Jeff Henderson states, "It's no longer about being the best company IN the world. It's about being the best company FOR the world." This quote has me thinking about my legacy and what the world is going to remember me and my business for.
Creating your legacy can begin today. How do you want the world to remember you and your organization?
When you think of Alfred Nobel, what comes to mind? You might be like me and not have known his first name, but that last name conjures up the faces of the best of the best of humanity--Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, and Barack Obama to name a few Nobel Peace Prize winners.
Alfred Nobel is the man responsible for the Nobel Peace Prize, but did you know that he was also a chemist, engineer, and innovator who manufactured weapons? He had dedicated his life to developing nitroglycerine as an explosive; one of his brothers, Emil, was even killed during one experiment. Ultimately, he invented patented and sold a new product called dynamite, drastically reducing the cost of blasting rock, drilling tunnels, and forming canals, not to mention the endless tension between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the Bugs Bunny Show.
Where the focus goes, the energy flows.
For most of his life, Alfred had focused on explosives, but in 1888, that all changed. His brother, Ludvig, died that year, but instead of publishing his brother’s obituary, a French newspaper published Alfred’s obituary. In it, the paper condemned Alfred for inventing dynamite, stating:
‘The merchant of death is dead… Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich
by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.’
Alfred Nobel was crushed by this perspective on his life and how the world would remember him. To make things right, he set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel prizes, giving the equivalent of over $250 million to fund the Nobel prizes. Given this rare chance to evaluate his life and to live long enough to change it, Alfred created an honor so significant that few remember his first accomplishments. He saw the big picture and worked to change it.
Writing Your Own Ending.
What about you? How would your obituary read? When you read it, will you be happy with the world’s assessment of your life?
If you’re like me (and most people I would guess), there are some changes that you’d like to make even if you are not the creator of something as destructive as dynamite. Perhaps you haven’t achieved that vision of your life that you’ve had in head, and you want another chance to bring it to life.
Legs to YOUR Legacy
John Maxwell talks about the Law of the Big Picture in his book, 21 Laws of Leadership.
Give your legacy legs by doing the following:
1. Give yourself a character audit. If you were an employee in your organization, would you follow you? In a blog by John Maxwell, he shares 5 ways to evaluate our character. Grade yourself from 1-5 in the following areas:
2. Ask a trusted colleague or friend to watch you for a week or two, watching your character in action. Meet up with this person, listen to the feedback, and commit to one change.
3. List 3-5 things you wish your people did better than they currently do now; then grade your own performance for each one. In the areas where you give yourself a low score, work on yourself. In the areas where you give yourself a high score, make your example more visible to your team. They can’t know what’s important to their leader until they see it in action.
Start Today to Change the Ending
CS Lewis offers this compelling advice, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Alfred Noble changed his ending and in so doing made the world a better place. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, on the other hand, are perpetually falling into the same traps, and that’s their legacy. You don’t have to do the same thing. You can choose to start seeing the traps and creating your own legacy for your life. Let’s start today.
Come learn with me on Friday, October 8th at 9:00 AM about the key tools for change by knowing what you’re FOR at the Live2Lead Conference.
Entrepreneur and thought leader Jeff Henderson will be sharing tools for how to be a catalyst for extraordinary growth. You’ll discover how to:
- Work FOR your current and future customers with a new, effective method
- Be FOR your team and help your people reach full potential
- Create a ripple impact by being FOR your community
- Live and work your best by caring FOR yourself
Don't wait to create your legacy, let's learn together what we are FOR!
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