For some time now I have adopted the habit of working out early in the morning – usually around 5:00 am. This year and motivated by a close friend, I resumed running and it is impressive how it boosts your energy for the day and the myriad of ideas sparking in one’s mind with working out – there is a scientific reason for that but will not get into details here.
Chewing the fat with this same friend (who encouraged me to resume running) a few weeks ago, he mentioned that the Vicar of our local church and who was an avid runner himself, had prematurely passed away during one of his run earlier that week – heart attack while out running. On the Sunday after that, I went to this church with my son – aiming to participate the sermon but also expecting to hear his eulogy – something I came to know living abroad as it is not common in Brazil.
It was amazing. Whole community was there and his family too. In sum, the Curate conducting Sunday morning sermon said that he was
‘An example in many ways. A great and respected leader, head of family and a trustworthy friend who anyone could rely on for advice and support. A sporty man who loved run and occasionally spent time in the jazz club. A great reference to anyone he interacted with.’
His legacy! And, I believe, building his legacy was (consciously or not) what took him out of the bed every day!
It was a very emotional moment and when I left, my son said, ‘He was a great guy, wasn’t him?’ and I answered, ‘Yes, he surely was! I am sorry about his family and friends’ loss but I am glad we came here to hear his eulogy. It makes me think, many years from now I hope, what would be mine?’. He stared me in the eyes and said, ‘I don’t want think about it now. Hope it take many, many years!’
A sad story I know but I thought it was worth sharing. On the eulogy, this wasn’t obviously something he constructed overnight. It took him years of examples, attitude and actions being witnessed by others – this is how I believe a legacy is built. This post is about it, how do we build our legacy?
According to WHO, in 2015 the average life expectancy at birth of the global population was 71.4 year. This means that, in average one has 26061 days to build a legacy. Of course, legacy is not only passed on when one dies. It happens in many transitions in life – from student to a professional. From individual contributor to manager, our kids upbringing and so on… And to me, legacy is construed in everyday life with small or big actions!
A few years ago, when I started my coaching sessions with Trevor Sherman, I was struck by the following question – What is your legacy? I concede I didn’t have a readily / concrete answer and started working on that.
As the song says, ‘It is a new dawn it is a new day, it is a new life…’
Departing from the principle that legacy is built on everyday actions, it is important to have clarity on what legacy we want to leave. With that in hands, then we can adjust daily actions and that, to me, is what takes one off the bed since every day we have a ‘new’ opportunity to work on our legacy – attitude and actions.
‘Who’s life I will make better today?’ Professor Clayton Christensen
Building my list and reflecting about it I realised that everything I wanted to leave as legacy were very close to my heart. Also learned that things close to our hears take us out of the bed every day. This exercise gave me the opportunity to find the ‘work-life harmony’ to do the things I love and influence work or life positively. So, my plan to build a legacy (things that take me out of the bed everyday) summarises as follows:
Influence and develop people to add value and effect positive change to the business. Encourage continuous improvement. Play to win – for the team and for myself.
In my last post about Employee Engagement, I wrote that having a fulfilling job, getting ahead on our career/professional or personal growth, to make the difference in the world and (most of us) to work for a winning team and a company with strong values is what matters. From this stand point and as a leader, coming to work every day and giving our people a good reason to wake up in the morning, help on their development and to create business opportunities can be an effective way to build a legacy.
Writing in this blog is another thing very close to my heart as it helps me achieving above with a broader audience and, somehow, inspire and help other young (and ambitious) professionals achieving their goals or having a reason to get off the bed every day.
Give my kids and family good examples and to my wife many reasons for her to wake up every morning fresh and hopeful about the future and what life can bring to us. I want to remain young by feeding my mind with good readings/continuous learning, working out to live a long life surrounded by people who adds value to our lives.
I cannot say that I am succeeding in every aspect – yet. But I am certainly not failing, I am learning! As someone once said, if not prepared to fail or be wrong, we are either not trying hard enough or will never come up with anything original!
What is ‘taking you out of the bed’?
About the picture: I’ve taken this pic myself. it is a coffee shop in my neighborhood.