Written by José Pierre
Considering the state of our country, I find myself thinking a lot about who we, as human beings, should strive to be. Each of us is challenged to live a life that is deliberate, not nonchalant. We have a responsibility to look out for each other, to define our relationships and interactions with compassion rather than greed and to seek knowledge and wisdom rather than prestige or fame. We have a responsibility to make every interaction meaningful.
Our lives are defined by day-to-day acts of goodness just as much as they are by the grand gestures and achievements. Deliberate living, requires a commitment to designing simple, meaningful gestures, every day. These actions can be simple. I lead a team of 25 and each day I challenge myself to engage with them on a personal level. I challenge you to do the same. Make moments matter, every smile, every hug, every hand shake. Every moment is part of the legacy that we leave.
Changing our perception of legacy.
What if, instead of looking at a legacy as the overall product or impression that our lives leave, we looked at each moment as an opportunity to leave a tiny little legacy? An indelible impression on those around us — for better or worse — shaping experiences and relationships with others. Each interaction gives us the opportunity to leave a little legacy on other’s days, defining who we are and how we see the world.
The silent heroes who have walked before us.
We all have them, those who have touched and influenced our lives. As a single parent, my mom worked hard and still found time to assist others. Her days began at 4:30AM; she traveled for two hours by train and bus to get to work. A legacy of hard work, commitment, consistency, self-improvement, and inner strength is what she has passed on to her children. I see the same drive and determination when I meet new immigrants to the U.S. at our local gas stations, neighborhood stores, schools and other places. Following a tempestuous election year, a moment of introspection may well be the reset we all need to be reminded of the legacy of each of our forefathers, their journeys and what makes us Americans. The words of the American poet Emma Lazarus are still as inspirational today as when she wrote them in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Whether you lead a country, a business, a family or a team, each interaction you have matters. The behaviors, good or bad, the things we say and do, the way we treat others, all leave an imprint on those around us.
I invite you to think about the legacy you will leave, not only at the end of your life, but also at the end of each day, and even each interaction. Because whether you recognize it or not, the way that you act in this world has an effect. So be conscious of the impression you leave in your wake.