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How to Live a Legendary Life and Leave a Legacy Behind

Leadership | 0 comments

It was my absolute honour to sing an honour song at a celebration of the life of Canadian Music Industry legend, Billy Bryans, who passed away of lung cancer after a legendary musical career. Billy Bryans co-founded The Parachute Club, a famous 80’s band in Canada (“Rise Up”). He also drummed for me at one point, and he produced the single that put me on the map in the early 90’s as a Canadian reggae artist. If anyone knows how to live a legendary life and leave a legacy behind, Billy did.

So here’s the thing. Any picture you have in your head of a glamorous perfect life, just go ahead and wipe that slate clean.

Being successful and leaving a legacy does NOT mean you’re perfect. It does NOT mean you have always been the best person in the world.

What does it mean to live a legendary life and leave a legacy behind?

Know what you want and go after it.

You don’t wait for the right doors to open – you carve your own doorway and walk right through it. So what’s your vision? And what kind of doorway are you going to create to walk through? That vision carries your “why,” which will be a big part of your legacy.

Take a stand for what you believe in.

What do you take a stand for? How are you taking a stand through sharing your gifts? Billy stood for several causes, one of which was diversifying and culturally enriching the country through innovative musical collaborations with musicians of very different backgrounds. Imagine the passion he had to live such a legendary life.

Let your passion drive you, especially when roadblocks get in the way. Surround yourself with support.

What are you passionate about? What fuels you? Billy was at the forefront of the success of a lot of cutting edge bands and artists, including me. He wasn’t just willing to take a risk on emerging musical innovators. It was how he lived his life. Doing that is what fueled him. He craved that feeling of knowing that he had helped one more unrecognized artist get on the map. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t perfect. It mattered that he showed up with his passion.

Screw up, piss people off and keep going anyway.

Billy wasn’t perfect. Putting him on a pedestal would be ridiculous, and he wouldn’t want it anyway. His ego got in the way sometimes. He messed up some things, including his own health. Because he was REAL. Those celebrity rag magazines are always catching people in the act of – heaven forbid – not being the perfect idol people had in mind. Well, in order to be successful, you’re going to have piss some people off. Why? Because if you’re pleasing everybody, you’re not taking a stand and you’re not being real. And if you’re not taking a stand, then you can’t leave a legacy behind. Are you still trying to please everybody? Really take stock. Where could you be more bold in standing in your power? It’s okay to piss some people off because in doing so, you’re going to find out who your true community really is.

Create community around doing what you love.

Although Billy was a private person, he was most known for creating community. If you create community, all kinds of magic will happen. You get to connect people to people. You get to find the resources you need, very easily. You get to share your gifts in bigger ways, with more people. Billy Bryans was an expert in creating community, and the evidence of his ability to gather people of diverse backgrounds together was very obvious at his Celebration of Life event. How are you already creating community through sharing your gifts? How else can you create community through your business?

Share your passion and your gifts. If you want to “be nice” and help “everyone,” then you will limit the good you can do in the world and life won’t be as amazing as it can be.

Seriously. Your legacy will create itself, if you let your passion lead you, take bold steps, grow your community and support circle, and don’t look back.

Love & Blessings,

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman



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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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