In the book, Becoming Coachable, one of the authors shared a story about a conversation they had with and elderly couple they planned to go to lunch with. Instead of lunch, they ended up in the waiting room of urgent care for hours. Fortunately, the medical issue was not serious. But the conversation was impactful.
They got on the topic of what makes life meaningful. The older gentleman shared he had been thinking a lot about that and what you get to take with you past this life. He said, “There is one thing, and one thing only, that’s our relationships.”
This resonated with me. Even though I lost my mother over two and a half years ago, I still talk to her and think about her every day. Likely way more than when she was alive. I am still in a relationship with her. Her impact goes well beyond her life.
Every year when I go to vote and give my name, inevitably someone says, “I knew your mother.” I remember on more than one occasion people stopping my mom at the mall yelling, “Miss Margot, Miss Margot.” And then dive into how they were doing. You see, my mother used to work for the Newark County courthouse in the welfare and food stamps departments. It was her job to help people get the benefits they needed. She was a bulldog, always fighting for her clients to get more. She lives on in their memory too.
What’s amazing is that we all have an impact beyond what we realize. I taught at NYU for seven years and recently got a call from a student from my first ever class in 2005. He told me that my class changed the course of his life. He said, “The atmosphere I forged in that class created a bond and a relationship that inevitably turned into a successful business partnership and lifelong friendship. I had no idea.
So, as this couple towards the end of life was thinking about what they were spending their time doing, it was focusing on their relationships in their life.
I share this story because I don’t want us to wait. Invest in the relationships in your life.
We have impact every day in known and unknown ways. The people that we meet, strangers or not, can be impacted by our words or actions, even if we don’t remember who they are. That’s impact. That’s true legacy.