I grew up in a family of six. My father was a blue-collar laborer who died of lung cancer when I was 12 years old. My early life experiences are what ultimately led me to question a lot of things, including the meaning and purpose of life.
I set out on a great quest to make sure that I would not waste my life – that I would truly make the most of it. There have been plenty of stumbles, but I’ve learned that life has meaning when we build it according to a strong set of priorities. Mine are as follows: Faith, Family, Legacy, and Generosity.
When we build around those priorities, we can live a truly meaningful life – a life of significance. When we live according to those values, we change the world.
My personal mission is to change the way people think about the values of family, legacy and generosity – and their practice of them.
In today’s world, half of marriages will end in divorce. In the context of family owned businesses, 70% will fail in the second generation, and 85% will fail in the third generation.
The adage is true: shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. Our children will forget up to 90% of our stories. How do we stop losing the wealth of our families?
One key is that we must redefine wealth to include all aspects of prosperity: intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and financial capital. A second key is that we must redefine how we look at family. In our modern western world, we’ve promoted rugged individualism at the expense of the family unit.
That’s what much of my work is about: helping families craft a multi-generational vision for their families and assisting them in the development of plans for carrying out that vision.
Many of us have lived our lives running the bases backwards: we chase after material success at the cost of people and community, and then end up at the end of our lives wondering who we are and if any of it mattered.
The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he is born. ~ John Adams
Living a life of legacy is more than leaving behind financial assets:
It’s far more than an estate plan. On the other hand, while most people desire to leave a legacy, they are not quite sure how to do so.
Much of legacy building starts with a mental shift, and then requires a proper understanding of the importance of education, ritual, celebration, and capturing stories.
It’s a scientific fact that those who live generously are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. We don’t wake up everyday thinking about being generous, though it’s clearly outlined in Proverbs:
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
To the contrary, we live in a world that advocates food, fun, and friends – not that those are intrinsically bad – but a world that is mostly about getting what you want.
My goal is to help people think differently about the value of generosity and their practice of it. The generous life is the meaningful life. The generous life is the significant life.
Being generous is far more than giving money. It’s about the way we live, the way we think. It should be part of our entire lives.