From A Rep's Perspective

Mike Root

How do you want to be remembered?

September 12, 2017

A 2014 song, by a group called Magic is on my mind these days. The opening verses go like this:

“How do you want to be remembered?
As a sinner or a saint, as a hero or a villain
Think about the steps you take
How do you want to be remembered?
When they're standing at your grave
On your tombstone, what is written?
Think about the steps you take”

One of the tricks self-help gurus tell their audiences is to imagine what you would like your obituary to read. The idea being that if you can envision what you would like people to say about you when you are gone, maybe you will work towards making that vision a reality. You don’t have to look any further than Ebenezer Scrooge in the Christmas Carol to see the transformation when he witnessed in a dream what people said about him when he was gone.

My uncle Bill died last week after a three-year struggle with cancer. When I read the front-page story about his life and career, it was the obituary those gurus were referring to. The head of the Chamber of Commerce summed it up perfectly when he said “Omaha is a better place because he was here.”

My Uncle Bill was highly successful personally and financially. He started out in a family-run savings and loan only to grow it beyond most dreamers wildest expectations. Along his path, he always stayed grounded on guiding principles of his faith, doing good for his family and community, and integrity in everything he did. He went out and lived his life to the fullest, and he never grew tired of helping people achieve their dreams.

I doubt very much if my uncle spent time trying to figure out what he wanted to be remembered for or what was to be written on his tombstone. Rather, the lesson he taught us through his lifetime of service was to do your best to make the world a better place. In his dying days as I asked him to reflect back on his successes and any advice he could relay, he told me that money and fame were not important. The family, the friends and associates, and the good you leave behind in the world are really all you will ever be judged on.

We hear in the news on a regular basis all that is wrong in the world. Yet I know of many people like my uncle who are doing great works to make the world a better place. If you think there is a rep or someone else in the furniture community that should be spotlighted for the good they are doing, please send me the information. I would love to highlight their work now. By the time we read about it in their obituary, it’s too late to thank them in person.

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