Leaving a Legacy

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Leaving a Legacy


by David Casullo author of Leading the High-Energy Culture: What the Best CEOs Do to Create an Atmosphere Where Employees Flourish

Our fourth grandchild was born into this world recently. Logan Thomas follows Carter Geoffrey, Sophia Rose, and Emma Jean. My wife and I are feeling blessed and so grateful it is hard to put into words. One recurring thought every time one of them enters the world is “they are our legacy.”

Last week, I met Marc Randolph, one of the founders of Netflix. He told me he feels responsible to use the moment he has been gifted to help young entrepreneurs by sharing his experience and some wisdom he has learned along the way. Very cool.

Two points he made clear to the young entrepreneurs this day resonated deeply with me:

No one knows anything.

Lots of ways to interpret this when it stands by itself but his point was don’t let anyone convince you that your idea doesn’t have merit because no one, literally, knows. Keep ideating.

More compelling was his response when asked by a student entrepreneur, “How does creating and building such a remarkably successful enterprise, from scratch, feel?”

With his smiling eyes and charming humility, he said, “It kind of feels like when your child grows up and becomes someone special, and you are witness to something they say or do that makes you wonder how they became so special because you really don’t know what you had to do with it.”

Today, it occurred to me that leaving a legacy – whether within your family or within your organization – is probably 1-part intentional and 99 parts grace. Isn’t this the irony of the matter? Working hard to build something isn’t sufficient, but it is necessary.

I hope what matters to my grandchildren and their future, to the organizations in which I participate, and the people who I serve in each, are somehow positively influenced by something I do or say along the way. This has become my primary goal.

In the end, I may never know the impact I had, but I do know this – even if my legacy is only 1-part Intentional, it doesn’t come by grace alone. I have to go after it.

For more on legacy and what matters, I recommend watching the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

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