Last week, I was on retreat, cycling daily in the mountains. Getting outside my normal life, offers me an opportunity to reflect on three questions.
- What will be my life’s work?
- How did I do, today?
- Am I aligned?
As a young person, my first realizations were not-to-dos. I’m still best at telling myself what to avoid (excess booze, sloth, late afternoon naps, overeating, anger, holding my breath, fatigue). It is easier to see where I don’t want to take myself than to consider my purpose and what I want to leave behind.
Various lightning bolts from my past…
- Not to be unhealthy (mid-20s)
- Not to be inactive (late-20s)
- Not to gain satisfaction from a lifetime of accumulation of wealth (early-30s)
- Not to spend my life dragging boxes across a screen (early-40s)
Each realization struck me quickly, and powerfully. It was obvious that my current life didn’t fit. Following that realization, I would redirect myself.
When we think about “legacy”, most of us consider financial wealth. I’ve considered my family tree.
I’m the first-born of the first-born of the first-born – everyone upstream being quite young when they had kids. So I have been fortunate to watch, and learn about, many generations. In looking up my own family tree, there have been a few members that hit-it-big over the last century. Regardless of their financial success, nothing material passed more than two generations. When I die, everything in my family tree from the last 150 years will pass. This brings context to my question, how did I do today?
Being 40+ years older than my kids, they are an obvious target for having an impact or, at least, building a relationship so I might be able to have an impact. I ask myself, “what can I do that might prove useful to my great-grand kids?”
Have you considered what continues?