With my 40th birthday (4 months from today) looming, I have been thinking a lot about legacy lately. Of course, the soundtrack to Hamilton on constant repeat in my home these days, as well as the PBS special about the making of Hamilton still fresh in my mind might have something to do with it. Nonetheless, it is a real milestone birthday both personally and professionally and it has me thinking.
Will my clients say I worked hard and was always honorable and fair in my interactions? Will my employees say that I motivated them and offered them a path for growth, both personally and professionally? Will my children be proud of my contributions at work, in the community and in their lives? Will my wife, family and friends continue to always support me along the way? All of these things are swirling around in my brain.
I read once (not sure where) that “leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” I hope that the narrative with me is that I always led by example both in the work place and at home and that those who worked for, lived with or chose to be a friend or collaborator with me, all felt that they benefited from my leadership.
I think that I have always been comfortable being a leader. In high school I wasn’t the best player on my varsity soccer or lacrosse teams (both of which went to the county finals my senior year mind you) but I was named a captain on both. In college, I chose my own path, my own major and ultimately made my own decision post college, to bet on myself and my own sales ability and not go down the conventional graduate school (well I did go to Law School for 29 days, but lets disregard that) path. For the past 17 years I have consistently gravitated towards leader and “alpha male” roles, as that is just where I always felt the most comfortable and could provide the most upside and value.
I try to mentor others so I can teach them what I have learned (both good and bad) along the way and I also seek out mentors who can hopefully do the same for me. It is so important to take and implement what I have absorbed from those who have gone before me and I’d like to think that others get the same value from me. I am constantly trying to positively impact the lives of those around me and I hope that it super clear in my daily actions. While I know that doing the right thing is always my north star, I realize my intent might not always come through in my content. I am committed to doing a better job there.
I am so hungry for success and always shooting for the stars, but I try to put equal weight into remaining grounded, grateful and humble. I never forget where I came from, nor do I ever take for granted the many advantages I have had along the way. I try to remain hungry both in my pursuit of financial and professional success, as well as ways I can be a better person and give back to others. It is a constant balancing act and while I am not always perfectly level, I am keenly aware of when I need to tip the scales back to try and get there.
So I write this post to help point my compass in the right direction and so that I can hit my 40th birthday in stride. I don’t want to make new (birth) year’s resolutions to get better on that date, I want to be well on my way when I get there. I hope that I can motivate others in my 1977 class (or anyone else for that matter) to do the same. If I can entice anyone who took the time to read through this to up their game and improve their own legacy, then I have already succeeded in that regard.