A well known Chicago businessman just passed away. He was notable enough to be mentioned on the PBS show, Chicago Tonight. Harrison Steans had been the longtime chairman of LaSalle National Bank, but his obituary and on-air news segment said that Mr. Steans had also been known for giving back. He was on numerous boards and had the reputation of being an influential philanthropist. He left a positive mark on his world.
I have no connection with the Steans family (other than the fact that my very first job was being the secretary to a secretary at LaSalle Bank – earning a whopping $12,000 a year. My father told me and I quote, “If you become a secretary, you can marry the boss.” He had high ambitions for his daughter,) What stands out to me, however, in this death notice is the emphasis on giving-back, over and above the business acumen of Mr. Steans. I imagine that his family may be prouder of this fact than any other.
What will our obituary read?
What do we want to be remembered for?
What is our legacy?
It sounds a tad morbid. But thinking about such things may propel us to use our time more wisely. Calling that friend, that daughter, that mother in law – in lieu of catching up with Colton’s exploits on this season of the Bachelor. Tutoring that student, visiting that nursing home, working that soup kitchen, writing that note of encouragement, smiling at that husband.
Marelisa Fabrega is a blogger who says that writing your obituary can be a wake=up call. She tells the story of Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Mr. Nobel was reading the paper one morning and saw his own obituary, “The merchant of death has died.” It went on to say that Nobel had caused more people to die faster than anyone else.
The paper’s mistake (it was actually Nobel’s brother who had passed) caused Alfred Nobel to rethink his legacy. He became a humanitarian who went on to found the Nobel Peace Prize, for which he became famous.
Back to us. We may be approaching our last laps, but hey, we’re still breathing!
So let’s write a dream-obituary and then take steps to live up to it.
May it be said of you and me,
_____________, beloved friend, beloved __________, was known for giving back.
Today’s Takeaway –
-What can we do this very day to make someone else smile?
-What does giving-back look like for you?
Enjoy the ride!
Barclay and Joy