I’m not trying to be morbid but it seems that there are life’s lessons to be learned from the passing on of the ones we love. Two days ago I attended the memorial service for the mother of a friend I have known for almost forty years. Her mother passed away at the age of 90 and had lived a full and fulfilling life.
While it was a sad occasion in many ways it was a celebration of a life well lived and a legacy that will live on in her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the community of lives that were touched because she was here. This woman, known for her grace, elegance, dancing and joy of life was not a woman of great career accomplishment. She was a homemaker, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and babysitter. She was a great cook who shared this passion with her family and friends and it was an outward demonstration of her love for them.
A grandson with his own grown family shared the reflections of his grandmother and a life well lived. In all of the anecdotes there emerged a few themes. She cared for her family and was present in their lives. She showed her support by being there in ways that mattered to them. She shared her gifts with others – her cooking and dancing. She overcame obstacles in her early and young adulthood, surviving internment camps during Nazi occupied territory in World War II; losing everything twice and rebuilding her life. She found love there and marriage to her life partner. Together they found the strength to immigrate to America with their two infant girls. They raised a beautiful family together. Her obstacles and personal tragedies were channeled into a quiet courage, strength and grace that are embodied in her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her spirit of joy is evident in how they carry themselves. That is a legacy.
Are you living your life today so that you have a legacy? How will you be remembered? Do you take the time out of your business activities to listen to others, support and encourage them? How do you treat those who are closest to you? Your spouse, siblings, children, friends? Do you spend time with them that is not done in a begrudging way where you view it as a sacrifice away from your work or a waste of time? Do you take the time to provide quality emotional support to those who count on you to give it? Or are you so absorbed in your business or work that you don’t invest in your family emotionally because all of your energy is given to your work or business?
As a business owner, success is important but family and close relationships are most important to me. Without strong personal relationships, we risk not having a central core that keeps us strong despite life’s obstacles that come our way. Whether you work for yourself or others, challenges and disappointments will certainly come your way. Nurtured, strong relationships will provide a buffer and foundational support to help you overcome challenges.
Life’s lessons? How you spend your time on a day to day basis shows what is really important to you. When life is over what is left is the memory of how you treated others, not the number of zeros in your checkbook. While accomplishment in your career success is important, your contribution to your family, friends and community is how your legacy will be measured.
photo credit: deeplifequotes