Today Bill, Andy Kaufman and I were discussing how negativity exudes from some people’s online presence. It prompted a lengthy discussion about what we would want people to say about us in our eulogies.
It made me think about what I would want people to say about me. I sure hope most of it is not about work. I am sure people will say I was addicted to technology. I worked hard. I hope they say, at times, she worked too hard, but she spent more time worrying about others than about herself. I would want people to say, she was a terrific mom, she raised her kids well and loved them with all of her heart. She treated her friends and family with respect. She was loyal. She fought for what she believed in. She was bright. She cared about others. She worked with children who were abused and raised money for cancer.
When my grandfather passed away, a woman I did not know came up to me at the funeral. Someone close to my grandfather mistreated her and though my grandfather had no obligation to help this woman, he felt a responsibility. She told me he bought her a car when she was abandoned as a single mother. He didn’t tell anyone he bought her a car, he just did it. It wasn’t an expensive car, but it enabled her to drive to work and to drive her kids to school. That car changed her life. That woman’s story is what I remember from his funeral.
When I pass away, I hope someone will say I changed their life.
Sometimes the comfort of sitting behind a computer screens gives us comfort or security in behaving in a manner that we would never project nor want to have affiliated with our persona in our offline lives.
In today’s online world, everything we say is permanent. Showing dissatisfaction for a product or service is warranted. Thoughtful criticism and commentary helps to facilitate change, but personal attacks don’t.
Our personal and professional reputations are being built gradually by all of the things we say and do over time.
What’s truly important in your life? What do you want people to say about you? Would you want people to say you are negative? A whiner? A complainer? You talked badly about others? You attacked people instead of ideas?
The words we say and the actions we take have a long lasting impact. They are your legacy.
What do you want people to remember? What do you want to leave behind?