Leave A Timeless Legacy: Your finest Hour Is Yet To Be!
The Great Question
The graying, tall, statuesque man gazed out his picture window.
He stood behind his huge walnut desk, his fingers drumming aimlessly
along the buttons on his chair; both symbols of the power of his
office - an office he leaves this day, forever. The air was filled
with the sounds of scurrying people and moving furniture - yet
he was oblivious to it all, immersed a light year away in his
He turned abruptly, catching us off guard, and blurted out, "How
do you think I'll be remembered?"
Before we could muster the words in response, he slumped down
in the chair, heaved a big sigh, and said softly, "Oh, never mind.
I can't do much about it now anyway."
Here's a man who sat at the pinnacle of almost absolute power.
He commanded the stage, parried and thrust with the best of them,
and won more than his share of the engagements. And, here he is,
in his waning moments, worrying about the legacy he is leaving.
He was a great man. We were privileged to have worked with him.
He did many things for the people he served. Yet, despite the
power he commanded, he shares the common human concern of measuring
the footprints he leaves behind. All of us have but a moment on
the stage. All of us ask his eternal question, "And how will they
Endings Are Really Beginnings In Disguise
Look closely: endings are beginnings in disguise. Note, endings
are not really endings. Our friend leaves the big office and the
big desk behind. No more private planes and fawning minions hanging
on his every word. Is it really over for him? No! Endings are
really beginnings, part of the eternal cycle of life. The sun
sets every evening, only to rise again next morning more beautiful
that ever. The dankness of winter is but a necessary step towards
the freshness of spring. The natural cycle teaches us that endings
are merely beginnings in disguise.
President Carter - The Quintessential Renewer
Look at President Jimmy Carter. He was one of the long strings of one-term Presidents
in the later half of the 20th century. Historians generally agree that he was not a
strong president: barely defeating our only non-elected President, presiding over one of
the worst periods of stagflation in US economic history, ordering the embarrassing
helicopter rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran, and then losing soundly to Ronald
He could have crept back to his home in Georgia, nursed his wounds,
grown his peanuts and faded from view. Instead, he followed his
heart and his values, renewing himself as a great humanitarian
and peacemaker. His work with Habitat For Humanity, building homes
for the homeless, and bringing peace to several troubled parts
of the world, will likely write his name in large letters in the
history books - much larger than his record as President might
merit. Through renewal, the ending of his presidency was the beginning
of his glory. You also can renew yourself, as President Carter
did, and snare the golden ring.
Fire Up Those Learnin' Machines
People are powerful and wonderful "learnin' machines," ever pushing
the boundaries of their own comfort zone, hungry for more and
more opportunities to demonstrate their mastery. Expect, measure
and reward that learning to feed that wonderful horn-of-plenty-creating
Learn to love learning and growing. Ask people about their best
experiences or happiest times and it inevitably involves learning
and growing. A banker friend of ours told us about a craft class
he took with his teen-age son last winter. He said, "Been wanting
to learn how to blacksmith for years. This was a great opportunity
for me to finally do it. Likely won't earn a dime more at the
bank, but the time with my son was priceless. We're going back
next year to learn wood carving together." He came to learn, along
with the 3,000 other folks. He's a better person for having learned
- and he's a better banker, parent and friend as a result.
Leave a legacy of learning individuals who will carry on your
Establish Heart Connections
What makes young men and women risk their lives charging an enemy
machine gun nest? What gets people to work crazy hours to meet
a customer's design deadline? What gets people to re-design an
entire show in 60 hours? Is it money? Can't be. They can't pay
you enough to die. Is it power? What kind of power can you exercise
looking up at the daisies? Is it the thrill? Not much thrill in
a hospital bed. The answer's amazingly simple. It's heart.
"Come on, give me a break," you're likely saying to yourself.
"What do you mean by heart? Is this some kind of Wizard of Oz
double-talk -- like the Tin Man asking for a heart?"
Heart Matters More Than Generals And Flags
Sort of. At the end of the day the army is effective because the people really
care about their platoon-mates. Soldiers risk their lives in battle because of
their commitment to the person on their left, the person on their right, the
rest of the people in their platoon and their platoon leader. Military orders
can't command the courage to take out the machine gun nest in the face of
blazing gunfire, or the courage to hover your helicopter behind enemy lines to
rescue a downed flier. Rules and regulations can't compel people to sacrifice
their lives. The willingness to give it all - whether it's time or energy or your
life - comes from the heart connection among people. We work, live and die for
We could go on and on. We hope the message is clear: you leave
a timeless legacy when you continually renew yourself by firing
up those human learnin' machines and establishing heart connections
with others. Your finest hour is yet to be. Let's get on with
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