The Legacy

The late Dr. Stephen Covey shared this story before he died. It has had great meaning to me, and I believe it has great application to us personally, and as Team Members in our Agel business. Dr. Covey wrote:
I once visited with the commander of a military base who was truly on fire with his commitment to undertake a significant cultural change inside of his organization. He had been in the service for over thirty years, was a full colonel, and was eligible for retirement that very year. After he had been teaching and training his organization for many months I asked him why he planned to stay on and undertake such a major initiative—one that would require swimming upstream against the tremendous resisting forces of tradition, lethargy, indifference and low trust. I even said to him, “You could relax. You’d have a good retirement. Award banquets would be held in your honor. Loved ones and associates would celebrate you.”
He became very sober, paused for a long time and then decided to share with me a very personal, almost sacred experience. He said that his father had recently passed away. When the father was on his death-bed, he called his wife and son (the colonel) to him to say good-bye. He could barely speak. His wife wept during the entire visit; the son drew down close to his father, and his father whispered into his ear, “Son don’t do life like I did. I didn’t do right by you or by your mother and never really made a difference. Son, promise me you won’t do life like I did.”
Those were the last words the colonel heard from his father, who passed away shortly thereafter. But he regarded them as the greatest gift and legacy his father could ever give him. He made his mind up then and there that he was going to make a difference—in every area of his life.
Through my life experiences I have come to know that deep within all of us there is an inner longing to live a life of greatness. Most of us know we can’t be great at everything—but we want to be great at something! We want to make a contribution. Often, we refer to that as making a difference.
Over the past years I have met so many of you who have enriched my life. I have silently watched as you have served others. Recently I was in Europe and I quietly observed a young woman wheel an elderly woman into one of our meeting rooms. Throughout the meeting she whispered into the older woman’s ear, and in return the wheelchair bound lady would nod and smile. The younger woman was tender and gentle with her, once leaving the room to come back with a drink of water.
After the meeting I was privileged to meet both ladies. I learned that they were grandmother and granddaughter. The grandmother reached up and took my hand, pulling me down close to her ear so she could speak. “This is my granddaughter.” she said. “She takes care of me, and insisted that I come to the meeting tonight. I am so glad I came. Thank you for bringing Agel to us!”
I then spoke to the granddaughter: “You are making a real difference in your grandmother’s life. You are making sure she knows she is loved and has value.” Tears came to the young woman’s eyes. “It is my privilege.” she said.
I know that we can all consciously decide to leave behind lives of mediocrity. All around us are opportunities to be “difference makers.” I am also convinced that our legacy will never be found in the material wealth we acquire, or in the honors we receive. Our legacy will be one measured by the service rendered to our fellow man, by quiet anonymous gifts of time given to individuals and organizations that promote the betterment of mankind.
During the past two years I have attended the funerals of three of my loved ones whose lives continue to teach me about how to leave a legacy, and how to be of service. Sometimes, I feel I am such a “slow learner” that I can never measure up to who they were or to the enduring legacy they left. Yet, I have faith that I am not too old to learn, and every day I strive to be worthy of the gifts they shared with me.
I am Craig Bradley.
I am Agel.