitalise on the potential, and can be the new facilitator of caring communities. I leave you with a verse by Maya Angelou from ‘When Great Trees Fall’ – And when great souls dies,after a period peace blooms,slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed- #blessedbyJess

    • Melissa says:

      So beautiful Lynda, thank you so much for sharing. I am so glad you got to meet and thank Jess is person. Jess was/is such an angel and I am glad you were #blessedbyjess.

  10. Cherie Thorburn says:

    I love this article Melissa. I had to share it. For me I am my best when I am in service to others. Present, kind, available. This may not only mean within the work I do but also in the little every day things. A smile to the person who serves you in the shop. A nod hello to the person you pass on the footpath. Letting someone in when you’re driving your car. If you hold a high intention to make a difference in the world you have the choice to be that person in every moment 🙂

    • Cherie Thorburn says:

      This message was my 1st draft. Accidentally posted twice.
      2nd one I meant to post sorry Melissa. Can’t seem to delete this one 🙂

  11. Cherie Thorburn says:

    I love this article Melissa. I had to share it. So sorry to hear about the loss of your best friend Jess. What an amazing teacher & bright light for others she was & will continue to be. A wonderful legacy. For me I am my best when I am in service to others. Present, kind, available. This may not only mean within the work I do but also in the little every day things. A smile to the person who serves you in the shop. A nod hello to the person you pass on the footpath. Letting someone in when you’re driving your car. All service to others. If you hold a high intention to make a difference in the world you have the choice to be that person in every moment. Much love 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      Exactly right Cherie. Thank you so much for the reminder and inspiration. It’s those little things like letting someone in at the traffic lights that make a huge impact. I love random acts of kindness. I am going to add more into my everyday life.

      Thanks for the inspo 😉

  12. Gail says:

    Hi Melissa,
    A great matter to ponder daily. I’m working on regular meditation practice but find it useful to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths at least once a day, and focus on my best self as I take those breaths – love, strength, belief (in myself), courage, wisdom and light. What I wish for life and legacy.
    Jess was such a powerful influence the past few years … I feel extremely privileged to have ‘found’her and joined her tribe. A real gift. xx

    • Melissa says:

      She really was an angel wasn’t she Gail. I am so glad you got to be part of what she loved so much… her community.

      Thank you for being here and sharing. I love your idea of closing your eyes and focusing on your best self. I am going to do that more throughout my day too. Thanks for the inspiration beautiful.

      xx

  13. I have a sticky note next to my bed that says “How are you going to show up today?” It works! I get out of bed with such purpose 🙂

  14. Michaela says:

    Wow, Mel! Talk about fine-tuning our focus! You always write such beautiful and moving things, I love it.

    My best self is warm, loving, genuine, bright, full of laughter and bubbliness, smiling, happy, humble, helpful, sees the good in all things and all others, present, calm, balanced and at peace. Man, even just writing that list of what my best self is has really shifted my energy for the day. Fantastic! Thanks so much x

    • Melissa says:

      You’re so welcome Michaela. I love the sound of your best self and would LOVE to hang out with you!

      Maybe write it down and stick it on your fridge so every morning you get that HELL YEAH BABY feeling.

      Thank you so much for your kind words Michaela and for being here. Your energy is always welcome.

      xx

  15. Amelia says:

    “Legacy is about sharing what you have learned, not just about what you have earned…” These words of wisdom resonate with my own journey, Melissa.

    A beautifully written & heartfelt post … a real ‘Call to action’ of spirit & purpose!

    Daily meditation, affirmation & intention keep me focused on being the best version of myself. Every day then becomes another opportunity to dig deep … be present, courageous, loving … to share what I’ve learned on my journey … make a difference in this world and live my own legacy.

    Squeezy hugs to you,

    A xx

  16. Melissa my darling, this really, REALLY hit home for me today. I have tears streaming down my face.

    Thank you beautiful- thank you, thank you.

