About a month ago, the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden died after a storied life of triumph. He was arguably one of the greatest coaches and leaders of all time, indelibly influencing the game of basketball forever with his focus on basic skills, team greatness, and individual commitment.
After his death, I watched hours of ESPN programming about his life, his philosophy, his relationships, and his legacy. I was amazed by how many people he influenced during his life, even long after he stopped coaching, and I presume for many years to come.
Over the past decade I have read several books about John and his life. I have even used some of the elements of his Pyramid of Success approach in my own business team development and vision. I shared some of that in a previous post on our internal strategic planning.
As a part of my own personal visioning process, I asked myself the question: At my funeral, what do I want people to say about me? Obviously, this really unabashedly pokes at the issue of legacy and the true meaning of my life.
I had never done this before and decided to take a stab at it. So, one afternoon I got out my notebook and pen and started a list.
It was interesting that it took me a while to get past the small items and performance based things like work success, awards, etc. and get to the essence of who I am and what I want to be remembered for (good father, husband, deep friendships, loyalty, compassion are a few of mine). I plan to spend more time refining the list and processing what I wrote down over the next few months as I continue on this journey.
Some of the items are quite personal and in a recent conversation with a friend who was asking me about my list, I found myself getting very uncomfortable. This tells me I also have some work to do on being more authentic with who I am—and who I want to become.
What do you want your life to be about? If you don’t know, it might be time to think about it and start moving towards it. This exercise might come in handy, “My Life Story.” It’s a five step exercise that helps represent expression of the “choices” you are making about your life.
If you want to know more about my experience going through this process, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to share more of my story.