A few weeks ago, I lost a dear friend with whom I had worked with for nearly 20 years. At the funeral, her daughter talked about her mother’s legacy. I thought I knew Miss Jean well, but I learned much more about her that day. From the outside looking in, she wasn’t anything special – she wasn’t a manager or a leader – she just showed up for work everyday and did her job in the accounting department, which she did very well. She lived a very quiet, simple life.
Her daughter continued talking about her mother’s legacy and her impact on the world around her. As she closed out the celebration of her mother’s life, she asked each of us to consider what our legacy would be when we left this world.
The thesaurus within my computer states there are two meaning to the word legacy: bequest and relic. For this particular discussion, let’s choose relic. My thesaurus listed 8 synonyms for relic of which we will choose two: residue and remainder. Finally, my computer’s dictionary describes legacy as “something from the past”. Boom – case closed. Our legacy is our residue, our remainder – the things we leave behind (good or bad) that define who we were to those who were around us.
To me, Miss Jean’s legacy was one of “others first, me second”. She had an uncanny ability to sense when I needed some encouragement. During such times, it was not unusual to find slid under my office door a card from her with a handwritten note of encouragement. I can’t tell you how many times her thoughtfulness made my day much brighter.
So, what does this have to do with our business environment? Everything. From your associates to your customers to your vendors and everyone in between that you encounter, you will leave a legacy. What will yours be? What will you leave behind for your associates and customers to remember you by? Some may not care, but I believe most people want to be remembered for the difference they made with the folks within their sphere of influence. Don’t minimize the impact you have on those around you. You as a business owner have a tremendous obligation to your associates and your customers. Teach them. Train them. Treat them with respect. Make a positive difference wherever you can, and your legacy will be one you and your family will be proud of. One final thought for you to chew on: you are now becoming what you someday wish to be for today’s thoughts and behaviors shape your future.
How do your customers, vendors, and associates perceive you?
-Eddie Hight, November 9th, 2018