This is a guest post by Philip A. Clemens, former Chairman and CEO of the Clemens Family Corporation.
Part of being a leader and possessing good leadership skills includes being intentional about what we pass on to the next generation- whether that includes our family, our workplaces and coworkers, or those we interact with in the community. But what do we leave? I believe that it is much more important to pass on wisdom rather than wealth.
So, what wisdom do you pass to the next generation and how do you do it? I believe the wisdom you share is very personal and extremely important. Here are seven points to help you as you think about what your legacy will be.
1. Passing wisdom on begins by being honest – telling of successes and failures.
Too often the next generations only hear and see all the good things about an individual and walk away feeling that they can never be like that person because he/she never made a mistake. You need to show your warts!
2. Passing wisdom on is sharing your values and showing what you value.
Wisdom sharing takes time and courage. It is done by allowing others to see you and what makes you do the things you do.
3. Passing wisdom on is sharing your faith and also your doubts.
Sharing what and why you believe in God is at the core of who you are. You need to allow the next generations to know what you have struggled with, why at times God seemed either silent or distant, and what brought you strength. They need to know that you don’t know it all and that you are a not a “self-made” person.
4. Passing wisdom on is sharing what worked in life and what didn’t.
Again, if next generations only hear your hero stories, they will admire you but rarely follow because they don’t see you as human. They need to understand that there are days when getting up and going to work wasn’t the first thing on your mind; that at times you made some dumb mistakes that may have been very costly to the business, family or others; and that all of us need to learn to walk and fall before we can ever run.
5. Passing wisdom on is sharing what wealth can do for you and what it can’t do.
Wealth will always attract “friends” – but what happens when you lose your wealth? Do those friends leave you for others with wealth, or are they true friends who stick with you whether you have wealth or not? Wealth also attracts a great deal of people and organizations that want some or all of your wealth. Wisdom teaches how you learn discernment of who you do or don’t give to and why.
6. Passing wisdom on is sharing what you have learned to value.
Wisdom teaches you what to value and what has lasting value. If you share that learning with others, they won’t have to make some of the same mistakes you did. Wisdom is a giver – not a taker. Wisdom doesn’t have a scarcity mentality that there is only so much to go around – it is always willing to share because there is so much for everyone.
7. Passing wisdom is sharing that life has seasons.
The sun doesn’t always shine, but it also isn’t always stormy. Wisdom knows that if the sun is always shining, all you end up with is a desert. Wisdom knows that the storms of life will come and bring the needed rain and sometimes even damage to prune you for what lies ahead.
What are you passing on to those you interact with daily?
To read more about the importance of passing wisdom on, read Phil’s article here.