In 2010 my Dad passed away. He had written out what he wanted as the agenda for his funeral.
It included talks from my older brother and me. It was difficult to try and put the life of my dad into words and context. He had done so much and had lived a fun and full life. He also had challenges and setbacks he had overcome.
And that was just what I knew of him as his son who came along when he was in his 30’s. There was his whole life before as well as all the life and battles that went on in his heart and mind.
Life is so complex for all of us!
That experience taught me that in the end, our life is our legacy.
What we have done and who we have become is what we leave behind. It is the impact that we have on others that makes a difference.
What we have done and who we have become.
Not much of what we said. Not much of our intentions. Not our plans. Not what we meant to do.
What we did and who we became.
More than 10 years later, this concept still chases me. It is who I become and what I do that will be my own legacy.
Not all my great plans. Not what I was going to do. Not that thing I think would be a good idea.
Just what I had the diligence to do.
Reminds me of a great Mark Twain quote, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”
Diligence is the execution value. It is taking all the other values we think or talk about developing and puts them into action.
Diligence teaches us that as we strive to become better humans, we aren’t just trying to know more and more or plan more and more or check a box more and more.
We are striving to be consistent in doing more of what we know will grow our character.
The first key aspect of this is to make it obvious.
It is obvious to me that my dad valued hard work. I think it might have been his core value.
How do I know that? Well, my dad made it very obvious! He worked very hard. Every day. Every weekend. Every Saturday. He built barns. He finished basements. He roofed houses. He put up fences. He landscaped. He farmed.
And none of that was the 9-5 job that he had that was punishing work as well.
He made it very obvious that hard work was a critical value to success. He “hard-worked” his way to success, and he expected the same of his kids.
My daughter recently told me that the core value she sees in me is learning. I’m always learning new things. Always reading and listening to podcasts.
I was happy about that because knowledge is one of my core values I’m trying to create in my life.
My opportunity lies in the fact that charity is the value I most want in my life. That is the one I want remembered about me. This stems from my belief that without charity, none of the other values are all that important.
The door of opportunity is now opened to make charity as obvious a character trait in my daily behaviors as gaining knowledge has been.
This will be fun!
The same opportunity exists for each of you. What is the value you want to be blatantly obvious in your life? What do you want everyone who knows you to think of?
For my dad it was hard work. And he spent every day that I knew him living that out so it could not possibly be mistaken.
Whatever you want to be your life value should not come as a surprise to those you love most.
The free Happily Ever Habits Guide will walk you through this process.
Diligence is to do this every week for the rest of your life.
That is the fun of life. Diligence in who you want to become.