At age 70, one might start thinking about a legacy. Sure, it will be nice to be remembered by family and maybe a few good friends.
But I’m not looking forward to a tombstone with some chiseled words. It is not at all important that I wind up somewhere in the dirt under a tombstone where very people once knew who I was or what I did. I’d rather my ashes were spread on one of the rivers I have boated or at the top of a mountain I have climbed or something like that.
As I wandered in the cemetery where my father and some other relatives were buried a few years ago, I understood that I knew little about them or what they did during their lives. Each did lead a life, interacted with others, contributed to their communities, etc. My step-grandfather was mayor of my home town, but his stone is really hard to find out there among the others… I’m probably the only person who knew from others what a great pool player my father was in his youth — even my Mom (age 99) did not know that.
At long while back, I was speaking with another owner of a small business training / consulting company and we hit on, “The Legacy Thing” kind of discussion. The fact that some of our old training friends had died and were not remembered (he did not know Gene Calvert who wrote a great book called High Wire Management) nor of Dr. John Keenan, nor was he aware that my friend, Mel Silberman, had died (see my comments on Mel on my blog here).
He and I were discussing my intellectual property (aka my business, Performance Management Company), and what kinds of things had that staying power. I have high hopes that some of my team building games, such as, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine will “stay in play” but my biggest hope was that the Square Wheels metaphor would continue to be known and used long after I’m gone.
It seems amazing to me that we have passed the 25th anniversary of releasing both those products and that they are still actively sold worldwide. Heck, we recently refreshed the Dutchman game with new LEGO scenes and completely redid the Square Wheels tools to be tightly linked to the serious playing with LEGO community. We have hundreds of “posters” using quotes, poems, haiku around our images and even a bunch of animations around workplace scenarios. And it is also neat that my son and my son-in-law are actively involved in the business.
I’ll never have a park or a bridge named after me and those would probably be gone after a while, too. But wouldn’t it be nice to leave something behind that people saw as valuable and useful? Wouldn’t it be neat to know that you somehow helped to positively change someone’s life in some way through something you shared?
I think a lot of us live through our children, which is certainly an interesting process at times! And most of us are quite proud of our grandchildren or, in my Mom’s case, her great-grandson. He is now old enough to remember her, which is pretty neat.
My goal is to have some impact and leave some footprint – some would say, “Yeah, like those dinosaur prints in Texas,” thereby inferring that I am a dinosaur and maybe stuck in the mud a little. (True)
It is about leaving a footprint, in so many ways. It is about making the world a slightly better place and doing some good. We should all be doing that.
So, I guess I am asking for your help in that regard.
What should I be doing with my Square Wheels themes
so as to maximize their impact?
Do I engage some sculptor to do a massive Square Wheel Wagon in granite kinda like Mount Rushmore? But really? A 60 foot head?
How do I get there from here? What are some of your ideas? How can more of us collaborate to produce new products, like a Coaching Toolkit or a series of images and quotes for a Culture Wall or similar? Would more animations be a fun thing?
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement products. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who designs simple, powerful learning tools.
See the powerful new teambuilding game, The Collaboration Journey Challenge
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.
Square Wheels® is a registered trademark of Performance Management Company
LEGO® is a trademark of The LEGO® Group®