    Love, Katie xx

  17. Lisa says:

    Melissa I am always so deeply moved by your words, and this topic is often on my mind..the thought of leaving something behind that is measured in a way that truly reflects my best self, and the impact that I am able to have on as many people as possible.
    The intimate, real and genuine way in which you and Jess’s loved ones are inviting us into your grief, you are living her legacy, and allowing every one of us to do the same, this , this is exactly what a meaningful legacy is to me.
    Thank you, so so much for shining such a light and for leading the way for our best selves.
    My best self is kind, patient, giving, a leader, compassionate, passionate, feisty, radiates light, love and energy, attracts the same and makes a real difference in every moment xx

  18. Charlotte says:

    Hi Melissa

    One of the thing I am really grateful since few years is YOU.
    every article is a source of joy, shine and a real gift, so thank you again for that.

    I really like the article, particularly when you speak about Jess and that she said that we are capable of anything. After all she is so right, the only thing that stop us is our own though isnt it?

    I think my best self looks like calm, present, grateful and able of anything.

    Thank for everything

    Much Love

    Charlotte

    • Melissa says:

      Exactly right Charlotte. The only thing that stops us is our Mean Girl. It’s time to gently close the door on her and return to love.

      xx

  19. Emma Lodge says:

    Thanks Melissa, I’ve really struggled with Jess’s passing and have tried to tuck it away and carry on but it hasn’t worked, I realise now that community is what matters. We need to talk, share, join together and carry on stronger than ever to continue what Jess created. Jess was a huge inspiration to me, I had her guest speak at Bloom in Cairns in 2012, I learnt so much from her over the years it opened up a whole new way of life for me. My best self is authentic me – creative, ideas driven, quirky, fun and inspired to help others. I look forward to getting back on track and being just that. #blessedbyjess

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Emma,

      You’re exactly right, community is SOOOOO important. This whole experience has reminded me of the importance of sisterhood and tribe which is why I created The Goddess Group We need to inspired, support and help each other, this is what we are here for.

      Thank you so much for sharing your best self, I LOVE it.

      Remember you can get back on track right now, all it takes is a choice and you can choose right now.

      xx

  20. Nina says:

    My best self is funny, witted, talkative, passionnate and understanding.
    I feel blessed when i read you Melissa, you truly are an inspiration…and so was Jess. I live in France, I didn’t know her but I miss her. She was the first wellness blog I’ve ever read and she taught me how to take good care of myself and my health.

    I am so happy everytime i see news from you in my inbox! it’s so refreshing to read you! you seems so honnest, passionnate and you have such a sunny personnality (i don’t know if we can say that in english…)! THANK YOU for beeing here and sharing your wisdom with the world.

    Nina

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely words beautiful Nina. You are so sweet! And thank you for being part of our epic tribe. I love having you here.

      xx

  21. Hannah says:

    Another amazing post Mel. Thank you so much for reminding me to live life in the best possible way and thank you for allowing your love to flow through the words you write x

  22. Bridgette says:

    I can’t express how perfect and fulfilling your posts are. The topics are always in line with what I need at the time. I’m currently working towards creating a legacy of my own through physical items like a book and clothing store but this post has really pushed me to remember to make every moment, even the smallest like taking a breath, to be my best self and to be positive and genuine! I want to glow every day with joy and I want others to feel it too.

  23. Victoria Bauman says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you for continuing to share your reflections and journey following Jess’s passing, it’s so comforting and inspiring amidst the feeling of loss.

    One of the biggest lessons Jess taught me and one that I have been intentionally trying to emanate through my best self is: being so comfortable and confident in my own work that I am always always always able to authentically champion the work of everyone around me because I know it doesn’t detract from my own light. It feels so good to do and I’m so grateful to her (and you!) for setting that example.

    Thanks for your light-filled words. X

  24. Georgia says:

    I have thought of this question often over the years and too be honest have struggled at times with it, but I love how you have framed it here Melissa.

    There is no need for it to be difficult or overwhelming (as it has been in the past, when I’ve “workshopped” with various people). Your take and also the lovely Rachel McDonald and Tara Bliss’s view (who also spoke about this last night at a talk on the Gold Coast) is very similar – straight forward and simple. which totally suits and resonates with me!

    My legacy is very simple – to be the best version of myself every day and to help others, in whatever way shape or form that is, on the day. My best self is passionate, honest, kind, caring, generous, loving, loyal, fun, playful, compassionate, courageous, strong, believes in herself and sees the best (or good) in everyone.

    Thanks for your words and for actually prompting me to finally write this down – even if it’s it the comments box on a blog post!
    Have a gorgeous day. xx

    • Melissa says:

      Hey Georgia,

      Write it on a post-it and stick it on your fridge. I LOVE the sound of your best self and can’t wait to meet you in person one day.

