We spent a lovely sunset cruising the Newport Harbor celebrating the 80th birthday of our dear friend and fellow Vistage Chair – Rick Leckey. I was shocked to learn that Rick was 80 and when he joked he was really turning 60, I had to agree he looked that youthful. Going strong with no plans to retire. Vistage Chairs are like that. Purpose shines an internal light and keeps the outer shell (the body) a little healthier.
Many guests spoke with thanks about who Rick is as a friend, a mentor and a wise Chair. Several thanked him for guiding them along a wiser path than they were choosing for themselves.It was lovely.
On the drive home, a familiar song came on from The Temptations. Perhaps you recognize the lyrics
Papa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
Which legacy would you choose? If you don’t think you can change your legacy from today forward, permit me to share what my brother Joe said at our mother, Marilyn Paller’s, funeral. As background, Mom died at 87 after many years of struggling with diabetes and then kidney failure. My brother had a strained relationship with her for most of his life and I was surprised to hear him say how much he admired Mom in his eulogy. He said that most people get meaner as they age when struggling with health issues, limitations and the end of life. Marilyn became a nicer person, less judgmental, who did not complain about her life. Instead she made you welcome and wanted to hear about your life. He hoped to be more like that as he continued to age.
Who do you want to leave with good memories? What is one thing you could do this week to make your legacy an even better one?
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Photo of Rick Leckey and Beth Adkisson, Newport Beach, CA.
As you return from a lovely long weekend (hopefully all true), notice your good and bad habits perhaps exaggerated by the gift of more free time. The Black Friday sales blew up my inbox and I realized I was scrolling for a very long time each day this weekend. I must admit I bought a new humidifier and a couple of stocking stuffer gifts. Note to self: delete, don’t open. >
Watching a beautiful sunrise this week, I stood in awe at the window and just breathed deeply. Totally in the moment, I did not plan my day, I did not think, I just took deep breaths and looked at the sunrise. SO simple, right? Take 5 minutes and just be in the moment. >
Duty is not a concept we discuss much these days. With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of England this week, her example of duty to god and country has been widely honored, and seen as the passing of an era. Did the concept of duty pass with her?
Duty was what got her generation through a great depression and World War II. They committed to the common good against outside forces intent on destroying civilization as they knew it. When she became queen she took on the duty to lead the empire and the church of England.
We grew up with duty through The Pledge of Allegiance, When you become a lawyer or take a political office you pledge allegiance to the US Constitution. As children we learned the boy and girl scout pledges. When you marry, you pledge to be faithful and responsible to your spouse.
Today, we use phrases like take responsibility, keep commitments, be accountable. That generation would have said do your duty. Is it the same thing? I’m not so sure. Duty came from societal norms. We all agreed to follow “the rules”. And by doing so, we would be rewarded for being a good person, and society would be better for it. There was not much tolerance for doing things outside the rules which were dictated to you by tradition, religion and society.
We have come well past the rigidity demanded in those times which is good. We have also accepted a lot of bad behavior in the spirit of doing ones own thing. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us that we cannot assume the world order will just keep humming along. As much as we don’t like the idea, duty to our fellows and saving the planet will require sacrifice. Elizabeth understood this and leaned into the challenge. It was a life well lived.
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image courtesy of usmagazine.com
This weekend, about 85 Vistage Chairs with over 10 years of mastery got together in Boulder or on zoom to nourish our souls and fan the flame of the work we do at Keepers of the Flame. Wow! >
If you look up a life expectancy calculator like this one, and you put in your birthdate it will tell you on average how may more years you should live. Despite our arrogant human hubris that we will live forever, there will be an end one day. I know, not for you. >
We are 3/4 through with January which is a good time to examine our progress and tweak those resolutions we set for 2022. Actually, there is nothing wrong with the New Year’s resolutions. The execution is what needs to be tweaked. >
2 days into 2022 and I have kept all my New Year resolutions so far. How ‘bout you? I’d say we are all having a healthy new year. Yay for us!! >
You refresh your computer. More emails show up. You get new information. How many times each day do you refresh your computer? What about yourself? >
Ralph Waldo Emerson said life consists in what a person is thinking all day.* Well that is a scary thought! Have you ever thought about what you think about each day? Do you ever wonder what other people think about all day? We all spend a lot of time thinking about trivial things as time gets away from us. Want to be better?
I hear often that an idea came to someone in the shower. They didn’t plan the time to be creative, it came to them. Do you ever make a plan to let your mind run free? You could take 3 showers each day, but with the drought, that seems like a bad idea. Instead, you might plan quiet time where you allow your mind to drift. As a kid, I would lay on the grass staring at the clouds in the summer without anywhere else to be. Sigh. That doesn’t happen to us randomly as adults.
We all spend a lot of time thinking about things that don’t matter. In fact, we waste a lot of time on the unimportant. When you become aware of doing that, switching to a topic you had on your list to think about (keep these written on your phone), will gain that time back for more important things.
Let me be clear – I don’t object to people goofing off. But, how many times do you wish you hadn’t just spent 20 minutes on social media? Goofing off should make you feel better.
If what you are thinking about is not making you smarter or happier, change the subject. Ruminating over past mistakes or slights doesn’t make you happier. Think about why you are thinking about them. Give yourself permission to change the topic to something more valuable. If it is really bothering you, I bet it will come back up later.
This week, pay attention to your thoughts and change the subject to something more valuable when they are a waste of time. Let’s see if you feel more productive as a result.
+ The exact quote from Emerson is “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” I saw it written without quotation marks as I repeated above. That made me curious. I found the exact quote when I went to double-check the accuracy. I chose to laugh and appreciate the rewrite I read first.