What’s Your Legacy?
One of the most memorable conversations in my lifetime happened a year ago.
It was a relaxed Saturday morning, rather unremarkable as it began, the sunlight poking in the windows early and signaling a perfect weather day. I called my mom, and we spoke for a few hours. Our discussion covered all of our usual topics ranging from career to spiritual, from family to future, from politics to past neighbors and friends. There was nothing we didn’t cover, but I recall sensing something.
It was a legacy conversation.
And that wasn’t even unusual.
What is a legacy conversation? It’s one that endures as part of your legacy, long after it ends.
Know my mom and you know that these conversations were part of her daily life, a practice so common and normal to her that she wouldn’t even know she was doing it.
In every single conversation, she made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. She told you how special you were, what your unique talents were, and talked about the future as if you could do anything. A call with her made you feel like the sun rose and set only so that it had the opportunity to warm you with its presence.
And that Saturday morning conversation was just like that.
Only 24 hours later and my mom was gone. She wasn’t sick; she wasn’t struggling; she just suddenly exited this life as if she was an angel who slipped into another dimension.
They say that time heals all wounds, but don’t believe it. You just learn to trudge on. You adapt. You live with the mixture of memory and hope.
For me, it’s a practice of gratitude for the time I had with mom, the many lessons I learned, and the realization of what really matters.
Leave Nothing Unsaid
One of the most powerful lessons of all is to leave nothing unsaid. She left this life saying everything. And I have no regrets either having expressed all that I wanted to right back.
And what a gift that is.
Only a few weeks ago, I had an email come in from someone that I admire because of her focus on the spiritual, on others, on giving of her talents to make the world a better place. It started with these words:
“It goes without saying but I will still say it…”
And then she went on to share some nice words.
But the sentence struck me because she encapsulated the lesson that mom taught me this very week, one year ago.
Don’t let it go without saying.
If you love someone, say it.
If someone has made a difference in your life, tell them.
If you are proud of someone, tell them why.
Embrace the Leadership Opportunity
After that legacy conversation with my mom, I made it my goal to have more of these conversations. I tracked down a teacher who was instrumentally important in helping me be a better writer. I reached out to a colleague who impressed me many years ago. I made sure to tell a mentor how much of a difference he made in my life.
Because time is precious, and we never know when our last day may be, we should all practice the lesson. Leadership offers an unprecedented opportunity to speak words of legacy and encouragement into the lives of others. If you aren’t willing to embrace this aspect of leadership, you are never going to fulfill your greatest potential.
Why not take some time today to send some encouraging words to others? Have some legacy conversations of your own. You never know the impact those words may have.
As I remember my mom one year after her sudden passing, I am overwhelmed by those words spoken a few hours on a Saturday morning. More than anything else, those are the words that give me comfort and encouragement even as we grieve.
And to all those who regularly write to me in this community, thank you. I wish you success, happiness, and unbounded joy in the year ahead.
Boost Your Positive Intake
Image Credit: Aaron Burden