I first heard about it through Twitter, then through text messages. January 22nd, a hundred yards down from my office at Purdue University, there was a shooting. For the next month a plethora of information poured into our local community at Purdue on the life of Andrew. After reading through the bios there’s still a lot I don’t know about him. I don’t know what type of car Andrew drove. I don’t know anything about the finances he left behind, student loans…I don’t even know what he was wearing the moment he passed away. The blogs and articles didn’t talk about those things. They just said, in more ways than one, that he was a “good person”; it has me asking if being a good person is much more important than I previously imagined.
On a day-to-day basis there are all kinds of concerns that come to mind. Perhaps it’s because we’re really concerned about them or perhaps because commercials and advertising constantly remind us of them. What will I wear? Solid or pinstriped? Will the next car I get be domestic or foreign? Which is a better investment, stocks or real estate? A month after the passing of Andrew Boldt, I’m reminded that at the end of the day the biggest question is, “How much good have I done today?”
Now, we know that’s important. We put philanthropy, charity work, and our unpaid terms as president of the soup kitchen on our resume, because want to show the world that money isn’t the only thing important to us. We also spend about 11% of our off-the-clock time making people’s lives better. “Let’s throw in pro-bono work…last paragraph.” But building a legacy on a paragraph is like standing an elephant on a toothpick. It’ll take a lot more to hold it up.
Doing good needs to be more than an addendum to our career success. An alternative is to live as if our well-doing were our greatest success.
This is the life where you wake up and show your spouse and your children that you love them. You go to work and show your appreciation to your subordinates, your secretary, your peers and your boss. The day is no longer a dreadful list of tasks and appointments. It’s just one huge opportunity to make people feel irreplaceable, valued or even help them find solutions to problems. It’s an opportunity to teach by example. It’s an opportunity to build your legacy.
This legacy is built on today. You can be almost sure that if your co-workers and friends are asking the “Is he a good person?” question when you’re gone, then they’re also asking it when you’re there in front of them—just not out loud. Here and now your good deeds are important to those around you.
I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to look at your life of doing good. Prepare a resume for a job opening as a “Executive Director of Good Deeds”. Don’t mention how much your past salaries were, what positions you’ve held, or your post college internship with Google. Simply write out a two page resume on your life of doing good. Include all those lives you’ve changed or influenced for the better. If you have enough material for half a dozen blogs and articles to be written about you then you’re on your way to building a significant legacy. When will you use that legacy? I don’t know, but if you beat me to it, hope to hear about you through Twitter.
Submitted by chapter member and coach, John Antonio
John is a coach member of the International Coach Federation with a lifelong interest in personal development coaching. He received his training, mentorship, and coaching experience through Mission Network programs in Atlanta GA, Sacramento CA, and Rome, Italy. He now resides in Lafayette IN where he teaches for Purdue University and dedicates time to his personal coaching practice. John enjoys competitive boxing through Boxing USA and is an active member of the Purdue Salsa Dance Club. You can read more about John at http://www.personapersonalcoaching.com/.