“Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.”
Have you ever had to give a eulogy?
Correction: Have you ever had the honor of giving a eulogy?
I wrote that sentence over because when you first are asked this question, it sparks feelings like “I can’t do him/her justice” and “I can’t keep myself together.”
It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also one of the greatest honors I’ve ever been given. Capturing a person’s life, the moments that defined your relationship with them, and your perception of who they were is difficult. Telling stories of fun times, challenges overcome, or the never talked about defining moments of your relationship that only you experienced with them. Somehow those stories and moments touch everyone, not because they were there, but because they see the same character traits in their memories of the lost loved one.
Who is giving your eulogy? What stories are they telling? What character traits are they highlighting?
If you’ve never thought about this, do this exercise. Write your own eulogy. Or, if you feel bold, write one based on the life you’ve already lived and another as if you’ve lived to your target age of 156.
There is no set formula or format. Maybe you open with a quote – by you or someone else – that you think defines who you were. A starting point might be to jot down some memories. Proudest moments? Most challenging? Funniest stories? Most loving or generous moments? Most importantly, who did you help throughout your life, and how did you help them? Or like in the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, how might those lives be different if you weren’t around?
We may measure businesses based on Profit and Loss statements (P&Ls). But when it comes to leadership, P&L = People and Legacy.
How are you Inspiring People & Places?
BJ Kraemer, President