• Keith Shaw

You are living your legacy right now, whether you like it or not.

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to have been contacted by someone I've known in the past. This person needed a bit of subject matter expertise and I was grateful and honored that they had thought of me as someone who could provide the help. As we chatted however, they (my grammar is gender neutral intentionally) let me know how I had helped them through a tough period in their life. This was a surprise to me as I had no idea I had helped them at all. It turns out, I had mentioned a book, as one that had helped me and recommended that they read it in the hopes that it would help them too.

The book helped this person see things in a new way. Previously angry and depressed, they were able to reframe their issue and move forward with positive action and attitude. I was happy to be of help with our industry know-how, but to support someone with their personal growth was something so satisfying I cannot describe. I have a personal mission statement that in part, includes "improv[ing] the lives of my family...and community". My day was made with the knowledge that I'd helped someone so profoundly, with an act so small as to recommend a book. I wonder too, who else may have been positively affected as a result of my colleague's new attitude.

My message is not new. I did not write the book. I didn't do anything difficult. What I did was listen, and in hearing that person, I offered what I could. I know many who die wonder if their life had meaning, if they did something to be remembered. Yesterday I was reminded that my small acts have an impact, that I am living my mission. If you've read this post I hope to remind you too that your actions, kind (or not), affect those around you in ways that can seem disproportionate to you. You matter to all the people around you and make a difference in their life, for better or worse. Be kind.

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