There was a chart on LinkedIn the other day that caught my interest. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the original author.
By the time you’re my age, you’ve put most people in one or more of the following categories, just because you’ve seen about every type:
- When you think of a person, will you think about the salary they earned?
- How about those who believed being busy all their life was a measure of success?
- What about those who were the first in the office in the morning and the last to leave at night?
- Maybe being successful meant the number of Gucci bags (or other luxury items) they owned.
And then think about yourself. It’s almost always easier to see these traits in others than in yourself. But be honest. (You’re by yourself and just quietly thinking. No one else will know what you’re thinking.)
- Have you made one of the highest salaries in your profession? Is that what you’ll be remembered for?
- Have you never stopped to relax? Will being busy with your projects be what people remember the most?
- Were you the first in the office in the morning and the last to leave at night? Is that what people will remember? Will they even remember it as a positive trait?
- How about the possessions you own? Just think of the ads on TV. Is it that car, that suit, that Gucci bag, or the top-of-the-line golf clubs?
Are these the things that people will remember you for? Not likely!
Now think about others and yourself in very different terms. People will remember…
1. How You Made Them Feel
Have you stopped to tell that other person how well they’re doing? How about your own child or grandchild? How would you react to that statement? It’s powerful. That’s the person they’ll remember. The one who made them feel good. The one who gave them the courage to try something. The one who gave them the confidence to take on difficult tasks, to take on the “world.”
2. The Time You Spent With Them
One of my earliest experiences with a grandchild is sitting on the floor with them as they played with Lego and made up stories to fit what they were making. It struck me that I was comfortable just sitting there on the floor with them. But then I began to think about my own children. While I may have spent some time with them on the floor, it never lasted very long. I had work to do. I had the chores around the house that needed doing. It struck me that while I was enjoying all the time I needed with the grandchild, I never could have spent that amount of time with my own children. The grandchildren loved that time together.
Both of my girls have lived around the world as their kids were growing up. I believe it gave my grandchildren a better understanding of people and cultures. But that often meant that I would see my grandkids once or twice a year and how much I missed that time with them. If you have the opportunity, make sure you spend as much time as you can with your own children and grandchildren.
3. If You Kept Your Word
It’s easy to think about this one in the short term. But the statement is, you’ll be remembered for keeping your word. No time frame attached.
I’m embarrassed by my behavior recently relating to a particular issue. A friend of mine has kept one part of my digital world going for many years. A couple of years ago it was becoming time in his life to let that go and turn the responsibility back to me. I said I would take it over. But I haven’t! About once a month I would get a notice from the internet provider that would remind me that I had committed to taking the responsibility back. However, it seemed like the notice from the provider came at the beginning of the weekend or right in the middle of something else going on in my life. I would always find myself thinking, “I’ll get to that on Monday.” But Monday would come and go and I wouldn’t think about it again until the next notification (always on a weekend or during some other issue). Once again, I would forget about it, all the time leaving my friend with the responsibility. I gave my word but I had not kept my word. That was horrible behavior and not fair to my friend at all. I’m sure it diminished my value in my friend’s opinion. It sure decreased my own valuation of myself.
4. If They Could Count On You
I really just hit this issue in the topic before. Giving your word is one thing (and must be counted on) but making sure you follow through on that word is just as important. Think about the people in your own life that you know you can count on. Where do you put that person on the list of valued people? Now, think about yourself. Can people count on you? If so, you’ll be high on their list. If not, you’ll drop down that list pretty quickly. Probably to a spot lower than you would care to be.
In last week’s blog, I ended with, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” The biblical versions (Matthew 5:37) go on to say that anything beyond this is of evil origin. If you don’t keep your word and people can’t count on you, it’s not just a bad thing, it moves into the area of evil origin.
What Will You Be Remembered For?
Think of the issues on the list that people will remember. If you know a person high on all of the categories you’ll probably think of them as being some of the most outstanding people you know. Don’t you want to be one of those people?