It has been my habit for years that when I come across some snippet of information that interests me, I copy it, snip it out, highlight the important part, and stick it in a folder where it resides – a reminder of something that I might want to remember in the future.
Every so often I rummage through the file folder just to see what is there. Sometimes I find something that is perfect for a given situation.
This week I found a yellowed snippet that intrigued me some years ago. It was an interview of a well-known chef who had been asked about his greatest influences.
The chef mentioned Thomas Keller of the iconic California restaurant The French Laundry. “He would always leave me a list of things to do and a couple of times he would write at the top: 'What is your legacy going to be?' I always roll my eyes at the word 'legacy,' but what he was saying is: Think about your life every day, how you’re going to live it and how you’re going to contribute to the lives of others.”
“What is your legacy going to be?” What an awesome question. In a business context, I think the question asks what principles do we have at our business core, what actions are we going to take to set a lasting example for our staff, clients, vendors and stakeholders? How are we going to distill those principles into meaningful information? How are we going to continue improving to lead our businesses forward? And most importantly, what do we leave behind for others who follow?
Consider for a moment what you would like your legacy to be. Then realize every decision we make, every thing we say, every action we take affects our legacy.
Some times those decisions and actions are based on short-term necessity or expediency. When dealing with the pressure of the moment, it is wise to stop, take a deep breath before making decisions and consider for a moment that question, “What will your legacy be?”