While this may look like a short trip to Universal Studios and Disney World with Barbita and Stevie, it was so much more.
If you’ve read the last chapter of my book, you know that it’s about leaving a legacy. Why is legacy so important? Because you’re influencing how your values live beyond you.
One of the best ways you can create a legacy is by making deposits in those around you. For me, that starts in my family. Barbita and I are creating memories and modeling what it means to live a values-based life that’s centered on looking beyond yourself when we spend time with Stevie.
From how we greet strangers in line to thanking someone who’s serving our table, we’re showing him that respect, kindness, poise, and gratitude are essential to being part of our family—no matter where we are.
And I can assure you that after two days and 29 amusement rides, my values—and stomach—were put to the test!
When my coworkers threw a baby shower for me (yes, apparently men get them too!) while Barbita was pregnant with Stevie, I could never have anticipated one of the most powerful gifts I’ve ever received. The group had given me a beautiful box that held notes from everyone on my leadership team. Each note was addressed to Stevie and contained heartfelt messages that highlighted things they appreciated about his father.
In doing this, they gave me a tangible affirmation that working through a lifetime of exhaustion was worth all the effort and that my uncompromising philosophy had helped me achieve my why—not just in my mind but also in the minds of others who knew me.
I read them all, each one slowly and emotionally, realizing that they were both a compliment to the life I had lived to that point and a challenge to be the man these coworkers were describing. I’ve read those notes several times over the years and reflected on what they said as I worked on the outline for my book.
The notes, in many ways, illustrate the importance of my seven pathways—find your fight, focus on the (real) prize, live life as a learning lab, think and act like a business, own your attitude and effort, navigate uncertainty, and commit to road-dog relationships.
For instance, one person wrote, “Your father is a teacher…and he will teach you that nothing is achieved without some degree of sacrifice and pain. The good news is that he will help you develop the disciplines you need to withstand it all.”
I know in my heart how often I have fallen short of praise like this. There have been plenty of missed opportunities, plenty of times when I failed to live in an uncompromising fashion.
But I felt honored that they saw examples of the man I’ve aspired to be in the actions of the person they had worked with each day. And it was affirming to know my approach had produced at least a few things that they felt were worth passing along to Stevie. The challenge becomes, of course, to live up to them myself.
I hope this moment of reflection inspires you to ask yourself if you’re living up not to someone else’s but to your own expectations. How are you modeling your values with your team at work and at home?
Research tells us that people match communication. If you want to inspire your team to behave a certain way with each other, quite simply, look for ways to exhibit that behavior.
Easier said than done, I know, but maybe the quote by Ernest Hemingway that I’ve shared in the past with you bears repeating. I’ll paraphrase it: We all die twice. Once when our body is laid to rest and again the last time someone says your name. What is something you can do or say that bears repeating after you’re gone?
Live your why,
P.S. I’m honored to have been a guest on an episode of Off the Rak with my friend and colleague Walt Rakowich. Tune in if you want to learn more about the inspiration behind my book and why I’m committed to a life that honors my why. Want to know how to live your own why? Buy a copy of my new book, Uncompromising, and explore the seven pathways.