Commander Chris Hadfield, who announced his retirement this week in follow up to his incredible mission to the International Space Station is one of those inspiring people I would love to know. Next time some Facebooker or Tweeter asks “what person living or dead would you like to take to dinner?” my answer will be, “Chris Hadfield!” In addition to jazzing me, he has inspired more than one generation ain one single trip into space. His ability to share the excitement and curiosity of what he was doing was eagerly watched by children and adults. He has made science cool, and he’s made the space program worth looking at again.
In a six month journey – no doubt with a ton of planning – he has created a significant legacy. Curiosity, innovation, science, and like him as an entertainer or not, music. I am very intrigued to see what he steps into next. My guess is that it will be related to teaching, speaking, making presentations… and perhaps something related to politics. He’d be an endearing Governor General, too.
Several times in the past few months, I have found myself thinking about what kind of legacy I will leave. This has been triggered by my business going through growth and evolution that is partly planned and partly happenstance. I am creating something from scratch and want to do it in a BIG and LOVING way. I come from a family that has not traditionally had a lot to share with others after they’ve left the planet in terms of financial legacy. No wealthy relatives that reveal themselves through a final bequest, no stash of money buried in a mattress (or if there was, it was pre-social media and no one could find us). It’s not that I think creating a legacy is all about money, or at least not entirely. Money makes things easier, and it can be part of how we can create that legacy.
What to do?
Right now, my business carries no debt, and I am sitting on a fairly nice life insurance policy, but I think the legacy also has to be about leaving the world at least slightly better than how we found it. This notion is a holdover from my military days where whenever we were in a barracks, or on an exercise, we committed to making sure the space we used was better than how we found it when we arrived. Right now my business is evolving to where I am helping business people to stretch and grow in their businesses and careers, which is extremely fulfilling for me (especially when they are all working on their homework. Wow!), and so I need to work out the rest.
Not a bad problem to have at all, and possibly something that I would get clearer on while having lunch with Commander Hadfield. That lunch is now a bucket list item for me.