My mother recently made a comment about my father who had passed away in October 2008. She said, “It’s as if he’s still here.” And for all impactful purposes, she is right. The toughest challenge we’ll ever face is filling the shoes of those who have influenced or changed our lives; of continuing to touch and inspire others the way they did us. We all pick up various legacy mantles in our lives; our heroes, our mentors, our parents, our teachers, the list goes on and on.
Continuing a legacy is not about perpetuating a persona, but rather the ideals and principles they inspired in you. As a leader in the workplace our goal is to always strive to leave an organization better than when we entered, able to continue its upward trajectory long after we’ve left the building. As a parental role model our goal is to teach lessons and instill confidence so when our children leave the nest they can soar with the eagles and live a life that surpasses the one we lived.
None of us is around forever but the impact of what we believed in and stood for will be. A family friend stopped by the office last week. He had just started a new job and his predecessor had “warned” the staff that the firing would commence as soon as he started. Needless to say he was set up to fail. As he decorated his office, he placed a picture on his desk of himself and my father.
The worker who most feared him immediately noticed and said that my father had made a significant impact on her life and was one of her heroes. At that moment my friend became the greatest boss in the world in her eyes. After all, anyone who loved one of her heroes was most definitely a-ok in her book. And this woman went on to become one of my friend’s strongest workers and allies.
Will we be able to instill change from the great beyond? If we inspire enough people in the most tremendous of ways we most certainly will and people will be paying us the greatest compliment in the world long after we’re gone.