What’s Your Leadership Legacy?


Do you think about your leadership legacy?

What type of culture do you want to leave in your organization?

As a result of your leadership, what will remain long after you left?


Andrew Thorn is a business coach, consultant, and psychologist.  He has recently written Leading With Your Legacy In Mind.  I had the opportunity to ask him about his new book and leaving a leadership legacy.


The Importance of Legacy

Why did you decide to write about legacy?

My father passed away when he was 65 years old.  I was born when he was 30, so many of the important events of my life happened 30 years after they did for him.  When he died, I had an overwhelming sense that I was next in line.  This caused me to think about my legacy and the impact that I was making.  I asked myself if I was satisfied with my life, and the answer was no.  I began to make some changes and that included writing about the process of creating a legacy.


“Leadership is the act of making things better for others.” -Andrew Thorn


What is Leadership?

What’s your definition of leadership?

Leadership is the act of making things better for others.  When we live by this definition, all of us, regardless of our formal title or lack thereof, can engage in leading with our legacy in mind.


“Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.” -Romain Rolland


What is the “arc of leadership”?

The “arc of leadership” represents our own maturation as a leader.  It helps us remember that life is a circular experience and that it is difficult for us to see it as a whole.  When we pull out an arc, or a part of that circle, we can study it and understand it more effectively.  Each arc calls us into movement and improvement.


“The measure of a society is not only what it does but the quality of its aspirations.” -Wade Davis


Where To Spend Your Time

I’m interested in your view of balance.  Your chapter on this subject is called “From Balance to Focus”.  What does this mean?

A very lucky person, over the course of a 45 year career, will spend about 117,000 hours at work (average of 50 hours a week working), 131,000 hours sleeping (average of 8 hours a day sleeping), and 65,000 hours (average of 4 hours a day) taking care of personal responsibilities.  This scenario would leave the lucky person with a little more than 50,000 hours to use however he or she wants.

Unfortunately, most of us work longer, sleep less, encumber life with unnecessary personal responsibilities and then find ourselves too tired to make our free time matter.  Just by looking at the hours, we can see that there is no way to balance the number of hours between work and life.  We need to work to provide for our needs.  Instead of trying to balance the time, we must spend time focusing our efforts into meaningful work.Andrew Thorn

The time we spend at work is the time when we are most awake, most alert, most focused on what we want, most productive and most engaged.  Once we focus on where we want to work and how we will contribute what we know we must contribute, we find ourselves full of energy at the end of the work day, which in turn means that I can use my 50,000 hours more effectively, too.


How do you coach clients to understand ‘purpose’?

I think it is important that we understand that purpose is a moving target.  In other words, purpose is different during the different seasons of life.  Sometimes we hang on to a purpose for too long or we let it go too soon.  This is why we must be constantly evaluating what we find to be meaningful.  When we connect to meaning, our purposes come into focus, too.  When we can see purpose for what it is – the guiding force of why we do what we do, then we can begin to also know what to do.  I use one or two questions to connect my clients to purpose: (1) Why do I want to do this? & (2) If this were my last day, would I still be willing to do what I am about to do? Once these questions are answered, there are very few doubts about purpose.  I don’t want to make it any more complicated than this.


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams


From Success to Significance


Let’s talk about one of the leadership arcs: moving from success to significance. How do you help coach someone in this area?

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

Photo by Captain Kimo on flickr.

This is a guest post by Jeremy Statton. He is an orthopedic surgeon and a writer. He blogs about Living Better Stories. You can follow him on Twitter or download a free copy of his eBook Grace Is.

One of my regrets in life is never having watched a space shuttle launch in person.


I try to imagine how it might sound or what it probably feels like. But nothing could compare to witnessing the feat of getting something that big and heavy off the ground, through the atmosphere, and into orbit.

The purpose of a launch is to transfer the shuttle and the astronauts and the items stored on the shuttle into space. They go on a mission designed to accomplish a task. The launch is relatively insignificant when considering the greater purpose.

But have you ever thought about what it takes to get the shuttle off the ground? Have you ever considered what must happen first in order for the greater purpose to be accomplished?

Empty, the shuttle weighs 172,000 pounds. But add in the fuel necessary for liftoff and the weight goes up to 4,400,000 pounds. By weight, 96% of the shuttle exists to get it moving.  After the launch, the first big moment comes when the two white rocket boosters on the side are released. This happens at exactly 124 seconds.

