25 August 2017
Imagine you’re 90 years old; you’re sitting with your family, telling them about your life and what you are most proud of. What do you tell them?
The legacy that we want to leave is a huge driver. It’s the bigger reason why, the ultimate goal. so, what do you want to be known for?
If you are setting goals now, are they short-term, long-term or are they driven by a bigger reason for doing what you do?
Almost 20 years ago, my big goal was to make a £1 million. That was my driver. I wanted to be comfortable and ensure my family have everything that they could ever need. I remember being a young boy, shopping in KwikSave with my mum when her card was declined. The staff in the store chose to embarrass her, cutting up her card in front of us and other customers. From then on, I knew that was something I never wanted to happen to her or my father again.
Was this a good goal? I thought so. It’s about providing for my family and ensuring they have a great life. However, it wasn’t until I found myself buried under 8ft of snow losing consciousness that I realised that there had to be more. Being brought back to life, I knew that there was a bigger purpose and I had to find it. Now, I make it my mission to positively impact as many people as humanly possible.
It doesn’t take a life-threatening situation to have a life-changing situation. Really, it’s about looking at your priorities, the reason you do what you do.
What do you want your legacy to be?
In the final post of my Entrepreneur Week series, I asked this question to the entrepreneurs that I interviewed for the podcast series. What do you want your legacy to be?
Whilst I shouldn’t have favourites, I have to admit that James Timpson’s response stood out. James is the chief executive of Timpson. He has grown the business from fewer than 200 shops to almost 2000 since taking over the reins from his father.
He said: “I would like colleagues who I’ve worked with, for their kids and grandkids to know that they worked for a company that cared for them.”
I would have expected nothing less from such a people-focussed, family-focussed businessman. His unwavering commitment to ensuring he gives his best for his team – who he calls colleagues not staff – and for the people around him is remarkable.
Looking at the series, family was a common thread in all of these conversations. Chris Percival, founder of Jigsaw Medical and eJigsaw wants to follow Siemen’s example. He said: “I’d like something that outlives me. Sieman’s is a good example – a percentage of the business is still family-owned and I’d like for the Jigsaw brand to carry on for generations to come. That’s a pretty cool thing to leave behind.”
Chris has an incredible charity foundation to which he donates 10% of profits annually. Consequently, the foundation has supported a charity close to Chris’s heart; The George Heath Foundation. George was a friend of Chris’s who died suddenly in a road traffic accident two years ago. The foundation has also worked with Cancer Research UK, Big Change and Alzheimer’s Society.
Making an impact
Leaving something with impact is, of course, the biggest driver for most entrepreneurs, most of all for Carrie Green. Carrie, founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, said: “I want to leave as much stuff as I can across social media and everywhere. Content that’s going to empower people and encourage them to dream big. To help them realise what is possible for themselves. That they can live the most incredible life because it’s such a tragic shame if people don’t.”
Carrie started, like me, wanting to hit a monetary goal and quickly realised that that wasn’t enough. A story echoed when I asked Social Chain founder and social media vlogger Steve Bartlett what he wants to be remembered for.
Steve said: “My ultimate goal would be to be remembered as someone who is great. That doesn’t mean earning a lot of money. I consider everybody who is an entrepreneur or successful person someone who is good. To transition to great, you have to really be willing to sacrifice everything you are in order for that thing that’s bigger than you.”
Ultimately, your driver always comes down to the reason you do what you do. What gets you out of bed in a morning when funds are short, when your energy is low, and when things aren’t easy.
For me, it’s knowing I can help other people to grow their businesses and their legacies, and as a result help their communities. When I sit down with my grandchildren, hopefully a long time in the future, I want to say I helped to make their world a better place. A world where businesses truly care for their colleagues, where a job can once again be for life and where all children are encouraged to reach for the stars.