Posted on October 31, 2017Contemplating Your Legacy and the Impact You Leave On the World
As I approached the age of forty-five I began to realize I was not immortal and thus started to think about the impact I had been leaving on the world – my legacy. I define legacy as something that extends beyond your physical life and how that something continues to live, grow and have an impact without your presence.
That something will mean different things to different people. My goal was always to; leave this world in a better place than I found it. To achieve that, I first asked myself, “what can I do, what can I positively impact, so that my actions and words contribute to that legacy?”
For me, half of that goal centers around my personal life and family. The other half relates to business, which is why I continually look toward the next generation of GCP. I think about how GCP will connect people to their opportunities, dreams, and the products they want. Also, how GCP will continue to contribute in making a difference to our strategic partners around the world. And finally, about my opportunity to coach others and what it could mean to help them grow and improve.
When you add that all up, I feel it’s my responsibility to be the best I can be, meaning be of useful service to others. To use the talents and capabilities I’ve acquired in a responsible way that helps and motivates. It’s that responsibility that drives me to continue to better myself on a daily basis.
Building a Legacy
One of the tools I use to help me achieve my goal is writing. When you speak your message, people hear it, but then it’s gone. For a message to sink in and be retained, people must be able to go over it again, and again. This is why books are very powerful. If you want something to last and to be remembered, you have to write it down. The act of writing forces me to think about what is important, not just to me, but to others as well.
Just as music extends the musician’s physical presence, my hope is my writings will extend beyond my physical presence. One of the reasons I wrote Guanxi: “The China You Never Read About” was because I believed GCP provides value to others from their perspective. By focusing on what’s important to our customers, we understand we must provide something of significant value before we can expect anything in return. Providing increased value will in turn generate increased returns for GCP. Principles of trust, relationship, honesty, and delivering on your promises, in my opinion, will never go out of fashion.
Finding Time To Write
My role at GCP has now transitioned to head coach. Throughout the years, I discovered my personal process was to; Do it first, then perfect it, then teach to it others. In short, Do, Learn, Teach. This is how GCP was built. I would visit all the factories, travel to all the customers, and try to handle all the communication. However, as my team around me grew I eventually realized it was much more sustainable to teach someone else those tasks, then let go and gave them that responsibility. As a result, I no longer have to manage my team. My job now is to motivate. When your employees are doing what they like to do and are appreciated for their results, they will want to work hard and get things done. This is a wonderful formula for personal and professional growth.
When I ensure my team has everything they need to get their jobs done, they can trust me and I can trust them. I do not have to be in the office everyday micromanaging, I can take the time to put my knowledge and experience into communications that are valuable to others.
I fully realize that most legacies do not last forever. Over time, those in charge of maintaining your legacy may alter it to the extent you would no longer recognize it as your own. People can break what you’ve built once you are gone. However, the knowledge you have shared can last forever. I believe our spirits can live on in the minds and hearts of the people you have touched in a positive way.
I know I don’t have a big dramatic story to tell, but I do have a story, I’ve been told, is worth sharing. When I see how much our customers have grown, when I see the support we receive from our partners, and my team around me doing things they never thought possible. That’s all the motivation I need. Add to that all the positive comments I’ve received from people I do not know, who have read my writings tells me that this is the right path to be on.
So I challenge you, what’s your legacy? What’s that something you will leave behind?
Until Next Time,