“Makin’ memories and changin’ lives”. That’s what our fast talking, long haired white water rafting guide Doug said was his purpose in life. And, boy does he LIVE it. Our family just got back from the most amazing vacation in the West Virginia New River Gorge. We signed up for the ‘Lower New” white water rafting adventure (the one for newbies) and Doug had about 20 minutes to prepare us for what would be one of the coolest experiences that I have ever had on a vacation. He talked so fast that I could hardly process his words. But in that brief time, he told stories, gave us key safety instructions, told more cow jokes than I thought existed and had me smiling the entire time. He LOVED his job, his mission in life. He knew that he played a key role in the making of the perfect vacation for people. It was about us, the vacationers, always about us.
I started thinking about Doug and the legacy that he is leaving; the impact that he had on me whether he was aware of it or not. I realize that we all leave a legacy, good or bad, intentionally or unintentionally. We are all being observed by others and those observations lead to conclusions about us that are indelible impressions in people’s minds.
I was thinking about the most common denominator of whether a legacy would be positive or negative and my hypothesis is that selflessness leads to a positive legacy and selfishness leads to a negative legacy. Test this out as I have in my own life. Think about the people in your life that have been your heroes; the people who have left the most positive lasting impression on you. Were they selfless? My list sure was. Now, think about those people who leave a bad taste in your memory mouth. Were they selfish? Hmm hmmnn. Yep. Mine too.
When you are gone, what stories do you want people to be telling about the impact you had on their lives?
If you want to have more impact in your work, your mission in life, put others first. Serve for their benefit, not for your own. Not only will you have more success in your business and your life, but you will be making a difference in the world. You will be leaving a positive legacy. Examine your motives. Are you in business just to make money? Or do you believe that what you are doing is really helping people?
What kind of legacy are you leaving?