The concept of legacy is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. In my professional world, my colleagues and I are constantly talking about the best ways to help clients obtain personal achievements (Pro-Activity is a Human Achievement Company)….and I consistently find myself coaching athletes (who we define as anyone who relies on a strong body and confident mind) to not be afraid to dream big and go after something amazing…so that they may get the most of their life. But the more I think about it…I believe at the heart of many of these pursuits is the concept of legacy……or the mark each of us will leave on this world as we pass through it. And so I got to thinking….am I taking the action today to leave the type of legacy I want to in my path? Am I doing all I can to leave the mark on this world that I’m hoping to….and if not, why….and what should I change?
Although I’m not sure I was always as clear as I am today, my pursuit over the last 10 or so years has been to do what I can to leverage my abilities and the resources I’ve been blessed with, so that I may inspire, strengthen, and assist others in their own pursuit so that together, we may have the opportunity to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. And although I’m far from a doomsday-er, nor do I think the world is all bad to begin with – I wonder how it would be if each of us (myself included) spent more time thinking about, planning, and acting in a way that would leave it better off for our having been a part. What legacy would we leave, ….what will we have achieved….would we be proud of the mark we’ve left…would the gaps in our life that so many of us attempt to fill with other pursuits be filled? Would those that care about us be honored for having been a part? Worth considering for sure…and something I intend to do better in acting upon.
And what about the legacies in action we are witnessing day by day….do we appreciate them? The unique additions those we’re closest to are making on the world while seemingly just “doing their job” or being themselves? I found myself stepping back in the last week, thinking a bit more deeply about this and finding inspiration in a pair of “Toms”.
Tom H. – my father-in-law…..the guy just won his 300th career game as a high school basketball coach…an impressive milestone to be sure…but beyond the accolades he’s gained over the years (frequently being named coach of the year by various media outlets) what struck me most when taking a moment to reflect on this most recent one was the way he’s done it and why….consistently and through personal sacrifice for the last 25+ years…for others…for the betterment of the kid’s he’s coaching, ….because sport is a gateway to “real-life” where giving your best is not only something to strive for, but an expectation…but above all playing the game the “right” way (insert metaphor here) is the only way.
Tom E. – my Dad……it’s 9p last Monday and New Jersey is again getting pummeled with snow…and I’m getting ready to board a plane in 8 hours for an exciting client conference…leaving my two year old, an 8-month pregnant wife home. I’m rushing…trying to do too many things at once (like usual), and frustrated to AGAIN have to shovel the damn driveway (after the snow blower he lent me stalled)…and I place the call “home” and get “Eric, your dad ran out (in a snow storm) to pick up Mary X. (made up name for anonymity) who’s car broke down and is stuck in the snow….I’ll tell him to call you when he gets home”. And then it hits me….Tom E., the Good Samaritan does it again. This is a guy who went out of his way to bring a homeless man into our home (unannounced) for Holiday dinner….the guy that marched his family to the Pro-Life rally….and other charity functions, homeless shelters, etc. intended to serve others…..brought communion and his young children to the local nursing home just to visit the (un-related) residents. The guy has made a life of putting others (including his family) ahead of himself…and wow, how lucky I have been to be on the receiving end so many times, and have learned by example on the way. And just as those thoughts were swirling my head (as I pushed snow around the driveway)…he showed up….hopped out of the car and helped a long side me….finishing the job and leaving with a sincere hug and message – “Eric, if Amy or Emma need anything while you’re gone, please have them call”.
These are legacies….marks being left on the world, day by day. We have each been given the opportunity to do so, even in the seemingly most minor interactions with others, and if you look around…you might be surprised just how many you’ll see in action. May each of us find our pursuit…and have the courage to do it the “right way”, leaving a legacy we’re proud to look back on in our path. And hey, maybe someday we too will be honored with a namesake in the next generation (Thomas John Eisenhart, due 3/9/14).
To your legacy,