|St. Andrews Old Course. Photo credit: ©istockphoto.com/ewanchesser|
We’ve all seen the headlines about great CEOs, celebrities, sports icons and various recognizable people regarding the lasting impacts they’ve had on our society. There’s no doubt that Michael Jordan will long be remembered for how much he helped shape a new style of professional basketball which incorporated some smaller and faster players.
Bill Gates will certainly be with us long after his years on this planet because he intensely pursued his vision of having a personal computer in every home. Now, that vision has evolved into smartphones, tablets and many other useful devices that he helped inspire based on his original dream.
Michael Jordan and Bill Gates definitely made their mark and significantly contributed to their respective fields. For whatever reason, however, our society has become accustomed to the ridiculous news outlets painting glamorous pictures of famous people and placing them on some special pedestal. Right or wrong, it happens every day. If you don’t believe me, just go watch one episode of anything the Kardashians are involved in.
I’m not here to change the press or your beliefs about celebrities. However, this month I want to challenge you to think about how you will leave your own mark.
This summer, the lovely Christy and I took a vacation exploring different areas of the United Kingdom. I certainly couldn’t take this trip, which included parts of Scotland, without visiting the iconic St. Andrews golf course. One of the fondest memories I have of my late father is playing golf with him as a young boy, so the game holds a special place in my heart.
For our nongolfing readers, St. Andrews is the birthplace of golf. It’s an historic place like some you’ve probably visited in your own life. Certain historic places provide more of a feeling and an experience, rather than simply being a tourist destination that you visit, take a few pictures and then go home.
I could feel St. Andrews: the smell, the sounds, the grass, the history. Having this wonderful experience made me reflect upon our businesses and the marks that have been made by the people who came before us in this industry. I’m not just talking about the big names that we all recognize, but also others we might not be aware of who shaped the way we do business.
What about the legacies that impact just a few individuals instead of the whole world? The marks those people made also are extremely important. What will your legacy be? How many people will you influence? At what levels will you influence them?
You don’t need to live your life as a celebrity or create a world-renowned sport to have an important impact. I’m sure you’ve never heard of Mrs. Settle, my 11th grade speech and debate teacher who believed in me when I struggled in class. She helped me realize that perhaps I wasn’t as stupid as my classes and classmates made me feel. Little did either one of us know that I would go on to become a professional international speaker, trainer and author!
One of the most important things to consider about Mrs. Settle is that she wasn’t helping me for fame or fortune, she was helping me because it’s just who she is. Now she leaves her mark with every person I’m able to positively impact.
Shaping lives every day
You may never know the mark you are leaving on someone else’s life, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be focused on the impact you want to have. Let’s question ourselves when it comes to realizing what kind of mark we want to leave. You may feel as if you’re just running some service company to make a living and provide for your family.
My friend, there is much more to it than that, regardless of your company’s size. You’re in the people business and you have the great opportunity and responsibility to help shape lives every day.
Because I was willing to “take the medicine” as well as “get my head out of (you know where),” the incredible Frank Blau’s philosophy and teachings have completely changed my life forever. However, most of this influence and change didn’t come directly from Frank himself. He did humiliate me at a seminar he was hosting many years ago, but that’s a fun story for another time.
My most powerful changes came from a select few of his disciples who began sharing his beliefs with me and improving their own companies by combining his methods with their own skills. The list is too long to thank each of you in this column, but you know who you are and I’m very grateful for each one of you. My personal experience was part of Frank’s vision and today a foundation is named in his honor called The Legacy Foundation.
I feel personally blessed to train technicians in our service sales classes and help owners improve their companies because I’m honored to witness immediate positive changes in people. Information is everywhere but when the right information is implemented into a company, you get to witness a direct positive impact on culture, team member income and company profits.
You don’t have to be an owner, top manager or company trainer to leave your mark. You can create positive change just by being true to yourself and driving your business forward with passion. Passion seems to be something we lack all too often in this industry and I think it’s time we start getting it back. Glade Byron Addams once said, “Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.”
While we were at St. Andrews, we learned that the “founder” of golf was a man named Tom Morris. Mr. Morris didn’t invent the game, nor have many people who aren’t golf fanatics ever heard of him. He is considered the founder of the sport because of his passion for improving the game and working to be his very best.
Start by finding more passion in your daily business activities. Explore ways you can elevate the energy in your company based upon your actions as a leader. Will you influence people directly or through other people who you’ve inspired to be their personal best? Regardless of your position in life or business, you can have a huge impact on other people. Focus your energy and attention on how you want to leave your mark … it’s your choice.