As I prepare to go on my first real vacation away from the shores of all I have been interacting with for the past decade, a thought enters my head. I will be leaving for a week for some this may not be a long time worth mentioning but in my world of 3-day vacations and enjoyable day trips a whole week is not the norm. So I think to myself in a week will I still be in the front of the minds of family, friends, clients when they are going about their days? Have I made enough of an impact that while I am not wanting anyone to flounder I like many do not want to be forgotten? So I take to the keyboard and put my thoughts down and one word comes to mind – Legacy.
Legacy a huge word in many professions and cultures. Everyone wants to be someone or do something that resonates throughout history. But, do you have to win a Pulitzer to be remembered? 100 years from now have we laid a path of immortality? A path that will keep our name on the tongues of society, our children, our kin, our friends?
When you are deep in thought about what this means to you do not limit your thinking to only what it will all mean in the term of a legacy instead think about your family friends—what matters to you in this world. Be passionate in your thoughts philosopher Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.”
So what is the formula to being memorable? To being a success to the level that you do not go unnoticed? It is more than winning the Pulitzer that is for sure, I mean take a moment and name five just five winners can you name them and what they did? Some of you may be able but over 85% will not because what those people did might not resonate within them enough to make a difference. In that is the key, be different not better. It is hard to be better and even when you are most people do not care. If you are a little faster, a little more polished, more prepared, a little more professional, you are clearly better, but it will likely go unnoticed. I hand write birthday cards, thank you cards and more for my professional friends and clients, but it is a rarity that someone goes out of their way to make mention of it. But, in today’s society of quick text or emails how many hand written cards do you receive? So clearly it is ‘better’ but it was not memorable.
It is instead the extremes that get remembered. Instead of being way better, try being different. If your industry is stuffy, be the casual guy. If your industry is casual, be the unwavering professional. The goal is to stand out from the status quo. If you want to be memorable, different beats better, by a long shot. There is obviously more to it than that but start there.
Instead of being a blade of grass on a golf green be the flag that marks the hole in the ground. Be ‘The One.’ Most people say, “I am an accountant”, or “I sell real estate”, or “I’m a lawyer”. Aspire to be “The One” that people know when they think of your industry so that your skills proceed you into a room. If someone tells a friend I have to get my house sold it has been on the market for way too long! Aspire to be ‘The One’ that the friend immediately jumps in to help the friend by saying, “I Know The One Person You Need To Call!”
To achieve a legacy worthy of being memorable you have to strive to be ‘The One’ in key areas of your life that truly matter. This is an intentional aspiration that requires several skill sets to work at a level of legacy. No matter if with your friends, acquaintances or family you have to learn to listen intently. Most opportunities to be memorable are all around us, but we are focused on the wrong things. You go into a meeting and you are thinking about what is for dinner. You come home and your focus is on getting a shower and putting your feet up, but your child has stuck a certificate of recognition on the fridge that you do not notice until much later. Of course, you can acknowledge things at any time but the prime opportunity for being memorable has probably come and gone if you were not being intentional in your connections.
So to have a Legacy and ‘Be The One’ you need to be intentionally unique stand out, pay attention, surround yourself with things that inspire you, find a cause (as this cannot all be about you), practice responses (when someone asks you how you are – do not reply with ‘good’, ‘fine’.), be generous with your compliments, work your quirks, remember names, GIVE, make eye contact, learn to laugh at yourself, leave the gloom on the door mat, enter a room with determination – make an entrance, be tolerant no one is perfect, do not interrupt, be genuine, and make anyone who is in front of you feel like they are the only one in the room.
Life is meant to be celebrated, experienced, enjoyed and shared! If you want to be remembered then focus do not dilute any moment. ~K. Kirkland