Recently I have been reviewing Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady’s best selling book, Launching a Leadership Revolution. This was the first leadership book I ever received and read and I have re-read and studied this book more times than I can even count. I absolutely love it and it’s a favorite of mine. My most recent talk for the-life-business was at an open meeting where we reviewed the three levels of motivation found in Woodward and Brady’s book.
When you begin to study motivation, it really does motivate you! I spent some time talking with a woman who was 82 years old the other day. She was in an assisted living facility where, because of some health issues, she couldn’t take care of herself on her own anymore. Her husband had already passed away and she only had one son who never married and moved away about 13 years ago. I could tell there was an emptiness inside her as her only son calls about once a month and has only visited once since she first moved in over a year ago. I began to ask some questions about her life and some of the memories she had from when she was younger. But the responses I got were completely not what I expected. I knew this was a divine appointment.
Looking back on her life, she shared some regrets. Her first regret was not having more children. In her generation, it was not uncommon for families to be 5-10 children deep. She had mentioned that in her earlier days, prior to being married, she experienced sexual abuse which scared her to the point that she never wanted to get married or have children. She said that if it wasn’t for the stigma and pressure for women to be married back then, she might have been alone her entire life. She carried that fear with her and was never able to resolve it even after having a child. She said her second regret was not having a better relationship with her son. She knew that he was her priority but because she couldn’t erase the memories from her past, she just ‘did what she had to do’ to raise her son but that was it. As he grew up, he became more and more distant to the point where he moved out at 16 years old. Her son is now in his early 50’s and he too never got married or had children. Her last regret was that she feels like she wasted most of her life by living in the past. She told me that as a child, she wanted to be an actress and travel all over the world. She loved being in the spotlight and making people happy and said she was a very lovable young lady. After the abuse, she couldn’t imagine being in the spotlight. She gave up on all her dreams and isolated herself from the world for years. After she married, she said her relationship with her husband was cold and distant and she said if it wasn’t for her commitment to God at the alter, she would have never stayed with him. “We were basically roommates” She said.
Today, looking back she wishes she would have pursued her dream of acting. She wishes she had a better relationship with her husband and son and she wishes she could go back in time and start over and live a more purposeful life. Now she lives with the pain of regret. Upon learning all this, I feared asking her about legacy because I didn’t want to hurt or offend her, but ended up asking anyways since she seemed to be very comfortable around me. I proceeded with, “Now I know I am young but I think about this all the time. I think about my actions today as a reflection of my legacy later. I don’t know how long I will be here so I want to make sure my actions count now. Have you thought about your legacy and what type of legacy you would like to leave behind?” I may be a bit naive but again her response surprised me. She told me that practically her entire life she didn’t even think about the end of her life. She focused so much on things in the moment that the future rarely entered her subconscious. She knew that if she thought about the future, it would guilt her into changing and pursuing something bigger. She felt safe in her mediocre lifestyle and was afraid of letting go of her past. She was trapped in her own thoughts and found peace there. But now looking back she says she thinks about legacy all the time. Although now she feels it’s too late. I tried to encourage her and offer some suggestions so that she could find peace with her regrets and still leave a positive legacy. I also asked if I could share her story with others to give hope to those struggling with an addiction, abuse, trauma, divorce, neglect or any other crisis so they could hopefully overcome those struggles and still be able to live a life of significance and not look back on their life with regrets. She was so delighted by that and I could just feel the weight of regret being lifted off her shoulders. I told her I would help her leave a legacy that will impact so many lives through her story. I will also continue to visit her and help her relive the positive memories from her past and share comments from people who have been impacted by her story.
In the beginning I mentioned that I was going to discuss the three levels of motivation found in Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady’s book and now you may be wondering why I shared this long story of a woman you don’t even know. It’s because the deepest level of motivation (Level 3) is purpose, destiny and legacy. All motivation comes from within. You are responsible for discovering what motivates you. Level 1 – Material success and level 2 – recognition and respect are, in my perspective, short term and short lived. You will always have level 1 and level 2 ‘motivators’ but if after you think about those, you are still laying on the couch watching TV, then chances are you are not motivated by them. Eventually you will need to get in touch with the deepest level of motivation – purpose, destiny and legacy. It may not be a primary motivator right away and that is why it is level 3. My prayer is that you think about it, discover it and pursue it.
This lady (who will remain nameless until I ask her permission to use her full name), understands now more than ever that life is so short. And if we are going to do something that’s going to impact the world, we need to start now. As Jill Guzzardo says, “you don’t have a thousand years to do this.” George Guzzardo says, “In all of civilization, our history has only lasted just a dot.” We have a big job to do if we are to change the cycle of decline our country is facing right now. It is our responsibility and our legacy to leave for the next generation. What will you do with your life that will be remembered throughout history?
Please share/comment at the bottom of this post how this one woman’s story has impacted you. She will be overfilled with joy to know that it’s not too late for her to make an impact and leave a legacy. Your comments do matter!
Also, take a look at this fantastic talk Orrin Woodward shared on Legacy: