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  • Writer's pictureDr. Patrick E. Crawford

Resume, Legacy, and Eulogy

Leadership Thoughts | Issue #114
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Are you striving for a stellar resume, a lasting legacy, or an inspiring eulogy?

It's not intended to be a trick question, as a person's response can vary depending on the context, personal values, and goals. In reality, a leader should consider all three focuses. Crafting a solid resume boosts the credibility and expertise needed to lead well. Creating a legacy secures a leader's impact beyond their present accomplishments. Developing a eulogy emphasizes the power of meaningful relationships and being a positive influence on others. Most leaders do not do things with the intent to build their resumes, leave a legacy, or produce a eulogy that reflects their greatness; instead, they strive for what will benefit those around them.

The impetus for this topic is not about being self-serving, just the opposite; it is about serving others (servant leadership). Most of us go about our daily tasks without considering these testimonials but let's explore each in more detail.

Building a Resume

A leader who focuses on building a solid resume aims to achieve tangible accomplishments and credentials throughout their career. Self-serving resume-building occurs when someone takes underserving credit for achievement or experiences. They fail to recognize the contributions of others and embellish their own accomplishments. When leaders intentionally challenge themselves with complex but relevant work, they create learning experiences and obtain knowledge that will contribute to their ability to serve others.

Creating a Legacy

A leader who creates a legacy aims to leave a lasting impact beyond their immediate career. They prioritize building solid relationships, mentoring others, and making a positive difference in their organization and community. This approach emphasizes a leader's long-term influence on people, culture, and society. It often involves fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment, developing future leaders, and championing meaningful causes or initiatives.

Leaving a Eulogy

A leader should focus on leaving a eulogy aimed at being remembered for their character, values, and having a positive influence on individuals' lives. This focus emphasizes the personal and emotional impact a leader has on others. They prioritize building deep connections, demonstrating empathy, and making a difference in people's personal and professional growth. This approach values the human side of leadership and underscores the significance of relationships and emotional intelligence.

Leadership's ultimate goal should be "to do good but also to be good!" The things we say and, more importantly, what we do daily contribute to testimonial building. Our words and actions daily impact the overall portrait of who we are. Considering how our efforts are viewed and how they affect others is essential to successful leadership.

This week's blog took its cue from a five-minute video by David Brooks entitled "Should You Live Your Resume…or Your Eulogy?" His words encouraged me to think about how I live and how I could best balance "Adam I" and "Adam II." If you want to find out more about Adam I and Adam II, watch the clip, "Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy?"


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