American culture exalts accomplishment and makes it a focal point for self-worth. Our industry is no different. In our recruiting interviews, reps list off accomplishments in terms of advanced college degrees, professional designations and the all-important production level. While all these achievements are admirable (who doesn’t want to build a lucrative book?), is it the legacy you want to leave?
Building Personal Legacies
Many of us grew up in families where accomplishment held much higher value than relationships, and we struggled to find role models for strong interpersonal skills. My father was a partner in the accounting firm Price Waterhouse for 15 years and later vice president of Bethlehem Steel. Success in business held great value for my father. Even in retirement he would recall his glory days in the business world, but he lacked glory in his personal life.
On the other hand was my grandfather, a high school graduate who owned a business in the small town of New Knoxville, Ohio. Everyone knew my grandfather and would listen attentively to his stories. Getting to know people, sharing stories and experiencing the humor in life were my grandfather’s priorities.
Following my father’s funeral, we gathered for a meal. Sitting with my cousins, the stories started to go back and forth—but the stories were about my grandfather, not my father. This experience spoke volumes to me as to what had lasting value in a personal legacy.
The Cabin on the Lake