“When I look towards my future, I want to leave a legacy that runs rich.”
-Kyle Shewfelt, Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist
Last month we attended the 90th birthday celebration for my father-in-law. The room was filled with many friends from both his business and personal life that gave nice (and often funny) testimonials about him. He enjoyed seeing so many people come out on a cold, rainy December day (when many had to prepare for the holidays) to celebrate his life.
In the movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” Tom Hanks’ character has led a platoon of men to find and protect a soldier, James Francis Ryan, who has lost his siblings in battle during World War II. The War Department wants the young man returned home to his mother so she won’t lose all of her sons in the war. Hanks’ platoon is on a rescue mission set against the violent backdrop of the D-Day invasion in June 1944.
Platoon members know they have to lay down their lives to save this one young man. Tom’s character has been mortally wounded. As he lays dying, he looks at young Ryan and says, “Earn this!”
It is a message to James Ryan to not waste the efforts that his comrades have put into saving his life in battle. It begs the question, what are you leaving behind that has value?
I worked with a company last year who had a spirit of comradery throughout their team. The COO loved to “spoil” his managers by giving gifts to encourage their efforts. While we were in the workshops, he would call each one out into a private meeting and hand them a bonus check for their efforts. None of them expected this. There was an overwhelming spirit in the room throughout the conference.
Is it any wonder that the managers were eager to serve their leader? Also, is it a surprise that this influenced each employee in the organization to do better? Of course not!
Are you leaving a legacy?