During Roger’s eulogy, I heard stories or life lessons that are very applicable to those of us who are challenged or aspire to “leave a legacy” – in our own work or life. Here are four lessons that stuck out to me:
- Life is simple, but not easy. Roger experienced challenges in life – never had a family car, served in the Korean War, and had early family deaths and tragedy. But he always stayed focused on his values and remembered the opportunities he had versus the ones he didn’t. Leadership is simple too, but not easy. Do you stay focused on what really matters (your core values) – regardless of the circumstances?
- Every choice has consequences. We heard a funny story about Roger's tenacity or maybe stubbornness one day when he hit nearly a dozen golf balls consecutively into a single water hazard. It only happened in one round of golf out of thousands he played, but it reminded us that negative consequences can be the best learning experiences. And, life is much more than just fighting the good fight. What factors do you consistently use to weigh your choices and set priorities?
- Good relationships are intentional. The group of individuals that came together to honor Roger was very diverse. Many shared that Roger always took the time to make them feel important. They never felt like an inconvenience, an afterthought, or a leftover (someone to interact with if there was time left over). Do you deliberately take time to build lasting relationships?
- Live your life with both your head and heart. One person shared, “Roger was always willing to help people in whatever way he could, and he did it with a smile on his face and sincere kindness in his eyes.” Are you simply going through the motions? Are you actively or passively engaged in work and life?
One of the attendees at Roger’s life celebration, a local school district’s superintendent, was so moved by what she heard that she initiated the 1st annual “Leave a Legacy – Food Drive” in honor of Roger’s 25+ years of volunteering at the local food pantry.
Thanks to Roger Gareau, my Dad, for leaving a legacy. Your life made lasting impressions and impacted so many of us. You raised the standards and behaviors of everyone around you. You gave us your best EVERY DAY!
What will your legacy be? Remember - it’s made one decision at a time!