"LEGACY (Definition): something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past."
- Miriam-Webster Dictionary
Have you ever questioned your reason for going into business? Has anyone every asked you why you got started? How did you reply?
If you're like most people you may have answered somthing like..."So I can create wealth."..."So I can have a better life."..."So my children will be better off than me."..."Because I like to have control and do things my way."..."So I can have freedom."..."So I can travel.", etc, etc.
On the surface, I think we would like all of these things. But if we keep asking why, and peel away the layers, our reasons I think are much more--there is something deeper that inherently drives us. Why do you want to create wealth? What does 'better off ' really mean? What is freedom to you? And even though we all have different whys, in our common humanity, I believe our reasons come back to the same premise--TO LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE.
Why am I telling you this?
This week my father passed away. The above photo is of my father, Bob in Mt Hagan, Papua New Guinea. He was a truck driver (among other things he did) and spent many years navigating the mountains of PNG. This was all before Independence in PNG. That's where he met our mother Margaret and they got married. They were married 54 years. He would tell us that the years he spent in PNG were the best years of his life, and if you looked at his current closest friendships today, they were formed during this period of his life. It really was a life of adventure, without the restrictions and pressures we have upon us today and where material wealth was less important than experiential wealth.
So I wanted to share with you some of the things that I've been pondering upon. It's not often we get the chance to stop 'doing business', and actually 'do life' for a change. And what I mean by that, is that it's been an opportunity where business hasn't been my main focus for once. It's times like these that really force you to get another perspective on life.
In the last so many days, I've been helping organise my father's funeral, contacting friends and relatives, talking to funeral directors, and as I write this (Tuesday), I'm in the middle of creating the funeral program, ready to take to the printers tomorrow. Some of the conversations with Dad's old friends have really been wonderful because I'm listening to stories of Dad's past that I've never heard. And if you know me at all, I love listening to stories--it's why I'm so passionate about telling them!
Every day since my father passed, we've been gathering at the family home, going through family albums and boxes of old photos that mum has collected over the years. We've been keeping mum busy and keeping her spirits up. In fact, it's keeping all our spirits up. We've been sitting around the big table on the back verandah with lots of laughs, lots of cups of tea, conversations about childhood, and laughing at our photos from the 70's and 80's--the crazy hairdos and horrible fashions.
And then a question occurred to me: Why do we wait until something tragic happens before we share our stories???
Why can't we be creating and sharing our stories now? And in order for there to be stories to tell, we need to create the space in our lives for those stories to unfold. And I don't mean stories that just revolve around having or building a business, but stories that involve you touching the lives of the very people you are wanting to serve. Each person's life that you encounter has unique value and has something to offer in the way of learning and providing the impetus for something far greater than we alone can create.
Which brings me back to the world Legacy. When most people think of legacy, they think in monetary terms. But I believe legacy is much more than that. Legacy can be in the actions, thoughts and words that you create and leave to your family and friends. It's tied up in the stories that unfold throughout your life, which involves touching every person you encounter and doing so in a show of love--because that's really what I believe life is all about. Of course, remembering that we all have differing ways of expressing love and each person's method of expression should always be respected.
In fact, the day on which I'm writing this is ANZAC DAY. What more appropriate a day to talk about leaving a legacy? For every soldier who lost their life so we could enjoy the freedoms we have today, what bigger legacy could someone leave for a whole nation?
You see, it's times like these, when we lose someone near and dear to us, that strip away all the superfluous stuff that we hide behind, to bring us back to the fact that as humans, at our core, we want to experience love in order to give our lives deeper meaning and purpose.
So this week, I ask you to think about the stories you're creating. The stories that will become the legacy you're leaving, not only for your children, but for your employees, your co-workers, your businiess associates and network of people, your friends and family, your wider community, and humanity.
Have a great week!
Kerry :) x
*P.S. I'll be away from 28/4/17 - 5/5/17, stripping away the superfluous stuff, so there will be no post next week. See you when I get back!