Creating a meaningful legacy is impossible without perseverance. We persevere because we know what effect our actions will have, both in the immediate and the distant future. So perseverance is toward a future goal.

My grandfather was a teacher. In the summer, though, he worked as the cook at an exclusive camp in Vermont. From the time I was small, my mother told me stories about his care in preparing meals for the girls there. And when he visted us, I enjoyed meals of my grandpa’s creation: dishes he invented by combining his favorite ingredients in new ways, accompanied by salads dressed with his special blend of oil and vinegar.

For years, my mom has been known for her cooking; when company comes, a meal in her home contains an array of homemade choices. In my own way, I continue that legacy daily as I ensure hot meals on our table at suppertime. When did this part of our family legacy begin? Probably in the kitchen of some great great grandmother in Italy (or Ireland) who spent time sharing her culinary art and hospitality with her children. Miles and years away from that kitchen, I am conscious of carrying on a legacy that spans generations.

Love of cooking and family meals are just one part of the legacy I hope to build for my family.

A legacy is formed when people continue the actions or traditions that they value most. Perseverance in the past builds a legacy for future generations.

Yet perseverance is in the moment. We do what is needed, and we keep doing it, until we meet our goal or reach our destination.  Day by day, step by step.

Perseverance is fueled by purpose. We carry on because we know what end we hope to reach. If we lose hope, we can reflect on the reasons for the activity to gain encouragement to continue.

As we persevere, we push through challenges and push past our own excuses.

And as we live, we are writing the story of our lives, crafting a legacy that may have an effect long after we gone.

We may find strength to persevere by considering that legacy. Ask yourself: what legacy do I want to create? What choices can I make today that will begin to build that legacy? Consider your values, and choose to persevere in the activities that align closely with them.

If you do, miles and years from now, someone will carry on the work you’ve started.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.