John Smith was a Chairman and CEO of an advertising company. Married with 2 children he worked incredibly hard. His family were used to him ‘never being around’, he beavered away so that he could afford a fine house, great cars and lots of travel.
Often away on business, over the years he has built up friendships through his work. So it comes as no surprise that he was invited to a birthday party whilst in New York. He went along and met a lady who made him feel better than he had felt for a long time.
He left his wife and family and started again with a new wife and had 2 more children. He worked even harder because now he had a second family to support. His new family became used to him ‘never being around’, so he kept beavering away so he could afford a fine house, great cars and lots of travel. That is until he realised that NO ONE CARES about his house, cars and travel. He was the only one who cared what others thought of him. The sting was bitterly sharp as he thought of both his families, knowing deep down that although they enjoyed the trappings, the heart ache of separation temporary or permanent was misguided at best and often toxic.
We are not meant to live in separation. We are meant to live in collaboration with those we love and those we work with.
John’s deep seated unhappiness was affecting his health and he was frightened he could die and leave behind a legacy of despair. Legacy is an interesting thought isn’t it? Have you thought what people will say about you when you have gone? Have you thought what you would like people to think about you? Have you thought about what your life means or will have meant? These are some of the questions John and I discussed at length.
John worked out what he wanted his legacy to be and he felt a weight lifting off his shoulders. But that was just the beginning. The next thing he did was to put a series of actions in place to secure the path to leaving that legacy, but in the meantime making the best of his life.
John is now a lot happier. He has a new business working from home. It doesn’t sound so grand does it? But business is booming. He has partnered with larger magazine distributors, collaboration being key. He is able to immediately respond to phone calls and emails, commuting is a thing of the past so he has freed up a great deal of time to concentrate more effectively on what leads directly to revenue and has cut out extraneous expenses and superfluous meetings. John has taken full responsibility and is no longer a victim of circumstances. This is part of the jigsaw puzzle for him to achieve his legacy.
His second family are happier because he spends more time with them, his first family are happier because he is communicating with them better and his health has improved.
Sometimes we forget that for the majority of people the main reason we work is to generate revenue to live a life we want to live. This may involve considering what we want to leave behind when we pass away, it may not. But it will certainly involve how we live and enjoy our loved ones. Collaboration is becoming a keyword in our society and legacy is an interesting thought don’t you think?