In networking marketing, the biggest legacy we can leave behind is that of mentoring. It is ultimately the process of mentoring that creates true wealth for one's heirs.

In Asian cultures in particular, true wealth denotes something that cannot be spent but can only be expanded. The role mentoring plays in generational legacy in terms of true wealth is fundamental. All great legacies that have been successfully handed down are from great mentors to receptive mentees. Hence, receiving it depends entirely on the mentoring process.

Money does not constitute a legacy but merely its trappings. True wealth is the only real basis of a legacy. Which leads to the question, what is true wealth?

True wealth is simply the inheritance you can never spend. It does not come simply from having knowledge, but rather from the process of acquiring that knowledge. One cannot become a champion just by reading up on the experiences of another champion. You need someone who holds your hand as you make your mistakes; someone who pushes you to be the best you can be, as opposed to being the best of what he is; someone who sets parameters and expects you to challenge them. The ideal mentor is one who not only expects but demands of you to become even greater than he.

The best legacy is inculcated and institutionalized into great mentoring programs. Steve Jobs's legacy may live on through all his i-products, but the legacy that will help an entire new generation of Apple employees in years to come is the much-talked-about Apple University, a project Steve personally initiated, where company executives, present and future, will learn how to think and act like their former leader. He envisioned it as "a forum to impart my DNA to future generations."

Great mentors set up systems and structures with coaching methodologies and disciplines that constantly evolve. In effect, the legacy this creates is the thought process of the mentor, developed and continuously built upon by a series of mentees for successive new generations.

Networking legends are those leaders who have developed a series of leaders, who in turn have developed other leaders, based on the same ideology of the original mentor, and who have also added their own experiences and personas to further evolve the thought process. They invariably give the legacy itself a life of its own, making it the same and yet very much different. Thus the term living legacy.

Great living legacies are not written in stone and will differ from teacher to teacher, in different schools of thought, and even in different cultures. It is these living legacies that continue to shape and to invigorate the course of man.

VIJAY ESWARAN is chairman and CEO of a
multinational conglomerate headquartered in
Hong Kong. He also is a veteran networker,
popular speaker, and author of
In the Sphere of Silence,
a bestselling book on his life philosophy.
Vijay Eswaran lectures at leading universities and
business forums around the world on a variety of
subjects ranging from spirituality to leadership.