The boosters contain 83% of the fuel needed for the entire mission. The mission might last ten days, but a majority of the fuel is consumed in the first two minutes. We associate a space shuttle mission with a bigger purpose than getting off the ground, but the launch can contain the most difficult obstacles to overcome.


The same can happen for whatever purpose you choose to pursue. The start might be the most difficult part of any project.

How many good ideas have you had that never saw the light of day mainly because you never began?

Simplify Your Life

Copyright Skip Prichard

The Beauty of the Simple

Sam Davidson met me one January day in a hip new coffee shop in Nashville.  As he shared stories about his life and his books, I listened intently while still managing to watch the painting and construction of a stage.  (If you’re in Nashville, this is a requirement.)  As my schedule allows, I try to meet interesting people in person to learn their stories.  Sam is an author, speaker and the cofounder of Cool People Care.5Mfd3lB_0xfSiuGZavtpq0wOpP9xhONr197wV2mw6uo,Bdyzc_sNHB0bFZOu1V7NWtzpLmLj4J0wLM6I03w0Fsg

Leaving the little café, I tucked the book Sam gave me under my arm and made my way back to my car.  Not needing much sleep, I average a book a day.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that I’m sent so many books, I can’t keep up with them.  But any book with tips on reducing stress has to go right to the top of the pile.  I found a very practical and somewhat surprising book on how to Simplify Your Life.

I decided to follow-up with Sam to talk about his ideas on how to live a simple life.

Determine your values and passions

Sam, you have a very different approach to simplifying life.  When I first saw the book cover, I thought “minimalism.”  Any thoughts of minimalist advice were quickly cast aside when I saw your first chapter begins with the words, “Down with Minimalism.”  You say, “Minimalism is boring.”

What is minimalism and why is that not the right place to start?

Minimalism puts the focus on quantity, perhaps to a fault. In the rush to minimize, I fear we miss out on a reflective or introspective process that gets to the heart of why it is we have too much stuff or feel too stressed. Instead, I encourage people to first determine their values and passions. Then, everything that doesn’t enable or enhance one of those can go.

Eliminate things that don’t match your purpose

Getting rid of things for the sake of minimalism may mean we miss out on a valuable tool needed to achieve a great dream. Furthermore, if all we have helps makes us better, the amount of things around us matters less since it’s all beneficial and important.

Make Your Days Count

Mastering Your Life Right Now (and a book giveaway)

For over thirty years (10,950 days), Robert D Smith has worked behind the scenes as Andy Andrews’ manager and as a consultant to numerous best-selling authors and speakers.  Most know him as THE Robert D, and his infectious energy and enthusiasm for life radiates into a room even before he steps into it.


We gave away some free AUTOGRAPHED copies of 20,000 Days and Counting.

Winners have been selected and notified.

To qualify for the random drawing:

  1. Leave a comment below. Why would this book be helpful to you?
  2. Send out this post. You can use Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You could also use a pigeon, but you’d likely miss the contest end date.


When I read THE Robert D’s book, I realized it was the perfect way to start a new year.  It’s packed with practical steps to make the most of your days.  It’s a fast read, but one that will linger with you as you contemplate your life.

Let’s start with the title.  20,000 Days and Counting.  That grabbed my attention as I wondered about the significance of 20,000 days.  Turns out that you realized in 2009 that you had been alive for almost 20,000 days.  That realization had a big impact on you, didn’t it?

I would say the impact was huge. When you see your number, it really gives you a sense of urgency and intensity.

2.  I love to invent reasons to celebrate.  My wife and I celebrate more dates than anyone, and I even invent anniversaries and holidays just so we can celebrate something.  So, I was thrilled to see you talking about celebrating in this book.  Why is celebrating so important?  How do you make it a part of your daily life?

20000daysCelebrating is critical because it’s the only way to withstand living a life of intensity and purpose. If you’re living each and every day with meaning and intentional action to fulfill your purpose, you’re going to be drained from time to time. Allowing yourself time to celebrate the little accomplishments along the way will keep you focused and help you avoid burnout.

3.  From what I read, you seem to love the word “no.”  Why is “no” such a power word?