      So glad you got to hear from my beautiful soul sisters Rach and Tara last night, they are magical!

      Keep being your best self darling.

      xx

  25. Renee says:

    Hi Mel.
    What a wonderful post! Thankyou!
    I am new relatively new on this journey of actively seeking to be my most best and authentic self – and so I was wondering how you made it a habit to keep coming back to yourself-and making sure you were always being very much your beautiful self and present in each moment? Particularly during times when its quite challenging to be outselves – due to stress or external pressures or changing realities?
    Thanks Gorjus 🙂

    R. xx

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Renee,

      The one thing that really helps me is meditation. It truly helps bring you back to the present moment time and time again. Have you tried it beautiful?

  26. Alexia says:

    I woke up today to 11:11am. And my battery percentage? 11%. I found it to be so magical and I knew what that number meant. And it led me to this post of yours. I never had a chance to meet Jess in person (I wish I did!). I’ve always loved her. She just exudes warmth, authenticity, passion… I loved learning from her, but I never got to apply what she taught me. I guess now is the time. I miss Jess so much, but her passing has also brought me back to my home (my true self) and I cannot thank her enough.

    My best self is kind, loving, caring, compassionate, peace, graceful and the first one on the dance floor. 🙂 and the legacy I want to create is to leave a person better than when I found them, either through my work or just a friend.

    Lastly, I want to thank you Mel for being a bright light and for constantly inspiring me to do better each moment. Xoxo

    • Melissa says:

      Thank you so much darling, your words really touched my heart.

      I wish you got to meet Jess in person too, she’s hilarious! I am so glad you love her work and you’re exactly right, now is the time to apply everything she taught you.

      Go for it darling NOW is the time.

      xx

  27. This was truly beautiful and just what I needed to hear today. Thank you Melissa and Jess! I think my legacy is owning all of my story and sharing openly and honestly with others so that they can step into their brightest light. My best self is grounded in the present, detached from outcomes and shows up wholeheartedly in each moment. My best self is kind to myself because I know that while there are still unhealed places within me, it doesn’t prevent me from shining brightly xxx

  28. Sam says:

    Thanks so much for your post Melissa I found it truly inspiring and was the perfect thing for me to read at the moment when, in preparation for a few big life changes, I’m trying my best to be appreciative, present and not get caught up ‘in the static’ of all the small decisions along the way. My best self is: kind and compassionate; measured but not suppressed; fully engaged in my own life and the lives of others; creative and unafraid to explore and share that gift in whatever form it may take. Thanks again for writing something that’s prompted me to make my first post. Xo Sam

    • Melissa says:

      You’re so welcome Sam and well done on your first post, thank you SO much for being here. We LOVE having you.

      xx

  29. Cayla says:

    My best self if loving, accepting, present, joyous, happy, calm and grateful.. I am currently going through a shift, I can feel it. It feels a bit yucky but it will teach me what I need to know and for that I am grateful xx Love you beautiful and divine soul <3 <3

  30. Ruth B says:

    I am so glad YOUR here!! thankyou
    this is just so beautiful and has really got me thinking consciously about how i am showing up in every moment. can’t wait to squeeze you when you come to Perth xoxo

  31. […] Melissa’s incredible article brought tears to my eyes, and I was so moved by her words. It got me thinking about the legacy I would like to leave, and I’ve thought about the article a lot since reading it. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Click here to have a read. […]

  32. Victoria says:

    Thank you so so very much for your insightful words Mel!
    My mean girl has been bringing me down so much lately and making me feel terrible and unhappy. Your kind words remind me that I am beautiful, and that I can do whatever I want, and that Im the only person stopping me from getting what I want out of life.

    I am beautiful, I am unique, and I am me. And that is nothing to be ashamed of!

    Thank you so much xxx

    • Melissa says:

      Exactly right Victoria. You are beautiful and perfect and the world needs you to shine your light so bright.

      I know sometimes you don’t feel like it (me too) but those are the times we need to do it anyways.

      Keep shining beautiful girl.

      xx

  33. […] Are you living your legacy? This article is a giant kick in the pants of inspiration to start carving out the life of your dreams! (Related: see my previous article on being the architect of your own life) […]

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